When can we expect a "split/incomplete" tuplet feature in Dorico?

This would be an enormous game changer, that would enable users to do so much more natively in the program.
I wonder when and if we will ever see it?
Thank you

What do you mean by a “split/incomplete” tuplet?

Dorico can already do things natively with tuplets that have to be faked in other notation software, but if we don’t know what you want to do, we can’t tell you how to do it!

Rob, see Incomplete tuplets - yes or no? - NOTATIO for some examples of split/incomplete tuplets (the second example, in 6/4)

There are some things in life that you would rather not see. But at least I wasn’t eating my dinner when that came up on the screen. :open_mouth:

Having seen it, I have no idea what it is supposed to mean. But it’s easy enough to make something that LOOKS like that in Dorico, if you don’t care about the semantics.

1 Like

I think one of the more important facets of incomplete tuplets is the ability to display partial brackets that indicate instantly and unequivocally what they are. Much harder to do in Dorico if even possible (though I can think of a few different methods I might try).

Here’s a clearer example: Photo

I attempted to look for, but couldn’t find, an example of an imcomplete tuplet that is completed at some later point in the bar (so the second incomplete bracket would bet open in the other direction). I’m sure Thomas Ades has some, but I don’t have any scores handy. There are a few Ades and other examples here from when the topic was previously discussed: Split Tuplets and Irrational Metres - Dorico - Steinberg Forums

I’m going to disagree that a partial bracket instantly and unequivocally indicates what it is. In 4/4 time, if I see a partial tuplet of just a 3 under a quarter note, how can I tell whether that tuplet is 2/3 of 3 eighth notes, or 1/3 of 3 quarter notes? If I have to read ahead for the second part of the tuplet, or do some deductive calculations within the measure, then the notation is hardly unambiguous.

I should clarify. I wasn’t saying that a partial bracket tells you exactly what kind of partial tuplet you’re looking at, only that you are indeed looking at one. This was mainly in response to the example given a few comments up with no brackets, which, if I saw out in the wild, I would almost definitely not realize was a tuplet for a good while.

Sorry, but there is no need for all this at all. Is it just a way to make a straightforward rhythm look more complicated, or what?

This is exactly the same as snakeeyes’ example, with no tuplets at all. It’s just as easy to rewrite the others the same way.

As long as the incomplete tuplets add up to something divisible into “regular” notes, they can be renotated as Rob does. I don’t find his notation easier to read than snakeeyes’, though.
But if the music changes between say 4/4 and 2/6 (like Thomas Adès’ music does a lot), I can’t imagine a way to notate it without incomplete tuplets - or 6-notes and 12-notes etc., As they probably should be called. At least not a SIMPLER way.
This changing between 4/4 and 2/6 (or 4/6) is by the way IMO a very straightforward and appealing rhythm. I’m sure it would have been used a lot more and a lot earlier in music history if notation conventions hadn’t made it awkward.
It would be a velcome addition to Dorico’s toolbox to be able to write these kind of things within a natural workflow - just like any other rhythm.

I agree snakeeyes’ example is unambiguous and readable with tuplets, but the first two are neither. (I don’t call any notation “readable” if you have to sit down away from the instrument and figure out what it means, possibly using a calculator to check your interpretation adds up to the correct number of beats, before you can attempt to play it.)

Any “tuplet” notation can be written without tuplets, but like any other notation tuplets should only be used when they are useful - and not elsewhere!

Maybe it’s time to revisit some medieval rhythmic notation methods, and use colors instead of tuplet brackets:

I’ve accompanied Adès’ songs. They definitely involve sitting down away from the instrument to figure them out. Sometimes just getting the notes in the right order (spread across eight staves with many voices and tuplets) is a major job…

Indeed. I have a graduate degree in music and I haven’t the faintest clue how to interpret this stuff. Nothing clear about it at all.

I have three graduate music degrees and I assure you this is problematic for players and will require extensive expensive rehearsal time. Simplify-simplify-simplify…

You know, it’s funny that LeifG should bring up the idea of 4/4 switching to 2/6, because depending on the convention being used, a tuplet may or may not be necessary. As far as I’m aware, there are two major camps. I’d be hard pressed to say who’s in which one without some digging, but one camp will, for instance, indicate 2/6 and then notate what look to be two quarter notes. Do not be fooled; these are in fact sixth notes. I despise this method :angry:. The other camp will indicate 2/6 and then notate two quarter notes in an incomplete triplet. Technically, I suppose these are also sixth notes, but in this case, that seems clear just by looking at them; one just may never have thought to call them sixth notes before, as opposed to triplet quarters or crotchets. This is my preferred method.

