I posted a bit of figured bass as a short example once, but I thought I’d share something more comprehensive to see if would help people. Dorico does not have a figured bass tool at the moment, and it may take quite a while before that is done.
I’ll be conducting J.S. Bach’s Cantata BWV 106 “Gottes Zeit is die allerbeste Zeit” in about three weeks, and since the set we got from another institution seems to be missing its “organ” part (those tend to be a pain in the neck anyway), I thought I would make my own for the positiv organ and the theorbo, as the original only contains a handful of figures. Also, since I wanted to create a continuo insert for Gamba I in number 3.a (In deine Hände), I thought I might as well put Dorico to the test.
As most people know, it is best to use the lyrics tool for this. I made a separate player for the part and put the figures in as lyrics, except for no. 3.a (which I also set in bass clef only while I left the gamba part in bass and alto clef) because it is special and very sparse. It is best in that mvt to let our organist work it out for herself with the help of the vocal line, which is what I did.
Since there are already lyrics in the score, I used the Lyrics Translation text font and set it to bold instead of Italics, and used Opus Figured Bass which is the font that comes with Sibelius. I also set space between lyrics line to “0” in Engraving Options. I left the Windows character map application in the background for the whole thing, since hovering the mouse over the glyphs gives you the correct characters to type. Every now and then, I had to copy and paste from the app. Figures are stacked by switching lyric lines with the down arrow. After entering a few figures, one can simply alt-click to copy into other notes and sometimes switching lines afterwards through the properties panel. Typing “alt±“ in the lyrics box can also produce makeshift continuation lines which I used on occasion. It is certainly not an ideal mechanism, but the results are actually not bad. It took a few hours, but continuo figures take time anyway, even when using a dedicated tool. On the whole, I would certainly do it again.
For simplicity’s sake, I have “extracted” the basso continuo layout by itself to post it here. I have also included a pdf of it. The files are in Dropbox at:
(for which you will need the Opus Figured Bass font)
Feel free to comment, ask questions or tell me what I could have done faster and/or better.