Halving duration of phrase?

Is there a way to halve the duration of an entire phrase (some range of selected notes), so that all notes duration values are halved?

I only found this: https://steinberg.help/dorico_pro/v2/en/dorico/topics/write_mode/write_mode_notes_duration_changing_t.html?hl=halve
Which, when applied to a selected phrase, halves the individual notes duration and inserts rests for the remaining halves, leaving the phrase with the same duration.

So if I have for example a phrase of 4 quarter notes duration, made of 3 quarter notes followed by 2 eighth notes, I want that to turn into a phrase of 2 quarter notes duration, made of 3 eighth notes and 2 sixteenth notes.


I can’t find the post where it was explained, so I’m explaining it manually again:

  1. Select the notes
  2. Enable insert mode (shortcut key “i”)
  3. In the top menu select “Write > Edit duration > Halve note duration”

Thank you, that worked perfectly.

Or step 3: Ctrl-Alt-Shift-left arrow! (Right arrow to double)

Doesn’t always work. See attached screenshots. What am I doing wrong here?
To explain: I have some chords in a secondary voice in the piano bass staff that are normally hidden. This material seems to be throwing a wrench in. Don’t know why it should…but the chords that are initially half-notes aren’t getting halved into quarter notes. Why not?
(Notice how the following bars in the bass staff get messed up–overwritten.)

This is expected behaviour. The shorten note directive acts on each voice independently. You appear to have the bass chords in the same voice as the single notes in the first two bars. So shortening the descending quavers will only start from bar 3 of the passage.

Tip: when changing durations of passages, I find it useful to colour the notes of each voice beforehand. Then it is easy to see where they end up! And ctrl-z is your friend.

No Janus. The two bass voices are separated. IOW the quarter-note chords are “down-stem voice 1” and the descending run which is getting displaced is “down-stem voice 2”. I specifically un-hid the chords so that I could act upon all voices simultaneously with the “halve durations”. So, while the chords (which were half-notes previously) were properly reduced to quarters, I don’t understand why DORICO displaced the run in “down-stem voice 2” to the subsequent bar, and correspondingly deleted what I had written in the subsequent bars…

It did not ‘displace’ the run to a subsequent bar. It left it in its original bar with halved durations, as requested, whilst all the voice 1 notes were pulled into earlier bars.

Dorico ‘starts’ the diminution of down-stem voice 2 from point at which that voice begins, not the beginning of the whole selection. Voice 2 does not know of the existence of the earlier bars, so cannot move its start point!

Janus, you’re either not seeing or I’m not understanding. Perhaps an uncrunched visual will help (see attached of a better “After” pic).
If you look at the “Before” pic, you will see that in the bass staff of bars 4,5 there are chords (voice1) and a descending run (voice2) sitting simultaneously. In the “After” pic, you will notice that the descending run of the “Before” pic has remained in bar 4 while just the chords (voice1) were moved (earlier in time) into bar 3. The items that were formerly in bar 6 (in piano treble and 2nd bass staves) now find themselves in bar 4 of the “After” pic, with the items that were formerly in the piano-bass staff erased. Does that make sense?
Are you saying I need to artificially create a secondary voice in bars 2,3 of “Before” in order that DORICO correctly halves everything? That seems ridiculous .
Maybe I’m using the “insert” feature incorrectly? I had used it bc I intended to slide later events into earlier bars, but it seems only to be working for staves that have one voice per.
Suggestions for a workaround would be much appreciated.

I hope this example shows you what is happening

Bars 1-7 is the original. Bars 8-14 is after the notes in bars 1-4 have been ‘halved’. Blue notes are voice 1, Green notes are voice 2.

You will see the selected notes have all been halved, as expected.
The important feature is that voice 2 can only start halving from its own start point (bar 2), since the insert mode operates on each voice independently.

All the black notes have kept their original relationship to the altered notes in their voice (see what happened to the 4 Gs in voice 2 (bar 6)? They are still 4 notes distant from their green friends)

If you colour each voice in your own score (make a selection, filter a voice, pick a colour in the properties panel), you will see how they have move.

A workaround would be to add dummy notes (use a couple of semibreves) to voice 2 - do the transformation and then delete them (but remember to switch off insert before you do so!)


Okay, thanks Janus. It’s as I expected. (I realized what was happening/what you were saying half way through my response–the “that’s ridiculous” comment in my post.) This all makes sense from a machine’s algorithm standpoint. But it’s IMHO not very user friendly for dumb humans like me. But understanding is half the battle, right?
I feel DORICO should be able to halve individually selected items faithfully and when using the insert function, should be able to recognize that all non-selected items following need to be uniformly slid back as a block of music (rather than as individual voices). But I’m not a computer programmer, which is why I don’t see that as an impossibility, right?

I tend to avoid Insert mode due to previous run-ins with it, but I thought I might just try something easy like halving the values of the quavers here which I meant to input as semiquavers. Insert was definitely on when I made this recording. Why do the notes to the right shift leftwards? It isn’t a voice thing (they’re all upstem voice 1 items).

This is how Insert mode works. You’ve halved the time taken up by the selected notes. You haven’t doubled the rests that follow those notes, so they and everything that follow shunt to the left.

You might try to first assign the notes you want to modify to a different (unused) voice, then apply the duration halving, then change them back to the original voice. I’m not at my computer atm, so I can’t check if I’m talking nonsense…

Whenever I do this, I make a mental note that I’m going to have to add back some rests somewhere. (I also turn on voice colours before messing with insert mode!)

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I usually do operations like this on a scratch staff, or a separate file.