Forcing the duration of notes/rests

Dorico Pro automatically notates and beams notes/rests appropriately according to the prevailing time signature and their position in the bar. You can force the duration of notes/rests to specify their notation.

For example, if you input a half note at the start of a 6/8 bar, it is notated as a dotted quarter note (crotchet) tied to an eighth note (quaver). This is because, according to convention, 6/8 bars are subdivided into two groups of three eighth notes. To reflect this for a half note (four eighth notes), Dorico Pro automatically divides the note to show the correct grouping, but you can force the note duration to show a half note instead.


If you want to force the duration of all notes on a staff to imply a different meter, for example, to show three quarter note groups in 6/8 to indicate a hemiola, you can also input a time signature only on those staves to group notes according to that meter. You can then hide the time signatures if required.


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

    • Select existing notes whose duration you want to force.


      If you later want to tie notes together, we recommend forcing the duration of all notes you want in the tie chain.

  2. Optional: If you want input rests with forced durations, start rest input in any of the following ways:
    • Press ,.

    • In the Notes toolbox, click Rests .

  3. Activate Force Duration in any of the following ways:
    • Press O.

    • In the Notes toolbox, click Force Duration .

  4. Select the note/rest duration you want.

    If you want tie chains to appear as single noteheads with the same total duration, you must first reduce their duration, then change it to the duration you want.

  5. Optional: During note or rest input, input the notes or rests you want.


During note or rest input, any notes you input are notated with their whole rhythmic value, whatever their position in the bar. If you move them later, they keep the same notation. Rests are input as explicit rests. Notes that cross barlines are notated as tied notes.

Forcing the duration of existing notes or rests preserves their current duration or any duration to which you subsequently change them.

  • Force position and duration in the Notes and Rests group of the Properties panel is activated automatically for rests input with forced durations. You can also use this property to force the duration and position of rests.

  • You can choose whether or not Force Duration retains its previous state when you stop and restart note input in Preferences > Note Input and Editing > Note Input.

  • You can change how notes are grouped in different contexts project-wide on the Note Grouping page in Notation Options.


Figure 1. Default notation of notes in 6/8
Figure 2. Notes in the down-stem voice input with forced durations