Creating custom beat groupings for meters

If your music requires a different beat grouping for a particular meter than the default setting for that time signature, you can specify your preferred beat grouping within the time signature. You can choose whether or not the time signature shows this custom beat grouping. You can also input time signatures only on single staves.


The duration of beam groups in Dorico Pro depends on the beat grouping in the current time signature and your per-flow beam grouping settings in Write > Notation Options. For example, entering [1+1+1+1]/4 into the time signatures popover inputs a time signature with four quarter note (crotchet) groups. Because this creates a time signature with a half-bar, beam grouping options for time signatures with a half-bar apply.


  1. In Write mode, do one of the following:
    • Start note input.

    • Select an item at the rhythmic position where you want to input a time signature with custom beat grouping. If you want to input a time signature with custom beat grouping on a single staff, select an item that belongs to that staff only.

  2. Optional: If you want to input a time signature with custom beat grouping onto multiple specific staves at once, extend the caret to those staves.
  3. Optional: If you want Dorico Pro to add beats at the end of the region affected by the new time signature if required, press I to activate Insert mode.
  4. Press Shift-M to open the time signatures popover.
  5. Enter the division you want in square brackets into the popover.

    For example, to divide a 7/8 time signature into 2+3+2, enter [2+3+2]/8 into the popover. To divide a 5/4 time signature into 2+3 rather than 3+2, enter [2+3]/4 into the popover.

  6. Input the time signature and close the popover in one of the following ways:
    • To input a time signature on all staves, press Return.

    • To input a time signature only on the selected staff or staves across which the caret extends, press Alt/Opt-Return.


The time signature specified is input and beam and beat grouping in subsequent bars follows the division you specified. The time signature appears either as a single number, such as 7/8, or showing the beat groups, such as 2+3+2/8, depending on your setting on the Time Signatures page in Engrave > Engraving Options.


You can change the appearance of numerators in individual time signatures so that they show a single number or beat groups, independently of your project-wide settings.