Hammer Ons and Pull Off and Slides

Two Questions:

  1. Does Dorico 3 support hammer ons and slide offs for guitar notation? If so, where can I find the appropriate symbols?
  2. For slides into notes, am I supposed to use the glissando symbol? Typically with guitar notation there should be a the symbol “sl.” along with the slide


IIRC #1 has not yet been (fully) implemented but is planned.

When will it be implemented?

The only people that know that are the development team, and they have a habit of not promising anything until development is nearly complete.

In a future update there will be options to display H and P above slurs to show that they are hammer-ons or pull-offs. For slides, I suggest you add the text “sl.” using Shift+X text.

Hopefully soon. I see you can create your own custom notation symbols in Dorico. Is there a tutorial for that?


I’m not sure why the additional H, PO and sl are needed. It’s self evident that two tab notes joined by a slur are hammers and pull offs and straight lines are slides. The less visual clutter the better in my opinion.

I guess it’s not so self evident if you only read tab when there is no alternative, and you think that slurs are slurs.

I didn’t mean to imply that adding these markings was necessarily superfluous and if people find it useful then that’s great, but in my experience if I see two notes joined on a string on the tab stave with a slur from say fret 4 to fret 2 then it is a pull off. I don’t see how there can be any ambiguity about that.

Folks, it’s all about options…

This is true!


One thing I’ve noticed regarding these types of guitar specific techniques is the lack of support for multiple notes.

Specifically, if double stops are to be hammered on, pulled off or slid, it is customary in guitar notation to notate slurs between each of the starting and ending voices, inside the beam whenever one is involved (I know this is a rule breaker in virtually every other case). All these slurs are then reflected in the tab.

Currently, as far as I know, there is no way to achieve this without manual editing, since Dorico doesn’t seem to allow slurs to go inside beams in any context.

Based on the limitations of current notation software, I would imagine that modern editions of guitar music might stick to the more common practice of a single slur for multiple notes on the same stem, in which case, there still needs to be an option to show slurs between every pair of starting and ending notes in the tab. I guess this is currently possible by superimposing two slurs in the notation staff manually, and changing the direction of one slur in the tab, but it’s cumbersome and easily flawed.

That said, I really, really love the implementation of the tab feature. Excellent work!


Can you attach an example or two of these unusual inside-beams slurs from a published edition or two, to be sure I’m understanding you correctly?


Here’s just a few random examples from ‘authentic’ rock guitar editions published by Hal Leonard, Warner Brothers a.o.

I personally think that it’s unnecessary to have both slurs and slides. Most of the major publishing houses aren’t in full agreement about these conventions. My view has always been to keep it simple. A line should suffice for a slide and a slur for hammers and pull offs without the need for additional text. There is far too much clutter on many guitar transcriptions. This is of course my personal view.

I disagree since it’s perfectly possible, and not unheard of, to employ an attack both on the starting and ending notes of a slide.

Slurs are used to signify legato playing on guitar, in the same way they signify strokes on other stringed instruments. I think it’s important to keep this principle consistent.

I agree that this does occur. However, I’d personally like the option to be able to include or not include the slurs as well as the slides and additionally have the option not to have or not have accompanying text. It’s all about options ultimately. My biggest frustration at the moment is not having independent control over the grace note size on the tab stave - but I understand from comments that Daniel Spreadbury recently made that this will be addressed in a future update - hopefully very soon which is fantastic.

Thanks for the examples. We call these kinds of slurs “inner slurs” and we cannot currently position or route such slurs automatically. We don’t rule out support for them in a future version, but it’s unlikely to be something you will see in the near future.

I see. What about the double slurs in the tab corresponding to a single slur in the notation staff? As I see it, this is after all the most important thing to support in the short term, since it can be difficult to discern differences in harmonic phrasing in the tab without them.