Two dotted notes as standard in 3/4?

Dear Dorico community,
Dorico creates always slurred notes in a 3/4 or 3/2 bar, when I have two dotted notes after each other.
I would like to have this

Bildschirmfoto 2022-07-30 um 14.09.37

instead of that

Bildschirmfoto 2022-07-30 um 14.09.59

Of course I can do this in every bar with the “force duration tool”
But I just wondered, whether I can set this somewhere as a general property, that he always writes syncopes in 3/4 or 3/2 bars like that?
Because I find the Version where the notes look the same much better to read and so wonder if I can set this as a standard, so that I don’t have to do it each time with “force duration”


The reason Dorico doesn’t include a setting for this is that it is objectively incorrect to notate 3/2 this way. The first example you posted above is 6/4, not 3/2.

Of course there may be valid edge cases for this notation (although I can’t think of any), but that’s why Force Duration is available.

Dorico’s philosophy of “correcting input” has been discussed many times. I for one am glad for it, and again, there are ways around it when absolutely needed.

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I agree with @DanKreider, but if you really must do a passage like this, just add a 6/4 time signature in the 2nd bar and hide it (using properties). Then you will only need to force duration for the 1st bar.

Thanks for your quick response @DanKreider and @Janus
But this is indeed a 3/2 bar (most other instruments play 2+2+2, but they have synkopes. But still I find it much more organic to read a syncope like 3+3, instead of 3 + 1-2

and is there any logical reason, why dorico notates like this:
Bildschirmfoto 2022-07-30 um 14.28.33

but when I add a note in the first part suddenly like that:
Bildschirmfoto 2022-07-30 um 14.28.48

In my opinion it would be more logical and consistent if it would either always slur the last note, or never. Or: the dream solution of course would be to have a general property tick box to say I like it in general this or that way :innocent:

Respectfully, that simply is not the correct way to notate a 3 bar. You need to visually display the 3rd beat… hence the tie. That’s the logical reason. If you will be giving this music to musicians to play from, please don’t notate 3/2 as two dotted half notes. The musician is feeling it in three, so (s)he needs to see it in three.

Different meters have different requirements about how notes are to be displayed. There are some differing opinions about some of those requirements, but not about this one.

Would you do this? It looks cleaner (omits all those pesky ties), but it’s also wrong:


If your music is to be shared and used, there are certain conventions of musical language that you need to adhere to for maximum clarity. I’m not judging your choice, merely answering your question about the “why.”

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Yes. In triple meters you need to show two beats.
This shows beats 1 and 2, meaning you can get away with not showing beat 3:

This shows beats 1 and 3, meaning you can get away with not showing beat 2:

This only shows beat 1, so it’s no good:


…which is what @Janus has explained to you with the hidden 6/4 that you can apply to individual staves by confirming the popover with ALT+ENTER (OPT+ENTER on a Mac). Dorico does provide a way to enter the rhythm incorrectly for the 3/2 time signature.

Thank you all for your answers, especially thanks @Derrek I didn’t know this feature for the “bar change for one staff” yet. Now I understand @Janus proposition.

But in terms of that this is a “objectively wrong” notation I have to say that from the perspective of a professional musician I really disagree with all of you.

I am a professional conductor and composer and worked with many of the worlds most renowned orchestras (Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony, Vienna State Opera, SWR Stuttgart etc. just to name a few) and as a professional musician we do not call this notation “wrong” but thats the absolute standard way that every professional musician would expect how to notate this rhythm in a 3/4 bar or a 3/2 bar if one doesn’t want to use a tuplet.

@DanKreider likewise respectfully the example that you give is a completely different situation, because all the notes have different length values. But when you notate in a bar with three beats 2 notes it is - I would say in 99% of the cases - much more natural and comfortable to read for every orchestra musician to have two dotted notes.

I will give you some examples which I found within seconds in my scores:
Ravel La Valse

John Adams: Harmonielehre

likewise Harmonielehre in a 3/2 bar

Schnittke Requiem:

So please don’t get me wrong, I apreaciate your time and your help and answers, but I think one should be a bit more careful, what you assume of being wrong if it is indeed the professional way of notation.
I’m just trying to give feedback to the Dorico Team, what a professional musician would expect from a score notation program and what would make it more userfriendly. (Because I really think Dorico has many great ideas and hope that it can solve soon the many bugs and the really problematic performance… but then you are my heros :wink:

What I meant with my proposal was to say: either this could be the automatic way, how to notate two dotted notes in a 3/4 or 3/2 bar, or one could make it an option in the notation options to chose the slurred version and the one I proposed.

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There are many professional musicians here, both forum contributors and on the Dorico team.

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I also have to disagree (sorry!). Yes, there are less notes in the bar but I still find it easier to read the other way.

Thanks, I appreciate the additional perspective, and I understand what you’re saying.

However, the fact remains that this is the exception, not the norm. I stand by my statement that
a bar of 3 should not be notated this way as a rule. Of course rules may be broken when needed.

As such, I don’t believe it should be given a notation option. For every individual such as yourself who would use this with understanding, there will be 10,000 hobbyists who will not, and it will further perpetuate the music notation errors that have exploded over the past two decades.

Force Duration is standing by, ready to achieve these notation examples with the press of a single letter…


I’d be willing to bet that a passage of consecutive dotted quarters in 3/4 time would be played “smoother” than the same passage notated [dotted quarter, eighth-tied-to-a-quarter]. Emotionally, you see that eighth and want to nail that sucker to the upbeat, introducing a bit of choppiness.

Beethoven knew that eighth notes beamed in 4s and eighth notes beamed in 2s could produce different expressive results (see the Coriolan Overture). Maybe the same approach could be taken regarding this topic.

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We’re not saying “Don’t write it that way”. We’re saying that it’s easy to do in Dorico as is.

Force duration was designed into the software from the very beginning. I appreciate the real-world examples above, but what it all comes down to is another complaint about having to use this feature the way it was designed. I think Dorico is handling the matter in the best way for its design.


Yes, the dotted-note notation described here is perfectly possible to notate in Dorico, and always has been – as an exception, which is what it is. In the critical edition that I just finished, there were passages like this in 3/4 and I retained their original notation. But I didn’t expect them to be the standard for the meter.

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