How to start a slur in the middle of a tie?

I agree with you.

I see your point.

Dan, we both know we are guessing exactly how it will work.

But FWIW right from the first time I heard about this, my thought was "Ah, this is going to work the same way as the “partCombine” function in Lilypond, but hopefully without some of the quirkiness - for example Lilypond sometimes decides to automatically create an “a2” region in the score that is just one note long.

I’m guessing that in Filipe’s Villa-Lobos example, the slur is drawn that way because the engraver didn’t want to continue the slur across the system break for some reason. That’s the only reason I can think of for doing it like that, but I could be wrong of course.

Oh, for sure. I just have a hunch there are a significant number of users (the majority of arrangers and composers, I wager) who work the way I do: write the music condensed, and expand later for players. But as you say, it’s speculative.

I hope it won’t just be voice dependent. Especially for keyboard entry it’s often useful to write parts in a single voice.

Allow me to clear up the speculation about how condensing will work in Dorico, as there’s no great mystery: you will enter the music for each player individually, and Dorico will produce the condensed staff. You will not be able to input the music already condensed, as it were: for example, in the case of writing for a pair of solo flutes, you cannot input onto the staff for “Flutes 1 & 2”. You can only input separately onto the “Flute 1” staff and onto the “Flute 2” staff, and the contents of the “Flutes 1 & 2” staff are completely dynamic.

The reason for this approach is that it is impossible, in the general case, to correctly discern what the complete and unambiguous music is for each individual player from music entered condensed. I don’t use the word “impossible” lightly: this is the conclusion we have come to after thinking deeply about this problem space for years. The only way to be sure that you can produce both a correct condensation and correct individual parts is for you, the user, to specify the contents of each part. Dorico can then determine how to produce the best and most efficient condensation.

If inputting the music condensed is important to you, then you’ll need to input the music for your (say) two solo flutes onto one of the solo flute staves as dyads or using multiple voices, or whatever you like, and then explode it out onto the two solo staves in order for Dorico to produce the automatic condensation. We plan to provide some tools to try to make it easy to input music for both flutes at once onto their respective solo staves, e.g. the ability to stretch the caret over both staves and then play single notes and dyads on your MIDI keyboard, which Dorico will interpret sensibly (i.e. unisons will go into both flutes, dyads will be split between them), but you simply will not be able to input the music in its condensed form.

The payoff for doing it our way will be profoundly worth it. You won’t have to worry about the disposition of voices in the source material. You won’t have to worry about layout of the score, and performing the mental gymnastics in advance to work out when you can and can’t condense the material onto a smaller number of staves for the width of a whole system. You won’t have to manage any of the staves yourself. You won’t have to worry about staff labelling, or labelling the changes between unison/solo passages. You will be able to just as easily condense four, six or eight horns as you can two flutes.

Like some other things in Dorico, the newness of the approach will require that you give up some of your current habits in the service of saving you a lot of time down the line.

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That’s a lot of things to not have to worry about. It all sounds fantastic!

kudos for thinking things through deeply and thoroughly.

Re: condensed staves:

Will a condensed staff be visually unambiguous once it is created as to which notes are played by each player?

Will the condense operation be reversible (i.e., can I create two uncondensed staves from a single condensed staff of two flutes)?

Yes. Dorico will only condense the music if the result will be unambiguous.

You won’t need to do this, since the uncondensed source staves will always be available. You can either disable condensation entirely for the layout, or switch to galley view (where only the source and not the condensed staves will appear), or have another layout that shows only the uncondensed staves, or indeed (we expect) create a manual condensation change event at a particular spot that will tell Dorico not to condense a particular passage.

Dear Daniel,
Thanks a lot for this teaser — I don’t think we ever had so much information about how it will work! And it does sound promising!

I confess I’m disappointed this won’t be available, but I can appreciate the myriad problems it would present due to inconsistencies in voices and such. Though I had hoped it might encourage arrangers/orchestrators to become more consistent and standardized in their usage of notation like “unis.” and “a 2,” which could have been summarily “smartly exploded.” Although when I read Daniel’s reply, I started thinking about how such flexible voicing might be handled, and it was difficult to even conceptualize!

As it is now, Explode is really excellent. I wonder if there might be a way one could explode a Flute 1&2 to individual staves at the end of the writing process, and retain some measure of dynamic, linked updating (akin to linked slurs and dynamics)? Just a thought.

Regardless, I appreciate the team’s willingness to tackle this daunting functionality. Looking forward to it!

I can’t imagine that “Explode” will be going anywhere, Dan. With that in mind, I don’t see how Steinberg could prevent you from:

  1. Starting with a fudged Flute 1+2 stave in the score
  2. Exploding to separate Flute 1+2 staves
  3. Combining said staves into a condensed stave
  4. Ditching your original fudged stave and replacing with your new condensed stave.

I’m guessing the biggest perks of Condensing will be
a) automated labelling of voices (1., a2 etc.)
b) condensed stave will remain dynamically linked to separate staves in part layouts

Ah, I hadn’t thought about that. It’s a little extra work, but it seems valid.

Hi doricians!

  1. I am working with scores as composer and as arranger for more then 30 years. Here in Russia there were several books about how to correctly organize a score and what are the engraving rules, and I always kept them nearby when working. All those books are out of date now (1959, 1976, 198x), but there were nothing special in them (no «communist engraving rules» used locally only in Soviet Union, etc.). I’ve lernt them almost by heart, and all of the books state that if you have a musical fraze that starts with several short notes and ends with a very long one (of several measures), you shouldn’t prolong a slur till the end of that long note. And recommended way to end the slur in this case was to make the slur one measure longer counting from the place where the long note started. And vice versa for a fraze that starts with a long note and ends with several shorts.
    And I always follow the advice in my practice.

