Tuplets need a "Set bracket horizontal" checkbox in the Inspector

• Sep 5, 2019 - 12:32
Reported version
P1 - High
S5 - Suggestion
  1. Use or create a score with many tuplets, where the tuplets start or end with a rest (example score attached).
  2. By the rules of Elaine Gould's "Behind Bars", tuplets with a rest must use a bracket as well as the number.
  3. Use Format > Style... > Tuplets > Maximum slope, to set max slope to zero.
    Expected result: all tuplet brackets should be exactly horizontal
    Actual result: tuplet brackets vary from the horizontal enough to be visually irritating

a) Expose the Maximum Slope property in the Inspector
b) Add a checkbox for "Set bracket horizontal" to force the issue on multi-selected tuplets

Without a new multi-select option in the Inspector, attempting to make all the tuplet brackets exactly horizontal is a painstaking and very time-consuming task. And the task is even worse if the score was created in MS2 and is then edited in MS3.


Seems like this would be relatively straightforward, we'd need to add "horizontal" as a "styled property" (so tuplets get their value from the style setting if not overridden in the Inspector).

Frequency Many Once

"Maximum slope" is not working for me, the tuplets stay completely the same whatever value I put into it.

Marc Sabatella asked me to supply an example of why we would benefit from an option to force tuplet brackets to be horizontal.

Here is an example of tuplet brackets with varying default slopes: for me, this layout is ugly and untidy. Having an option to force the brackets to be horizontal with a single setting would surely be worthwhile - does a majority agree? Let's hear from other people and try to reach a consensus...
Tuplet brackets with differing default slope.png

FWIW, to me, the example looks quite good as is, and I think I would find it less attractive and even arguably harder to read if the brackets were to completely ignoring the contours. But I should say I'm less interested in a few random personal opinions than I am in statements from respected authorities on music engraving, examples from respected publishers, etc. Not that it shouldn't be supported anyhow, but it helps us prioritize the request if we understand the extent to which this is just a personal preference versus something broader.

Gould is all I have handy, and while she says it can be done optionally where it improves the look, she's pretty specific about the situations where she recommends it. And to be sure, having a checkbox rather than (just) fixing the style setting seems appropriate by this standard.

"I'm less interested in a few random personal opinions than I am in statements from respected authorities on music engraving, examples from respected publishers, etc."

Marc, I found it very hard to track down any statements from "respected authorities" and music publishers! But below is the tuplet policy from Universal Edition, and also links showing that Dorico, Lilypond and Sibelius all provide an option for tuplets to be "Always horizontal".

Universal Edition (UE):
(Forum post on notat.io provides a link to UE's "ProductdesignStandards_EN.pdf")
Convention used by UE:
"N-tuplet brackets (e.g. for triplets) are always placed horizontally above the staff."

Dorico Help file:
(Dorico provides an option "Always horizontal")

Lilypond forum post:
(Forum post provides a Lilypond command to "Set all tuplet brackets horizontal")

Sibelius forum post:
(Sibelius provides an option "Always horizontal")

Priority P1 - High

Thanks for the links! The fact that other programs provide the option is good to know, and again, I would like to see us do the same, but really only the first is especially interesting from a perspective of deciding how important the option is and whether it's advisable to actually use it. Indeed it shows one publisher explicitly preferring that in the style guide, and then a bunch of other music engravers bemoaning that saying it's a bad idea :-). Which is to say, it looks to be the stuff of religious wars, and one thing I can say about that in general, it's a subject important enough to generate such debate, it's definitely worth supporting both possibilities.

So everything I've seen so far tells me it is best to leave the defaults as they are, as this is what other programs do and what Gould recommends., but the style setting needs fixing and adding an explicit horizontal override by way of a checkbox (so you can have most tuplets slope but easily set a few explicitly horizontal as per Gould) definitely seems like a good idea.

For purposes of "frequency", in accord to the suggestion

b) Add a checkbox for "Set bracket horizontal" to force the issue on multi-selected tuplets

A conversation without a created issue was brought up about this back in 2016 when I erroneously called tuples 'tuplettes', for what it's worth: https://musescore.org/en/node/123016