Guitar notation improvements

Below are a few suggestions to further improve Dorico’s guitar notaion (standard and tablature) as it relates to guitar bends:

Dorico’s new “post-bend” feature is a great addition for notating bent doits and certain microtonal inflections on guitar. However, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the way Dorico notates it – using the arrow in both notation and tab – in the context of the overall notation style chosen for the programme. Generally there are two different ways of notating guitar bends in standard notation: Either (a) as Dorico does it, by notating the specific fretted and target pitches (with the help of grace notes) connected by bend hats (angled lines), or (b) by only indicating fretted pitches and rhythms, while indicating the amount of bend using arrows and fractions, similar to the tablature notation.

Dorico does not support version b, yet seems to use this style exclusively for post-bends, which is weird. The most common standard notation of a post-bend in version a is using a symbol similar to that of a doit for wind instruments. With this style, the fraction is often displayed only in the tablature. Dorico has no option for this either.

Somewhat less commonly, in my experience, quarter-tone post-bends are notated using a single trill line segment (c). In this particular case however, the same notation is typically used in the tab as well, albeit with the addition of a quarter fraction.

Quarter bend c.jpg

Quarter bend a.png
Additionally, when bending from a grace note, the stem of the grace note is usually removed (similarly to pre-bends, but without parenthesis). It would be great if Dorico could remove the stems of grace notes in this context automatically, since at present this process requires both hiding the stem and (usually) forcing the stem direction manually.

The engraving option “Minimum horizontal span for bend from grace note” does not seem to work as one would expect. Even if this value is set to zero, the spacing is increased somewhat when a bend is entered in this context. This is particularly noticeable whenever there’s an accidental involved.

The same thing can be said for the distance between the parenthesised grace note and the main note of a pre-bend; there should not be a (perceived) difference in the distance between the grace note and the main note in these cases either. Ideally the user should even be able to set different values for the space between grace notes (with or without bends) and main notes with and without accidentals.

There also seems to be a bug related to the spacing values mentioned above, as values in the “Minimum horizontal span for pre-bend” won’t stick if the value in “Minimum horizontal span for bend from grace note” is 0. In fact, any value in the former input field will transfer to the latter upon reopening the saved document, leaving the value for pre-bends set to 0 instead. This is a bit confusing, so here’s a detailed way to reproduce the bug:

  1. In Engraving options > Guitar Bends > Spacing, set “Minimum horizontal span for pre-bend” to 1
  2. In the same pane, set “Minimum horizontal span for bend from grace note” to 0
  3. Save, close and then reopen document.
  4. The setting “Minimum horizontal span for pre-bend” will now be 0, while “Minimum horizontal span for bend from grace note” will be 1.

Lastly, as pointed out by others, Dorico should ideally also support version b for notating guitar bends, but I would imagine this to require quite a lot more from the developers than “small” improvements upon the current notation style.

With regard to Dorico’s approach to tablature, more control over the notation is needed. Here are a few examples:

  1. Since there is no way to hide slurs in the tab staff, rakes and other types of slurred figures across several strings cannot be notated correctly in Dorico.

  2. Similarly, “hiding” a notehead in the notation staff (e.g., for a stemmed glissando) by making the note transparent, leaves a gap in the tab staff, instead of just hiding the fret number.

  3. Bracketing a notehead in the notation staff has no effect on the tab staff, even hough it should be reflected by a similarly bracketed fret number.

For visibility - and testing what happens now in new forum

(BTW - all good points here)

I couldn’t find a way to edit my original post.

For future reference, since the attached examples now are displayed inline, without a file name, and in a different order than before, the top one is example c, then b, and lastly a.

Thanks for the feedback! Good to know.