Feature request: slur improvement

This is a specific detail regarding slurs, but I find myself coming across it far too often (I write a lot for strings). It really needs correcting.

Dorico (like pretty much every other engraving program) has trouble with “steep slurs”, that is, slurs where the first and last notes are close together horizontally, but far apart vertically.

This is often an issue in triple and quadruple stopped chords when writing for strings.
However, because Dorico doesn’t place the slurs properly in that context I am forced to go in and in engrave mode adjust every multi-stopped chord. This gets quite tedious, especially considering how pretty much everything else about Dorico is correct and no-hassle.

I created a little example, where I include Dorico’s default, then a 1st adjustment “a/c” (lowering manually the end point of the slur) and then a 2nd adjustment “b/d” (raising the start point of the slur as well).

It looks like Dorico attaches the end point of the slur to the top note of the chord, which forces it through the stem and lower notes in a very ugly mish-mash.

The more-or-less ideal placement for the slurs are examples b) and d). I included the defaults that Dorico puts in, some of which don’t really require adjustment.


Yes, we know that Dorico’s default behaviour in these situations leaves a lot to be desired, and we do intend to improve the placement of such slurs in future versions.


Hello Michel, Daniel,
The problem exists indeed, not only with “steep” slurs, but also with cross-staves slurs, and even with not-so-difficult slurs, either at the end of a system (look at the second stave; the slurs in the upper stave are correct):
or with slurs that cross staves (I agree, that’s maybe simple for us, but not so simple for a notation program).
I look already forward to improvement in this area!
@dspreadbury : I can provide you with a number of interesting examples, when the development team works on this issue.

In the case of your K. 466 example, I believe checking this options in engraving option in Engraving Options should solve the problem, as demonstrated here:

Otherwise yes, the slurs in appoggiaturas to chords need work, as you pointed out, but I’m sure they will eventually be brilliant! It’s always difficult when a feature is not completely “there” but it will become a distant memory once it does what you want it to do. In the meantime, it’s good thing to explore all of the engraving options in Dorico using “dummy scores” over the course of several weeks. Even if it’s 15 minutes in the morning before getting to real work, I have always found it tremendously helpful. There is soooo much there, that it is easy to forget that certain options are actually available. We’re all very busy, but that little time one can use to “play” with Dorico is truly valuable.

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Hello Claude,
Of course, we did correct the slur in Engrave, and we do it for other occurrences as well, it was just to show an example that the “default” does not always give good results, as Michel pointed rightly out.
(By the way: not bad at all that you recognized KV 466 with only 4 bars! Do you play it yourself?)

It’s a pretty characteristic passage! :wink:
I always find it fascinating how often one is indeed able to identify a piece with a minimum of information.
I second Claude’s advice wholeheartedly. It’s really important to keep experimenting with settings, especially after updates and new versions. That setting for interpolating slur position on either side of a system break has been around for awhile but, as it was introduced later, it’s not a default until you save it as such. It’s an easy setting to miss.


I would think the easiest (as in entry-level) step towards this would be a property option to handle situations in which stems of the first and last note of a slur pointed in opposite directions.

ha! yes, I just tried a couple of examples, and the problem appears only when stems are in different directions.

as a matter of fact, simply flipping the stems in the examples I posted where the problem was present fixed it completely… except the stems are now in the wrong direction, creating a new engraving issue.

But at least we now know that this issue is directly related to how Dorico handles a slur on on two notes with different stem directions.

Similarly, if I’m in a situation where engraving standards are not as critical, such as “the music stays on the floor after the recording session”, I will flip the slur instead of the stem, if I’m a bit under the gun time-wise. Otherwise yes, I will move them in engrave mode.

@Robrecht_Paternoster - @Vaughan_Schlepp
Full disclosure. I also happen to be a hard core member of the FB page “Guess the Score” a private page where members quiz each other with score excerpts, sometimes obscure, sometimes minimal and often grouped together into mega-quizzes where all excerpts share a common thread. Lots of very clever people there! K. 466 would be guessed in seconds on that page, even if only the four notes across the system were chosen as an excerpt. I guess that now, I see every single piece of unidentified music as a GtS challenge, my mind having been polluted from wasting too much time there! (But I have also conducted K. 466 a couple of times …)


Here’s an easy one:

Screen Shot 2022-12-06 at 10.59.01 PM

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Op. 106. End of Adagio
Probably the Universal Edition (Schenker)


Correct on all counts!

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