I have question about Dynamics:

In a lot of the percussion writing, performing, reading, etc., I have done in my life, there is a dynamic that seems to be used a lot - the Forte piano (Fp). I use this, and have seen countless others use it as well (usually followed by a crescendo). Sibelius did not have this marking, and I had to create it, which is not a problem. However, the issue came to playback, and Sibelius didn’t always play it back correctly since it was a dynamic I “created”.

I am curious if Dorico will have Forte piano (Fp) as a default option? And whether it does or does not, would Dorico be able to understand what dynamics means and how it is to be played if I created them myself?


Forte-piano (fp) is straightforward in Sibelius.

We call markings like “fp” or “pf” combined dynamics, and they are easy to create in Dorico: you can either simply type them in the dynamics popover, or you can create them from the Dynamics panel on the right-hand side of the window in Write mode.

As for playback, it’s certainly our intention that these markings will play back automatically, though with playback in its very embryonic state at present it’s hard to say with certainty whether or not they will play back at the time of version 1.0’s release.

pf actually stands for poco forte, so it is not really a combined dynamic. Not found too often outside of Brahms.

The problem with “fp” playback is that it means different things for different instruments. Some instruments (e.g. piano) can only play each individual note with one dynamic level, others (e.g. brass) can play “f” followed by “p” followed by a crescendo back to “f” (etc) all within a single note.

I’m not much of a percussion expert but I would expect “fp” on a tam-tam roll to be a very different dynamic effect from “fp” on a snare drum roll, for example - the snare drum has a much quicker “reaction time” to changes in dynamics.

And “pf” may just be an abbreviation for “poco forte”, rather than the reverse of “fp” …

There is certainly a great deal of variation in how dynamics like “pf” and even “sf” are interpreted by different composers and at different points in history. I believe “sf” is written sometimes meaning “subito forte” and at other times “sforzando”, for example. I guess it is also possible that “pf” could mean “più forte” as well.

Presumably if there is a poco forte, there would have been a poco piano as well. Not quite sure how the abbreviations would have worked out there…

Well, J S Bach used “p.p.” (very infrequently) for “più piano,” not “pianissimo.”

Not to mention the Beethoven sonata where a “pp” in the autograph was misread as “ff” in an early editor, and that misprint survived for more than a century!


In doing some work on a piece this weekend, I came across a dynamic use that seems to be somewhat rare, but does exist. And I am curious how Dorico would handle such a thing…
dynamic question.png
The question is regarding the “mf” hanging out there around beat 4. Will Dorico handle a hanging dynamic such as this? And will it be stable, as in maybe the dynamic is attached to beat 4 (or maybe the upbeat of beat 4), therefore not moving around in the individual part?

I do understand a possible work around, of maybe having a dotted half-note tied to aa quarter note, and attaching the new dynamic to the quarter note.


The “mf” hanging out on beat 4 and the “f” hanging out on beat 1 of the following bar are acually at the same rhythmic position, and in Dorico you can select the “mf” dynamic and set the property for ‘Beat-relative position’ to ‘Before the beat’, which will position it precisely at the end of the previous bar.

You know… the more I hear what you say about this program, the more I am in complete awe!!!

I know you stated before, that “this is just notation software, not a cure cancer”. But I must say, that to those of us that use scoring software frequently this is a huge deal. I think of it like a carpenter that uses hand tools and is now getting state of the art modern power tools. Life just got much better for the user!!!

It really seems as though you and your team have thought of almost everything! I am hoping for a release date closer to early Q4 than later. I can’t wait to get my hands on this!


I’d say you’re spot on regarding early, rather than late Q4… if I put my ears to the ground, I can hear the Steinberg whip kracking… :slight_smile:

Will this still work if the two bars are in different systems? In Sibelius it would not: the mf would appear in the second bar under the clef/key signature etc.

Yes, Kim, this will still work even if a system break coincides at that point.


I know that in “Behind Bars” Elaine Gould says that the following dynamic example is “ambiguous” (p.104 bottom) and should be written more precisely, if precision is needed.

Will Dorico be able to handle these sort of floating dynamics?
mid measure undefined.png

Sure, if you really want to write dynamics like that, you certainly can.