Entering figured bass under a rest

Is there a way of entering figured bass under a part consisting of rests? I’m analysing something, and for convenience I would want the figured bass to always be under the lowest instrumental line, even if there are no notes in it.

Yes: there’s a Property in the Panel to show figures on a rest.

Hi Ben, what do you mean by the Panel? Do you mean in Note Input Options or Engraving Options. I’ve looked in both but I can’t find it. Thanks

No, the properties panel at the bottom of the main score/part editing screen.

Do you mean the window I’m attaching a screenshot of? If so I’ve tried various combinations of things but I still can’t get it to do what I want!
Screenshot 2020-07-12 13.34.37.png

I’ve looked in another thread on this topic, and it seems that “Show figured bass” is the operative factor. So I have this selected, and I have tried entering a figured bass on a half-note rest, and nothing happens. I can enter one ok under a note, but not under a rest.

You might be experiencing a small bug, JanSteele. If you want to zip up and attach your project so that we can take a look, I can say for certain. We have been continuing to do a lot of work on figured bass since the release of Dorico 3.5 in May, and a forthcoming update will include a number of fixes and further improvements.

Ok Daniel, here it is. I was trying to put figures under the cello part from bar 2, beat 3.
Bach - test project.dorico.zip (407 KB)

The problem here, I think, is that Dorico has no notes on the cello staff to work from, so it’s not clear what pitches the figures you are entering will relate to. Try adding some notes to the cello part, even if they are only there temporarily, then add the figures on those notes.

If I do that then the figures get deleted if I then replace the notes with a rest. Obviously I can put the figures in an upper part, but when the cello enters they will all be under the lowest part, along with the roman numerals, and I’m trying to keep them all on the lowest stave for clarity, NB this is for analysis not for performance.

If the figures really aren’t relative to any particular notes, you may need to consider adding the figures manually using Shift+X text, or perhaps lyrics, and the Figurato font. Dorico’s figured bass features are really targeted at producing performing scores rather than analysis, and showing figures is dependent on having bass notes to work from.

Please can this become a thing, though - the convention is that figures under a rest relate to the last note in the bass; I’m currently preparing a piece by Telemann for performances next month in which the composer regularly places figures in this manner. The property pianoleo highlighted above is very useful (though somewhat bizarrely located in Dorico’s ultra-complicated brainspace!) BUT it doesn’t work with bar rests… is there a way to move along the rhythmic grid and place figured bass then force-show it?


So, for those that need it (and for whom the ease of using Dorico’s native figured bass tool would be their much preferred method, over using the text tool or diving into Figurato, for whatever reason), there is a fairly hacky workaround that makes figured bass possible below even bar rests.

Merely put a dummy bassline in downstem voice 1 (use suppress playback in the properties panel if you need to), using the bar tool insert bar rests into upstem voice 1, select all of voice 2 and hide stems, then set the color of the noteheads to transparent (alpha channel to zero). You should then have something that looks something like this:

I suppose you may also need to hide rests in voice 2 or other assorted cleanup tasks depending on the content of your dummy bassline, but yes, other than that, this should work.

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Thanks - that’s a neat solution, but it’s a fairly major chore for something that should be easy - and will that bar’s rest move down to it’s proper position if there’s a hidden second voice? I appreciate how smart the figures changing when you move notes up and down is, but is this a 21st-century composing aid or a means to reproduce earlier notations? It’s actually a total pain if you’ve input the wrong note by accident (yours or the original copyist’s) because you have to delete the note and its figured bass to correct the situation because Dorico thinks it’s smart… :slight_smile:


Ah, totally missed the rest position thing. That’s fixable in the properties panel in write mode. Agreed that it’s a bit of a hassle, but the one advantage is that it keeps it all in the figured bass tool.

Also agree with the general criticism about the tool about reproduction of old notation vs new composing with figured bass (which, ironically, I’ve actually done a little bit of). I think the tool should be set by default to follow input literally instead of making the user to change that in the menu.

Then again, it occurs to me that even “follow input literally” doesn’t freeze the figures if you change the corresponding notes… so yes, it would be nice to turn the “smartness” off either temporarily or indefinitely per document. Or something like that…

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works perfectly in 3.5.10Foto 03-02-2021 om 22.58

Except that presumably the last # should be on the lower row and 5 would usually be continued by a line.

Yes indeed, was a quicky to show it works :wink:
Actually very good you mention this because I have not found a method to ‘lower’ a figure apart from going to engraving and lower the whole bc figure. Any suggestion? In Musescore extension lines can be achieved with underscore, would be nice in Dorico too!

I know the rules although the lines are not very common. Looked through Jespersen Christens continuo book/method: very few lines.

Use the ‘suspension’ implementation. Type 5,4_s,r=1

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Thanks! I had made this one already:
Foto 04-02-2021 om 19.43
Figured bass is great, I miss (apart from brackets which will come for sure) the possibility to quickly enter a (short!) hold line with a letter, H for instance and the possibility to enter an empty figure to create one line of space for some complicated situations. An E for empty? Or whatever!
What do you think?
Is this the full list of ‘commands’?https://steinberg.help/dorico_elements/v3.5/en/dorico/topics/write_mode/write_mode_notations_input/write_mode_figured_bass_popover_r.html