# Dorico 4 Figured Bass

I am wanting to input the #,8 figure (in that order) to appear like so:

When I input it into Dorico, it will order it as 8,#

and if I try #10,8 and enable “Show compound intervals as simple”, it will include the numeral ‘3’ in the figure:

If you’re trying to do unorthodox things with figured bass, for instance having figures “out of order,” like a # on top of an 8, I would suggest changing the note input preferences for figured bass to “follow input literally.”

I do this all the time for my scores, and it works well.

I have set note input preference for figured bass to “follow input literally”, but Dorico still does automatic ordering of figures from largest to smallest.

It also does some other strange adjustments I don’t quite understand, for instance, I try to input as “6,4,2+” to recreate the following figure:

But this is the result (note the key signature is G major–one sharp, top and bottom staves have treble and bass clefs respectively):

More confusing is when I input “6,4,2#” which creates the following, though I have raised figures set to slash but I suppose that the “follow input literally” option overrides this:

It is correct that using “follow input literally” will take precedence over the option to use the 2 with a slash. If you type “6,4,2+” you will get the slashed appearance instead.

As to your other question, I’m afraid it is correct that the special behaviour to display the third as a sharp sign on its own will only work for a literal third, not for a tenth.

My problem about “6,4,2+” is that the 6 and 4 both have sharps where “6,4,2#” doesn’t.

Can you tell me what bass note and key signature you’re trying to create the figure on? It makes a difference here.

Richard Lanyon, see above:

Try “Allow diminished intervals” in the Note Input Options.

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Ah right. What chord is it you’re intending to produce? If it’s F#, A, C over an Eb (i.e. a dim7 chord), then you probably don’t want the slash on the 2 as the sharp is implied by the key signature. If you really do want an F that is sharpened compared to the key signature, i.e. Fx, then I would have thought you would want an A# and C# too.

Figured Bass numbers are traditionally not necessarily a logical thing. They assume an understanding of the harmonic structure by the player and just give little helpful hints from time to time. That is, why „Follow Input Literally“ is the way to go in these cases.

Indeed, but it makes a difference to how it is input into Dorico as to whether you want a #6 where the sharp is hidden, or whether you want a natural 6.

If I may say – This kind of difference is what figured bass is specifically designed not to do. If you must specify the voicing, why not use notation? Or perhaps you are copying from a manuscript?

There are occasional 17th- and 18th-century sources where the figures are specified in such a way as to indicate proper voice leading. Bach takes this to an extreme in one of his obbligato violin sonatas, and in the Musical Offering trio, but he’s building on prior models. It’s definitely not the normal use case for figured bass, but it does appear.

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In @victorphan’s example, the 4 shouldn’t get a #, despite being an augmented interval above the bass Eb. The A natural is part of the key signature.

It is indeed a F#, A, C over Eb (dim7 chord). The figuring convention I am using requires the 2 above the bass to be slashed.

I am digitizing an 18th century source – a multiple-bass chorale harmonisation document by J.C. Kittel (student of J.S. Bach) used in compositional pedagogy at the time. The ordering of figures in this case can be helpful for students in their thoroughbass realisations.

This works, thank you!

This isn’t relevant when copying from an existing source, but I’d say many continuo players would love to have a # on that 4 above Eb if A natural is intended — otherwise many players would instinctively and incorrectly play Ab.