Syncopation involves rhythmic patterns that go against the normal rhythm as defined by the time signature. The Syncopation setting helps you produce a cleaner-looking score by displaying syncopated notes with fewer ties or subdivisions.

If Syncopation is turned on, each note is displayed graphically as a single note when possible (rather than as several tied notes), regardless of its rhythmic position. If it can’t be displayed as a single note, the note is divided into the minimum possible number of notes, connected by ties. In some cases, the display of syncopated notes also depends on the Max Dots setting—see Max Dots.

The following example shows the same two bars displayed differently, the first with Syncopation turned off, then with it turned on:

Figure. Syncopation disabled and enabled in the Score Editor.

Syncopation can also be turned on and off for individual notes, independent of the Region inspector setting, using note attributes. For more information, see Change the syncopation or interpretation of notes.

If the Syncopation setting produces unwanted results, you can change the graphic display of notes connected with ties by adding a short user rest from the Part box at the bar position where you want the tie subdivided. Once the rest is inserted, it disappears, but the note display changes. The inserted rest can only be seen and edited in the Event List. This trick works for all notes, not just syncopated ones. (See Use tuplets to override display quantization.) In polyphonic staff styles, the MIDI channel of the rest and the corresponding note must be identical.

Turn syncopation on or off

  • Select or deselect the Syncopation checkbox in the Region inspector.