Help with Tuplet Ratios

I feel like an idiot here—I can’t figure out what to enter into the tuplet dialog to get the end result I need.

Starting with a simplified example:

My expectation (wrong, I presume) is that after I enter the upstem eighth notes, I move to a new downstem voice, and put in the tuplet box that I was 1 half note in the space of 2 eighth notes—so, 1h:2e. In doing that, I get a string of eighth notes with a 1 tuplet number over each. I recently did some engraving that used crazy tuplets to fit chant accompaniment where they doesn’t belong, so I was surprised that this didn’t perform as expected. It wasn’t the exact circumstance, but similar.

But Marc, why on earth would you be trying to force half notes against quarter like this? I don’t actually want to, this is an example of what I’d actually want to enter:

Which, with stems hidden and slurs adjusted, would look like this:

I have no control over the “soprano” voice rhythm, and the remaining voices must be represented with half-note heads. So, I’d be looking at ratios of 1 half to 3 sixteenths, or 1 half to 1 eighth, etc… Because of the lyrics that will be involved, and the amount of manual spacing that will need to be adjusted, I would prefer to do this project in Dorico.

Hopefully, I’ve just completely misunderstood how to hack the tuplet system? Advice?


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Marc, just use quarters and half notes, and any time you need an extra beat or two in the melody, put them in and leave rests underneath. Then you can hide stems and use the “remove rests” option to take care of them all in one go.

Do NOT go the tuplet route. That is wayyyyy too much work and totally unnecessary.


I’m sorry, like I said, the soprano rhythm is fixed, as it is coming from another source and needs to be copied and pasted in. I’ve used the tuplets before, and am just confused why it isn’t working now.

You could take a couple of approaches.

  1. Select the soprano voice and turn on insert mode and convert them to quarters
  2. Reassign the half-note head to quarter notes.
  3. Import the crummy rhythm into a dummy stave and then just enter in a more convenient rhythm in a new stave and use that instead.

Tbh, if you’re bringing over the melody, but not the other parts, there’s nothing stopping you from doing #1. For me at least, data clean up at the beginning would save me so much time later that it would be worth it. (Although I’d probably just do it from scratch.)

I can’t speak to your tuplet woes as I hardly ever use them and I have to double check the manual every time I do.

For the tuplets 2:1q?
Another option create a custom notehead set where quarters use a half notehead.


That’s what I meant by #2 but I worded it poorly. But I agree. (Still not preferable though, imho)

I did think of the adjusted notehead, which was a common trick I used in Finale. But in this case I’ll also have to have a dotted note against a non-dotted note in the same vertical column, so I’m still going to have to do some tuplet magic (or use Score).

I’m telling you, Marc, you are making this harder on yourself than it has to be. Use insert mode and shift things to align where you want (you can select and alt arrow or just add random beats where you need with the bars popover), and then just hide rests when you’re done.

Is all the finagling in the top part for playback? (Certainly it is not for appearance once you have removed the stems.)

Romanos is right. I’ve done a ton of this and it’s very easy. Forget about tuplets.

I’ll post a pic. Hang on.

Just quarter notes and half notes!

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Here’s what it looks like without hidden stems and rests (ignore bass clef… )

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Even if I did choose to do this a different way, this is a basic function that I’ve used for years in other programs. I was just asking for help on tuplet entry. There are additional details of the project that eliminate the possibility of all of the “no-tuplet” suggestions.

At the end of the day, I have to do what the publisher wants. It has to be setup a certain way, and it has to look (exactly) a certain way. I’ve gone out of my way to promote Dorico, but if this doesn’t work, I’ll just use another program. It seems like it should work, though.

I’ve done many a score that way, but it won’t work here. Just trying to figure out. The tuplet system.

Marc, can we examine what about the following sample does not match your required look? This took me about 10 minutes, using only quarter notes and half notes. I forced a few durations to prevent ties from combining, and hid the rests.

I notice a few visual differences so far:

  • Dorico’s quarter-barline shows on both staves rather than on the top only
  • Dorico’s half-barline is at the very edge of the line instead of slightly inside
  • The spacing of the black noteheads is even. I gather this is what you don’t want. To get 2 different sizes of horizontal spacing next I would try using eighths and quarters – less calculation required.

If you are absolutely forced to use the 16ths and eighths, then I think Finale or Sibelius would be better tools for this purpose, in which you can freely substitute half-noteheads on any note value.

Like I said—I didn’t share every possible example. A dotted filled note with open notes in the other voices is a trick I don’t see getting around without using tuplets.

Obviously I agree this is quite easy to do in other programs, but knowing that Dorico supports tuplets, I just don’t understand why it wouldn’t be able to achieve the same result—I feel like I just don’t know the right combination of entries to make it happen. It would save the publisher at least a hundred hours if I can keep everything in Dorico.

I would love to see an example. Hiding rests works for everything I’ve been able to think of so far.

Right, so then you can put eighth rests after the dotted quarters, and hide them. One helpful thing in Dorico is that when rests are hidden, the space automatically closes up as if they don’t exist (though rhythmically the spaces are still there). Another is that you can tie notes even across rests when needed.

Yep—every program has many ways to solve a problem. But as is in the title, I’m still hoping for advice on tuplet ratios. I’m either needing further guidance there, or there’s an issue that Daniel might be able to consider for future releases. Maybe as Europe wakes up, additional insight will become available. I hate to use workarounds unless absolutely necessary.

Well, if hidden tuplets aren’t a workaround, I don’t know what is.

To address your original question:
On the 1st half note you can make an 8:3 tuplet of 16ths
On the 2nd half note you could make an 4:2 tuplet of eighths

That really is awfully much harder than what I did.