Tuplet bracket placement on note-head side

While I know that I can change the placement of tuplet brackets one at a time via the bracket’s properties panel, it would be nice if an option to have the brackets on the note-head side could be applied across a project in Engraving Options. (This is the house style I have been using for decades.)

You can Select All and then Filter for Tuplets, doing them all in one go. Or select one, and Select More.

But most Style Guides and Notation manuals do state that they are normally stem-side, as if beams, which makes sense.

Thank you for that tip about the Filter. That’s very useful.

I am new to using Dorico, having worked with Score for over 25 years. Score’s default for tuplet brackets is on the note-head side.

In glancing at a few scores in my library, for example Stravinsky, Berg, Haas, I noted that the prevailing practice for B&H and UE is to put the bracket above the staff for the most part with exceptions to avoid collisions. But, you’re quite right that the current general style is to put them on the stem side. I just prefer the look of the other. Could just be force of habit.

Boosey’s current style is stem-side and then above when mixed or for vocal music. From their style guide:

As you pointed out, UE is always above:

To be honest, I find UE to be a bit of an outlier. I think most publishers seem to adhere to the same style as Boosey with this including Schirmer. From Schirmer’s style guide:

Gould says “A tuplet indication normally goes to the stem side of the notes, since this is where one would expect to read the rhythm. This keeps the space on the notehead side clear for articulations and slurs.”

Ted Ross is rather more indifferent. “Publishers and engravers differ as to whether the 3 should be on the head or stem end of the note. Many engravers put the 3 above the staff, regardless…”

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I believe Dorico should enable a user to decide globally whether tuplets appear note head-side or stem side…

I tend to subscribe to Gardner Read’s books: ‘Music Notation’ and ‘Modern Rhythmic Notation’, in which he explains that putting a tuplet’s square bracket stem-side, loosely risks making triplet crotchets (for example) look like triplet quavers: a square bracket could feasibly be misconstrued as a beam if it is stem-side:


Read advocates putting the tuplet square bracket on the side of the first note’s head in the tuplet set. This leaves no room for error in interpretation, and (I think) looks clearer for any player.

Please Steinberg will you add default tuplet square bracket placement, to global default options?

For those users following Read’s convention, it’s a real chore having to edit tuplet bracket direction manually every time. :smiley:

Thank you.


Interestingly, in the old days (the really old days) the preference was for tuplet numbers to be placed on the note head side with or without slurs. Perhaps the thinking was that that is where most of one’s attention is focused in reading music.
Numbers note head side

I found it interesting that Read concurs with this older convention and support the request for an option to do that.

As well, I haven’t been able to find an Engraving option to allow tuplet numbers to move on to the staff so that they aren’t orphaned like this:

Orphaned tuplet numbers

I know that each one can be adjusted individually. I am looking for an Engraving Option that will take care of these as a mater of course. Gould allows part of the number to move on the staff in such cases; which is always preferable, but it doesn’t handle all cases. At times. the number must be placed completely on the staff.