Good morning, and Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans.
Quick question: is there an easy way to have multiple time signatures at the same time, i.e., 4/4 for some instruments and 12/8 for all others? (Example: John Williams’ Superman March, bars 35 ff - see violas and celli which are in 4/4, everyone else stays in 12/8).
I am trying to figure out whether this was a recent feature introduced in one of the latest updates, but maybe I am mistaken. I haven’t closely followed all the wonderful updates and upgrades.
In Dorico this is done with hidden tuplets and a pickup-bar trick with a staff-specific meter. In brief:
- Write 12/8 for everyone
- Select the first bar in a staff to be 4/4, Shift-M, type 4/4,6 and Alt-Enter
(shows 4/4, but with a first bar length = 12/8, puts that on just one staff)
- In the next bar in the same staff, add 12/8, also Alt-Enter, and hide it in Properties
(the barlines should match up again)
- Copy these two staff-specific meters to any other 4/4 staves (select them and Alt-click)
- Write 2:3 tuplets in those staves and hide the tuplets
For polymeter this simple, you might consider just writing duplets, letting them be hidden after a bar’s worth, and not bothering with the meter display tricks. It’s not hard for players to understand.
Yeah, keeping it all stupid and simple, I think it’s probably best to just use duplets for the celli and violas.
For the record: genuine poly metric music is also possible; you press ALTenter when assigning each stave its independent time signature. Just beware that this can cause other issues (such as barline alignment).
Thanks. Yeah, the barlines need to line up, so that wouldn’t work.