Split Tuplets and Irrational Metres

Some music splits tuplets across the bar (see pictures).

Will this (eventually) be possible in Dorico? I can’t even think of suitable work arounds for this sort of thing in existing scoring programs.

Also on irrational metres (i.e. 4/5, 2/6), I hope it is possible to choose one of a few options for how they display.

  1. No tuplet bracket:

  1. Broken tuplet bracket:

  1. Full tuplet bracket

  1. And maybe this?:

The first three pictures are from the Tom Ades Piano Quintet: http://scorelibrary.fabermusic.com/Piano-Quintet-20600.aspx
Features independent tempo cross-cued by other parts, multiple irrational metres (some split across systems and pages!): I hope some day this sort of thing is possible in Dorico.

Love the program from what I’ve seen so far…

Dorico does not support partial tuplet brackets or tuplets whose ratio is expressed as a fraction. It’s my understanding that Adès has adopted non-power of two denominator time signatures following the example of e.g. Boulez (who often wrote fractional time signatures and broken tuplet brackets rather than unconventional denominators), and that in recent works he tends to omit the tuplet brackets from such passages, but I could well be wrong – I am far from an expert in these contemporary techniques.

However, Dorico does support time signatures with non-power of two denominators (though as yet we have not implemented support for the metric modulations that are necessary to make sense of such bars in relation to the conventional metered bars to either side). Hiding tuplet brackets/numbers is straightforward. However, overlapping tuplets such as your example 4, and “broken” tuplets such as your first couple of examples (where, say, two-thirds of a triplet appear at one point in the bar, and the final third appears later on) are also not currently possible.

We would certainly like to support these notations as natively as possible, but they do represent quite a few unusual challenges in how best to represent them.

1 Like

Generally in chamber/solo works it’s emitted but in orchestral scores (e.g. totenanz, 2013) broken brackets are still used. The factional notation I agree isn’t useful but was he only tuplet bracket I could find which closed both ends. The fourth notation I also agree isn’t that useful.
With support for multiple time signatures split tuplet brackets could be achieved well I suppose - as long as the brackets could be displayed with hooks on both ends.
A few other questions which don’t merit their own thread:
1)support for open slurs?: https://i.gyazo.com/7e14d0f19e15390a83588e1a1ed787f5.png https://i.gyazo.com/6472e81a2c1a82f806e291633cfad4cb.png
2)grace notes after the beat? https://i.gyazo.com/26d02b764a62efb532f54fb0753dd66d.png
3)small arrows on accidentals for “out of tune” naturual harmonics?: https://i.gyazo.com/cb636d44e54921fe83959148ed3469ed.png
4)support for complex pedal markings? https://i.gyazo.com/045130c95d29c4c929fb7d647c7aa424.png
5)also this type of tuplet: https://i.gyazo.com/82c5bde95190bb80fac40981ed8251d7.png

My list would be huge - but so much stuff I wanted is already implemented!

Dorico doesn’t draw slurs with arrows on their ends, but I guess that is something we could potentially add in the future.

Grace notes attach only to the left-hand side of primary rhythmic positions, so the notation you show with grace notes sharing a notehead with a primary note would require a bit of creative tinkering as things stand.

Microtonal accidentals are supported, and you will be able to create your own if need be.

I’m not sure how to parse the tuplets in your final example: could you explain a bit more about what’s going on there?

Ignore the barlines; the 3 above a beam means “triplet speed” while the others are normal quavers.

What about “grace notes” indicating a turn at the end of a trill, which often occur just before a bar line, and logically belong with the preceding note not the following one - if you insert some more music immediately after the trilled note, you want the “insertion point position” to be after the grace notes, not before them.

(I put “grace notes” in quotes because arguably they only look like grace notes, so I suppose Dorico might be parsing them as something else - e.g. part of the trill ornament).

Grace notes at the end of a trill are still attached to the following rhythmic position, but the wiggly trill line will automatically terminate at the left-hand side of said grace notes, and said grace notes can be positioned before a barline, if one occurs there, and will be spaced properly. This does mean that if you insert new notes in that voice following the trill, the grace notes will move with the note and will have to be moved back there.

Thanks Daniel. That sounds more controllable than one of your competitors, but the Lilypond “\graceAfter” option is nice (and would be even nicer if the spacing of grace notes immediately before a bar line was better!)

