Incorrect 6/8 rhythm?

Hello, can someone tell me why when I try to enter 3 quarter notes in the upper voice

that Dorico enters two tied eighth notes for the second quarter note and what do I have to do to fix this? Also, which setting do I have to change so this doesn’t happen again? Thank you in advance for any help anyone can give me.

For 6/8, this is the correct notation - if you want three quarters, then 3/4 is the correct meter. However, you can make Dorico notate the quarters if you hit “O” before entering the pitches - this is the Force Duration, and will give you exactly what you want. If you really want it that way through out, you can enter it in the Meter popover like this: [2+2+2]/8 - the meter signature will appear as 6/8, but will notate like 3/4. Hope that helps.

At the risk of sounding like That Guy, let me echo R Pearl’s first sentence. That’s the reason Dorico is displaying the tied eighths: it’s trying to help you. Force Duration is not unheard of, but if you find yourself using it a lot, there’s probably something amiss!

Thanks very much for your help! I appreciate your time.

Thank you for your help!

I think there is scope for further development of Dorico here. It would be good to be able to overwrite Dorico’s default duration settings and allow for three crotchets (quarter notes) to be automatically written without having to force duration. While being technically incorrect notation it is often done and just as easy to read. Berstein’s America?

The ability to alter the default duration notation within a score would be really useful.

You’ll save time in rehearsals by following notation conventions. More efficient rehearsals mean a better sounding performance.

IIRC the Bernstein time signature was 6/8+3/4 not just 6/8.

You can already do Bernstein’s America in Dorico. Just define the time signature as 6/8 + 3/4.

You can define irregular note groupings as well, e.g. [2+2+2]/8. See

I think one of the things that throws us off a bit in Dorico, is that it follows the notational conventions as much as possible. Many of us have come from other programs where if we ask for a quarter, we get a quarter - regardless of whether or not it is normative. I certainly found it a hurdle at first, but then realized that I might be wrong about the best way to notate a rhythm. And the beauty of Dorico is that if you move any duration to another location in the bar, it redraws itself correctly. I can remember in another program a case where I had a dotted half note tied to an eighth; I moved it an eighth further in the measure and had a dotted half-note beginning on the second half of beat one tied to an eighth at the end of the bar; Dorico would rectify that, and in effect save me from myself!

The Bernstein does not follow the 6/8+3/4 pattern consistently all the way through, hence ts changes would be required at some stage.
My idea is for the user to be able to created permitted rhythm patterns for a score that override the standard default settings. Hence, if they were notating the Bernstein, they could tell Dorico to allow a specific three crotchet rhythm on 6/8, which would then become the default way of notating that rhythm in 6/8 but would not affect the grouping of quavers etc.
While the automatic notation of duration divisions is one of the major advantages Dorico, having to force durations when repeatedly entering the same rhythm pattern feels a bit clumsy. Entering a separate ts for different staves is also awkward.

That kind of already exists. If you insert a 6/8 3/4 interchangeable time signature then you do need to enter subsequent 3/4 or 6/8 time signatures to tell Dorico how to group notes/beaming, but the subsequent time signatures will automatically be hidden.

I know what the “correct” notation is, and am glad Dorico defaults to it in this case, but there are genres where 6/8 and 3/4 exist simultaneously and being able to write 3 quarters in 6/8 without force durations would in fact be useful. I play in a quite a few bands that play music based out of the chacarera rhythm and it’s always a toss-up whether they write it in 3/4 or 6/8 as they really are both simultaneous. (I let the rhythm section musicians argue about which is “correct” and just play the notes in front of me, LOL) Here’s an example:

It’s not super common, but there are definitely styles where 3 quarters in 6/8 is perfectly appropriate.

How would Dorico achieve this? (Or more accurately, how would you prefer to instruct Dorico, if not with Force Duration?)

A Notation Option of “allow simple meter grouping in compound meters” would likely produce all sorts of undesirable effects if turned on globally for the Flow; and I dare say the logic would be a nightmare. Or should it be even more specific “Allow 3 quarter notes in 6/8”? – which would exclude other patterns and other meters?

I suppose you could have a “Change Notation Options” flag and dialog, followed by a Reset, at defined positions in the score; or you could just use a hidden time signature change, though that too may not be desirable.

It could work like this.

The user could create specific rhythm pattern overrides for the score, in this case three crotchets. (It could be done be selecting a forced example, for instance and clicking on something like “Create Rhythm Pattern Override”.) When Dorico then interprets a rhythm, it checks to see if any overrides have been created. If it finds one corresponding to the note entry, it uses that pattern rather than the default one. Otherwise, the default one is used. Forcing would always be an option is the user wanted the original pattern.

What if the user wanted three crotchets in a flute part and a 6/8 type rhythm in a bassoon in the same bar? Individual staff time-signatures are possible, as is forced durations, but I think that something like the above would be much simpler.

How would you specify which rhythm override applied to which staff, and which one Dorico was supposed to use if you defined several incompatible ones?

When you come back to work on a project months (or years) later, how do you find out exactly how the overrides were set up, if you can’t remember?

What happens if you import some music from another project (maybe created by somebody else) which has a different set of overrides which might be incompatible with yours?

Yes, I think that would be a useful option, or perhaps phrasing like “Allow notes to obscure the half-bar division in 6/8 when all notes in the bar are greater than the denominator.” That would allow half-quarter and quarter-half too which are common as well. Once eighths are introduced anywhere in the bar, then it’s back to standard beaming.

I completely agree this setting should not be the default, and honestly I’ve never had an issue with just using Force Duration, but notating 3 quarters and half-quarter in 6/8 is very common in 6/8 Afro-Cuban music (look at virtually any bass part), and other styles including some Argentine music, and is the standard notation a performer expects to see in those genres.

The Villa-Lobos Prelude #1 is another good example of 6/8 and 3/4 existing concurrently, although I’m not sure how any beaming setting would help here other than just using Force Duration:

A bit OT, but here’s a wonderful arrangement of that Prelude #1 for bass and string quartet by new Dorico user Pablo Aslan. He’s been posting on the Dorico FB page and I assume lurking here …

In response to Rob’s post:

  1. Dorico could prevent incompatible overrides by checking when each one is defined and offering options as to which one is desired.
  2. Overrides could be listed and visible upon request.
  3. Options could be given on import, just like other options are.

Overrides could also be defined on a per flow basis rather than a per project basis.

It would be nice if “Force Duration” could be set as the default on a per-flow basis. I just completed a very complicated Ferneryhough-like piece where the composer insisted upon notating the rhythms in a non-standard way. I constantly had to make sure the Force Duration option was in effect as it would turn off capriciously, especially after nested tuplets.

Given a choice between all that complexity, and just hitting “O” for forced duration when I need it. I think I know which is going to be quicker, easier, and more predictable to use. But YMMV of course.

Given that Force Duration allows the notations shown above, I think the other suggestions can wait for Dorico SuperPro 3000. Pressing the “O” key is not that tough.