Chord symbols, continuo, and figured bass

Daniel, having read your latest Developer Diary, I’m thrilled that you and the team are finally able to work in earnest on chord symbols, if for no other reason than the fact that it will cause the naysayers to pipe down! It occurred to me today that on a semantic level chord symbols, continuo figures, and Roman numeral analytical figured bass symbols are all different representations of the same thing. Without showing too much of your hand, are you able to tell us if Dorico will understand all of these elements in the same semantic way? If this is the case, I imagine that Roman numerals could be transformed with a click into Berklee-style chord symbols or Baroque figures. This would be quite a feat, and could revolutionize the classroom teaching of harmony (while also perhaps allowing students to cheat more easily…). Is this indeed in the cards?

Then at least one person from the Dorico team will have to learn Substitute Dominant, Related Two and Modal Interchange.
And another one all the finesses of the art of Basso Continuo.
It would be really great :wink:

I’m not going to complain if figure bass gets implemented “for free” as a sort of chord symbol - so long as somebody remembers that figured bass symbols don’t transpose … :astonished:

We certainly discussed whether or not we could tackle things like figured bass and function symbols as part of the present work on chord symbols, but unfortunately they’re dissimilar enough from an implementation point of view that we won’t get any of this stuff “for free” (alas, there is really no such thing in software development in my experience!). Figured bass in particular is very different in as much as the figures have to relate specifically to notes in the continuo instrument, whereas chord symbols can be completely independent of the music written for any of the instruments (though there is presumably some relationship at least).

Chord symbols, please!

Well, in a way they do transpose: for example when the composer uses a natural/b/# and then you have to transpose the piece, it can be really misleading if there is still the same natural/b/#, where there actually should be another b or #. Of course that’s only a concern for later baroque music, in early baroque there aren’t any naturals anyway. I have to do a lot of transposing work for figured bass music, and currently use MuseScore for that work and each time I transpose I have to check the figured bass part and correct the figured bass’ accidentals. Same was with Finale (2012), which had probably the poorest, work-around-like, confusing implementation of figured bass (as a form of lyrics so you couldn’t even have the figures above the stave!).

I’ve really been enjoying using Dorico’s Flow and Layout system in preparing materials for my first-year theory courses this semester, but I’m going to have to switch back to Sibelius at some point when we need figured bass for counterpoint and harmonic analysis. Just wanted to put my vote in here for the feature. I know it’s a weird and arcane thing in performance, but it’s critical to teaching and learning.

Dave, have you tried Florian’s excellent workaround, here? https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=246&t=120821&start=75

Until figured bass is native, this really works very well. I’ve used it for urtext editions. Easy to input, and looks great.

Dear Davemacdo,
If you’re on mac, the figurato option is not yet available. But you can do the job, using the playing technique editor.
I created all the playing technique symbols I needed (#, flat, 2, 3, 4, 5…) using the Bravura glyphs found in the SMuLF site. Then it’s quite easy : invoke the caret where you want, and click on your “6” playing technique and on the “4” playing technique (or invoke them through the shift-P popover) and they stack beautifully at the right place. It’s a workaround that really does work ! And if you need some horizontal lines, simply input hairpins with a 0 aperture (I made all hairpins with 0 aperture in the dynamics page of the Engraving options, so it’s basically only < or > to enter the line !)
I attach a little example.


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