Wish list: Ability to selectively adjust dotted rhythms to align with triplets

I’m working on a few small projects with Dorico, including a baroque aria in which Bach uses dotted eighth-sixteenth rhythms as a shorthand for triplets. The movement goes back and forth between triplets and dotted rhythms, but there’s no question (in my mind, at least) that all the dotted rhythms should be assimilated to triplets. It would be truly fantastic if there were a way to tell Dorico this… somehow… so that the music could align “properly.” I realize this is esoteric and only SCORE could actually accommodate this notation, but if there were some way to designate this semantically as a property, it would be really useful. Example of the music is attached.

I don’t think I’m explaining this very well — but I know it’s also a moon-shot request, so maybe it doesn’t matter!

(I’m continually impressed by Dorico’s notation and the many, many things it does perfectly. I knew it was the future from the moment Daniel started blogging about it, so I’m thrilled that it has reached the point when I can use it to produce at least a subset of my work! Can’t wait for more!)

All best,

If you’ve got loads of these, you can work around it with hidden tuplets like so:

Then hide all the tuplet numbers and brackets in one fell swoop:

No manual note spacing required:

It takes a minute or so to set the first one up, but then copying and pasting them around a score takes no time at all.

Bonus: the dotted rhythms will play back as triplets, because (as far as Dorico’s concerned) they ARE triplets.


Wow, thanks Pianoleo! I had not imagined makes triplets like that, and of course that solves it. Thanks!

(Now if Dorico could just give us some more control over beaming options on a time signature by time signature basis, I would really be flying high! :slight_smile: )

Again, I’m not entirely sure what you want, but you can already do clever things like type [2+3]/8 for a time signature that shows as 5/8 but beams as a two and a three.

FWIW, as a pianist, I’m quite used to seeing these not lining up, but playing them simultaneously if needed.

… and depending on the tempo, they might be played as 5+1 sextuplets against the triplets.

If you want to leave the notation as dotted 8th + 16th, you can tweak the playback to make them match the tuplets if you want. There are 480 ticks per quarter note in Dorico, so changing 1/3 to 1/4 means altering the time by 1/12 of 480 = 40 ticks. So you want -40 in the Playback End Offset of the dotted 8th, and -40 in the Playback Start Offset of the 16th.

To play them as sextuplets, change the minus 40s to plus 40s.

There are also instances where straight quavers written against triplet quavers should also be matched rhythmically. You would never want to space these accordingly.


Can somebody walk me through how to do this? I am in the middle of creating a virtual score of a Händel opera, and I need the score to show dotted 16th + 32nd, but the playback to play 16th + 32nd.

I don’t seem to be able to input the 3:4 and the 1:2 bit.

Thanks and best wishes,


With caret active, do:

  1. type 5 for quavers/eighths
  2. type ; 3:2 Enter to create a triplet of quavers
  3. type 4 to input semiquavers/sixteenths (within the outer triplet)
  4. type ; 3:4 Enter to start the first inner tuplet of 3 semis = dotted quaver
  5. type 5 . (dot) and enter the pitch (or the other way round, if that’s your preferred input method)
  6. type shift-; (which is : on my keyboard) to end the first inner tuplet
  7. type 4
  8. type ; 1:2 Enter to start the second inner tuplet
  9. enter pitch
  10. type : to stop the second inner tuplet
  11. type : to stop the outer triplet
    Beam to taste.
    The trick is: you can fill a tuplet with other note values than the tuplet is ‘made of’.

Thank you so much for the explanation.


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Hello, can anyone instruct me on how to achieve that dotted rhythm aligned over the tuplet?

Thank you so much. I am quite desperate.

You can make a 32nd-note triplet (3:2y) where the RH 16th would go, leave a 32nd rest, and put the 16th on the rest of that triplet, like so:

Then hide the triplet bracket and number, and the rest. This breaks the beam, so you’ll need to rebeam across the hidden rest. I had to un-tie the quarter note in order to select the dotted eighth on beat 3 to reconnect the beam. Fortunately it’s a repeating rhythm, so once you’ve done one you can copy it and repitch.

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I can’t make an example now (on my phone), but I feel it should be possible with a nested tuplet in the upper voice:

  • first create a sextuplet like in the lower voice
  • then inside the sextuplet, create a nested tuplet of 3:5 sixteenths
  • fill this with a dotted eighth
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Nested tuplets are the rhythmic secret weapon in Dorico! :sweat_smile:

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DONE! Thank so much for the tip. It worked fine!