Polymeters implying different speeds

Dear Dorico community,
i wonder if Dorico has a feature (or at least a way to graphically “fake” what follows) that allows multiple time signatures to align in ways that imply polyrhythms, or better yet streams of different speeds. For example two instruments playing one in 4/4 and the other in 5/4 in which the barlines align. That implies a “5 over 4” or “4 over 5” polyrhythm. So far i guess polymeters are “quarter note based” so to say. Two different time signatures would adjust according to the quarter not resulting in a 5/4 bar 1/4 note longer than a 4/4 bar for instance. Which is also super useful and very easy to do. In Finale is actually the other way around as far as my experience goes. 5/4 and 4/4 would align even if i am not sure which hierarchy the process would follow.
If the feature is not available could you suggest a graphic trick?
Will it ever be available? That would be fantastic.
Also, planning on implementing the playback of non power of two time signatures (i.e. 3/10)?
Thank you for the help!!

Faking it’s pretty easy:

  1. Use a global 4/4 time signature.
  2. Add an independent time signature of 5/4,4 to the first bar of the 5/4 stave (the “,4” tells Dorico to create a four beat pickup bar) followed by a hidden 4/4 meter at the start of the following bar.
  3. Use 5:4 tuplets on the stave that should look like 5/4, then hide the numbers/brackets from the properties panel.

Here is a Nancarrow etude where I did what Leo describes, in case it’s useful. For 3/10 time signatures, for now I think it’s easiest to put in an invisible tempo change.

Nancarrow-Study-16.dorico.zip (701 KB)

Thank you very much both of you!
What Leo describes has to be done for each bar though, am i correct?

The tuplet bit, yes. It’s pretty easy to turn off all the brackets and signposts in one go, though.

You need to repeat the tuplets each bar, but not the time signature. One nice thing, shown above, is that tuplets can extend past barlines. For the example above, I didn’t even have a “real” meter in the bottom four staves; the X means open meter, I just put barlines wherever I wanted. I made the time signatures from unicode SMUFL; here is a thread with instructions.


ok, then i must be missing something because after the first pick-up bar, in the 5/4 stream each bar results longer than the 4/4 one.
what i meant was that the barlines should allign the whole time.

This should work if you follow Leo’s directions exactly. I just dare to add to them, that in the staff with the 5/4 time signature, the second bar should be a (local) 4/4 again. Hide the time signature of the second bar onward and use tuplets, as Leo suggested.

Here’s what I did some years ago. I did is as Leo said, and the barlines align as you want it.

It doesn’t matter whether the 4/4 time signature in bar 2 is local or not - you’re going to hide it anyway.