Time will tell whether this design ties you in knots when you try to automatically play back trills ending with grace notes, and also baroque-style ornaments starting on the beat rather than before it - but we can guess that won’t be an issue in version 1.0. :wink:

Grace notes before the barline space nicely in Dorico, so at least that won’t be a problem. Grace notes are spaced as if they are their own little mini systems of music that are then glued on to the left-hand side of the primary rhythmic position, or indeed the barline if you choose to put them there.

It would probably be unwise to speculate too much about ornament playback at this stage, but the basic plan is that playback will have its own series of processors in a similar fashion to how the notation is calculated, and a putative “trill playback processor” would be able to detect grace notes at the next primary position and interpret them correctly as terminal notes for the trill. But I’m afraid that is some way off at this stage.


I’m curious if now, in v.3.5, those Adès rhythmic examples at the top of this thread are possible?

This particular area of Dorico hasn’t changed.

Some music splits tuplets across the bar (see pictures).Image

You can fake that by creating hidden 2:3e-tuplets. So dotted quavers will look like quavers. After that you can easily apply triplets to some one them. Even playback should be rhythmically correct.
the triplet game.png

You could create fake tuplet brackets with the line editor in V3.5, and fix the playback with hidden tempo marks and/or by adjusting the start and end points of individual notes.

Whether it is worth the effort is up to you, of course.

It’s quite easy to fake it now with the extra control and customizability of the line tool. To make, for instance, an incomplete triplet with two quarters in something like 2/6 time, do the following:

  1. Input your time signature and desired pitches.
  2. With two quarter notes selected, open the line tool.
  3. At this point, you could go in two different directions, one where you create a new line from scratch, one where you repurpose one of the premade ones. I usually do the latter, usually “Solid line with inward-pointing hook” since that’s what you eventually want. It’ll need to be reversed though.
  4. Input your desired line and, with it still selected, click on the pencil at the bottom of the list to bring up the line editor dialogue.
  5. In the line editor, you’ll need to adjust the length of the hook to 3/4. And if you’re making your line from scratch, go with a “solid line body (thin)” since you’ll need a line of 1/8 width.
  6. Go to engrave mode.
  7. In the Engrave menu, select “Font Styles.”
  8. Find the font style for “Horizontal Line Font.”
  9. Change the Font family to Bravura, and set the size to 20 (keep it on staff relative).
  10. Apply that and go back and select your line. Open the Properties panel.
  11. Go to smufl.org/version/latest/range/tuplets/ and copy the number you need.
  12. In the properties panel, flip the switch on the “Text” property and paste the character you just copied.
  13. Still in the properties panel, flip the “Erasure padding” switch, and set L and R to both 1/2 (*note: this property is only available in engrave mode).
  14. At this point, you should have a pretty darn decent looking incomplete tuplet. If you want to make it fully functional, you’ll need to input a hidden tempo change at the bar where the irrational meter starts and then another where it ends.

P.S. You may also want to adjust slightly the positioning and length of the thing in engrave mode. Regarding a downstem side tuplet, leave the start offset where it is, but for a tuplet above, change the start offset X to 1/2. I’m not sure what the Y needs to be as, sometimes, depending on what else is in a measure, the line isn’t always in the same place, but in a vacuum, where, say, a fake split tuplet and a real tuplet are the only thing in a measure, a Y of -27/64 seems to put it in just about the right place. The Y component needs to be set for both the Start and End offsets.

Looks like a lot, but I promise it’s easy :wink:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-BFjkB3GKY - This jumps around a bit and things sometimes magically appear, because I cut out the bits where I was figuring things out, but hopefully it should be pretty clear.

1 Like

I know this is a very old thread, but I am only now running into this in my own work. As far as I’m concerned, the bracket is necessary to disambiguate many rhythms that combine both tuplet and non-tuplet rhythmic values within non-dyadic meters.

For example, a single measure of 5/6 could be filled by 5 triplet-quarters, but it could also be filled by one regular quarter and two triplet-quarters. For this reason, I almost always show the brackets (and partial brackets), and I recommend it this notation to my students.

For now, I’m happy to use the line tool (which is fantastically well suited for this!), but it would be great to have this as a notation option in the future.