Polymetric music

I understood that polymeter wouldn’t be available at 1.0. But the Engraving Options > Barlines dialogue has display options for polymetric music.

Can Dorico 1.0 handle polymeter after all, or is this a tantalising glimpse into the future?

Dorico can handle simple polymetric cases where the beat lengths are considered equal between the different staves, so for example if you create 2/4 versus 6/8, then rather than getting the quarter in 2/4 equalling a dotted quarter in 6/8 as you might expect, you get quarter = quarter, so a bar of 6/8 is one quarter longer than a bar of 2/4, and the barlines don’t line up.

I would call Dorico’s polymetric music support experimental at best at the moment. To try it out, make sure there’s nothing selected, then click the desired time signature in the Time Signatures panel, and as you click it into the score, hold the Alt key, which will create it only on the staff you clicked into, rather than all staves.

Utterly fantastic. The “simple” case you describe is in fact exactly what I’m after (for renaissance vocal music). Thank you!

It’s the option I just could dream of! Great, just great!

How would we enter things if we want to have the dotted-quarter in 6/8 equal in speed the quarter note in 2/4? Example: Fantasy on the Dargason by Holst (final movement in both his 2nd Suite in F for Military Band and the St. Paul’s Suite for strings). I’ve tried shift-alt-click, ctrl-alt-click, shift-ctrl-alt-click and anything with the alt-click in it makes the 8th-note constant between the parts, with different barlines.
How do we enter polymetric music with consistent barlines which line up between the staves?

As I said in my original reply in this thread, Dorico currently only supports the case where the beat lengths are consistent, which means that the barlines won’t line up. What’s missing is the ability to specify the metric modulation between the two or more different time signatures that are active.

We will add this in due course, but even though you might think that because the barlines line up it would be simpler for the software to deal with, in fact it’s more complex than the case Dorico can handle now, because in its most general form it involves ratios between note values in different time signatures, and those ratios could potentially even change over time (e.g. if one group of players starts speeding up and another slows down).

A great start for such a feature though. There are many things to explore in polymetrics and I’d be fascinated to see how things develop here.

Believe me, Daniel, after following your blog on the development of Dorico, I don’t think there is anything simple (or ever simpler) about what you and the team are doing, and I can understand the metric modulation issue between the different staves when the barlines match up with different meters.

I simply had missed your statement that Dorico can only handle polymetric music where the beat is constant and figured I was being a klutz not knowing how to make the barlines line up.

Patience is my middle name and I shall happily wait until those wrinkles are ironed out. :smiley:

This is great! I had to jump through a lot of uncomfortable layout hoops to achieve this with my old notation software.
One feature request: the option of “broken” barlines which extend halfway through the grand staff (or for cases where staves are bracketed/grouped and share a single barline through the group. This is how Schott/Boosey treated Ligeti’s “Desordre”, for example.