Feature Request: Voices & Slash Notation for Pop/Jazz Charts

I am well into my journey of making the full time switch from Sibelius (15 years on that program) to Dorico, and overall I have to say I love the way Dorico looks, works, and feels. For my particular work though, there are a few things that make life much more difficult, and the main one that I really wish could be addressed is the way Dorico handles slash notation.

By treating rhythm slashes as a different voice, Dorico forces us to make some concessions when it comes to how we write our rhythm section parts. I often want to combine rhythm slashes and regular notation in a single measure. I want to be able to do this quickly, easily, and without creating vestigial rests. Right now the only way to achieve this is either very specific control of start and end voice (which doesn’t always work right for me somehow) or just enter midline B’s and change the note head to oversized slash (which has no keyboard shortcut and also prevents proper playback)

What I would really love to see is the ability to combine rhythm slashes and normal notes in the same voice. Perhaps with a method more similar to how slash region works? A “rhythm slash region” option? This would also make rhythm slashes far more usable and effective for drum set notation as right now Dorico treats added rhythm slash instruments as a 3rd voice.

I’m sure I’m missing something, but I’m still struggling to get the granular control over how my rhythm section parts look that I want, and rhythm slashes being unable to exist in the same voice as regular notation (especially as a mask ala slash regions) seems to be the biggest hurdle I’m currently facing.

Thank you for your consideration

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I find it’s often faster to just use a slash voice, then click the Hide Stem property where needed.

Thank you for that suggestion. I’ve used that as well as just very small slash regions when necessary, but this doesn’t solve my issue with combining regular notehead notation and rhythm slashes in a single bar without creating extra rests or fussing around with start/end voice or changing noteheads and turning off playback.

Ah, sorry, I was skimming too fast, saw your comment about changing the midline B’s and assumed you were asking something else. Yeah, I’m in agreement with you. There is a lot of time wasted dealing with Remove Rests when combining regular notation and slash voices here. It also is a pretty serious proofreading issue as sometimes restarting a voice later on in an arrangement can invoke rests to show back on a page that isn’t even visible. I’m not sure what the best solution is, but this is an annoyance of mine too.

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To be honest, I think Finale is vastly superior in this area (the only think I like about Finale), with a solution similar to the proposed “Slash voice region”. Would love to see something similar in Dorico!

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There is a rhythm slash region feature. It’s under the repeat section. You can also create them by typing “slash” into the Shift-R popover.

This is what I get by default just using a slash voice and two slash regions. No extra rests appeared anywhere.

I kind of like the difference between the default slashes and the slash noteheads with stems. It helps to distinguish where the rhythm is specified versus not.

SmithAlexander, I am trying to combine regular notes and rhythmic slash notes in the same voice, NOT slash regions and rhythm slashes.

Here’s an example of what I mean. It’s not the most common usage, but when I take measure 2 and select all but the first note and change to rhythmic slashes, I want to see what’s in measure 1, not measure 3 (I know the workaround using start/stop voice but it’s time consuming, and if there was a way to treat rhythmic slashes as a mask instead of a new voice it could be so much easier)

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Can you not just use Edit>Remove Rests in your 3rd bar to get what you want?

I second your request, the example “what I want to see” is exactly right for many of my scores.

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Janus, I know the effective workarounds, but I’m requesting a quality of life improvement for a future update. I’m by no means an expert, but I can’t think of a single instance where measure 3 of the above example would be appropriate/desired, so it would likely benefit all users (especially those of us who work in commercial settings) if Dorico defaulted to measure 1 by masking the notes as rhythmic slashes instead of using multiple voices to accomplish the task.

I’m not sure how complicated it would become but what I’m asking for is an easy way to mask notes as rhythmic slashes while staying in the same voice.

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I’ve run into the same issue as @daltonjazz and I’m always looking for the most efficient workflow. I’m always going back and forth between slashes, rhythmic slashes and notes. I have created a keyboard shortcut for Remove Rests.

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I do the same thing by creating the rhythm I want on the middle line and just changing the note head to a slash. That way it’s all in the same voice and doesn’t create any extra rests…

P

(and I use slash regions if I don’t have specific rhythms)

I’m new to Dorico and believe this may be the software I’ve been waiting for. I think a solution to daltonjazz’s scenario is what I’m searching for. That is freely mixing of notes and slash notes with multiple/parallel voices on the same measure and staff. I’m more of a jazz, pop, small horn section musician and finale, sibellius and dorico are mostly overkill for me. Seems simple so I hope I’m just missing something?
Slash Notes above Notes

Welcome to the forum @Gordon_Uchima

You can certainly do this using a Slash Voice. You then edit it’s position in the properties panel. You may need to flip the notes of the other voice by pressing F.

To my knowledge, you won’t be able to enter the bar repeat sign above the staff without a workaround.

As someone who writes mainly pop/jazz charts, I agree 100%. It seems that this kind of work (pop/jazz) has commonly used ways of writing, that don’t always “agree” with the commonly used classical way of writing. They just sometimes seem to be two very different things.
So I can understand when the Dorico team is asking “why on earth would you need that feature!?” but in my opinion, good pop/jazz charts need to be super readable, with just the right amount of hints and information. And therefore we have to “break the rules” once in a while.
While I can achieve mostly everything in Dorico that I want, I have to say that the workflow is often cumbersome , with lots of mouse clicks and/or key commands.
Here is an example.

These three bars are something super common, that would appear all the time in charts.

My setup:
I use normal note heads and change the head to “slash”. This is to avoid extra rests, that daltonjazz has mentioned. I set up a key command to do that to speed up the process.
I also have a key command to “hide stem”, that is a brand new feature in Dorico 4.3 (thanks for that!)

The problems:

1 - The end ob bar 1 has the Dm7 tied. I want the stem of the 8th note but not the stem of the quarter note in bar 2. Since they are tied, Dorico considers it as one note. The only way to achieve this is: un-tie the notes, click on the quarter note, hide stem, click on the 8th note, tie again.

It would be awesome if one could select just the quarter note and hide the stem.

2 - combining slashes with normal note heads (the problem daltonjazz pointed out). At the moment the slash region is not really a help. It provides only quarter note slashes and on top of that one can’t add accents or anything on those slashes. Slash voice + normal voice adds tons of rests that have to be removed later. So the best way for me is to use one voice and to change noteheads. Since the note heads of the slash voice can’t be changed (! am I missing something here?) I start with Bs on the middle line and change the heads to slashes, just as daltonjazz does. Lot’s of clicking again!

It would be awesome if a slash voice could toggle between “slash note heads” and “normal note heads”

3 - like in bar 3, sometimes the last 8th note needs to be tied to a quarter note slash. The only way I found is to use “laissez vibre” ties. They are very small though and look very different from the “normal” ties.

it would be awesome if the “laissez vibre” ties could be customized (as default, not in engrave mode) to achieve a more consistent look with all tied notes.

4 - Chord symbols are aligned always on top. So if I add a slash chord with a specific bass note (like in bar 3) all the other chords in the same staff “jump” up and create a bigger space than needed.

It would be awesome if the chord symbols would have an option to align them as “centered”.

Those are just my most common little Dorico things, that I wish would work more straight forward, as the majority of the Dorico functions do! I understand that those might be very “pop/jazz chart” specific, but maybe there are enough Dorico users in this genre to consider better workflows for future releases?

Love the new features in 4.3! Thanks to the Dorico team and keep up the good work!

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In Engraving options under Chord Symbols, you can switch off the horizontal alignment!
Cheers,
Benji

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Thank you!!!