Accent ending percussion rolls

So I understand how to create final single notes within percussion rolls (in Engrave Mode, select the final tied note and in the Lower (Properties) Panel change the tremolo to ‘None’) , but… it is common in percussion notation to desire an accent or other articulation on the final note of a roll – or even to place an accent on the first AND last notes of a roll. I can only get an accent to show up on the first note; how can I get the accent to show up on the final note (or in the case of the last roll in this example, on both first and last)?

Note: I would prefer not to use a slur, to maintain a consistent appearance since some timpani parts use ties to indicate single sustained notes. Also, I see that I CAN specify a ending ‘Jazz Articulation’ to tied notes, but that doesn’t exactly help here.

Pos in tie chain.


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This works if one only needs one accent in the tie chain, which is unfortunately often not the case in percussion writing (and also not exclusively the case in OP’s request).

There’s been quite a bit of discussion on the topic from users over the years (I even used a brief chance in-person encounter with Daniel several years back to entreat on behalf of this issue; I’m sure he loved that). Suffice it to say that at the moment, there’s no ideal solution for dealing with percussion finishing strokes and their related issues in Dorico. You’ll have to sacrifice one of proper playback, time/labor, semantic correctness, or some other thing (or even a combination of these, depending).

I find that the best way to proceed given what Dorico can do these days is to create a custom playing technique that looks like an accent and put that wherever you need it. It won’t playback obviously, but unless something’s changed, Dorico already won’t play back the finishing stroke of a roll anyways.

If you need correct playback, either use slurs and adjust each one to look like a tie manually in engrave mode, or create a duplicate player that only exists in a “correct playback” layout and remove all the ties to finishing strokes (and don’t forget to add in functional accents).

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Thank you, Jesele. That definitely addresses one of the issues and is quite helpful. I needed to look back in the Write Mode properties.

And thank you, snakeeyes021– That’s very helpful, especially since it clarifies where the discussion has reached on this issue, and what I need to be aware of sacrificing– since there’s not exactly a solution to both of the problems I asked about. And also, playback is important to some of my projects, even if it’s not always my prime concern. I was aware there had been some discussion related to these issues and had searched as well as I could for solutions, but with the update to version 4.0 I thought there might be other factors that I might be missing.

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Well, to be fair, I haven’t had a chance to update to 4.0 yet; at the moment, I’ve only watched John’s announcement video and Anthony’s 17 (?) feature videos as well as done a bit of reading on the blog and Scoring Notes’s review. If anything on this front has changed in the update, I haven’t come across it yet, but in such a gargantuan release, that’s not at all out of the question.

Put the two notes in different Voices and then tie them.


I’m away from my computer, so I can’t check this at the moment, but does that not only work for pitched percussion? Or am I misremembering (not entirely unlikely, lol).

I think it works for any instrument, if that’s what you mean.

Well yes, specifically unpitched percussion though. It’s been long enough since I’ve had any projects involving percussion that I couldn’t remember if you could do multiple voices on unpitched percussion instruments (and if you could, whether they could be tied to other voices), given their general otherness from the way the rest of Dorico works, but if you say so, I’ll take your word for it :slight_smile:

Ok, so my curiosity needed to be sated, and unfortunately, as I suspected, that technique will not work for unpitched percussion since you can’t have multiple voices on an unpitched percussion instrument. I also tried by mixing in different playing techniques (not Playing Techniques, mind you, but, like, e.g. “rim shot”, “side stick”, etc.), but even if they didn’t have different noteheads, they get changed to the same playing technique once you tie them, so that’s out too.

There definitely could be a different workaround that I’m unaware of (if so, I’d definitely like to know about it, so please share if anyone’s got one), but I do believe that for unpitched percussion, the easiest way is the method I mentioned near the beginning of the thread. I’d be thrilled to be wrong about this one though!

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It appears one cannot add an extra voice to (for example) a snare drum to position two accents. Slurring would likely be the only solution, and it would make sense semantically.

I was about to reply with disagreement about the semantic correctness of slurs, but serendipitously, we seem to have had this discussion before (Percussion: Ties/slurs, accents, stem directions and playback), so I won’t reheat the cabbage :slight_smile:

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Honestly, I don’t see the point in tieing when both notes are accented. How would it be played differently without a tie? To me the tie appears to contradict the accent.


My work around, which I have come to use A LOT… is to use a slur instead of a tie. As a percussionist (and someone who engraves a lot of percussion music), the slur is not all that bad. I would prefer a tie, but until a “percussion tie” is available, I believe the best option is to use a slur. The slur in Dorico allows you to treat the notes as independent notes, much like other notation programs, allowing for accents, tremolos, etc. to be placed as needed.



In percussion music, a tied roll means to connect the roll to the release. In the above example, you would accent the start of the roll, and connect that roll to the last note and play that note with an accent, too.

If it was untied, the performer should put a small gap between the end of the roll and the next note.



Thanks. Not surprising, I guess. So how do orchestra players tend to handle Classical and 19th century music, before ties were used in percussion?

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Thanks again for checking this out, snakeeyes021. Even though it apparently won’t work on unpitched percussion it is an interesting solution that Derrek suggested– I’m thinking possibly it could be useful for timpani?! Although, (and I haven’t been able to test this yet) I wonder what appearance issues I might run into if a tie in one voice crosses a system break to a note in a different voice.

Thanks for the input, Mark. I will say, Robby is correct about the differences in percussionists’ interpretation between tied and untied rolls in written percussion parts. And I’d also say that some of the nuances of roll notation may boil down to the idiomatic ways that percussion notation (including everything from orchestral to rudimental to method books to drum corps) is most commonly seen. You’re asking valid questions and I appreciate that.

Robby, I’m on the same page with you– also being a drummer/percussionist primary instrumentalist. Slurs are not that bad visually (although I make a visual distinction in the placement between ties and slurs in orchestra scores that I’d like to be consistent)– but I still wish for the notation solution to have a flexibility that accommodates the idiosyncrasies of percussion music; a ‘percussion tie’ like you mentioned, or possibly an ‘ending articulation’: it’s possible to apply one of the jazz articulations to the last note of a tie– perhaps adding accent, staccato, marcato articulations to that list could provide a solution. I think eventually the Dorico staff will give us an elegant solution to this.

Definitely useful for timpani; it is indeed my preferred method for pitched percussion.

I wonder as well. Can’t say I’ve ever run into it, but I imagine if it comes up, you could swap to a different technique :slight_smile:

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