Accents (stresses) within tied notes

i have a project where i’m writing for instruments that can sustain notes for long periods of time (circular breathing in woodwinds, strings). i would like to indicate stresses within the written phrase but i’m having problems indicating these stresses with (say) the accent articulation. perhaps there is another method? perhaps Dorico can accommodate (at some point) this capability? i’m attaching an image of what i have in mind. (583 KB)
note that the tied quarter notes in mm 6 while input as tied notes pulse as they are played by Dorico and when selected, select individually rather than as a part of the whole set of tied notes. also, the crescendo (<) from mm 6 to the fortississimo doesn’t actually work - the last note where the fff is located suddenly becomes louder.

I guess that’s what the scissors tool (U) is for : you apply it on the tied notes — it removes the tie, you insert whatever accents you need — and then you tie the notes again (T). Faster doing it than explaining it !

(For me, this is such an odd workaround still… Dorico has a kludge to let me do something that it has decided is not normal, rather than letting me put what I want where I want it. It seems a step backwards…)

i had thought of that but the articulation disappears when the notes are retied.

This is a bug, I did not have that behaviour on my works. You should probably send your file to Daniel, so that he or his team can find the reason why articulations disappear…

thanks mark. i’ve attached the file to my original post for Daniel and crew to examine.

i’m now wondering if there is a work-flow error. i selected the tie group and pressed ‘shift + return’ to get the note-input cursor and moved the cursor to where i wanted the articulation to occur. i pressed ‘U’ to break the tie at that point. then, when i pressed ‘[’ to apply the articulation, nothing happened (i checked - the keyboard command is set for that key). so i deselected and then reselected at the breakpoint to insert the articulation (which appeared) and then selected the note where the tie broke to reset the tie (‘T’). the articulation vanished when the tie was recreated.

I haven’t looked at Tom’s file, but I think I can guess what’s going on: the articulations will disappear unless you use Force Duration (shortcut O) when you tie the notes, because unless Force Durations is on, all of the notes will be glued together into a single event when you tie them, and a single event can only have a single articulation of each type (in this case, an articulation of attack), so only the very first notehead will show an accent. However, when Force Durations is on, Dorico doesn’t glue all the notes together into a single event: instead, it uses a special property to tie separate note events together, and since each event can have its own articulation, you can end up showing an accent on the first notehead in each separate note event.

Hi, Daniel.

Please don’t get me wrong, but how should one know that?
It seems to me that we are supposed to know so much that’s going on under the hood that simply can’t be understood visually.
I really think that we (say, composers) should not need to know what a “Event” is.

I’m a programmer myself, and I see where all that is coming from. But you really need to hide these things from the musicians. The very fact that you have to use the word “note event” here to explain things tells me that there are problems with the UI.
If I create an articulation in the middle of a tied note, then Dorico should split the note into two “events” internally and add the articulation. Bothering the user with “force duration” is simply wrong. (BTW, wouldn’t “fource duration” impose other problems with the note if I want to change it later on?)

that’s what i did in mm 6 of my example. but the downsides are:

  1. in playback the forced measure(s) pulse and don’t sound tied (not a problem for a score intended for a live performance but a problem if the composer wants an example to send to a client for audition).
  2. specifying a particular place for the articulation with forced duration obviates the ‘aleatoric’ choice for placement of the accent (stress). i don’t care that i have to place it within the rhythmic structure of the tied note(s) but i do care if i have to explicitly show the rhythm the accent is associated with.

I wouldn’t disagree with you. Dorico is a 1.0 application, so there are certainly some aspects of it that are not completely worked out or fully developed. While things are not completely worked out, I can either explain how the program works so that users can get their work done, and you can tell me that the user shouldn’t need to know about these things, or I can pretend those details don’t exist, and the users can’t get their work done. In the end, it’s not much of a choice.

In this specific case, I would say that Tom’s requirements are unusual to say the least. Dorico’s handling of articulation (indeed, its handling of more or less everything) is designed to make the majority case as quick, simple and automatic as possible. In general we don’t yet have the tools that are needed to paint outside the lines with many of the notations that the program supports yet –- as I have already said, Dorico is a 1.0 application, targeting the middle of the bell curve of features and requirements, not the outliers, so that the program is both available to buy and useful to at least some people, rather than still in internal development or useful to precisely nobody.

Hi, Daniel.
Thanks for your explanation.

At the current state, every now and then I come around an explanation of you where I don’t know if what you tell us is the way Dorico is supposed to be used, or if it is some kind of a temporary workaround while the UI is still in progress. :wink:

Given Daniel’s explanation, I’d say, the latter.

Hi, Daniel/all!

I tried this, still accents disappear as soon as I re-tie the notes. No difference if I have force duration on or off… Any idea why is this happening? I’m using Dorico 3.5.


I could never get that method to work either. My workaround:

Put the notes with the accents in a different voice (use remove rests to get rid of unwanted rests that appear). Then use ctl/cmd-to select all the notes to tie and press T.

It is slightly laborious, but it works!

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Thanks Janus! This works.


I could never get an accent within a tie to work whatever I tried . I thought I was being over-optimistic in asking for it anyway!

You can add a Bravura text object in the correct place, set to display the accent character. Works, but if you needed playback you’d have to get your hands dirty in Play.

If you prefer to do it this way (rather than using separate voices for notes in a single tie chain that need articulations), then you may prefer to create a custom playing technique that looks like an accent - if you save it as default, it will be available in all future projects and you can also make it do stuff in playback too.


Replacing the central tie with a slur allows playback. It does require some adjustment of the slur’s appearance in Engrave mode.

The method of using alternating voices and forcing ties by Ctrl/Cmd-clicking notes before tie-ing should also work. (Edit: although yes of course this doesn’t quite playback the same as untied accented notes.)


This worked for me. It concerned a bass drum, so apparently adding a voice was not available.