Figured bass question (6,b5)

Working on some figured bass exercises and I’m trying to copy this into Dorico. For some reason it doesn’t like the 6/b5 in the 2nd bar (it keeps adjusting it to 6/5). Is this a known issue? Is there a workaround? Not sure if it’s related to the key sig but if I try similar in C major it lets me put 6/b5 on every note.

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The 6/5 over an E natural should give a first inversion C7. What chord were you trying to suggest with the flatted 5?

I was just trying to input the exercise (pasted above) but Dorico wouldn’t allow the b5. It came from this example here: Basic Tonal Harmony | School of Music

Have you tried!6,b5 in the popover?

You need to change this Engraving Option to value shown:

Arguably, the flat is a ‘cautionary’, as 5 means B flat (in this key) anyway.

More generally, the solution to “Dorico won’t let me enter it” is always: got to Note Input Options; and set Figure Bass to Follow “Literal” input, and to allow Diminished intervals.

But generally, there’s usually a good reason why Dorico doesn’t let you do something.

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Thanks benwiggy, seems I need Dorico Pro to update that engraving option. Thanks for your help on this.

Why doesn’t it mean C flat? I don’t understand how 5 becomes 4 in your reasoning. Don’t the figures depend on the bass note, and not on the key signature?

Because a fifth above E is B-flat in the key given. The 5 does not mean a perfect fifth, just whatever fifth occurs in the key signature.

Well, that’s clearly not how I was taught to read figured bass!

A 5 isn’t necessarily a perfect fifth. For instance, not on the 7th note of the key.

Here’s a page from my Boys’ Bumper Book of Figured Bass

Bar 3 has a C# with a 6, which is realised as an A, not an A#. The first bar of the second line has 6 under B flat and B natural, both realised as G.

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Well, your example works in the way I’ve learned figured bass: the 6 at the second bar means E, not A (6th note in the key of C). I guess it was simply a mistake.

Exactly: the 6th note from the bass note in the key of C, not in the key of G# (for 2nd beat of bar 2).

In the original example, B natural isn’t in the key of Eb, so 6/5 on E natural is still C/Bb, not C# / Bn.

Of course, it’s fair to say there is French figured bass and there is German figured bass…

Ok, I just read the example above again and indeed it was my mistake : I read a F with the figure instead of an E(natural). So now I must apologize for all my clutter :rofl:.

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