Tuplets

Tuplets are used to write rhythms beyond the beat divisions usually permitted by the time signature. For example, a sixteenth note triplet will divide an eighth note beat into three sixteenth notes instead of two:

16th triplet

In 6/8 time, an eighth note duplet will divide a dotted quarter note into two eighth notes instead of three:

8th triplet

Create a tuplet

The exact method of tuplet entry depends on whether you are starting off in note input mode or "normal mode" (i.e. not in note input mode). We'll start off with a simple example: the creation of an eighth note triplet.

Create a triplet in normal mode

  1. Select a note or rest that specifies the full duration of the desired triplet group. In the case of an eighth note triplet, you will need to select a quarter note or rest—as in the example below:

    Quarter note selected

  2. From the main menu, choose NotesTupletsTriplet, or press Ctrl+3 (Mac: +3). This will give the following result:

    Triplet eight note followed by rests

  3. The program automatically changes to note-input mode and selects the most appropriate duration—in this example an eighth note. Now enter the desired series of notes/rests. For example:

    Three triplet eight notes

Create a triplet in note input mode

  1. Ensure you are in note input mode (press N).
  2. Navigate to the note/rest (or blank measure) where you want the triplet to start (use the left/right arrow keys as required).
  3. Select a final duration for the whole triplet group. In the case of an eighth note triplet, click on the quarter note in the note input toolbar (or press 5 on the keyboard).
  4. From the main menu, choose NotesTupletsTriplet, or press Ctrl+3 (Mac: +3). This creates a triplet number/bracket and appropriately divides the original note/rest (see image above).
  5. The program automatically selects the most appropriate duration—in this example an eighth note—allowing you to immediately start entering the desired series of notes/rests.

Create other tuplets

Most other tuplets can be entered similarly, by substituting the general create tuplet command – Ctrl+2–9 (Mac users Cmd+2–9) – in the above series of steps: this will create tuplets ranging from a duplet (2) to a nonuplet (9). For more complex cases, see Custom tuplets (below).

Custom tuplets

To create other tuplets than the default options (e.g., 13 sixteenth notes in the space of one quarter note), first enter and select a note or rest equaling the total duration of the tuplet, go to NotesTupletsOther..., and enter the number of notes you want to appear relative to the number of notes you would normally expect to appear (e.g., 13/4 for thirteen sixteenth notes in the space of the selected quarter note).

Create tuplet dialog

Thirteen-tuplet in the space of one quarter, or four sixteenths

Delete a tuplet

To delete any tuplet, select the number/bracket and press Del.

Settings

To customize the appearance of a single tuplet, you can change its properties in the Inspector. You can also change the general style for all tuplets in a score.

Inspector

To change the display properties of a tuplet, select the tuplet number, or bracket, and use the Inspector.

Tuplet Properties in Inspector

If neither the number nor the bracket is shown, select a note from the tuplet, then use the Tuplet button in the Inspector to see the above dialog.

Select tuplet in Inspector

For Direction, choose Auto to place the bracket on the same side of the note heads as the stem, or beam. Choose Up, or Down to explicitly place the bracket above or below the note heads, respectively, regardless of the stem, or beam position.

For Number type, choose Number to show an integer, Relation to show a ratio of two integers, or Nothing to show no number at all.

Tuplet with a 5:6 ratio and auto beam

For Bracket type, choose Automatic to hide the bracket for beamed notes and show the bracket if the tuplet includes unbeamed notes or rests. Choose Bracket, or Nothing to explicitly show, or hide the bracket, respectively.

Style

Go to StyleGeneral... and select Tuplets. It enables you to change all tuplet properties.

Dialog: Style / General... / Tuplets

Two adjustments are possible: Vertical and Horizontal

  • Vertical adjustment has three options with values in space units and one (un)ticked option
    • Maximum slope: default value is 0.50; range is from 0.10 to 1.00
    • Vertical distance from stem (see (2) below): default value is 0.25; range is from -5.00 to 5.00
    • Vertical distance from note head (see (3) below): default value is 0.50; range is from -5.00 to 5.00
    • Avoid the staves: by default ticked
  • Horizontal has four options with values in space units
    • Distance before the stem of the first note (see (5) below): default value is 0.50; range is from -5.00 to 5.00
    • Distance before the head of the first note: default value is 0.00; range is from -5.00 to 5.00
    • Distance after the stem of the last note (see (6) below): default value is 0.50; range is from -5.00 to 5.00
    • Distance after the head of the last note: default value is 0.00; range is from -5.00 to 5.00

Tuplet style legend