Melisma in plain chant, "modern" notation

I’m new to Dorico and still learning a lot. Right now I want to incorporate a plain chant within a choral composition and for that I would like to recreate a notation style similair to this:

I found out about free measures and how to get noteheads without stems, but is there a possibility to get the notation of the melismas as in the example, with the noteheads right next to eacht other?
Appreciative of any help!

Oh, and another question: The chant is going to be accompanied by a long sustained note which I want to notate as a single whole note with a fermate, despite it being mathematically much longer. Is there any way to accomplish this?

You could try inserting a Note Spacing Change (both the Default space and minimum space), and then resetting it afterwards. Once you’ve got one that works, you can copy them with alt-click.

But TBH, “this isn’t plainchant” – this is an approximation in modern notation, presumably for people who are more comfortable reading modern notation. So why make it not like modern notation? (You’re not indicating quilismas, liquescent notes, etc; nor are you aligning the vowel with the start of each neum group; etc, etc.)

I would just let Dorico space them normally, and put a slur over the group.

Also, is the quarter barline supposed to be where it is…?

For the second question: you can either use a hidden tuplet to express “one whole note in the time of… however long it is”; you could just use a whole note and hide any following rests.
(Whole note – not a double whole note?)

You can make sort work of this using Manual note spacing.

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Wow, that was quick! Thanks for the suggestions. I went with an approach to do the melismas as eight notes and the rest as fourths, hiding the stems of course, and including slurs as well. Does not look like the excerpt i posted but I think it will work just fine. I then even added a Note Spacing Change to make the difference between eigths and fourths as big as possible. The only disadvantage is that it takes a little too much space for my liking, but on the other hand it might be easier to read.

I know this isn’t plain chant, but in the context of the composition I have to find a kind of compromise between real plain chant notation and just putting fourths. The music should be sung freely and not with a pulse and I find that this kind of notation works quite well for the purpose while still being accessable for most amateur singers. And I am no expert on the subject myself either…

The quarter barline is really off, but it’s just the example I found online, that will obviously corrected.

The long note question got solved by hiding stuff. I think that could be a feature for the future, making it possible to really mess with the length of notes without changing their appearance. I come from Lilypond and the amount of freedom you have there is really great, even if other things can get really tedious…

Dorico really does do this kind of thing extremely easily. I recently completed a large liturgical work for a denomination here in the US and it was full of this kind of thing. Dorico made short work of it.

Meter is flexible, any note can be tied to any other note, and it’s easy to hide rests as desired. And as I mentioned before, manual note spacing is your friend here.

In your example at the beginning, I would enter all of those notes as quarter notes, no question.

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Haven’t really gotten around manual spacing. Definitely on the to try list. So far I really like writing in Dorico!

At this point, I predictably chime in with a link to the magnificent tutorial that @dspreadbury wrote in 2017 about typesetting an Anglican evensong service in Dorico. )Some of it’s in regular meter, some in variable-length bars, and some in chant-like notation.) Being 5 years old, some of it is inevitably dated in referring to an earlier Dorico version. But it’s still one of the best introductions I know to using this software for this sort of purpose, and it was more generally educational for me than anything else available in those early days.

I see this spacing model used in hymnals frequently, but I have also suffered through multiple instances of organists, choirs, and congregations giving a very “thumpy” rendition as they imagined in their inexperience that all solid noteheads were of equal duration. So there is a case to be made for tighter spacing of melismas, whether Jonas’s very tight spacing would be the ideal or not.

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This is what I achieve by just using very short note values in a tight note spacing (minimum space for short notes 0). After hiding stems, the melismas will be quite close.
I’m absolutely no expert on hymnals, let alone plainchant, but I can see the appeal of the faux ligatures for the suggestion of rhythmic fluidity.
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