Weird question: extracting rhythms

I know this is an odd question: I sometimes want to ‘clone’ the rhythmic content of a melody or a piece. I will add my own pitch and harmonic content, but I would like to by able to “extract” just the rhythmic component.

Can anyone suggest a way to do that, starting from a MIDI or MIDI XML file loaded into Dorico, or by any other method?

I’m not sure I understand your question. You can use the letter L (without caps) to lock the rhythm of an existing music and input your own notes… Is this what you’re after? The tool looks like a G lock in the middle of the left panel in write mode…

To add a little detail:
You need to enter note input mode first, then hit L.
The caret line becomes dotted and the padlock button (above the G-clamp) turns blue.

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I second @MarcLarcher and @DWR-keys : just copy the passage that has the rhythm you want, and then use the lock to duration function to re-pitch it. This method of working is very fast and very useful, especially if you have a midi keyboard attached. It goes by in seconds.

To take things a step further, even, you can copy the rhythm of interest to multiple staves, and then expand the caret to cover them all, and then re-pitch them all at the same time.

What’s particularly nice, and musical, when repitching in Dorico (as opposed to F or S) is the way tied notes act as one note, even across barlines – just the way they are played.

Among the many differences in how Dorico works from other software, I think I got used to this one the fastest.


Agreed. I remember the first few times I could just put in a dotted half note and have it extend across a bar, without putting two separate notes in… it was (is) great!

Not sure what your starting point is, but just recently I did something similar: I had trouble figuring out the drum rhythm in a song I was transcribing (i could tap it but not write it).

So I took cubasis, loaded the audio file, switched to 1/32 grid and transcribed rhythm in midi there. Once I got midi, I exported it to dorico on ipad and I was blown away by how good dorico has figured it out (there was a triplet with 1st and 3rd rest and a beat in between, between two 8th notes or sth).

Before that I tried the same with logic (it has a built in score editor), but for some reason logic struggled as much as I did and ended up with weird notation that made no sense.

Anyways, once you have it in dorico, you can copy notes to another instrument and play with pitch.

BTW, i really think pads are the future for 80-90% of music making. Cubasis is fantastic, I hope Dorico shamelessly copies some ideas from staffpad, in particular working with pencil - Note recognition is a gimmick not worth the hassle at this point, but editing with staffpad is so good, e.g. moving notes, changing duration etc… not to mention how you can edit dynamics. That and then better integration with cubasis and it’s a killer.

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