(There is, I suppose, a third camp that would instead just use a metric modulation. I also don’t prefer this method, depending on the context, because it’s usually not sight-readable. Of the three, I tend the think the second camp is more frequently sight-readable. But really it all depends on context and complexity. Sometimes a passage that would be infinitely simple in one method ends up being overly complicated in another, and vice versa.)

At the moment, Dorico will actually do some of this just fine.

Method 1 is the default behavior when inputting irrational time signatures. It’s great as long as you don’t need it to play back correctly, which Dorico doesn’t do (yet?). It plays the sixth notes as quarter notes. That’s an easy enough fix though; just crunch some numbers and make a hidden tempo change at each meter change.

Method 2 I think is probably too much to be practical in Dorico at the moment. The only way I can think to achieve it (I did my example in Adobe Acrobat fwiw) would be Shift-X. But that could get real tedious real fast, depending on how many there ended up being. I also don’t even know if all of the necessary glyphs are available. Getting the hooked end of the bracket to match up in size and vertical position with the open end could prove to be impossible.

Method 3 is possible in Dorico using Shift-X. To get proper playback, crunch some numbers; make adjustments. (Though as a side note, I should say that I had some wonkiness when exporting that part to a pdf. This was the first time this has ever happened. I’ve done pdf exports of metric modulations before with no problems… It could have been an Adobe issue, but I’d wager if it had been output natively by Dorico as a tempo marking, whatever was causing it to be read funny by Adobe wouldn’t have happened.)

So what am I getting at exactly? Well, I think they’re all valid depending on the circumstances, but my preference would usually be for method 2, at least in this sort of situation, which is the method Dorico can’t really do yet, so it will indeed be a lovely day if/when it’s ever added as a feature :slight_smile:


Dear Snakeeyes,
I must say I’m really impressed by your last post and how you got committed into this thread. Bravo!

Thanks, Marc!

Yeah, this is a feature I’ve been hoping for ever since I started using the program. One time, a little over a year ago, I was in the thick of writing an opera, and I really needed a single measure of 7/6 at this one spot. I ended up writing something different entirely (not necessarily because Dorico couldn’t do it to my liking, just because there ended up being something else that fit better), but since then, I’ve been particularly interested in how people go about notating and dealing with this sort of material.

A well-to-do composer friend of mine uses a different notation altogether. In showing him what Dorico can do (to convince him to switch!) I copied a bit of a piece he was working on at the time. I was able to replicate exactly by using a “3” as a playing technique and a partial beam. Of course, playback required fancy tempo work, but those signposts can be cut/pasted once you do the first one.

Yes, it’s almost as if you have to practice whatever you’re not used to doing, right? Come on, Steve. I wouldn’t dare calling your musicianship into question – and you have played the Adès, which is great –, but everyone has their blindspots. Same goes for Dan S or Romanos – as if a “graduate degree” in music is a blanket term that covers the entirety of western music… In fact, I can say that I don’t want to listen to Sokolov playing Stockhausen, nor do I want to hear Serkin playing Mozart, without calling into question their musicianship. There are simply more complex factors at play in the formation and crystallization of meaning and convention, especially today. Nor is anyone proposing that this should be standard fare, and you’re now all forced to go through these paces. But as snakeeye’s can attest as living proof among this community, this exists out there in the world, it is supported by a community of practice (and in fact many people have chimed in with first hand experience, discussing actual technical problems instead of expressing a general rejection), it is played, rehearsed and performed, it is needed. Sitting away from the instrument is no criteria for evaluation because it reports solely to how trained you are in a specific task.



No, I don’t expect to be an expert in everything, but I think after studying music formally for 7 years at two universities, I should have some idea as to how to tackle a rhythm. In the original example, I haven’t the faintest clue. My point is that the notation is not clear even if it is used by a niche community. If it is not clear and reproducible by well-trained musicians without a Rosetta Stone, what’s the point? (Not to mention the feasibility of reproducing such awkward and specific rhythms accurately…) It seems to be intellectual self-gratification.

Edit: interesting thing here… I’m being edited by the forum. I type a particular bird name and the forum software replaces the word. Strange.