Baroque ornaments in 1.0.30?

Thanks for the update, for baroque music not too much of a help: still waiting at least to correct what in Dorico is called mordent into trill and inverted mordent into mordent because this is really wrong. And please add the other ornaments that are in the Bravura font and needed for baroque keyboard music. I kno you can copy them as text but that is a very temporarily amateuristic option.
I am afraid that in the 9 days that remain from my test period I am not gong to see this, neither basso continuo figuring, essential for every baroque score.

You’re certainly not going to see any further improvements in any area of the software in the nine remaining days of your trial, because there will be no further updates to Dorico in the next nine days.

The naming of ornaments is fraught with difficulties, because the same symbols have been used with different meanings in different historical periods and different idioms of music. I don’t think the naming of the small number of ornaments we have yet included in Dorico are especially controversial – when I was doing the research on ornamentation for SMuFL I consulted a number of standard academic texts, including Neumann, which as far as I know is the standard text on Baroque and post-Baroque ornamentation, and the naming I used when putting the glyphs for Bravura together is taken from his naming scheme.

Thank you for your answer. I think Neumann is extremely controversial. I can say that I am an expert on baroque music, being a harpsichordist for 40 years and teacher at the conservatoire and I think that most experts in this field will agree with me. I had same discussion on the MuseScore forum and they now have the proper ornaments with their proper names.
Actually the tr symbol and the short or longer wave line are all trills that can be longer or shorter. A mordent is an ornament with the tone below.

in attachement you see the nice option to choose for baroque style (playback)
Schermafbeelding 2016-12-21 om 15.15.14.png

Dorico is controversial here. A mordant has a line through it and goes to the lower note.
Neumann was the rage when I was at college, but (as far as I remember) he was the opposite of prescriptive.
Bach’s ‘Klavierbüchlein’ is probably the least controversial way to approach these generally.


Even worse: importing XML (from MusueScore but I think same from Sib and Fin) translates all the trill (trillo, praller) symbols into the mordent symbol, so the wave with line trough it which is defenitely wrong.

The article on Ornaments in New Grove has a nice summary. It concurs that a mordant has the vertical line through it and is an alternation of the main note and the note one step LOWER.

The same symbol without a line is a type of trill, and starts/alternates with the note ABOVE.

Gardner Read also has a nice section (p. 245 in my edition), and he also says that the “inverted mordent” lacks the bar and alternates upwards. (Though he has them starting on the main note.) He also suggests that the trill extension line is essentially a very long inverted mordent.

However, he adds: “Some theorists have defined mordents and inverted mordents as just the reverse of the above definitions. As it is possible to write out mordent-like figures in full, modern notators might gratefully follow the frequent example of J.S. Bach in notating exactly what is desired”…!!

The discussion resulting from this particular comment has so far ignored one facet: cultural differences between English-speaking North Americans and English-speaking Britons. In Britain, these ornaments are indeed called what Dorico calls them. As an English-speaking North American, I taught music theory in a choir school for the past five years using the curriculum supplied by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (which virtually all English-speaking choir schools use the world over, and which naturally has pride of place in England), and the ornaments in question are called mordent and inverted mordent in that curriculum. When teaching ornaments according to ABRSM I would have to call attention to linguistic differences between North American and British usage with respect to these ornaments, and also to appoggiatura and accacciatura (being differentiated with and without a slash, which seems rather arbitrary to me). I myself prefer the North American style the OP requests, but the ABRSM naming scheme is by no means wrong—particularly given that Daniel’s team comprises largely (entirely?) native Britons who were educated in Britain and develop Dorico in London.

I’m a Brit in Britain. Dorico’s naming would be controversial over here. The ABRSM used to have their own (controversial amongst practitioners) take on this, but the latest ABRSM material follows Howard Ferguson’s ‘Keyboard Interpretation’ which is based on the Klavierbüchlein. It refers to the old ‘mordent/inverted mordent’ as an unfortunate confusion, where the schneller had been called a mordent, so the mordent with a line came to be called ‘inverted’.

We would probably benefit from this discussion if native Italian, French and German speakers will participate in this discussion. Especially musicologists and also musicians who have specialised in this repertoire nowadays. As there are many of them…

In defense of Frederick Neumann, who surely knows as much about ornamentation as anyone on the planet: he calls the squiggle with a line through it a “mordent”, just like J. S. Bach, generations of musicians before and after him, and every reference work I own including the 1954 Groves Dictionary. The word is derived from the Italian word meaning “to bite”, which exactly describes the sound of this very fast alternation between the main tone and its lower, often chromatic, auxiliary tone.

Without a line, a short squiggle is called a “trill”, a “schneller”, or a “pralltriller”. It has also been termed an “inverted mordent”, a somewhat misleading term that one hopes will become obsolete soon, since the effect of a trill is generally different from that of a mordent.

If Dorico does not use these common musical terms property, it has again redefined standard terms as it wishes, as with the term “voice” which can be a “chord”, of all things. I find this not only unacceptable but absurd.

If I misunderstand and Dorico is using these terms correctly, thank goodness!

So I think so far everyone agrees with me and I hope also on the fact that Dorico “inverts” the trill and mordent (misinterprets) as explained above!

