Figured Bass - just a sharp, please

It’s impossible to tell what’s going on without seeing the document, and what you’re typing.

But if you can’t get to grips with it, try turning on Literal input in Note Input Options.

Ben, I read your suggested Document:

Firstly, we could tell Dorico to always display exactly what we’ve typed, ignore the Engraving Options, and not worry about inconsistencies. In > Note Input Options > (at the bottom of Write menu), there’s a pane for Figured Bass that contains an option to Follow Input Literally.
That’s something that many people will want to do, particularly if they’re copying an existing score.

That is a good hint - especially as I have never encountered that menu so far… „Note Input Options“

Ok, I have changed it to „Follow Input Literally“ - still I can not put in 64+2 or 642+
It will still always change to <+>6, <+>4, +2 and display a raised 6 and a raised 4 (where I only want a raised 2)
I am stuck with Dorico and Figured Bass now.

Attach a minimal project that captures the problem you’re having.

These are the figures I try to input (copy from my source):

and these are the figures Dorico puts in - overriding my input:

This is the zipped Dorico file:
Figured Bass (1.74 MB)
get this.png
want this.png

The problem is that the source figures are wrong! Bass figures are written with respect to the key.

If you click on your first figure and look in the status bar at the bottom, Dorico understands 2+ to be Cx, not C#. It then assumes that if you want C double sharp, you’re not going to have E and G naturals, too.

All the upper notes of the first chord are ‘in key’: it’s the bass note that is the diminished 7th of VII. Similarly, your third chord is entirely in key, being an A maj 7, so you don’t need a raised 4th. Anyone seeing 642 knows the bass note is a 7th.

If you want ‘actual’ intervals from the bass note, then surely the 4th is augmented, too? (B flat to E natural?) But then you’d also put a sharpened 3 on the bass A, and a raised 4 on the C natural… Where will it end? :smiley:

Note that you can type in the names of the chords into the FB popover: VIId7, A7, … and it will give you the right figures!

However, you can achieve the figs you want by changing the Note Input Options for Interpreting Diminished Intervals to “Adjust from Bass Note” (and then re-type 642+). But note that Dorico still thinks you mean a Cx.

I dare say you could make a case for ‘cautionary’ indications of this sort, but at best you’d want something like 2(#), rather than 2+. And Dorico can’t do that yet.

Ben, thank you for your reply. I just want to simply copy a score - with all its ambiguities and mistakes. I know the figures are not right, still I want (and need) to copy from the original manuscript literally. 1:1.
I thought I could tell Dorico to override it’s correcting habits in these cases.

You can: see my penultimate paragraph. But bear in mind that if you do want to achieve ‘the wrong figures’, then you’re going to be working against Dorico’s understanding: and you might be better off using Figurato in Lyrics.

I think there should be a possibility to override Dorico’s system - besides using lyrics and an external font.
We have freedom to f.e. input „wrong“ fingerings.
A Basso continuo player is perfectly able to spot wrong or missing figures - or even use completely different chords. We need a certain freedom here to use Dorico as a tool also for these cases.

Yes, but why should they have to? Making the score as easy to read as possible is part of the engraving process.

Some people have posted here that Fig Bass is ‘niche’ notation that Dorico shouldn’t have spent time on, while contemporary notations are still lacking; the idea that Dorico’s Fig Bass feature should accommodate the wrong figures is an extreme niche indeed!

As said, you should be able to enter incorrect figures: but Dorico will understand a different meaning from what you intend. And realistically, there’s no way around that.

If I copy an original, I have to respect the oddities and even mistakes.
If I can’t do this, my copy turns into an edition.
But it does not turn into my edition, because I can’t control what I edit.
In that regard Dorico should give us the ability and freedom to do our own edits, as this is also a form of creativity.
There should be a possibility or extension of the Notation Options. Or an area in the Property Panel to override a figure/number.

I find that literal input with “Allow diminished intervals” chosen in the next batch of choices of Input Options, you’ll find that Dorico will write exactly what you type in pretty much all cases. When things get a bit more involved with accidentals, I tend to type commas in between figures, even add a comma at the end on occasion. At any rate, with those two commands in place, I reproduced your figures without any trouble. But I agree that literal option should be more … literal. Generally, I use Engraving Options for my own figures, and literal+allow diminished for copying editions

Thank you Claude, this gave me some confidence to start again with my figured bass, and I got the results I needed.

So I am approaching the next piece and get something very odd: if I type in my figures into the bass line staff, some other figures turn up in the viola staff. Please have a look below. I am sure there must be a setting I have overlooked…

Your question could have two meanings.

If you don’t want any figures on the viola line of this layout, then uncheck viola in Layout Options>Players>Figured bass

If you want figures but you want them to be the same as the ones on the bass line, that won’t happen because it’s harmonically wrong, however, you can use local figured bass (with “alt”) to have differing figures; otherwise, Dorico assume that everyone is playing the same chord.

