Question about note durations and irregular time signatures

Hi everyone,
I am curious if there’s an efficient way to enter full-bar note durations in 5/4 time, or any other non-duple or -triple meters.

I entered a 4-beat note, dotted half tied to quarter, and wanted to turn the quarter into a half for a total of 5 beats. I couldn’t figure out how to do it directly. I should have entered a dotted half, then a half, then tied them. I got there by learning about the scissors.

Can you select part of a tied note? There are many times when I want to fiddle with the duration by changing the second part of a tie. There’s a lot of mental calculation involved when there are several parts to a tie, and you want to make it an eighth note longer. Often, it doesn’t seem possible from the note duration palette.

Don’t do that! Instead, just increase the duration of the selected note by pressing alt-shift-right! Let Dorico sort out the appearance.

And you can change your rhythmic grid to suit your needs.

It’s a totally different way of thinking about durations!

Wow. I had no idea. I have been so frustrated by tied notes! Thanks.


  • Ctrl-Alt-Shift-left/right arrow doubles or halves the note duration.
  • Alt-L/R moves it horizontally through the score, according to the rhythmic grid you have set
  • You can change the rhythmic grid via Alt-[ and Alt-]

Plus there are multiple ways to move the notes up and down:

  • Alt-up/down moves the selected notes diatonically
  • Ctrl-Alt-up/down moves the notes chromatically
  • Alt-Shift-up/down transposes the notes to the next octave (I have remapped this to the + and - keys on the right keypad)

Basically, notes are non-destructive. Easy to manipulate the note you just created, or any group of notes you select!

Excellent tips from Dan. Also, for irregular time signatures, in the shift-M popover (M for meter) you can use notations like

[2+3]/4 (looks like 5/4 when you hit enter)
[3+2+2]/8 (looks like 7/8 when you hit enter)

etc., to specify how Dorico should tie groups of notes.

Good tips. Thanks!