Disable ligatures for an instrument


Is it possible to disable ligatures for an instrument, especially a singer?

In general, singers’ scores do not have ligatures.

You’ll have to split the beaming manually, I’m afraid.

Some European publishers continue to beam to syllables, but ‘generally’, many publishers beam to the rhythm (as for instruments), and have done so for many decades.

Beaming to syllables is very antiquated, and not usually recommended. (There have been lots of discussions on this.)

As a singer, I’d much rather have the extra information that beaming to the rhythm provides.


This has indeed been discussed several times before. One group of users argue that this is needed (perhaps because it’s required by a publisher - it’s straightforward in other software) and a variety of egotists object because they don’t like it.

The latter position seems ridiculous to me.

I certainly don’t like it (as I’ve expressed elsewhere) although I don’t think ‘egotist’ is the most charitable term… those of us who advocate for avoiding this style of engraving have legitimate reasons and arguments which go far beyond mere “opinion”, not least of which is that rhythms are substantially easier to read when normal beaming is observed.

Marc Larcher* has made a sound argument that it is a publishing standard in French opera, and others have argued that it makes parsing syllables easier (I disagree, but don’t doubt that it may be true for them), so I’m not opposed to its inclusion in Dorico, although I really hope this trend loses favor, and I would certainly hate to see it become a default for vocal staves. Regardless, it seems that this trend will be around a while longer, so it can’t be ignored forever.

Although my name is misspelled, what I would like to address here is that it’s not only French opera. All opera works usually played in opera houses (from Mozart to at least Puccini) are edited with syllable beaming. Call it an antiquated fashion, it’s simply what we’re used to working with. In any language.

As Marc has pointed out, this applies to almost the entire operatic repertoire. I’d add that it continues long after Puccini: all of Britten for example – whether published by Boosey or Faber – is beamed in this way. The song repertoire is treated similarly.

I just don’t understand why some people think it’s alright to dish out a lecture every time this crops up just because their parochial interests are satisfied without beaming to lyrics.

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Sorry Marc! I should have just tagged you anyway. I’ve corrected it above.

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Fair enough. But we should note that people advocate for their preferred method for all sorts of things whenever they crop up. For example, it is the same whenever someone posts something involving piano texture. There is another thread right this very minute where a few people have made all sorts of suggestions about changing how cross staff beaming is notated, even though the original example is perfectly sufficient as it is. Ultimately, all of these examples usually come from a place of wanting to help and (typically, I presume) the sincere belief that the suggestion offered might improve on what’s already there.

Personal preferences aren’t relevant here (that’s what I meant by egotism).

If you like your amateur choral singers to have scores that are beamed as they would be if there were no words, that’s fine (you have that by default) but surely you must recognize that in the world beyond, there’s a need for beaming to lyrics.

Ben’s statements would seem to be not only wrong but rather foolish given his line of work.

Do European publishers and those working on Urtext editions need advice?

Maybe not worth arguing about?


earlier in the thread:

Are people producing urtext editions for major publishers coming here for advice? I doubt it’s very common; if they are, it’s not very likely that they account for the majority of cases. Considering the number of people on the forum who regularly provide disclaimers that they are totally green to dorico and/or music engraving, it hardly seems like it’s a cardinal sin to suggest an alternative practice. Many first-time engravers just try to reproduce things they’ve seen before without really understanding why it was engraved that way to begin with. (General custom? One-off from a peculiar publisher? Terrible internet edition by someone else who didn’t know anything about engraving? etc. etc.) And certainly, if someone included a preface that, “I’m working on an urtext for a publisher, and this is the option that I need” the discussion certainly wouldn’t veer this direction.

At any rate, you’ve summarily chided me for daring to open my mouth, so you needn’t fear. The message has been received loud and clear.


Responding to the OP’s request, I just checked and it takes about 3 seconds to disable beaming now. Select the first note, Select More x3, Make Unbeamed.

If you want melismatic beaming that’s another issue entirely and must be done by hand as Ben pointed out. It also is an archaic practice. If you’re reproducing historical work, then fine, but it’s not typically used for new work. Some sources:

Gould, pg 435

G. Schirmer “Manual of Style and Usage” pg 88

(Schirmer’s beam angles are terrible there, LOL)

Kurt Stone, “Music Notation in the Twentieth Century” pg 293

… and so on. Virtually all sources that address this issue state similarly.


I don’t think it’s anything to argue about. I don’t understanding the campaigning zeal of those who want to stop people beaming to lyrics. It should be a simple choice depending on the context.

Not for European publishers. I was shocked the first time I saw it in a 1992 Schirmer anthology of operatic arias. I’d rather not have to argue the pros and cons on this occasion; I’d just like it to be an option. Finale could do this thirty years ago and there’s long been a plugin for Sibelius. Hopefully Dorico will do this well when it does finally arrive (slurs being an option perhaps).


So is Basso Continuo, but it has its own fully fleshed out feature :upside_down_face:


I’m reminded of Rimsky-Korsakov’s preface to his Practical Manual of Harmony where he writes in 1886 about “rules for reading the now obsolete figured bass,” LOL!