Enharmonic spelling after transposition in score

If you input pianoleo’s example, and shift-alt-down arrow repeatedly, you will see transposition results that are spelled the way you would want to see them as a player only for some transpositions. For others, like down 3 semitones, the result is strange. Even if preserving simple intervals is correct for tonal music, for atonal music, I see no reason to prefer Ebb-Cb to D-B in the example. Especially as I have the Prefer simpler accidentals option set.

Well, I suppose you’re right that the crux of the question is the atonal context. After all, tonal music always acts as a reference point for enharmonic spellings, and keeps them from drifting too far afield.

I can’t speak for the development team, but it does seem a more robust respelling algorithm that you’re seeking isn’t currently in place. Sorry, I know that’s not really an answer.

“notation options->accidentals->transposition->prefer simpler accidentals” ONLY affects parts for transposing instruments. It has absolutely no effect on what the transpose keyboard shortcuts or dialogs do.

The team are already working on a better solution to the OP’s specific problem. Read this: https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=246&t=97347#p538330

OldSkoolMark, I’ve not dug into this in detail today (working through a big backlog of threads on the forum today) but you can transpose by a number of divisions rather than by an interval and quality in the Write > Transpose dialog, for precisely this reason.

Daniel, I found that feature, but I will confess that it confuses me. I would have expected the pull down to offer 24 choices from -12 to +12. Instead, there is just -3 to +3. When I apply -3/12 to pianoleo’s example it produces the correct transposition but it is spelled with double and triple flats.

After reading https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=246&t=97347#p538330 I took a quick look at the David Meridith PS13 paper and also Cambouropoulos. These papers are quite clear that the algorithms are geared exclusively to the needs of tonal music, where the notion of key is a very complex driver of spelling.

Disappointingly, my quick web search failed to find a corresponding paper describing an algorithm for atonal music. I am wondering if a simplification of the sliding window approach used by Cambouropoulos could be used for atonal music, where the complexities of inferring the current tonal center can be ignored.

As I mentioned below, if for atonal music, the Add Intervals popover would allow you to type T-3 to transpose down 3 semis, that would be a great solution. Perhaps I am naive, but I feel that enharmonic spelling in atonal music is much simpler than it is for tonal music, as the spelling of the intervals in the sequence can be done without inferring the current tonal center.

Dorico doesn’t use David Meredith’s PS13 algorithm at all, and even if it does in the future, it will use our own version based on his research, and only for respelling a bunch of notes after input, e.g. after importing a MIDI file or possibly when playing use real-time input. None of the things we’re talking about here – respelling notes via Alt+=/-, transposing them using Shift+Alt+up/down, and using the Write > Transpose dialog – have anything to do with PS13.

The number of divisions shown in the dialog reflect the coarse interval: if you choose ‘Unison’ then you will only see -3 to +3, but if you choose a larger interval, you’ll see the number of divisions also changes.

I don’t think the problem is the number of semitones transposed but the enharmonic result. If I interpret this thread correctly, OldSkoolMark wants Dorico to automatically simplify double-sharps and double-flats into their enharmonic equivalents.

For now the only “simple” solution would appear to be to lock durations and type over the notes with a MIDI keyboard or erase and re-enter the notes.

Well, Dorico won’t do that, as you say, because it will always try to maintain the intervals.

Dear Daniel,
Could there be a kind of “simplify spelling” function, connected or not to the transpose function or interval popover, that we users could invoke when needed? I’ve had some transposing works to do (tonal music) and even with the tonality, players asked me to get rid of double flats or sharps when possible. I used the filter notes by pitch function and respell function flawlessly but it is not as fast as clicking on a button…

Thank you Marc and Derrek for helping make my issue understood. Perhaps a musical example will also help. As I shift-alt up/down a twelve tone row, I am hoping to see a player-friendly spelling of each of the 12 transpositions of that row. For me, player friendly in an atonal context is no double flats/sharps, no Fb/Cb or B#/E# and the rest optimized for the minimum number of augmented and diminished intervals.

I’d just like to second Marc’s request for a ‘simplify spelling’ function. I work primarily in atonal music, and there’s very, very rarely a case in which a double sharp or flat is appropriate. Thank you!