I fully understand Dorico’s concept «a note is one object» and I have an idea how that problem with slurs discussed here might be managed.
As a first step I have to create a slur of full length. Then (sure in Engrave mode) I would have two switches with counters in the bottom panel, first for the start of the slur and second for it’s end. If I want a slur to start later I should activate the start switch and put into the corresponding counter a quantity of measures to move the slur’s start point to the right. If I want a slur to ends earlier I should activate the end switch and put into the corresponding counter a quantity of measures to move the end point to the left.
a) I see we always want to start later or to end earlie the slur on downbeat (I can’t even imagine an opposite case), not somewhere in the middle of the measure. If it is not so difficult for programmers to get H-position of a downbeat (of any measure), it wouldn’t be difficult to move the start or end point of a slur to that position;
b) I do not expect any issues with H-position of a slure and it’s curve because there always the same pitch(es) under the slure (no additional algorithms needed);
c) I do not expect any issues with graphical interaction between a slur and articulation, PT, whatelse, because there are usually none of them on a long note;
d) I do not expect any issues with playing the score because nothing is changed;
e) it is more intuitive and less complicated then tieing notes in different voices.
Is it possible?

  1. My second idea is about condensed staves and it is more like an «idea una fantasia». I’ve read all the explanation above and they are accepted by me. But let me tell you about.
    What if… OK, let’s say I have two staves for the flute 1 and 2, and I have a staff where both flutes will be combined later by Dorico. Because it is always better for composing not to see the additional staves, I created two layouts for Composer’s score and Conductor’s score. I am in Composer’s now and I see two staves for flutes – not the best for me when I am writing for the large orchestra.

My idea is to have an option to create a Virtual Composer’s Staff (VCS) for these flutes, and it should virtually combine Flute 1 and 2 on the fly and thus save the space on the screen to fit more music. I mean something like putting one staff upon another. If the VCS have been created for 2 flutes, I no more can see two staves, I can see only the VCS. On this VCS when I input notes for flute 1, notes really go to ‘Flute 1’ staff (invisible at the moment, it has been replaced with VCS). When I input notes for flute 2, notes really go to ‘Flute 2’ staff. But I see all the flute music on single Flute VCS as a separated voices.
If the VCS created, a composer have to point Dorico unambiguously in which flute staff he is about to input notes. I was a Product B user for decades and it seems that the way how the Product B keeps Layers is very suitable for this purpose: the Voice 1 becomes gray when you switch to Voice 2 and so on. No mistakes are possible with mixing up two flutes here.
And in this mode I wouldn’t take care of any graphical issues. If Dorico just virtually turns stems, articulations, PTs up (all at once!) for Flute 1 and down for Flute 2, it would be more then enough. No other correction on the fly needed. If I realize at some point that there are too much graphical issues, I just turn off the VCS for Flutes and immediately will see two flute staves.

Some more thoughts about:
a) of course VCSs doesn’t even exist in Engrave mode, in Engrave mode one can see only the ‘real’ staves;
b) of course it is impossible to print it;
c) I think VCS should combine up to 3 staves, not more;
d) I can’t imagine now whether VCS should work for different instruments or not, especially for instruments of different transposition (e.g. Flute and Clarinet) in concert pitch; but in some cases a composer may want to temporary combine Oboe and Horn if there are a lot of string’s divisi and all others do not play;
e) I don’t understand whether there should be a VCS-mode that one may turn on or off for all the VCS staves (for a whole layout) at once, or each VCS track should be turned on/off separately; the first way seems better;
f) VCS allows composers to start to work with as compact layout as possible – to see more, to work faster; then continue to work in ‘common’ Write mode, then go to Engrave…
g) I understand that VCS may be implemented (if it is interesting for other people) much later, after the main work on Combined staves is done. But may be it is a high time ‘to leave a space’ in the code for this future enhancement.

Thank you for reading. I know that my spoken English is so far from being exellent and there are a lot of mistakes there. And if you please I would have more comprehensive answers then just ‘no, it will never be done’ or ‘all decisions are made’. Last week I’ve started a threed about Dorico at one popular russian musical forum, where I put a lot of well structured info about Dorico’s history, it’s name, it’s current state, licensing, about how to try it and what the first step should be to learn some basic things, I translated a lot of important things that I’ve found at this forum or at ScoringNotes blog, I took a first fight against DAW-users… After all of that a lot of people came there and asked me about Dorico’s future (as if I were a member of Dorico team!). So getting the answers is very important to… let’s say, to ‘sinchronize thinking’. It’s not so easy to kill a Product B user inside me, it is not so easy to meet what I dreamed of for years (new notation software).


I’m slightly amazed that in 30 posts, nobody’s thought to mention this:

Q: Is it possible to do this in Dorico?
A: Yes, in Engrave mode.

Dmitry, as I understand it, your “VCS” is a variation on Daniel’s explanation of how Condensing will work, a few posts up the thread:

A good reason NOT to mention it is because it isn’t a stable solution.

The offset from the original slur position is a fixed horizontal length, not a fixed rhythmic interval. If you do anything to the score that changes the horizontal spacing of the music, the slur will end up in the wrong place.

It won’t transfer correctly from the score to a part either (even if you “propagate properties”) since the horizontal spacing in the score and the part are likely to be different.

Sure, but the fact remains it’s possible.

It can always be done with two voices, if one is determined to slur it that way (as I see Rob pointed out earlier).


I was also disappointed to discover how condensing is going to work, but this statement from Daniel has set my mind at ease at least until we get the functionality and I’ve jumped in with both feet.