Simultaneous time signatures with barlines aligned

Thinking about simultaneous time signatures with barlines aligned but not wishing to hijack the thread A dorico feature voting system?, it seems to me that what is needed is a sort of tuplet time signature.

If I enter 6/8 : 2/4 into the time signature popover, Dorico would understand that a 6/8 bar should have the same duration as a normal bar of 2/4.

You’re probably aware of the current workarounds, but your suggested popover solution seems a very elegant way to really fix this in Dorico!

Aside from the fact that that input syntax is already used for additive time signatures…

Is this right? It’s not in the Popovers in Dorico PDF. Chapter and verse would be helpful.

It would be a bit of a shame if a colon hasn’t been reserved for ratios.

Whether it’s documented or not, it’s what the popover actually does.

It does indeed (with or without a space on either side of the colon).

This seems unfortunate but perhaps it’s not too late to revise the syntax (particularly if it’s only documented in Daniel’s post). A lot could be done with the colon indicating a ratio and it would seem self-explanatory.

I don’t see how a 6/8 (2/4) combination–as opposed to a 6/8 (3/4)–would be used. How would Dorico know which configuration to use in each measure (or staff)?

Such combinations are commonplace. That’s why it’s a bit of a nuisance that they’re not straightforward in Dorico.

Taking the classic case of Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, the piece would be in 3/4 but under my proposals, the time signature for Violin I would be 9/8 : 3/4 (it would only show the 9/8) and Dorico would fit nine quavers to every six on a 3/4 staff.

At the moment one has to muck about with tuplet notes. My suggestion means that one could proceed exactly as one does with pencil and paper. It would also allow some very complex things to be done if necessary.

Derrek’s point was that typing “9/8 : 3/4” into the popover does not give Dorico sufficient information. How does Dorico know which staves are in 9/8, and which staves are in 3/4?

If one has determined the independent time signatures and one wants shared barlines, Dorico just needs to distribute the notes equally for each time signature. This is what Finale does automatically.

In the example I’ve given, Dorico knows that there’s a time signature of 3/4 and that there is one staff in which nine quavers should have the duration of six in the other staves. It’s no different from three quavers occupying the time of two with a normal triplet.

In an extreme case, it should be possible (though rather pointless) to have a single staff with a time signature like 9/8 : 3/4.

That’s what Dorico would do if it encountered a time signature of 6/8 : 2/4 (for example) in the context of a piece in 2/4. There would seem to be almost no limit to what could be placed against what without losing the alignment of barlines. The point is, everything would be straightforward to write - there’d be no hidden tuplets etc. - and what one would write would correspond with the way one thinks.

Finale (like just about all previous software) is organized by measure. Dorico is not. I don’t see how Dorico could be programmed to distinguish a 9/8 measure with 9 eighths in it from a 3/4 measure and a half of eighths. I am not convinced that mind-reading routines are that reliable yet.

Derrek, I think the point that we’re both missing (because tristis hasn’t actually made it) is that a general time signature (2/4) would be entered, and then an independent time signature of 6/8 would be added to specific staves.

If so, I’m glad it’s not just me that can’t be expected to imagine exactly what tristis is thinking.

Is this really that difficult to understand? What do you see when you look at Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring? I see all the instruments but one written in 3/4. The Violin 1 part is written in 9/8. I see the two parts aligned with nine quavers in the Violin 1 to every six in the other instuments.

I’m suggesting that one could tell Dorico that that’s what one wants to do by entering the following into the popover for the violin part:
9/8 : 3/4

One would be entering a time signature and a ratio. That means the time signature is to be 9/8 and that it should have the duration of a normal bar of 3/4, Is that not what you see when you look at the Bach?

One could choose to write Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring in 9/8 and then every instument but Violin 1 would have to have the time signature 3/4 : 9/8. Obviously it would be perverse but the point is that it’s the ratio of one metre to the other that matters. A signature and ratio of 3/4 : 3/4 would be indistinguishable from a standard 3/4 time signature.

Do you really think faking the 9/8 with triplets (as one has to do at the moment) is preferable? Is what I’m suggesting not exactly what one would be thinking when writing music by hand? Would this system not offer amazing ease and flexibility?

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I like tristis’s idea. The tuplet thing is really quite clever, but it’s certainly a workaround, and admittedly confusing.

The ratio idea seems intuitive to me!

mth understood it immediately. Are you being deliberately obtuse?

Was the Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring not clear enough? Have a look at Reynaldo Hahn’s La Barcheta (one for Marc Larcher to sing). I’m suggesting that one could write the piano part in 2/4 and then begin the voice part with a time signature/ratio of 6/8 : 2/4. Alternatively, one could write the vocal part in 6/8 and then write the piano part with a signature/ratio of 2/4 : 6/8. What is not fun or time efficient is writing the piano part in 2/4 and then having to fake the 6/8 as one does at the moment. Try doing the first page and a bit and then think how much more quickly you could have done it if you hadn’t had to use triplets.

No offence but if you genuinely can’t understand what I’m proposing, there’s not really any point in you continuing to contribute to this thread.

Look again (but not at a badly engraved modern edition). You will also see that the notes in the dotted 8th + 16th rhythms in 3/4 align exactly with the triplets in 9/8.

If you can extend your idea to describe that sort of thing, fine, but the current “workrounds” that you don’t like can already handle it.

There was a recent thread on exactly that topic, if you search for it.

Supporting metric modulations between different time signatures is, and always has been, on our roadmap. Implementing support for specific ratios to make barlines align is just one part of it, of course, and the full plan involves allowing the tempo for each time signature independently, which means that the metric modulation between them can change over time. I don’t expect this to be something we will tackle in the immediate future, but it’s certainly in our medium-term plans.

Tristis, I wasn’t being deliberately obtuse at all. I understood that you were suggesting that something be typed into the Shift+M popover. I didn’t understand that you meant that a global time signature would be inserted first, and then the Shift+M popover would be invoked again from the caret on a specific stave in order to enter an independent time signature.