Impressive Biber results

Despite the fact that I often post a long list of small issues (as I did last Saturday), I also often take the time to put Dorico through a special notation project “just because”. The results are often wonderful, and in this case they are downright spectacular. Here are the first two pages of a Biber Rosary Sonata, complete with an incipit showing the scordatura, a custom key signature for the scordatura (which was a bit tricky since Dorico won’t let you put conflicting accidentals on the same note even if they are on a different octave, so I had to cheat on the upper F# by making a new “sharp”, setting it on E instead of F, and altering its x axis in order to have it on the F line), and the medallion representing the Sonata title. It will be great to eventually do figured bass without using lyrics and text, as I did here, but right now, I have to say this is quite impressive. (Although, of course, the playback is jibberish, but that’s OK with me!)

Just thought I’d share

Cool! Well done.

Regarding the figured bass, you’re right on the money: lyrics! A spanish site just posted a tutorial where they advised to use Opus Figured Bass (from Sibelius) or a similar, free font for the lyrics, allowing you to do detailed figured bass and tonal analysis with the Lyrics tool. Daniel even shared it on Twitter — though he didn’t seem exactly pleased with the workaround…

I have to thank you about the font. I didn’t think about it so I used text for the flats. I’ll change it for sure

… There is of course the nasty fact that once you change the lyrics font, you can no longer use it for … lyrics …

I’m rather sure — though I haven’t tried it — that you can change, say, the Chorus or the Translation text style to the Figured Bass font without affecting Lyrics line 1, for example. Is that correct?

Not sure that’s possible, but I’ll check

It looks very nice! But I wonder if in a modern edition, given that all the strings are scordatura, for the sake of the sanity of the continuo player it would be helpful to have an additional stave with the true pitches of the violin part. In its present form it is quite unreadable, except by the poor violinist – even worse if he has absolute pitch! I also wonder why Biber preferred to preface the score with an f natural, when this could have been supplied as required, and the score written in D.

It is a bit too late to ask him, however!


It’s always interesting about perfect pitch and 415. All perfect pitch violinists who end up playing and training on baroque, either to do it on the side or to switch permanently, end up having two separate perfect pitch “compartments” in their brain. This can take them a year or two to achieve. RDSO’s concertmaster, who also plays in the 1st violin section of Rosa Barocca is such an individual. But I remember years ago, when the pitch issue was still affected her, designing a baroque chamber program for her in another concert series. I suggested some Biber and she responded that she can do 415, and she can do scordatura, but not both at the same time! So I chose “La Pastorella” which uses standard tuning. She sounded awesome. But now she could do 415 and scordatura together no problem! What’s funny is that there is evidence that pitch in Salzburg at the time was closer to 440Hz, and Biber is often performed and recorded at that pitch on baroque violin nowadays. Rosa’s youngest member, is switching to baroque permanently. She said the first year was very hard in terms of keeping two different set of pitches in her head. Sometimes I’m glad I don’t have perfect pitch!

But you are most correct about a second line showing real pitch for the continuo players. That would be most appreciated, I’m sure!

Could you kindly give a link to that Spanish figured bass tutorial?