Stuck at how to input this passage

I’m learning Dorico as I think about switching from Sibelius. I’ve already had good success with orchestra, piano and musicxml scores. I thought transcribing some piano music (as I can put it in my ipad and have it nicely formatted for it) would be the way to go. Maybe I shouldn’t have picked Beethoven’s 32nd piano sonata, 2nd movement. The following passage is in 6/16 time. I’m at a loss as to how to input it. Even not using a time signature doesn’t add up. It’s almost easier to play (very slowly) than input.


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Hi. I admit I don’t know that score, but it looks as though there are many hidden 16th notes triplets [Edit : 32ths?] in there… Would that help you input it?

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Surely, 32nd-note triplets?


Yes. Since one player has to handle all the notes, the triplet 3s would just be extra clutter. But it does mean that to copy it you’ll have to suss out who’s a triplet and who’s not, and hide all the 3s.


I made an attempt at the first measure,. Keeping the Tuplets showing. Maybe give you an idea on how to approach it.

Tuplet ex.dorico (483.8 KB)

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Apparently Beethoven (or his publisher) didn’t put in the triplets. Every 16-32-16-32 pattern (or slight variation, like 1st measure left-hand, stems up last three notes) is a triplet 16th (3:2 ratio). Only the eighth note and two-16th note pairs are not triplets. I can turn off the display of triplets but just the process of entering all those triplets, lots of work. (Not that Sibelius would be any easier).

I tried using the X time signature entering it exactly as shown (which probably won’t playback right) but when I got to this first measure in the picture (which is my source material I’m copying from) everything falls apart because of that eighth note. Without a time signature I would have to enter it as a dotted eighth to match up.

Maybe it will be fastest to enter what I can in X time signature and switch back to 6/16 in places like that first measure and use triplets. Dotted notes and triplets are the two things I dislike the most when entering music into notation software.

Thanks everyone

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Thanks a lot for the time in doing this. It’s kind of what I had done for 8 measures before switching to the X time signature. I’m just doing this to learn Dorico so it’s not as they say ‘mission critical.’ I did want to pick the collective minds of the experts that have been using Dorico. I’m finding there are ways of doing things in Dorico that I’m not use to in Sibelius or Finale so I thought I’d ask. Looks like I’ve got lots of triplets to enter.

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  1. go for a time signature of [2+2+2]/16 (in order that it’s split into three groups of two rather than two groups of three).
  2. Type in the first tuplet, set the beam direction of the first 32nd so that it faces left, then copy the whole triplet (including the triplet number).
  3. Paste and repitch (using L). Note that there’s a Paste Into Voice command to which you can assign a key command - this is useful with this kind of writing.
  4. Set up a key command for break beam.
  5. Wait until you’ve finished the job to hide the tuplet numbers (and brackets) - it should be as simple as selecting all, filtering tuplets, then setting the relevant properties once.

Excellent list of steps. Thanks. I was hoping there might be an easier way. I guess I picked a winner to transcribe to try and learn Dorico. It’s the figuring out the triplets (some are triplet 32nds and not triplet 16th) that’s doing my head in. The orchestra pieces I’ve imported from XML and even the Handbells used chart (always a difficulty in Sibelius even with their plugin) seem like a breeze compared to this.

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One other helpful thing is that when you enter a triplet with the caret, Dorico goes on making the same kind of triplet until you turn it off. So with that method you’d just be switching between 4 and 3, and you could hide all the triplets at once afterward.

I checked the manuscript (IMSLP is such a great resource) – no 3s in the original either.

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That is a problem you will face with many Liszt’s pieces, where notation is pushed to its limits — and this is actually where Dorico shines. Each time you have a “timing” problem (a strange looking rhythm), you can probably solve it with Dorico’s abilities with tuplets (hidden, nested…)

It has been stated before many times, but once more is always fine :wink:

Tuplet ex2.dorico (516.2 KB)

The problem is that you are making triplet 16ths, and not triplet 32nds. The bassline gives the correct scansion of the time signature: 6 16ths in the bar, in compound time of two dotted 8ths. The pulsation is the 16th (which is divided into 3 by the triplets) and in performance this is syncopated by the slurs.

