DORICO 4, its MIXER and PLAY mode

As far as I know, there is no option that allows any syncopated rhythm to behave such as you describe. There are Notation options and they are highly dependent on different factors: the meter, the place in the bar and what other musical objects surround this rhythmic element. All cases not described in the Notation options need you to use force duration to achieve your goal. I am not sure this is a workaround, I’d talk about workflow. And I wouldn’t call this a bug, because it’s working as intended.
If you find a situation where you genuinely think it does not comply to the rules you’ve set, please share at least a picture, at best a cut-down version of the project that exhibits the problem (because yes, bugs happen, and it’s very nice when the team resolve them)

To illustrate I attach a smal picture. 1. I clearly indicated in setup that I want all single notes instead of tied. 2. What happens now is that dotted crotchet is played staccato but tied quavers are played natural. In no way it can be considered normal. This is a bug.
Screen Shot 2022-07-02 at 02.33.16

What I can see in your picture is that the half bar is visible, as it should in a 4/4 bar. Which setting in Setup are you referring to?
You can override the visible half bar rule with force duration, of course. Or write this note as a quaver :person_shrugging:
Behind Bars pp170-171


If one wants a [3+3+2]/8 syncopation, one needs to put it in the time signature or use Forced Duration as Marc suggests. What Dorico does by default is certainly not a bug.

And of course if you really want to contravene the half-bar rule it’s as easy as forcing duration.

  1. I have activated these options

  2. the example I gave behaves as shown in all n/4 metres,

  3. Sibelius does not see any notation problem here (attached pic)
    Screen Shot 2022-07-02 at 14.12.14

  4. this whole discussion misses the most important point, playback.

The notation subject is interesting, but I will willingly skip it when the music is correctly played. The root problem is the two tied quavers with staccato articulation are NOT played as staccato, but automatically turn into natural. This happens when the length of the note crosses over the beat line.
And that is the bug.

Here’s how it works, for clarity, using the factory default playback template (and it’s identical with NotePerformer):

Per Playback Options > Timing > Note Durations, staccato notes are shortened by 50%. They all have “Natural” playback techniques regardless of where in the bar they are.

This shortening is applied specifically to the final notehead in a tie chain. That does indeed mean that if shown as two eighths tied together, it’s only the second eighth that’s shortened, meaning the entirety of the tie chain plays 75% of its full duration (a dotted eighth), whereas if a single quarter is shown it plays 50% of its duration (an eighth).

On the one hand, one could argue that this is a bug (to which the developers will likely point out that it works the way they designed it, ergo it’s not a bug). On the other hand, it could be argued that two eighths tied together with a staccato is bad notation, just as a single quarter on the third eighth of a 4/4 bar is bad notation. If a human player sees an eighth tied to a staccato eighth, how short would you expect them to play? If “50% of the full printed notation” (not that this is a universal rule), why would you write an eighth tied to a staccato eighth? Wouldn’t a single non-staccato eighth and an eighth rest be clearer?

Sibelius’s visual handling of this is irrelevant - Sibelius expects the user to know how to notate correctly within whatever meter they’re in but will allow the user to notate badly, whereas Dorico (largely) corrects the user’s rhythmic spelling and needs to be told to break universally-accepted rules.


If I see two tied quavers with a staccato dot on the second one, I (as a musician) would interpret it as ‘hold the first quaver exactly until the next quaver’, and stop the note abruptly. In practice, that is roughly halving the overall value, and not corresponding to the 75% of the automated playback. In effect, playing the first quaver explicitly until the onset of the next beat will in general produce a note longer than a simple staccato crotchet, depending on style and tempo. It’s basically a form of tenuto. Intuitively, I would play the tied forms above quite differently than the crotchets.
In everyday classical music, a staccato crotchet is indistinguishable from a (staccato) quaver. So, in the example above, I’d notate the off-beat notes simply as staccato quavers, and wouldn’t bother using ties. Keep it simple.

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Where did you get that idea?

I see the subject gets hot.
Now, I entirely disagree with this pianoleo’s statement: Sibelius’s visual handling of this is irrelevant - Sibelius expects the user to know how to notate correctly within whatever meter they’re in but will allow the user to notate badly, whereas Dorico (largely) corrects the user’s rhythmic spelling and needs to be told to break universally-accepted rules.
The two notations have their place in real music on purpose. The one called by pianoleo “a correct” is mostly used to let the reader know where the beats within the measure are (my first example from Dorico). The second, the one from Sibelius shows real values of notes assuming that the musician does not need to be reminded about beat lines. No need to argue about it, because even the options in Dorico recognize these two ways of notation. Not to mention examples from real world music. We do have our preferences and I do prefer less clattered notation, which makes my partitions clearer and easier to follow. But, of course, we choose what is better for any of us.
Once again, the very basic problem is being talked a lot, but not answered at all. So, let me rephrase: how should I notate in Dorico a staccato dotted crotched followed by a staccato crotched so both are played staccato? The very simple logic says: if the staccato is to be executed by simple halving the length of the note (piano) there should be option to write dotted-undotted as single notes, no matter their place in the measure. If, on another hand, we want to use a more subtle way, using tied notes gives a better precision, but still not without doubts.

