Staccato feature request: play as % of quarter note

Is it possible to have an option for “Play as % of quarter note” or “Play as fraction of quarter note” instead of “Play as % of written duration”. In this passage for example, I want beats 1 and 2+ to be played the same, which currently isn’t possible without manually editing each note in play mode.

(edit: come to think of it, I wouldn’t mind staccato being the same length across all tempi, if that’s possible?)

I’m also mostly using staccato quarters throughout this number, which I prefer to have a bit shorter than the Dorico default, but this is causing my eighth notes to be much too short comparatively.


Just curious… if you want them played the same, why not notate them the same?

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To my knowledge, it’s idiomatic to write them like this but to play them the same in musical theater/Big Band. It’s easier readable.

Yep, as Sascha said, it just makes sight reading easier, and every little bit helps when you have very limited time to rehearse a show.

You could put each staccato quarter note inside a tuplet providing two eighth notes in the time of one, hide the tuplet number and remove the following eighth rest. Then the staccato quarter and eighth notes would have the same playback duration.

I think it would be faster to simply shorten the duration in play -mode. And hopefully in the properties panel in next version!

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Upon further reflection, this would be an excellent time to use the playback end offset property. This property is expressed in ticks, and there are 480 ticks per quarter note. If you want the staccato notes to have 40% of the duration of a quarter note, then select all the staccato quarter notes and set the playback end offset to 60% of -480 = -288. The negative offset means the notes will end sooner than notated. Then select all the staccato eighth notes, and set the playback end offset to -288 + 240 = -48.

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Simple. Just change the %length of all staccato entries in the EM.

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This would also shorten the eight notes, but you could actually add note length conditions to set different presentages for longer and shorter notes.

You say this makes sight reading easier, and I can see that. At the same time I note that in measures 87-94 you notate the opening note/rhythm differently. In that case, matching the first note of measures 86 and 95 would fit right in with the pattern of the other measures.

I’ve just always hated the look of a dotted staccato note, and potentially might create more confusion? I will check with my bassist though, and maybe others can weigh in here if they have a strong preference. But you have a point.

This will have to do for now, it’s just a pain for instruments with existing expression maps.

As a wind player I would find dotted staccato note quite confusing (and would propably make a mistake when sight reading it).

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I agree it would be great if you could just select a quarter note under conditions, but I can usually get the same effect playing around with the various note length conditions too. Here’s a pretty famous soli I input into Dorico for my analysis class a while ago. There were no MIDI adjustments at all, just the following conditions set:

Those conditions have the effect of making all the quarter notes short in this example. This can then be notated the way a player would want to read it (esp. swing era musicians) but will play back the way they would typically play it.

Dorico audio (again no MIDI editing at all)

1935 recording


I don’t know why everyone has chosen to ignore my suggestion to use the playback end offset property. Setting this property is equivalent to changing the playback duration of a note in play mode, but offers much finer control and the same change can be applied to many selected notes at the same time. Using this property makes it unnecessary to change existing expression maps.

As I said before, the playback end offset property is measured in ticks, and there are 480 ticks per quarter note. If you want the playback duration of a selected note to be X% of the written duration of a quarter note, then the formula to obtain the playback end offset is (X% of 480 ticks) - (the written duration of the selected note in ticks).

For example, if you want all of the staccato notes to have a playback duration equal to 40% of the written duration of a quarter note, then select the staccato quarter notes and set the playback end offset to (40% of 480) - 480 = 192 - 480 = -288, and select the staccato eighth notes and set the playback end offset to (40% of 480) - 240 = 192 - 240 = -48.

At least for me, the problem is there still isn’t a Filter by Duration feature. (Or is there and I’ve missed it somehow?) If I want “short quarters” as was standard big band notation from 1920s-1970 or so (and still used by many composers and publications including J@LC) I have to go through and modify every quarter. In a typical big band chart there will be hundreds if not thousands of quarters that will need playback modified. Sure there will be passages I can drag-select and edit a bunch at once, but it’s still pretty time consuming for something that won’t have an effect on the notation of the final parts.

It also has the issue of at what stage of writing should I make the offset edits? If I do it as I go that’s a lot of wasted time fiddling with them. If I do it at the very end after I’m done writing, then any passage played back while writing will have the quarter phrasing wrong. If I can get the expression map setting right for this style, then all quarters will be adjusted automatically and I don’t have to think about it. Being able to set a quarter note as a note length condition would definitely help with this.

I concede that my suggestion is not the best approach if the number of affected notes is huge. However, I did not get the impression from the OP that he was trying to change the playback duration of “hundreds if not thousands” of notes.

Ah, I should have made it clear I’m trying to change the playback for a 1.5h musicals worth of charts. Otherwise if it was just a small number I’d go for your suggestion :slight_smile: