Figured bass accidental problem

Dorico 3.5.12:

a 7-6 suspension on the 5th scale degree adds a sharp to the 7.

In G major, 7-6 is fine on all notes except D (it changes to #7-6).

Same thing in other keys.

Does this happen to anyone else? I created a new file with only a few bars in it and it’s a consistent problem. I’m very confused.


OK, figured (heh) out that setting figured bass to ‘follow input literally’ in Notation Input options fixes it.

But I’m not sure why the # is added in the first place, that seems like an error to me.

(Putting ‘7’ doesn’t cause the problem, nor 8-7 or 6-7, just 7-6).

With the default settings, Dorico will try to avoid diminished intervals in figured bass in many situations. Here it’s trying to avoid the diminished fifth between the 7th (a C) and the implied third (F#). You can either type “n7_6” which explicitly tells Dorico that you want the natural 7th, or you can set “Allow diminished intervals” on the Figured Bass page of Note Input Options.

Do I understand it correctly? That Dorico is censoring what figures we are allowed to write? :smiley:

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Imagine wanting to write a D dominant seventh chord in G major. Should definitely not be allowed. :wink:

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I think we would say it is - by default - helping users to write the right thing. Many users will encounter figured bass in an educational setting and would benefit from that help, but if you’re an expert you can always change the settings in Note Input Options to turn that off.

Thanks Richard. I did not see those options before. Turned off immediately and saved as default!

I still don’t understand why assuming a non-diatonic figure is the right thing, or what anyone would expect. This is not like chord symbols, where “7” means a minor seventh regardless of anything else.

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I think if a user is inputting figured bass, he or she is already boss level, and the onus should be on the user to input it correctly! :laughing:

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For some of the periods for which figured bass was in use, diminished intervals were less common than non-diatonic notes.

Dominant seventh chords have a minor seventh, not a diminished one. The #7 in the example introduces an alteration from C to C# which clearly is not intended, and therefore wrong.

The diminished interval that is being adjusted here is the one between the third and the seventh above the bass. Also this isn’t a dominant seventh chord, internally: inputting a 7->6 suspension in Dorico will only give you the seventh and third above the bass, not the fifth, as the suspension resolves to a 6,3 chord. Inputting a “7” figure on its own would give you a dominant seventh chord, and in that case the diminished fifth between the third and seventh would be allowed, as a special case.

Now I understand. I figured (sorry) it must be a detail I was missing. Thanks!

Aren’t the intervals in figured bass calculated from the bass note by definition? What we see here is a very common harmonic sequence of suspended sevenths, each resolving diatonically into a sixth (often with syncopated ties in literature). In the first half of bar 2, the upper voice resolves from D to C natural. This C natural does not change into C sharp on beat 3. It’s an ordinary minor seventh as seen from the bass note (admittedly not necessarily forming a full dominant 7th chord, but still), and AFAIK, whether the interval between the third and seventh happens to become diminished is immaterial. We don’t even know whether the continuo player will decide to play thirds or fifths at all. In this fragment, the polyphony is entirely diatonic in G major and shouldn’t get accidentals anywhere. The only way now to force Dorico to omit the misplaced sharp is deliberately adding an ‘n’ before the 7, which, in my view, shouldn’t be necessary.

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It’s my understanding that changing the option in Input note Options should make this!n thing unnecessary… Have I misunderstood?

@MarcLarcher: you mean in Engraving Options > Figured Bass > Accidentals? Whether accidentals are calculated from the KS or from the bass note should (in this case) not produce a sharp either way, I think.

No, I mean the option described by Richard up there, in Input Note Options > Figured Bass> “Don’t bother about diminished intervals for me, I can handle it myself”

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Ha! Thanks Marc, I didn’t know those, and I apparently overlooked or misread Richard’s comment. That solves everything (well, quite a lot, I guess).

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