Whole note frustration

Hi all, this is my first time on this forum, and I apologize if this has been asked already.

I have several bars of half notes that I want to change to whole notes, but no matter what I try, changing a half note in any bar to a whole results in the next measure being pushed further ahead or else its duration being changed. I have tried on insert mode and chordal mode, this seems like a fundamental thing but for the life of me I cannot figure out how to simply change notes to whole notes, without messing up the next bar. I’ve included some pictures below, thanks in advance.

Hi Margarine_Butter, welcome to the forum!

I think the main problem might be that your current time signature has 3 quarter notes in each bar, not 4. What happens if you select those notes and just press . (period) to add a rhythm dot (i.e. an extra quarter note) to the selected notes?

In general, Insert mode pushes subsequent notes backwards by the added duration, and pulls them in closer if your shorten notes. Chords allows notes to overlap/build up chords.

Hi Lillie, thanks for your quick reply. Extending the notes by one quarter note isn’t the same as a whole note, unfortunately, so when moving to the next bar there is a noticeable pause in the playback, which is what I’m trying to avoid. Adding a tie to the dotted half notes successfully removes this pause, but this is a very tedious process and makes it hard to edit, since I now have to remove the tie if I want to change one note or the other. What I’m looking for isn’t to change music notation convention, but setting custom note lengths would be a huge boon for ease of use. For instance, what if I want a note duration that is in between longa and maxima? There seems to be no way to do this at the moment.
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If you want to overlap these notes, probably the easiest way is to hit Q (to turn chord mode on), ensure that Insert mode is off, then select the notes and hit 8 to turn them all into semibreves.

This will necessarily add a load of ties, seeing as you’re in 3/4. To make it look prettier, you could put every other bar’s existing notes into a separate voice (by selecting then right-clicking and going Voice > Change Voice and then selecting or adding a voice). If this is just about playback, note that you can drag out the ends of the notes in Play mode without affecting the notated score.

As to notes between a something and a something else, you can either use ties during input (which Dorico will display according to the meter) or you can select existing notes and use Shift-Alt-right arrow to extend by the grid value (as selected and shown in the bottom left corner of the screen).

If you want a smoother transition in playback just for these notes, you can edit their played duration in Play mode - this won’t affect how they’re notated, but does affect how long they sound. This allows you to have the notation you want/would present to real performers but also tweak the playback within Dorico to your tastes.

The curved line between notes of different pitches is a slur rather than a tie, and the reason it smooths out playback is because by default, Dorico lengthens the played duration of notes under slurs.

You can lengthen/shorten notes in all sorts of ways to create “custom durations”.

Thanks for your reply, pianoleo, and thank you Lillie for providing those links - I have some reading to do!. It seems like there are a lot of methods to achieve the same result but all of them are foreign to me, which is entirely my fault - Dorico has a steep learning curve but I think there is so much functionality that it’s worth it. Thanks y’all <3

In addition to the reading (or even while you are reading) create a small project to play with to try out what you are reading about. Playing with the software on a small scale in a non-destructive way, is one of the fastest way to see what happens when you press–(etc.)