Poly Time Sigs

I’m working on a piece which includes some cross rhythm. In one section a 4/4 beat is set against a 3/4 beat.

I can’t find a way to represent this musically in C6 either in the arranger or using the score editor. I’ve tried using dotted quavers against crotchets but it’s not easy to read and doesn’t properly express the rhythm in the 4/4 line. I’m now trying to use 12/8 at a slow tempo but the compound time signature isn’t really right for either line - among other things the accents are in wrong places.

With a struggle, I can make it sound OK but can’t find a way to get the score to look right.

Given that the time signature track is “global” in Cubase (ideally I’d have one track in 4/4 time and another in 3/4), can anyone offer suggestions for creating an appropriate scoring?



Well if i understand what you’re trying to do then your method, finding a common denominator that works, is one way. The other is to write one of the parts completely in tuplets but that just might be even harder to read…


Full polyrhythics is certainly an area where the Score Editor fails miserably, but have you tried using “Build N-Tuplets”? (obviously, that depends upon the complexity of what you are writing).
Sometimes, I just leave those bars blank, and fill them out by hand, once I’ve printed out the page! :smiley:

EDIT: Ah! posted at the same time as TwinOak :wink:

That’s OK - it’s obviously good advice!

Thanks both of you. It kinda confirms that I’m not missing something. I’ll plough on with my doublets and triplets and explain to the live musicians what it is I’m trying to say in the scores.


You could try a very high quantisation and move (quantise) the notes to the nearest Q point that makes the score look legible. It’s not that easy though and takes practise to get it over 50% right.

I don’t know if you’ve composed the piece live or are step-entering or something but if it’s the first then the score legibility is governed by the way that the midi has been “tidied up” in the Key editor so in some or most cases the piece might sound right while the score is all over the place.
My advice is to actually get (a copy if the sound is also that important) the piece to sound as mechanical and hard Quantised as possible and I’m pretty sure that the score display will be closer to the ball park.

Thanks conman.

All this is good stuff.

The issue of readability is really a human psychology thing more than how Cubase presents it on the page. For some reason musicians read, say, a dotted crotchet in compound time differently to how they read a set of triplets in simple time. I know I do - the music feels different in performance if it’s scored in simple time vs compound time. I guess it’s partly to do with how the accents fall but also how others have written music in the past.

So, ideally, for interpretation purposes I’d want to express a 3/4 time against a 4/4 (both simple time sigs that wouldn’t need triplets or dotted notes in either part). However, because Cubase is confined to a single global time sig, I can’t do that.

I’ve resorted to printing the 4/4 part with a blank staff above it and I’ve hand-written in the 3/4 part. It’s been a while since I’ve written in MS so in a way it’s been good practice :smiley: (not least making sure the beats line up properly!)