Cross-staff slurs (minor frustration)

To input slurs for notes on one staff, we can either select all the notes to be slurred and hit ‘s’ or select just the first and last notes then hit ‘s’. I almost always select all the notes, either because I click the beams of eighths or sixteenths, or (more often) because I’m selecting using the keyboard exclusively, using shift+arrow keys, which selects everything between first and last.

So when I was trying to input slurs across staves recently, I selected all the notes to be slurred, as I always do, hit ‘s’, and got a slur only on the notes in the first staff. It didn’t take too much digging in the manual and forums to find out cross-staff slurs only work if you select the first and last notes, but nothing in between. Which is not so hard to do, so no big deal.

But is there a rationale for this? Especially considering Dorico’s keyboard-centric design, selecting all the notes seems like the logical way to do this. It was frustrating for a bit there, and it’s always nicer not to have to dig in the manual to do something you thought you already knew how to do. I imagine other newer users may get hung up and frustrated the same way I was.

Also, while I was figuring this out, I came across this thread, and I wondered if the issue of cross-staff slurs that begin and end in the same staff might be easier to communicate to the software by selecting all the notes to be slurred together. If you select only the start and finish, Dorico has no way of knowing you want the slur to include some notes on an adjacent staff, whereas maybe in a future version, selecting all the notes could prompt Dorico to create the proper slur over both staves? Just an idea.

Like clicking one note and having the slur apply to that note and the next, perhaps the ability to select all notes on one staff and applying a slur is just a shortcut and the basic algorithm is to click the first and last note.

Although I have no objection if the Dorico Team decides to follow your advice (especially in the case of slurs that start and end in one staff but include notes from another), I do not think it odd that stretching slurs from one staff to the next, like applying ties between two notes in different voices, requires a specific approach.

As far as I can tell, the rationale is:

  • In one staff, slur from the first to the last selected note
  • If only one note selected, slur to the next note
  • With a selection in multiple staves, do the same in each staff

In order to slur cross-staff, this leaves only the current method to clarify the user’s intent.

I would add that the select first and last notes method also works consistently for slurs between different voices (on the same stave or on different staves).

Ah, that does at least make sense.