Enharmonic spelling after transposition in score

I have an score showing an Atonal signpost at bar 1. Later in the score, starting with:
CaptureAltShiftDown.PNG
alt shift up produces:
CaptureAltShiftUp.PNG
or alt shift down produces:
CaptureAltShiftDown.PNG
Is there something I am doing wrong? I have note input options -> allow spelling of notes to be adjusted retrospectively turned of.

Attachment #2 and #3 are not showing up.

Let me try this again:

I have an score showing an Atonal signpost at bar 1. Later in the score, starting with:
Capture.PNG
alt shift up produces:
CaptureAltShiftUp.PNG
or alt shift down produces:
Capture.PNG
Is there something I am doing wrong? I have note input options -> allow spelling of notes to be adjusted retrospectively turned of.

Forum software glitch. Preview was fine. Here is the second file:
CaptureAltShiftDown.PNG

and the third file:
CaptureAltShiftUp.PNG

Atonal can produce some wonky spellings. This is probably compounded by the fact that you’re chromatically altering several at once.

Have you tried invoking the enharmonic respelling (alt-= or alt–)?

I can’t actuallt figure out what your question is, but I’ll have a go at an answer anyway!

Dorico tries to maintain the same intervals when transposing - if you started with a diminished fifth, Dorico will try to maintain a diminished fifth rather than giving you an augmented fourth. You can use Alt± (minus) and Alt+= (equals) to change the spelling of notes, but bear in mind that if you perform this on a passage that includes naturals then those notes are going to be respelt as double flats or double sharps.

Sorry if my question wasn’t specific enough. I am surprised by the awkward enharmonic spellings after transposition. Doesn’t seem to follow Elaine Gould page 85. half step transposition down from Ab-B to Abb-Bb? Why not G-Bb?

I honestly thought I was being quite clear.

Ab to B is an augmented second. Abb to Bb is an augmented second. G to Bb is a minor third. That’s why Dorico will not automatically do what you expect here - because you started with a slightly unlikely interval. If you’d left the option on to retrospectively respell notes during input, you probably wouldn’t have stumbled upon this issue!

Thank you for your patience.

I would like to see an option for atonal scores that would transpose the first note, find its simplest enharmonic representation, and then optimize the spellings on the right to minimize the number of diminished and augmented intervals per Gould.

What happens if you export it via midi and import again then?

There is already an option to “transpose the first note, find its simplest enharmonic representation, and then optimize the spellings on the right to minimize the number of diminished and augmented intervals per Gould.”

It’s called “Allow spelling of notes to be adjust retrospectively”, and I’m not going to try and tell you where it is because you found it and turned it off!

I think what you’re doing is a little bit like taking the ink out of the printer and then complaining that despite the fact it has power and paper it won’t print; or removing all the D#s from a piano and challenging Lang Lang to play La Campanella. You’re finding a problem because you’ve disabled the solution!

Turn it back on and let Dorico do what it wants to do.

To dispel any doubt, this is what Dorico does if you play in your sequence of notes with this option turned on:

Thank you Leo for your continued interest in this problem. However, I don’t think we are talking about quite the same issue. The issue is not on the fly correction of MIDI note input. Rather, my problem is enharmonic spelling of existing notes (from any source including XML import or step input) when transposed via shift-alt-up/down arrow.

I entered your example with the retrospective adjustment set. No problem. Select all notes and shift-alt-down arrow 3 times to transpose the sequence down 3 semitones. I hope you agree that the result is, to use Dan Krieder’s word, a little “wonky”.


I do have notation options->accidentals->transposition->prefer simpler accidentals set, which should help Dorico prefer D-B to Ebb-Cb. I recognize the difficulty of implementing respelling in a way that both handles all the edge cases and scales to very large passages is not easy, but I think Dorico has room for improvement here.

Pianoleo’s explanation is correct. Dorico is preserving simple (visual) intervals. In the original example, the first interval was an augmented 4th. So Ab down to Ebb is also an augmented 4th. Ab down to D is a dim5, which is different. So Dorico is preserving these simple intervals, even if complex accidental are required.

But I do agree enharmonic adjustment could be more robust. It’s likely that these more complex algorithms are typically not necessary, since I imagine most transposing takes place in a tonal context. However, pianoleo is also correct that you should turn that function back on to allow retrospective respelling.

Interesting comment. Dorico and Sibelius both show a strong bias toward tonal music in their transposition features. As a writer of atonal music, I would appreciate a simple transpose up/down by N semitones option. This combined with the existing awesome Dorico support for durations, inserting, and moving notes, it would make working with tone rows very convenient.

Have you used Edit—>Transpose? That seems precisely what you’re wanting.

That does not appear to work either. I was going to suggest it but tried it first (both interval and quality) without success.

Perhaps I’m missing the OP’s goal, but again, this is exactly what alt-Shift-down is accomplishing. And it is doing it correctly. When multiple notes are selected and moved chromatically at the same time, Dorico is preserving simple intervals, as it should be.

Sorry if I’m missing something, but I don’t see the problem here.

I think you mean Write->Transpose. Transpose by quality requires both interval and quality. I think the other option is geared toward microtonal music.

There is also the Add Intervals popover (shift I). It allows you to specify T-3 scale degrees. Once again, you need to specify quality. It would be awesome for atonal scores to have T-3 specify a transposition down by 3 half steps. That, combined with better spelling of the result, would completely answer my transposition needs.

Yes, sorry. Was going off my memory—never a good idea!