I’m transcribing a Purcell song (I’ll sail upon the Dogstar), and since I’m not writing a realized continuo part, I don’t want to show both keyboard staves. However, when I hide the upper staff, the figured bass disappears. Is there a fix for this, or am I stuck with creating figures with staff text or lyrics?
Welcome to the forum @kingavenuemusic. See this thread from yesterday on a similar topic – please do search the forum to see if there are already discussions related to your question.
Additionally, if you post the same question both here and in the Facebook group, it’s helpful if you can mention that and include links both ways, so it’s easy for people to follow the full conversation (you also tend to end up with fewer duplicate suggestions).
What I don’t quite understand (in the case of either thread) is, if one doesn’t want to show the upper staff of a keyboard/continuo part, why one would not choose another continuo instrument and apply the figures to that.
One could always then change the sound in Play to sound like a keyboard or even mute the alternate bass staff shown and use a hidden keyboard part if one wished to flesh out the keyboard accompaniment.
No, basso continuo figures shouldn’t be considered some sort of right-hand harpsichord music. It’s part of the bass line. It shouldn’t matter if there’s any right-hand keyboard staff around. In most of (baroque) music, composers only notated the bass line, with figured bass. This general bass was played by any number of bass instruments (organ, cello, bassoon, trombone, theorbo, whatever), depending on circumstances, and some of those (organ, cembalo, theorbo) would play chords as well, using the basso continuo instructions. I’m a cellist, I could play (rudimentary) chords from a figured bass part. No right-hand staff needed.
Yes I would agree that figured bass is not “right hand harpsichord music.” The problem however is a technical one and not a musical one. IIRC from something Daniel said a while back, Dorico stores the figures and some other items (pedal lines!) internally in the upper staff of two-staff instruments; therefore hiding the upper staff hides the figures.