For the right hand, I would start with the alto voice. See bar 2 of my example, which was done by selecting a 32nd note and 3:2 from the LH panel. To get to what I show in bar 3, just select the first two notes of each group and hit “t”.

This took me seconds to achieve. The rest of the bar can be built around it, and the LH similarly. The triplet 3s can be removed later, using the properties panel.


Thanks for the tip. I think from everyone’s comments I’ve got a good idea on how to do this. Thanks.

A bit of cheating for the purists but if you want to save time, as you mentioned a number of times, you can import the sonata movement from a midi file which you can easily find on the web into Dorico and then work with all notes more or less in place on getting a correct score view. It would be interesting to see how Dorico would interpret the Midi info.

I did a Beethoven symphony in Dorico like that also to learn the ins and outs of Dorico. By the way I read that Beethoven and others of his time were often not indicating tuplets or writing articulations only the first time a bar with a certain mix of notes of different length and articulation appeared in their score. Especially for stacatto notes it is often not clear if hey should be repeated at the same position in the next bars or not. You will find different interpretations in both recordings and later prints of the facsimile.

You can of course also generate the Midi yourself in. A DAW if you are a good piano player.

Beware of one insurmountable problem with using midi with a piece such as this in Dorico: The maximum resolution for importing midi is a 32nd note. So all those 64ths in the 12/32 section would get lumped into chords with the 32nds.

It is possible to make a good midi file of, say, the first page of the Pathetique Sonata (with the famous run of 128th notes) but AFAIK there isn’t a way to import it to Dorico and get the correct rhythm.

Thanks for that detailed info. I did not know the exact reason for some strange issues I had using midi import of some fast movements… The work certainly is not done after the import. It is a bit like the result you get after trying to translate a 10 page scientific article from Chinese to English with a free translation tool. You get an understandable basis saving a lot of time but there are a lot of funny phrases to correct. At least you have the easily readable score in this case to do the editing.

I also tested some pdf to MusicXML tools which was subsequently imported in Dorico. For a typical orchestral score not having all instruments in the piece on each page because they are not playing, the result was disappointing.

Here how the three bars plus the one before look straight after a midi import. I found one which does show the 9/16 time with the 3/16 pick-up and the 6/16 in the passage after these bars correctly. Most Midi files you find sound OK but if you look at the scored version, they actually show 4/4 time for this piece.

There are very many issues with the 1/32 notes placement which might be due to the issue Mark pointed out…

It needs some serious thought in this case if this is editable or if it is faster to start with a blank sheet at least for these bars.

I’d be interested to know where you read that, please.


Hi David, Unfortunately I do not remember the exact source. In order to get the best possible score for the 7th symphony I studied both an older full score (not facsimile but one from 1824) and also modern instrument parts (flute 1-2, oboe 1-2, clarinet 1-2 etc.). I noticed a lot of additional articulation markings, in particular staccato and tenuto, in the newer instrument parts which were not shown in the full score. In most cases, as I mentioned, it occurred when there were a lot of bars with similar note order (Notenbild). In the full score the staccato markings were at some point not repeated.

As I was not sure which was considered correct today, I started Googling and watch numerous interesting videos and texts on Beethoven scores and their interpretation e.g. by Prof. Clive Brown and Stuart Gordon.

Thanks, Mavros. There are currently two published Urtext editions of Beethoven symphonies: Bärenreiter and Henle. I wonder if you are referring to the issue between staccato dots and dashes, which is a tricky one to resolve. Beethoven wrote in a letter that “they are not the same”; but, unfortunately, his handwriting was such that it is impossible in many cases to distinguish with certainty which he was trying to write! It is all tied up with quill pens.

The other feature of music of that time is to indicate articulations on the first notes of a series, with the understanding that the reader would apply them to the whole passage. This is usually obvious, and sometimes is accompanied by sempre stacc. An example is the Viola and Vn.2 parts of bars 69-81 of the Scherzo of the Seventh Symphony in the old Breitkopf Edition. The same is true in the Scherzo of the Ninth Symphony, where the staccato is not indicated in the strings after three bars, but clearly continues.

Similarly, once triplet motion has been indicated, it is usually clear that it continues, and irritating to see a 3 with a bracket on every occurrence.


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