Distinguishing between slurs and phrase marks

The composer of this piece does a lot of joining up long notes with slurs, and often these passages are written within a phrase mark.

So mostly slurs were joining the last notehead in a tie chain with the first notehead in the following tie chain.

And conversely, phrase marks were mostly from the first note head in a tie chain to the last note head in the following tie chain.

So I spent more time than I’d like selecting noteheads and typing “S” and then adjusting the properties of the individual slur. Yes, I can set Engraving options to alter the default behaviour to one or other of the above, but if you’ve got an equal number of slurs and phrase marks you end up doing fiddly configuration in the bottom options zone on half of the slurs or phrase marks you write. And there can be hundreds.

But how nice it would be to have:

  • one key command that creates a legato or joining slur (per above definition) and
  • another key command that creates a phrase mark (per above definition)

… between selected (tied) notes.

… and equivalent (long press?) touch commands on the iPad.

(I’m not sure how this works on Ipad) Can you create a slur and a phrase and set the appropriate start/end properties. Then copy these when you need to, rather than entering new slurs/phrases?

Yes, you can … that helps a bit.

:thinking: I’m trying to picture this. Is there really any need to place the slurs differently? Gould suggests that phrase-slurs go outside articulation-slurs, which makes it clear which is which.

I’ve also been wondering about the absence of a phrase mark in Dorico.
My understanding, as taught in the 1970s for the UK ABMS theory exam, is that it marks a “musical sentence”.
And therefore it’s fundamentally different from the slur indications written for string players (Piston “Orchestration” says the slur indicates that the phrase should be played with the same bow direction), and for wind players (where I would read a slur as changing the keys without tounging ) .

The meaning of “articulation-slurs” and “phrase-slurs” is different, but they are both slurs and their appearance and construction is the same. See Ted Ross, p. 139-ff.

Dorico takes a semantic approach, certainly, but to sub-classify different types of slur might be a bridge too far, unless there’s evidence of a wide-spread tradition of displaying these types differently, and I’m not convinced there is – though I wait to be proved wrong!

Do other notation apps make a distinction? I know Finale doesn’t.

Using standard slurs as phrase marks really only makes sense in keyboard and other sustained pitched percussion writing as they have a different meaning in wind, string, and voice writing. Because of this Stone (pg 35-36) advocates using dotted or dashed slurs for phrasing. I suppose Dorico could have a separate keycommand to automatically create a dashed slur and give dashed slurs a separate set of Engraving Options in terms of tie chain positioning. I don’t recall really seeing this be requested before though.

@iainH, even though there aren’t keycommands for the properties Janus mentioned, you can create keycommands for basically anything in the Properties box with some manual editing of your keycommands.json file. There are quite a few walkthroughs on how to do this on the forum. I think Leo posted a good one a couple of years ago. Having a simple keycommand to set the start or end position in the tie chain I assume would speed things up for you.

Yes @FredGUnn that sounds what I’m after.
I wasn’t concerned that phrase marks should appear any differently, only that i should be able to, in effect, toggle the slur lines options in the dialogue with key commands according to whether it was one kind of slur or another.

With a caveat: I have been doing a large part of my note input on a large project on the iPad and AFAIK I would not have access to key commands’ JSON data?

One final note: I have little depth of knowledge on this topic and may not have accurately motivated the feature request. But in this project, I’m pretty sure now that the composer

  • joins sequences of long (tied) notes together “last notehead to first notehead” eg to keep the phrases legato without toungeing

  • marks phrases “first (tied) notehead to (usually/always?) first notehead in tie chain”

On the desktop, you could at least create a script to set all the properties of the current selected slur(s) in one go.