Note spacing in unmetered bar


I’ve been playing around with Dorico Elements for a couple of days just to get used to it. As an exercise I have been entering a piece of music which I already had and eventually managed to enter an unmetered bar for a cadenza and managed to get it looking like the original despite Dorico wanting to use different note lengths and ties and beam groupings. It something that could be improved, that’s for sure. The only thing I can’t work out is if I can tweak the note spacings. I have one quaver on the following line which looks ridiculous. There’s plenty of room to squeeze up the notes a bit to make room for it. I read something about note spacing but not sure if it’s the Pro version only not Elements. The other thing is I seem to have got an unnecessary time signature which if it could be hidden somehow would probably make enough room as well. Or is there another way of doing it?

How did you create the unmetered bar? Did you enter a “common” time signature, and then delete barlines?

Instead, you could try using the dedicated “open” time signature, which does often need some manual intervention in splitting beam groups, but shouldn’t try to group notes into tie chains.

There are various things you can do to control the casting off of bars into systems: the most obvious is probably “Make into System”, but you could also try slightly reducing the layout’s default note spacing value(s).

To be honest, I’m not really sure how I created it :smile: There was a fair bit of trial and error. I think I basically started with a normal bar ad then added extra time to it using shift and B to bring up the pop up box and type something like 4q to add 4 more crotchets and kept adding more until I had enough. There may well be a better way! I did read somewhere about an “open” time signature. Is that another pro feature? I can’t seem to find that either. I hadn’t thought about adjusting note spacing for the whole layout, I was just thinking of this bar. Thanks for the suggestion I’ll go and see if that is possible.

Pro gives you options to adjust note spacing more granularly than you can in Elements.

To input an open time signature, simply write “open” in the time signatures popover (the popover entries for the different types of time signatures you can have in Dorico are listed on the page linked in my previous reply).

Thanks for that. The easy way was to change the default crotchet spacing from 4 to 3 3/4 in the layout options. However, I guess the open time signature is the right way to do it. I’ll just have to go back to the documentation to work out how to put in a bar line at the end of that bar and go back to the normal time signature. All part of the learning experience. Thanks for your help.

I can help you there: input an “open” time signature where you want the cadenza to start, then input a whatever-time-your-piece-normally-is time signature where you want the cadenza to end. It should be “that simple”.

It was that simple. Thanks again.

1 Like