Tuplet ratios

Is it possible to create a tuplet ratio in Finale’s format Xq:Yq?

Hello Marvin. Do you mean like this?

Schermata 2024-05-13 alle 14.22.16

If so, you can do that in “Engrave Options” (Cmd/ctrl - Shift - E) in the tuplets menù to show your tuplet as a ratio (you have also the possibility to show the note value). If you want that option to be formatted only in certain places, just click on the tuplet, open the properties (cmd/ctrl-8) and select the desired override in the panel.

No. In Dorico it’s only one value as in X:Yq, so it doesn’t work like Finale. You can use nested tuplets though to accomplish the same thing if the values are different, although it’s definitely more of a hassle. The ability to independently specify the value of each component here is definitely on my wish list too.

If you mean for display, you are limited to just showing the value of the 2nd number:

Just in case the above isn’t clear, in Finale it’s easy to specify any number of any value in the space of any number of any value …

… and have it appear that way in the score too if you want:

It would be nice to be able to do this just as easily in Dorico.

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I know that’s just an example you mocked up, which could obviously be written much more clearly as a simple triplet; but I’d be interested in seeing an example of this style that actually makes things clearer, without having to sit down with a pencil and do some sums.

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They come up in Elliott Carter’s music pretty often. Here are a few different examples, all from page 15 of his Concerto for Orchestra:

I don’t have to search right now, but I imagine it would be possible to find examples from Ligeti, Babbitt, Stockhausen, Boulez, etc. too.


Quite common in Babbitt’s music is the format < # notes > = < total duration >.

Here are mm. 445–446 (p. 51) of Arie Da Capo:

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Have a look at Ferneyhough’s piano piece Quirl. This is admittedly an extreme case, and there are errors in some of the deeply nested tuplet notations. (Although in his defense I believe that the composer has never been able to get his publisher to print corrected editions of his works.) But sometimes the Xq:Yq notation is necessary.

Creating Carterian metric modulations is yet another problem.

I’ve heard Ferneyhough say that the effect of the effort/struggle for the performer is a significant aspect of his rhythmic complexity. For Carter, it’s most often the ratio of note-streams at different (tuplet) rates. In Babbitt’s case, he’s hoping for (expecting?) the same kind of accuracy of note attack-points that “the computer” would render.

All sorts of significant questions of perception in here…