How to allow ties through flags on stems?

Hello, I’d prefer if Dorico allowed ties to go through the flags on notes – is there any way to do that? You can see the attached example where Dorico’s collision avoidance creates a weird inconsistency.

The only way you would be able to do this would be to set the ‘Gaps after flags’ option (under Advanced Options in Avoiding Collisions on the Ties page of Engraving Options) to a negative value, e.g. -1/2 space. I wouldn’t really recommend this, but feel free to give it a try.

Thanks for the reply! Yeah, that sounds a little scary but it does give me the consistency I was looking for in these sorts of chords. I like the idea of avoiding the flags, but in a piece filled with these sorts of chords it just looks too awkward to my eye. I don’t see any negative affects of the negative value (except for the imposed collision with the flag). Just a byproduct of Bravura’s long flag, I guess.

Dorico is not handling this situation correctly. The tie should run through the flags as in the second example so the two ties mirror each other.

This situation occurs in Beethoven’s Sonata op. 111 first movement measure 95 left hand.
Beethoven op 111.png
It also occurs in the Sonata op. 31 no 1 first movement with flagged sixteenth notes:
Beethoven op 31 no 1 .png
The examples are from the Schenker edition. In all editions consulted ranging from the first editions, through the Breitkopf und Härtel Complete Works, von Bulow, Casella, Schenker, Schnabel up to the Peters edition of Claudio Arrau (1973), the ties run through the flags.

I don’t think these kinds of blanket statements about “correct” and “incorrect” are particularly helpful, John, since practice differs enormously by publisher, idiom, historical period, and so on. I think given the boldness of Bravura and the default thickness of Dorico’s ties, our default approach (which is certainly seen in published music), provides good visual clarity, though obviously at the expense of symmetry in the left-hand end points of the ties. As you have seen from above, it is easily possible in Dorico, by changing a single option, to provide an alternative appearance.

I am very sorry, Daniel. I actually was trying to be helpful by pointing out the standard (=correct) way of handling this situation, since I have never seen it done like Dorico does it. To check, I went through a couple of centuries of engraving by the best publishers. More recent examples:

Bach WTC E major Prelude measure 38 right hand Henle edition and Wiener Urtext editions:
Bach WTC I E WU.png
Bach WTC I Henle.png
It was not clear to me from the OP or your response to the OP that Dorico CAN produce the standard result. I thought that the OP’s “desired result” example was produced with other software. After all, why was he asking how to do something in Dorico that he could give an example of in Dorico?

I will continue to look through music by the best publishers to see if I can find the Dorico default. If it exists, it seems so rare that one wonders why it would be the Dorico default.

Sorry, I should have included a follow-up screenshot showing the results. Here’s a sort of “composite” screenshot with several examples of Dorico after changing “Gaps after flags” to -1/2 space. This seems to give me the result I’m looking for, and I guess I will just continue using that until I see some negative effects.

I do agree with John Ruggero that this looks “right” to my eyes and I can’t personally recall seeing Dorico’s treatment in professional scores. I’m sure Daniel knows what he’s talking about when he says it is used in published scores, but I wonder whether it makes sense for it to be the default treatment. As we all know, default settings have enormous staying power in the industry! (I’m thinking of how many scores we saw with always-upstemmed-middle-line-notes-on-lyrics-staves after that became Sibelius’s default one of those versions ago, or how many scores now use Plantin because it’s the default choice.)

Elaine Gould says the stem should be lengthened to avoid colliding with ties (see below). It looks like she just barely extends the stem, which looks fine to me, though I don’t know if it’s better than just allowing the tie through the flag. It does look nicer to my eye than Dorico’s default—but it’s possible with Bravura’s flag it would not look as good.

For the moment, I’m happy with the gap after flags set to -1/2 space. I would vote for that behavior being the default, and for additional options to lengthen the stem on tied+flagged notes, in case we wanted to follow that advice.

Thank you high5ths. I agree completely. Once a convention is enshrined as the default in standard software, it becomes the new standard, which would be unfortunate in this case, as in others.

I was about to post Gould’s example from p. 64 where she says that a collision between a flag and a tie “may be unavoidable in double-stemmed writing.” Her suggestion to extend the stem to avoid it is sensible and certainly practical, but I do not see that actually happening in high quality engraved music of the past.

I just looked through the Berg Violin Concerto. Again the ties go through the flags without apology—and, of course, the stems are not extended.

Your result looks fine, and I am very glad that Dorico can handle this situation. There are fewer and fewer things standing in the way of my using this software and I remain hopeful.

I will definitely consider whether we should change our default appearance. As I said above, however, I think that such a change could only be made with adjustment of the default thickness for ties, and possibly even the design of the flags, but I would certainly not rule anything out.

Doesn’t have the SMUFL standard - and hence Bravura - has an alternative shortened version of the flags (e.g. flag8thUpShort, uniE240.ss02), which can be used to avoid collisions between flag and augmentation dots? Maybe an engraving option to use these for tied notes would be possible.

Thank you very much, Daniel. It is clear that you will let nothing stop Dorico from being the finest engraving software yet produced.

As you imply, a single special case can have profound effects. It brings home the fact that the conventions of music notation and engraving are an intricate web, created by the collective efforts of many over a long period of time, and that every decision, in this case slur and tie thickness, can have unforeseen consequences.

Indeed it does have short flags, and you can already choose to use them to help avoid collisions between flags and rhythm dots, but Dorico’s default handling in that situation is to lengthen the stems because I’m not 100% happy with the design of the short flags. This is another area I would like to take another pass over Bravura’s design, but I am lacking the necessary span of concentrated time to devote to this.

I agree with the OP and John Ruggero that Dorico should let ties cut through flags by default. Nor I can remember ever seeing anything other than this behaviour from major publishers. To confirm, I just checked some of Bach’s major works published by Bärenreiter, Peters, Henle, Breitkopf & Härtel, UE etc., and in none of these editions were Dorico’s default behaviour adopted. I don’t doubt that the Dorico team has made their assessment based on practical examples, but I am curious as to the reliability of these sources.

Gould’s suggestion of lengthening stems in these situations also seems misguided to me, as it could lead to an undesirable unevenness in stem lengths. At least one major publisher, Durand, does indeed adopt this practice (although somewhat inconsistently), but only because they tend to always lengthen the stem on flagged notes, keeping the flag above the note space and thus avoiding shorter ties.

I can understand Daniel’s point that Dorico’s default behaviour may seem desirable given the default thickness of the ties, but in my mind, this speaks more to the problematic uneven tapering of the programmes tie shapes than anything else. If the Dorico team chooses to reevaluate how ties (and slurs) are drawn by the programme, adopting a shape more along the lines of what Finale produces, the visual interference between intersecting flags and ties will likely take care of itself. I don’t see any reason to alter the flag design of Bravura to minimise any visual interference produced by crossing ties. The flag arch is more than large enough to accommodate any tie ends, and its thickness may actually be an advantage, provided the tie ends are properly tapered.

Using short flags to minimise the same interference, although contrary to standard behaviour, could be an option, but as Daniel eluded to, Bravura’s single short flag is currently much too short for this purpose. More than likely. you may even need the flag length to automatically adapt to the arch of the tie (i.e., by utilising multiple different glyph alternates) to really produce satisfactory results with this particular behaviour. However, that seems to me to be a much more complicated implementation than to simply alter the tie shape (which, I believe is on the team’s road map already) and change the default tie start gap on flagged notes.