My First Foray Into Using Dorico's Rhythmic Feel For Hymns

There are a number of hymns written in 4/4 time that include combinations of notes that, as strictly notated, divide one rhythm unit in 3+1 (fours), yet they are normally sung closer to a 2+1 (threes). The playback should have a rhythmic feel of thirds rather than fours. Examples are dotted quarter and an eighth note, or dotted eighth and a sixteenth note. Strict playback would result in a jerky feel to rather than a flowing feel.

I have experimented with Dorico’s Rhythmic Feel dialogue, alternating the sliders between extreme left and right positions. The farthest left position seems to me to produces results as strictly written. The farthest right makes the feel even more jerky. Looking at the dialogue that actually makes sense, because the far left ratio seems to be 1 to 1, which ought to leave things as written.

In the past when I ran into this using Notion it’s Swing function worked beautifully for me. I figure Dorico can do what I want, but I’m not sure how to approach it.

I’m hoping it’s not a workaround where I notate things in 12/8 instead of 4/4.


I’d suggest you just try the ‘Regular swing’ or ‘Light swing’ preset rhythmic feel.

Thanks Daniel.

I tried all the presets, and created my own custom preset to fiddle with the sliders, but none of it had the desired effect.

FYI, I certainly do not want you to distract yourself with this in what is I’m sure a really busy period. If someone from the forum can help, great, but if not, I can wait. This is not time-urgent, just something I want to resolve at some point.

Reading your post again, do I understand that you’ve actually notated the notes as dotted eighth-sixteenth? If so, then none of Dorico’s rhythmic feels will affect this: the notes need to be written straight for Dorico’s rhythmic feel to have any effect on them.

If you want to preserve the dotted 8th + 16th notation, you could tweak the playback start and end offsets of the notes in the properties panel (the units are 480 “ticks” per quarter note). But that would be tedious to do globally.

You are correct in your reading. Your explanation helps me understand that what I am trying to achieve is not possible the way I hoped. That hope was based on my previous method when I used Notion.

Looks like I’ll have to try another approach.

Thanks for your help.

Thanks for chiming in Rob. Yeah, I think that would be too tedious. I might have to supplement my notation version with a separate flow for playback using a 12/8 meter.

In case it’s useful for the future, my previous experience was with a Swing slider that could be assigned to a starting note and an ending note for either 1/8 or 1/16 notes. You could drag the slider to make playback “back up” before the beat or “advance” past the beat. It was invaluable for turning 3 to 1 notation into 2 to 1 playback for dotted notes.

Of course Dorico’s architecture may not lend itself to such functionality, I don’t know.

Appreciate all you guys do, and I’ve long since left my previous notation software in the unused pile.

Depending on how many times you need to smooth the instances of dotted notes, you could use the note-length adjustment feature in Play mode to alter the playing length without changing the written values; but it seems like a tedious process if you have to correct many instances.