There probably is one overlooked element that makes the whole discussion more complicated than necessary, and that would be entirely my fault.

The particular problem I am trying to address and solve is not the length of the 2 staccatoed tied quavers but the change of articulation used to control a library.
In use of libraries that have staccato samples for every continuous instrument (strings, brass, woods etc.) expression maps use staccato as a control parameter to trigger required samples.
Actually in Dorico when tied quavers are just one crotchet, the staccato is kept and library plays it, when they are notated as tied Dorico changes it to “natural” and library plays it wrong. It is easy to imagine how badly the staccato passage will sound if you have dotted-undotted-dotted-dotted-undotted. For fun I wrote such a passage and Dorico assigned stacc-nat-stacc-stacc-nat.
If that is not a bug, then what is?
PS Of course, with libraries cheating this problem as easy as PjotrB says and this is what I did to continue my work. Just deleted the second of tied notes, but that is and will remain “cheating”. What if I write a mockup to be further played by a real orchestra? First I “cheat” to have it sound correctly and then I correct it everywhere in the partition so it is played correctly? That cannot be called a “workflow improvement”.
It can be seen that seemingly unimportant notation issue may have a far going consequences and I would very strongly recommend that Dorico team have a look at it.

If you want a non-standard notation, the you have already been told how to do it, and Dorico has a way to do it: use Forced Duration (or reset the time signature and hide it if you use this pattern constantly).

Claiming the software contains a bug because you can’t do what you want automatically is misrepresenting the situation.


Sorry, but you probably did not entirely read my message. The problem is in wrong application of articulation keys. There is noting that justifies changing staccato to natural, no matter notation convention, when the note is articulated staccato. And that is a bug.

Sorry, it’s most definitely not a bug. Having a quarter note on the & of 2 in 4/4 is simply incorrect according to virtually every notation manual and house style guide published in the last 100 years. Derrick has already told you how to do this if you want it anyway, or if you want to group [3+3+2]/8, but notationally what you are asking for is incorrect and not the standard most performers are used to reading.

A staccato on a tied note is often not clear notation as you are asking a performer to both make a note longer and make it shorter at the same time, so I usually try to avoid it. Historically, when a staccato is used on the last note of tied notes, it often meant a mild stress on that note, and the staccato only applies to that note, not the entire tied group. Kurt Stone has the following examples on page 43 of his book “Music Notation in the Twentieth Century” where clearly the staccato does not apply to the entire tied group:


No, @witold , I read your entire post just fine. Your characterization of the situation as a bug is unreasonable. Dorico handles a note tied to a staccato eighth properly, since few folks want a half-note tied to an eighth to last less than a half-note; and carrying a quarter over the mid-point of a measure (except in rare circumstances, which Dorico does handle in some of those cases) is a special case.


Are you replying to me (Witold) or to FredGunn)?
To me it looks like you are talking to Fred.

If you extend a note, of course it overwrites the subsequent note unless you have Insert mode on. That is what erases the articulation.

A correction.
Thank you for showing the way of getting out of the problem. I have checked the use of forced duration and it solves the problem and here I should probably spray ashes over my head and say “mea culpa”, but it is not going to happen.
I still find it a bug, a conceptual and usability bug. The process of making it sound correctly is unnecessarily complex. I still stand my point because I am a musician all my life, but an IT guy specializing IT quality for last few decades too and here I’d say that if every time I want tied notes play staccato I have to use forced duration process it may be still be “by the book” but I waste too much time for a simple action. If I had my counting say here I’d recommend that full or tied note be another option available for setup in options. If full note is chosen, then forced duration in left panel changes to “divide” or something similar. If tied is chosen, the situation stays as it is right now. It also depends how people input notes. I do it from keyboard, instinctively, and then I see several tied notes that needed to be forced to play what I want. Usability of that could be better, believe me.

@witold I think your fundamental expectation is unreasonable.

Music notation is inherently imprecise. However, there are conventions we respect when presenting notes to musicians, and Dorico helps you to adhere to those. It also allows you remarkable latitude to break the conventions if you really want to, especially as different genres of music have different conventions (eg. you probably won’t get very far presenting a jazz group with a figured bass instead of chords).

By contrast, music production requires precision, which is why tools like DAWs exist allowing you to sculpt the nuance of every note. Dorico is not a DAW. It’s purpose is to enable physical notation to be presented to musicians. As a bonus it has some pretty remarkable playback capability… however it cannot be expected to reliably control an arbitrary array of VSTs without manual intervention (as others here have pointed out).

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Thanks. Please, read my reply to Derek I posted a few seconds ago. From my perspective the subject is closed and I withdraw from further exchange (unless there something new and exciting emerges) :grinning:

Our posts crossed. However

I will pursue this just a little further. Playback of staccato is not a simple action. Consider this simplistic example…

The quaver staccatos might quite reasonably trigger a sound of (say) 50% duration and/or a staccato VST patch. However, the staccato minims would never be played by a musician as 50% duration, merely separated from each other. So if the staccato dot triggers a short patch in the VST, it is likely the sound will be overly shortened. In your world is this a bug?

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