Double bass keeps jumping back to arco unexpectedly

In this particular project, the double bass is marked pizz but the playing technique keeps switching to the natural playing technique at weird places. I can’t see anything in the score to cause this, but the switch shows up in the play inspector.

I’ve created a small project that show this problem on beat 2.5 in measure 3 (there aren’t even any notes there).

Would appreciate help, I keep having to put “pizz” in weird places and set their color to transparent. (715.8 KB)

Guess I just figured it out. Apparently the pizz playing technique had a duration set (very hard to tell from the UI, and not sure how it happened), and so it was turning off after that duration. When I set it to no length, it’s seemed to go back to waiting for arco.

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How it happens is: It depends on whether you have only one note selected when you apply the technique, or more than one. With the latter, the technique is given the duration of the selection, and so is canceled at the end of it. You can see an indication of this in the score when you select just the technique: It has a little end-attachment line, like gradual dynamics and tempo marks.

Conversely when you apply a technique with only one note selected, the technique has no duration and so stays ‘on’ until changed. This would be the preferred method for pizz./arco and other such techniques.


Dorico 4 changed the behaviour to what Mark just described (as opposed to always no duration previously) which means you need to be careful – I’ve made the same mistake! It’s worth also pointing out, in case you’re not already aware, the distinction between “attribute” articulation types (applies only to one note) and “direction” (applies until cancelled). You can see which type applies by looking at the “Edit Playback Techniques” dialogue. As you’ll see from this example, pizz. is usually set to “direction”

Exact same thing happened to me. In 3.5 it was playing pizz all the way through until reset to normal in the score. In 4.x it was reverting to normal unexpectedly - you could see this in Play inspector. My best guess is that the code was tightened up in D4.

That said, this is hard to detect unless you know what you’re looking for. When you select the “pizz”, the start & end do show properly - which is the give away. Not clear to me if there’s anything else that could be done to make this easier to detect. Adding more signposts to indicate the range of techniques might be excessive (my 2 cents).

my take is that the current method is satisfactory and does give an additional option for cancelling a “direction” compared to previous Dorico versions. But it is of course a little annoying when you accidentally selected a series of notes in v3 when entering the p.t without consequence, only to find the playback incorrect in v4.

Understanding potential compatibility and awareness issues, I must say I love this functionality.
Applying a technique to a single note or to a range of notes and obtaining the corresponding span is incredibly flexible, especially when editing a large score or when applying certain types of techniques (say, molto or senza vibrato, etc). My workflow involves a lot of sketching and moving draft notes from sketch staves to instrument staves, and then editing in a separate pass in a kind of a phrase-based approach. I find the new functionality more aligned with other editing methods (especially dynamics) and highly intuitive for this type of workflow - and I don’t have to input two techniques in two separate steps anymore to mark the boundaries of the first one. Thank you to the team for this!

It would be near perfect if the range between the two little dots was shaded just a tiny bit to see the length it spans, but I look for the presence or absence of a dot next to the technique name and honestly don’t feel like I’m missing much.

One can change the Continuation “line” in properties if one wants to see the extent of the pizz.

The problem with this approach is that unless you specifically enter an ord. or norm? There is no way to tell from the printed or PDF score itself that the pizz only lasts for 3 bars.

But if it fits your work flow then go for it!

@eheilner Are you sure?

Seems to work fine and it prints to PDF here. Perhaps I’m missing something?

Ah - I see. You’re displaying the continuation. That works, although it could clutter up a score - e.g. an orchestral score if your entire string section is doing pizz. YMMV.