# Irrational Notes{?}

I’ve searched the forums to see what Is available to do on Dorico for Irrational Measures. The reason for doing so is that i’m working on a piece that is mostly in a 3/8 meter, but occasionally will go into a measure of two of 3/6 or 3/10 (also 4/16, 4/12, and 4/20). I understand that Dorico can display it correctly – but can’t play it back directly. I can work around the tempos (I’ve created a spreadsheet that can calculate the correct tempo to put on the measure), but that can get a little tedious.

Would it be possible to correct/select things like a 1/6th note or a 1/20th note from the selection of notes? Currently we can pick only the standard rational notes. IF we are able to type in the proper note in, wouldn’t Dorico be able to recognize that length? There could also be a way to label them (maybe a small number left of the stem, for example a “20” to designate it a 20th note from the standard 16th note?) I know some composers don’t bother with a different labeling, so there could be an option to turn it off (for example, the 20th notes above would look like standard 16th notes in the irrational measures.)

Am I crazy? Would it be possible to program something like this in the program?

There’s probably no reason to doubt that it’s possible to program your requested feature - the question is of course what priority it holds…

I don’t think you’re crazy. Having just worked on Thomas Adès’ latest opera (a masterpiece, by the way), I’m very much into the idea of 1/6-notes and the like (for those who might wonder, a 1/6-notes follows the logic of a “normal” note, thus dividing a whole note into 6 parts, i.e. a 1/4-note triplet note. The interesting thing in i.e. Adès’ works is that they don’t necessarily group into 3, so you often see time signatures like 4/6, which creates very interesting rhythms).
I don’t think that Dorico at present displays these items correctly, as they should logically (and the way, Adès writes them) come with a triplet-font “3” above or below. As of now, Dorico will simply input 1/4-notes and call them 1/6-notes. This is only achievable by some quite extended workarounds.
As much as I like treating these note values on equal terms as the more traditional ones, it might get a little cluttered to put them all (Until some barrier) next to each other in the left-hand pane - and we can of course already summon them all from the tuplet popover. But it would be nice - and consistent - if you didn’t have to commit to a certain number of notes to make an old fashioned complete tuplet.
I hope and suppose that something like this comes along when contemporary notation gets a proper makeover in Dorico 3.0 or 4.0 or whatever.

Obviously we want to get on and implement the metric modulation side of this as soon as is practical, so that the tempo change as you cross from rational into irrational bars will be handled correctly. It would be challenging to implement things like 20th notes outside of tuplets, but I would certainly not want to rule it out. However, there’s a lot of complexity concerning what to do with rests etc. in trying to handle the use of an irrational note in a rational meter, and I think us tackling that would probably come some way down the track.