combined dynamics

There seems to be a limitation for the combined dynamics feature: I can’t create e.g. p-pp or f-ff at the moment.
Looks like one side is limited to pppp up to mp and the other side to mf up to ffff. I can switch the sides, but I can’t find a way or an option to change this?

No, I’m afraid not at the moment. We’ll consider how we might be able to extend combined dynamics to include these options as well.

Hi Daniel,

wanted to add “mf/f” as a combined dynamic and I discovered two things:

  1. instead of e.g. “-” “/” “:” I get japanese (?) symbols. (see picture)
  2. I still can’t have “mf” on one side and “f” on the other side.

combined dynamics.PNG

When I start a new project, I don’t have any display problems.
What can I do to resolve this for this file I started before Dorico 1.0.30?

I guess you can email it to me, and I will try to fix it for you, when I get a chance.

Hi Daniel,

I’ve spotted the problem. I’ve changed the music font in this file to MTF-Cadence. Changing back to Bravura solved the problem. There have probably been some changes in the use of the fonts and MTF-Cadence has to be updated, that it will work fine again in Dorico 1.1?
I’ve you would still like to have the file, to have a look, I will send it to you.
Regarding the second part of my question: are there anny plans to make combined dynamics more flexible? Would be very welcome at least for me. I use something like e.g. “mf/f” in repeated sections quite often.


I think that “mf/f” for a repeated section is really a different kind of thing than a combined dynamic as Dorico currently has it – I think the program should have some means to assign dynamics to different passes through the music, and display them in different ways (e.g. the more explicit “1st time mf, 2nd time f”, which I myself had need of just this week).

As for the MTF-Cadence problem, I guess Abraham needs to expand the dynamics range to cover the various glyphs needed for combined dynamics. You’re presumably just getting a random character substituted from another font because MTF-Cadence doesn’t contain a glyph at that code point.

Perhaps so, but I don’t understand the combined dynamics as implemented. In every piece of music I have ever seen, “mf-f” means mf the first pass, f the second pass. If a person wants forte piano (hard attack and then quiet), it is fp, nor f-p. f-p means forte first time, piano second time, and this is a universal convention as far as I can tell.

As far as a combined dynamic goes, why is the lower dynamic constrained to mp at the loudest and the higher dynamic constrained to mf at the quietest? While fp is quite common, I have certainly seen ff mf before and certainly mp ppp.

The way the combined dynamics are structured internally at present, one side has to be some kind of forte and the other some kind of piano, but we do plan to change this in future.

For dynamics that are intended to produce a different dynamic on each pass through a repeated section, we will have a different way of achieving that once we come back to revisit some of the remaining notational issues with repeated sections.

Good. I’m handling it with text for the moment.

I realize “ff mf” seems a bit anal, but I do see people writing things like that. Personally I am much more interested in having the playback sound more like what fp should sound like. The dynamics don’t seem to be very apparent in playback at the moment. I have experimented with the playback curve, but it doesn’t make as much difference as I might have expected.

It also appears that when I copy and paste material, I lose whatever velocities might have been in the original passage. That really makes playback difficult, especially since we cannot edit velocities yet. As a short term thing, it would be nice to have a tool to set all the velocities the same (or to ignore the velocities and treat than as if 64) so that any adjustments via dynamics would be operating on a common basis.

I don’t mean any of this to be critical. Indeed, I hope you take your time with the changes from this point forward. The most important thing is to have a clean (“orthogonal”) architecture. With all the requests coming in, it would be easy to be pushed into a jumble of haphazard patches, and that would destroy the elegance that has been designed into the product.

Those are all things that are on our list to sort out as soon as we’re able.

@cparmerlee: Just working on a Puccini score encountering ff mf cresc ff on a whole note leading to the first note of the next bar. I think Puccini can’t be described as a bit anal, do you? :wink:

Of course, he is extremely definite yet sometimes tedious in his markings (like Mahler), but I always perceived the markings as a big help. When interprets ignore them, you can tell that the interpretation is (sometimes much) worse…

Personally, I find the biggest problem with that is figuring out what the COMPOSER thought fp should sound like Sometimes I get the feeling its one of those things that was easy to write without bothering too much about what it actually meant.

I would imagine that if the fp notation appears outside a repeat, it can only have the meaning of forte followed immediately by piano.

That’s fine so far as it goes, but the devil is in the detail.

Suppose “fp” is written on a note with a duration of say 2 seconds, played by an instrument which can do arbitrary changes of dynamics during a continuous note. When does the “p” apply? Is there a supposed to be a sudden step change from f to p at some point (and which point in time: somewhere in the middle of the note, or at the end?), or a smooth diminuendo (and when does that dim start and end, exactly)?

If the note in question happens to be played by 16 first-violins in unison, SOMEBODY has to decide all that, otherwise there will most likely be 16 different versions being played simultaneously!

When I see fp, it suggests an immediate transition. The other options you mention would, I expect, be handled with slightly different notation, perhaps a short diminuendo or a subito p. But that’s just me based on the literature I have sung and read over many years.

The standard meaning of a fp always is kind of a dolce accent, a f immediately followed by a p, like Derrek states. As a composer, Rob, I would choose to write two (or more) tied notes with dynamics exact on the place where I would like them to be concerning your 2 seconds example.
Even in a repeated section it should be the same, here I always encountered the f - p option for different dynamics for the repeat.

Well, given this extract of the relevant bits of a published score of a very well known work in the standard repertoire, I stand by my position that three players are left guessing that the “p” is actually intended to be a whole bar after the “f”. (Note, this is a unison tutti - there is nothing else going on at the same time).

Just the first example I found - certainly not the only one.
orchestral fp.png

I’ll probably find out this is Mozart or Beethoven or some other famous composer, but I’ll still venture to say this is poor/unclear notation unless the composer is going for a very specific effect.