Fermata Placement


I am writing an orchestral piece. When writing in fermata it is obviously necessary to write one in all instrumental parts, even those who have a rest for the entire bar. However, it would be useful if I could stipulate, even to those players who aren’t playing in a given bar, where exactly the fermata lies (on which rest value in the bar). The software seems to automatically place the fermata over the entire bar (of rest) rather than the particular rest value. How might I ‘bypass’ the feature of the software, so that I might e.g. attach a fermata to a particular crotchet rest in a bar, rather than the whole semibreve rest ?



You need to add the rests manually, using force duration.

Dorico uses “implicit rests” by default, which automatically fill the gaps between the notes you input. This is helpful if you change the time signature: any rests are automatically reformatted to fit correctly within the new meter.

If you want to specify the durations of rests, you can input explicit rests with Force Duration activated in the Notes toolbox.

(Info about inputting rests here, info about the Notes toolbox including definition of Force Duration here.)

This was also a request of mine from long ago: for Dorico to automatically place the fermata at the exact same rhythmic location, adjusting note lengths and ties to achieve it. IMO this should be standard practice as it saves so many questions…

On the one had, I understand the request, particularly as Mr. Parker presents it, however, I’m not quite sure why it would matter if you are resting for a whole bar. I’m sure there’s a “good” reason, however, semantically, it is perfectly logical the way that it is now. Perhaps a rhythmic cue would be a better option. Micromanaging exactly where someone else holds a note a part is not playing just seems a touch odd unless it is essential for the player to know when to come in.

(I’m very open to debate on this; I learn new things on the forum all the time and I love it!)

A lot of my copying work is sight-read either in performance or recording, or else for small conductorless groups. There are always questions as to what count a fermata is on, and these are pencilled in to parts. These waste time (and thus money). Especially without a conductor, how would you know whether the moving player had a fermata on 3 and is moving way on 4 or had a fermata on 2& and is moving away on 3?

I don’t know what your score and parts look like, but wouldn’t a cue that includes the fermata be more informative and easier to follow than a complicated set of rests?

You certainly wouldn’t want to clutter up a full score with these split-up rests, even if they were in the parts.

If someone has clear bars’ rest around it I’m happy to use a fermata over a whole bar’s rest. If players have tied notes or notes after the fermata before the end of the bar, then I do want the fermata to be rhythmically placed. I don’t usually see the need for cues on top of the notes - would you want a fermata on the cued notes as well as the main fermata on the player’s note or rest?
The pattern or notes or rests is not usually complicated. If it is, that’s even more reason to specify the fermata placement everywhere.
I would want the full score the same as the parts. For this kind of work, the conductor needs to see exactly what the player sees.

I have a specific reason for not wanting to use the automatic placing of fermata. Please see attached pic.

The piece is for soloist and accompaniment. The soloist has a fermata on a quarter note on the first beat, then begins a passage in tempo starting on the second beat.

The accompaniment, however, needs to play a short after-beat in tempo on the second 8th of the bar, then should pause after that and wait until the 2nd beat picks up in tempo. So the fermata in the accompaniment part should be on the 16th rest in the accompaniment part, pausing there until the music then moves on in tempo on the second beat. However, as you can see, Dorico puts the fermata on the first 8th rest in the accompaniment part, which is musically correct for the soloist but not for the accompaniment.

I can obviously move the fermatas in Engrave mode, but it seems as if there ought to be a way in Write mode to put them where they need to be.


Have you tried putting the fermata in the right place for the accompaniment (on any of their staves) and then seeing where it puts it in the soloist part?

So put the fermata on that 16th rest. Presumably you put it in the solo part instead.

Rob, did you create that image by entering the fermata on the 16th rest?

I did indeed try putting it in the right place for the accompaniment, but whether I simply moved it there or put a new fermata there, the fermata in the solo part moved to/appeared on the second beat.

I’ve tried everything I could think of, but the only thing that worked was entering the fermata on the first beat in the solo part and then moving it in the accompaniment part in Engrave Mode.

Yes, I just selected the rest and typed “H fer” to get the popover and make the fermata.

Well, damn — it worked, Rob. I was certain I had tried that, but either I did and it just didn’t work that time (unlikely, I admit), or I tried everything else but not that. Anyway, lesson learned — thanks!

I have a similar but different situation (see attachment). The two top staves in this example are a soprano and tenor voice. I’d like to place a fermata over bar 9 so that the strings and piano sustain through this entire bar. The fermata is meant to allow the tenor to freely perform his line over a sustained chord held by the orchestra. I’d love to place brackets around his phrase to show the fermata is meant for all these notes, or just plain delete the fermata from his staff completely and leave it in the other staves. Any ideas on how to notate this properly?
Screen Shot 2019-01-27 at 9.00.49 AM.png

Switch to Engrave mode, select the fermata on the tenor stave and drag it off the page. If you have a separate tenor part layout, you’ll need to do this separately there.

As to making it clear, I would’ve thought the word “freely” would suffice.

Request: this could be something to Alt-enter the popover to place a fermata in selected part only.

I would think putting a fermata in only one part could be done using text.

…or indeed using a playing technique that looks like a fermata, alternatively.