Rhythmic position

In Dorico, notes and items exist at rhythmic positions, which are calculated using their place in musical time in the flow rather than their position in a specific bar that has a particular time signature.

In Dorico, musical time is the number of beats starting from the beginning of each flow. For example, instead of a note existing on beat 3 in bar 4 in a 4/4 time signature, Dorico considers that note to exist at beat 15, regardless of the time signature and its position in a bar.

This approach allows for a lot of flexibility. For example, because notes and items exist independently of bars and time signatures in Dorico, you can change the time signature without changing when notes happen in relation to each other or adding rests at the end of each bar. Instead, the barlines simply move to different positions and note grouping is updated as required, such as notating a quarter note as two tied eighth notes if it now straddles a barline or crosses the half-bar. You can even start writing notes without inputting a time signature at all.

Similarly, you can easily push notes to later rhythmic positions or pull them in to earlier ones using Insert mode without the risk of them being incorrectly notated. It also means you can think of items existing in the music independently of notes, because items exist at a particular rhythmic position, rather than being attached to notes. To input items at rhythmic positions that do not coincide with the start of notes, such as dynamics in the middle of tie chains, you can either select any other item at that position, or activate the caret and input items at the caret position.

In Dorico, the rhythmic position of notes and items is separate from their graphical position on the page. The benefit of this is that you can input items at the position in the music where they must apply and then move them graphically without causing them to apply to different notes or inadvertently split multi-bar rests. For example, if you want strings to play pizzicato from the start of a bar, but because of tight vertical spacing you want to move the pizz. indication slightly to the side. Attachment lines link items to the rhythmic positions to which they apply, so it is always clear where they belong, but are not printed.