OK, folks, I was perhaps led astray by the early music professors at my alma mater (Oxford University) whose opinions I canvassed before I embarked upon attempting to categorise ornament symbols for SMuFL, a task I knew at the time was likely to be both thankless and impossible to complete to everybody’s satisfaction. It had been the best part of 20 years since my own undergraduate studies in music of this historical period, so I got in touch with a couple of my former teachers to check what the most current and authoritative text on the subject was. Both told me Neumann, which was also the book I had referred to during my own undergraduate studies.

I will get hold of a copy of Ferguson’s book, which is not presently in my library. If you would like to tell me which of the symbols on the following pages of the SMuFL specification are incorrectly named, then I’ll do my best to get this all squared away.

Common ornaments

Precomposed trills and mordents

You could do worse than copy At least that would make Dorico consistent with one other app that does pretty good music engraving :wink:

FWIW the MusicXML specification seems to go with the “inverted mordent” terminology, which AFAIK doesn’t have any contemporary historical authorities to support it.

Thank you for your dedication to Dorico and your unwavering attention to user requests Daniel - it’s very impressive. When I read “Neumann” I thought you were referring to really expensive handmade microphones, manufactured in Berlin.

I wonder what Vaughn Schlepp has to add to this – for sure he certainly has more than his fair share of practical experience playing and interpreting Baroque music.

As a practical matter, I would suggest giving people options between the various ways of how Baroque ornaments are written, and how they are played back by default. Including terminology – let’s not get hung up on terminology (potatoes, potatoes) or “what is customary” or “what is the best” etc etc.

The terminology for the signs is critical, because you can’t use the popover without that, and presumably you won’t be able to associate playback with a particular sign either.

The problem with the specific example of wrong terminology is that it’s a bit like Dorico deciding to call a French acute accent a “grave” and a grave accent and “inverted grave”. Sure, that would “work” technically, but everybody who actually knows French is going to be confused, annoyed, or both!

Of course you could select the signs from the right hand Ornaments panel without knowing what they are called, but that’s not very efficient.

I agree there isn’t a one-to-one correspondence between “signs” and “playback” - not even within a limited geographical region and a restricted historical time period. Of course one reason for using the signs at all was to allow some “guided flexibility” to the performers! Personally I’m not sure there is much sense in trying to do automatic playback beyond the most elementary principles. IMO if you really want realistic ornament playback, you just record live MIDI into a piano roll - though like any other recording, that doesn’t capture the real situation where the player is following the practice of “going with the flow” and “living in the moment”, and the same piece may be played 20 different ways on 20 different occasions. There are some “simple” pieces by Bach that can be played convincingly at any tempo between say q = 40 and q = 144 - and possibly they were written to teach his pupils exactly that fact of baroque musical life!

Howard Ferguson is not really state of the art…
The article on ornamentation in the New Grove is by David Schulenberg, he is also author of the excellent The Keyboard Music of JS Bach that is state of the art. I propose I ask him for advice. The problem with the baroque ornaments is that the first extensive table of ornaments was by d’Anglebert and the names of the ornaments are in French, Purcell used this table as a basis and translated the names, thus tremblement becoming shake, cheute becoming fall and back fall etc. These literal translations cannot be used anymore. Neither Bachs trillo, mordant, cadence etc. So we have to use modern commonly accepted English names, the German and other translations is another chapter. Actually I think Robert Donington The Interpretation of Early Music, although not the newest book on early music, might be a good starting point. He gives a list and description of 125 (!) symbols of ornaments, some of which can have several meanings depending on the period and composer. He writes about the mordent sign (so the wave with stroke through):
a) Mordent - Ubiquitous French (from 17th cent.) and German (from early 18th cent., including J.S. Bach): the correct usage
b) Inverted (i.e. upper) mordent (Schneller) - Hummel (and after describing the same ornament with one extra wave from Spohrs violin school) he writes: incorrect either way.

“The mordent in its most common form is an oscillation of the principal note with its lower neighbor.”
…from Frederick Neumann Ornamentation in Baroque and Post Baroque Music. page 416

So why is the error in Dorico nomenclature being blamed on poor Frederick Neumann?

Since my first piano lessons at age seven until now (45 years later) a mordent has always had a line through and went to the lower note. Without line it’s a trill (in German “Praller”) and goes to the upper note. When I import an XML from Finale or Sibelius into Dorico, every mordent changes into a trill and every trill into a mordent. The same thing has already been mentioned with MuseScore.

The naming of these two ornaments as it is now is against the rest of the world, and I would say it’s urgent to be fixed. Because: What happens after renaming? I don’t know the program internally, but I guess that after the fix is made we have to correct all our Dorico scores and exchange all these ornaments… So, the sooner the better!

Apart from this (and 1st, 2nd endings, figured bass, more ornaments etc.) I really love Dorico for it’s workflow and output quality.

I don’t think anybody is blaming the error on Frederick Neumann. As I said, I used Neumann’s book as the source for the various ranges of ornaments that are present in SMuFL. The issue of what mordents and inverted mordents should be called was debated by the various people on the SMuFL mailing list, and we ended up where we ended up.

A PDF version of the first (1965) edition of Donington’s book is available at The table you’re referring to can be found on starting on page 577 of the PDF. However, with the best will in the world, I don’t have sufficient time to throw myself into further exhaustive research of ornamentation in this period, having already spent quite a bit of time on it a couple of years ago.

So really what I need is somebody to make a concrete proposal of what should be changed or added, and then I will do my best to make it happen.