Bug? ties within tremolo chains removes tremolos after fist note

I just discovered a strange behaviour of Dorico Pro when trying to write a sustained not for strings, starting non tremolo and adding tremolo from the next note on.
The moment I add a tie to join both notes the tremolo disappears except for the first tremolo note.
How can that be avoided/corrected? I’d like to have it look like one single tone whithin that the tremolo starts. Has anyone an idea how to get around this strange software behaviour?

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The problem is that Dorico treats a tied note as a single note no matter how it is displayed, so only the quarter note has the tremolo property. In engrave mode, select the other noteheads that need the tremolo strokes. In the properties panel, set Single stem tremolo to Three strokes.

Edit: Another way to achieve what you want without using engrave mode is to remove the ties, add tremolo strokes to the notes that need them, select the second eighth note, and press T repeatedly until all the notes are tied.

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@johnkprice is quite right on how to achieve what you want.

However, musically a string of tied tremolo notes for string players is quite meaningless. Only the tie from the non-trem note to the first tremolo is important. Declutter your score and remove the subsequent ties.

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That may be true, but tied tremolos are common enough and sometimes required by the client.

it is worth changing the habits for a more simple, precise and uncluttered notation

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As long as you are writing just your own music you are free to choose how, but if you are going to notate the music of collegues, you should write it as they want to have it written … so it’s not a matter of taste.


Thanks, that will help!

Sorry, but I fundamentally disagree. Musical notation is already a very imprecise method of converting a composer’s intention into performers’ actions. There is no excuse for adding more confusion by accommodating errors.

I agree it is not a matter of taste! Your colleagues need to be be educated, just as a diligent proof-reader would query a mis-spelling.

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Not in my experience (and I’ve done a lot of scrubbing over the years)

And I hope you have queried their choice, as you would point out a low B in a cello part or an unplayable double stop.

“Tied Tremolos” are probably a common misstep. They’re not confusing - it’s likely most players will not even notice. If it happens they are confused, it’s likely there are other, more serious problems with the player(s).

Anything that causes a player to ask themselves why this? is a confusion. Professional players do notice these things - and their respect for the composer goes down a notch, even if they don’t express it. (In fact I’ll go one step further and cynically suggest that some pros will store up these niggly confusions just to raise them with the novice conductor a few minutes before they go into overtime!)

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I’m thinking of Ms. Gould’s introduction to her book. I can’t say it anywhere close to as well as she did, but it’s’ hard to say objectively that there is always only one right way.

I get the point about clarity, I really do. But even Ms Gould has alternates for reasons - whether she personally thinks that they are the best or make the most sense to her.

Sure, do your very best for everyone. But as far as the player’s respect… that’s a trap IMO (says the guy who has far too many of his own battles with codependency).

The people you describe aren’t pros to me, no matter their talent or paycheck. You are all there to do the job of supporting and bringing forth someone else’s creative vision for the movie, the event, the artist, etc. And those petty games are the definition of not-pro to me. As tight as budgets are today where you have to pick and choose your players (not just “hire an orchestra”) I think those players are hurting themselves most of all.

I was a freelance orchestral trombonist for 20 years. I may be an oddball, but I never copped the attitude you describe. Some of the most poorly prepared music exists in orchestra and rental libraries, mostly dating from 1900-1950. I saw my share. I guess I was more anxious to perform well so that the many defects quickly became superfluous.


Of course, it’s always a balancing act. I’m not only a paid chimpanzee-copyist, but an editor and musical advisor. Obviously I point out blatant errors, or notation that is unplayable. And I also give my opinion on less egregious notational practices, like this one here. Sometimes the client relents, and sometimes they don’t.

I don’t take as hard of a line as you do in regards to things like this one, apparently. I need the work, and I’m more of a pragmatist than an idealist when it comes to music notation.


My purpose here was less to complain the crime, and more to object the suggestion that Dorico should somehow be complicit by allowing it.

I did a lot of orchestra copying 15–20 years ago for a composer who insisted on notational styles modeled on Bartók, viz. dotted ties connecting tremolo notes of the same pitch. I found it fussy and not informative, to either the players or the director. A tremolo represents many notes in itself, whether measured or not. The idea of tieing them (or, conceptually, the last of many repetitions to the first of the next note?) doesn’t make sense on the face of it.

The only reason I can see to tie tremolo notes is to contradict any tendency to accentuate the attack of each note. I do not believe string players generally would do that anyway. I agree that the ties are nearly-meaningless clutter, and as such, introduce unnecessary questions in the minds of players trying to read.

And that is precisely why they are used, and even sometimes recommended (e.g for long timpani rolls). They eliminate the question during rehearsal, “Do you want a fresh attack in each measure, or should it sound like all one note?”


Never a question asked by any string player, particularly any who have ever played Bruckner! I can’t speak for percussionists, but the OP was specific about writing for strings.

As a string player myself both versions do feel different. Notation can transport more than just pure playing technique.

  1. without ties: I start the tremolo and count the beats until it’s over.
  2. with ties: I start the tremolo and keep it on a long note, just like a singer on one breath.
    Version 1 is in a way easier to achieve, because I just need to move my hand an fingers in a fast way. Version 2 is more work, as I have to keep a tension with my diaphragm at the same time.

That’s quite similar to my opinion. I’ve played several years in a number of quite good orchestras before I started conducting and composing. I always try to notate music from the perspective of the single player and in the best possible way to give an idea of how it is musically meant and therefore should be played. Slurs and ties help to structure the musical flow.