Obscure request regarding notating Gregorian chant accompaniment

I have been asked to transpose some accompaniments to the mass ordinary which feature some rather unusual notation characteristics.
The music is notated for organ manuals (2 staves) without time signature (which is simple enough), but the double bar and half bar symbols are only notated in the right hand, not the left. I will upload a picture from my phone later.
I am struggling to find a way to persuade Dorico to only show the bar notation in the right hand of the organ grandstaff instead of in both. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

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Could independent time signatures help? So the left hand with a different open meter to the right hand.

See here: Inputting time signatures with the popover

To input a time signature only on the selected staff or staves across which the caret extends, press Alt/Opt-Return.

Welcome to the forum, Tim. Hopefully me liking and replying to your post will elevate your permissions to be able to post a picture.

If you need concurrent barlines, you’ll need to use hidden tuplets. If you’re new to Dorico, that might sound like gobbledygook… once you post a pic, we can advise you.

is an example.
The problem with independent time signatures is that there is no time signature in the original so presumably I’d have to play games hiding them?

Thank you for you help!


Have you considered asking the person you are transposing for if it would make any difference were bar lines to occur on both staves? That person may not care, and it would have the added benefit of tying the staves of each system together.

After all, someone has penciled in the brackets to join the staves at the start of each phrase.

Any Time Sig can be hidden. I would put independent time sigs in the right hand and an open independent time sig in the left hand. When doing barline changes, they will have to be independent as well. So, they will have to be done with the popover and <atl><enter>.

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Yeah Dorico really excels at this sort of thing. Piece of cake.

Thank you all.
I had an inkling that that might be the way to tackle it, but, as I noted, this is quite an unusual way to notate the music (I have only seen it in these Gregorian accompaniments) and so I was unsure if it was possible.
It would not be terrible to simply notate with the bar lines appearing in both hands, but the “perfectionist” part of me wants to reproduce the original as closely as possible :slight_smile:

Thank you everybody for the help and pointers!


@Tim_Wright OT: do you by any chance have an explanation of the context of the “alternative” key signature in the example?

Not OP, but if you want to play it a semitone down (Eb minor), read the flats. If you play it in e minor, read the sharp. This obviously only works if there aren’t any accidentals in the music, otherwise it would get confusing. But in this case there aren’t any.

Not something I’ve seen before, but you learn something every day.


I get that. What I would like to know is what the circumstances are where this particular transposition is so relevant to point it out explicitly.

Amateur Organists?

415 vs. 440? :laughing:

In es-Moll? Das möcht ich aber nicht hören. :slight_smile:

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You laugh. But I think it is probably the best contender, absent any informed opinion.

Well… I put the laugh emoji, then I thought the same thing!

The Kyrie is set at a (relatively) high pitch for the average congregation (hence the initial request to transpose down). Many, but not all of the settings in this publication have been typeset with alternate key signatures that allow for a one semitone variation.
As somebody else mentioned, perhaps for amateurs who would otherwise struggle to make such a transposition without the added hint?

Interesting. Would you say that those settings with the alternative key signature fall consistently into the “too high for your average congregation” category?

By and large, yes.
All of the ordinary for Orbis Factor is done this way (where the highest note is a treble D or E) except for the Agnus Dei which still has one spot with a D and E.
Apparently, consistency was not a significant requirement :slight_smile:

I came across it quite often in Kennedy-Fraser’s Hebridean Folksong arrangements.

I’d always assumed it was to suit the voice range.