Grace notes starting on note?


I have to edit a score with lots of grace notes, many of them starting on a note value (e.g. quarter note). Currently I enter those in a second voice, use some weird tuplets and reduce their size. (I hope the screenshots depict the case.)

But I was wondering, if there is probably an option I haven’t seen so far that allows me to enter grace notes that start on a note value? Or do you have other solutions to recommend?

I think I would just write regular eighth notes in the down-stem voice and scale them to grace note size. The noteheads overlap nicely so the stems attach correctly. Where there is an accidental on a unison, it will appear grace note size; if you hide it on the grace note, that lets the full-size accidental show.

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@Mark_Johnson Thanks for sharing! That’s my current approach, too. The problem with that is only, that with many instruments it is really a PITA to calculate all those tuplets in order to get a decent layout. Somehow I had hoped that Dorico offers something magical :slight_smile:

Grace notes are the nightmare of every notation program I used so far (Finale, Sibelius, and unfortunately Dorico). Dorico even adds the problem that grace note groups have its notes alligned across the staffs that uses them, instead of having each his independent spacing.
But on-the-beat grace notes are the nightmare of nightmares.

Recently I converted a piece to Dorico with this kind of on-the-beat grace notes, and I was forced to adopt different methods for each situation.
The tuplet method is really a PITA as you say (my brains hurts after so many calculations for the ideal ratio), although works well in some situations. But, as you somewhat pointed out, as it isn’t a rhthmically/spacially independent scenario like that of a grace note, poses a lot of note spacing problems if there’s other rhythmic durations on other instruments on the same beat.
What I do in those cases is to simpy put regular grace notes and then space-drag them in Engrave mode to the correct rhythmic place. The problem is that this method is also an enourmous PITA, I’m afraid.
I don’t use here your two-voice notation convention, but this:

so I don’t know if this helps you in your case.

I just loath workarounds… What I wished was that, besides the normal/current “acciacaturas” (slashed) before-the-beat graphical placement, there was a behaviour for on-the-beat “appoggiaturas” (unslashed) that would automatically put the grace note group starting on the corresponding rhytmic position, with the notes (including the regular main note) at the right of the rhytmic position.
But I guess that will never happen, as this is to much a niche thing to implement…

I imagine that highly esoteric notation (or playback) will always [involve] a certain amount of working-around, at least until it becomes standard.

Yes, I even forgot the playback trouble (altough my priority is always the notation)…

Hey, @Derrek and @emar ! Thank you very much for sharing your experiences and your solutions! Highly appreciated! (Due to a flue my response comes very late, sorry for that!)
Personally, I do not care so much about playback (I usually use Cubase for that), but very much about layout.
And … I am not so sure, if this is “esoteric” notation… :wink: Maybe you use the term in a special manner that I am not aware of. But I would connect composers like Ligeti and Boulez to such composition techniques, and those do not classify as “esoteric”, right?

Performance-wise, the before-/on-the-beat concepts (acciacatura/appoggiatura, in baroque? terminology) are certainly not esoteric things, going back to centuries ago. What isn’t that common is the more specific notation for on-the-beat grace notes, which can vary depending on the situation or the composer.
I can’t remember in the Ligeti case, but I know Boulez uses both ways (your two voice method, which I think is better when the last note is short; and that line with an arrow on top of the grace note group, when it’s sustained). Anyway, in modern music these things are pretty much normal, yes…

I was thinking of Ligeti’s Chamber Concerto (and soon then of many works by Lutoslawsky and Penederecki…)

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In the meanwhile, I found a slightly different solution from Berio (Formazioni), perhaps a bit more logical:

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