We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one lol. Indeed, I have tried replicating various scores, but never their demonstrable mistakes. Mistakes can make a score more difficult to parse out during study and certainly during sight reading, for instance. I see absolutely no point in perpetuating an error unless you are copying directly from a manuscript from one of the greats. If Bach wrote it in his own hand, then the good lord hath spoken. But if Joe Schmoe in an engraving house in 1848 simply made an error? Not so much. My favorite example is in keyboard music when the same music returns at the end and it is notated differently or the notes are distributed between the hands in a different way. I always correct such things because someone simply wasn’t paying close attention. Can you imagine reprinting a book with a spelling error simply because the editor made a mistake 80 or 180 years ago? I can’t. (Unless it’s a deliberate play on words.) Music strikes me similarly. I see lots of mistakes in my old organ editions. Things an engraver surely did by accident but couldn’t undo because it would have been too much work to scrap a copper plate and start from scratch.

I don’t know your situation so I should clarify that I don’t mean to judge. As I said above, if you’re working off of a manuscript, for instance, I can certainly see an argument for some things (although arguably overly wrong chords isn’t one of them). But I do hope that people do not blindly copy editions just “because that’s how it is in the original”. I have an early edition of some teleman keyboard works where the stems go in objectively the wrong direction. It makes reading that edition a royal pain, and this book is still published from the original plates (or scans of them, rather) 100 years later. Love the music, despise the edition.

I’ll end with this chilling thought: we all know how many pss-poor F*** scores are on the internet from the early 1990’s (heck, from this morning, lol). F in the 90’s wasn’t guided by “Behind Bars”. Can you imagine some poor college kid 80 years from now finding an old archived PDF on IMSLP or CPDL and creating a new version with the same mistakes that were caused by the incomplete design of the program then? “That’s how the original was so I’m replicating it!” Dear God. :astonished: Noooooooooo! :stuck_out_tongue:

Even the most meticulous scholarly transcriptions usually correct obvious mistakes, and list the correction in critical notes, while making the alteration noticeable by using italics, small notes, brackets, etc.

If a keyboard player starts noticing mistakes in the score, he won’t know whether they were in the original, or introduced later: but he won’t trust it.

For critical editions one has to meticulously copy 1:1. It is a small path, if one starts correcting mistakes, their will be a trace of yourself, and the whole thing becomes an edition.
If I have no idea about Figured Bass, I should still be able to copy what is written. In that case how should the person correct, whilst having no clue? One could leave the careful corrections to an expert on that field.

Thank you Claude, of course I don’t want any Figured Bass in the Viola part… I never knew of that setting, but I guess I know how this happened: I started inputting the Figured Bass into the viola staff - as in the bass staff there was just a sustained long bass note. My plan: to move the numbers down to the bass staff with Alt-M. This did not work, so I reviewed my plan and started inputting the figures into the bass staff. My procedure must have automatically changed the Layout Settings.
This built in service is confusing if one does not know about these settings.

I cant agree with that, for re-publishing any feature in any musical score (not just figured bass).

If you don’t know what the original is supposed to mean, you don’t know how to copy it intelligently. If you want to make a facsimile edition, there is a tool for that: it’s called a camera.

Consider the examples in the attachments, which are from a published first edition that I happen to be working on right now. I could easily find hundreds more examples, these are just what is in front of me right now.

In the first one, If you don’t understand how an orchestra string section “works”, you can claim on the authority of Gould that the “pizz” should apply to the fourth 32-note on the staff below it, because that is how playing techniques are supposed to be positioned. But don’t expect anybody to take you seriously if you publish (or perform) that sort of nonsense!

And in the second, if you want to claim that the f dynamics are intended to start on the second grace note on the top two staves, but on the first grace note of the bottom one, feel free to “copy what is written” exactly :slight_smile:
score interpretation.png
dynamics positioning.png

I can’t resist adding a third example from another forum that I happened to see today. Somebody was asking what the “x” symbols mean in this cello part (by Beethoven).

And someone else, who presumably knows how to read a music dictionary but is otherwise clueless, stated that they are all double sharp symbols, and the music should really have been written a tone higher to avoid them.

(Full disclosure: I have no idea what they mean, but I would happily bet $10,000 they aren’t double sharps!)
Double sharps - not.jpg

Rob, your first example looks a bit tight, that’s why they put the pizz. of that octave, where there was space.
In the second example the engraver was probably a bit careless, when he put the fortes down - or he copied the exact positions of the original.
In your Beethoven example the symbols don’t look like x - more like some playing instruction (could be accents with strong individual vibrato). Because it is ambiguous the editor probably copied from the autograph as close as possible and left the interpretation of those signs to the interpreter. I actually prefer it that way, if I was the musician to play the piece.
I am not a cellist, but it would be interesting to know, from which piece this example derives.