Just some ideas...

I’m composing a piece for symphony orchestra and solo cello.
On this moment I’m focusing on composing and at the same time working on the performance, midi
performance of course, 99 % chance that a symphony orchestra and solo cello player will never play the piece …
But: after finishing the piece I want to make a good readable score yet for the case that… (keep on positive thinking), and here I encounter 2 problems.

  1. The dynamics. For the midi performance I notate fffff with ease, when that gives the good sound. But I don’t think that fffff gives in a real performance what I mean :wink: .
  2. Working on the score I notate all kind of Playing Techniques, perfect for playing the samples but I think real players will have at least their questions when they should read them. I don’t hide them now, because then I get a lot of dark “shadows” around the white words on some places in the score, and that doesn’t help reading the notes… I realize that it will be quite a job to find all the Playing Techniques, that I have to hide, because some are important not to hide of course (arco, pizzicato etc.). And making no mistakes is another point for me, I have to say :frowning:

Finding solutions. To begin with, I don’t know if many fellow “Doricans” encounter the same problems. If not, then it is what it is.

But some ideas went through my mind. I know almost nothing about programming, except that it is far from easy. So I really don’t think: okay, they do that on a Wednesday afternoon.

I write my ideas here. And I invite everyone to shoot on them. And when somebody has other ideas, I really want to read them and learn from them of course.

  1. Dynamics. Is it possible to make a script to change dynamics? For example: all fffff, ffff, fff become ff. All ff become f. All ppppp, pppp, ppp become pp. All pp become p. All f, mf, mp and p don’t change. Perhaps in the engrave mode?
  2. Concerning the Playing Techniques: a filter option to select a specific Playing Technique all over the score what make it possible to hide them with one hit.

I apologize of course in advance for these ideas. But not shot is always wrong…
Thanks very much for your attention.

It might not help you now you’ve input your dynamics with the range ppppp - ffffff, but you can edit the dynamic curve so that the difference between ppp - fff is much more pronounced; that way you can automatically notate what a player would want to read and also hear the appropriate dynamic change in playback in Dorico.

I’m curious if it is the tone of the instrument you want (ex: brass playing hard) or actual volume? There are lots of libraries that I’ve never used, but FWIW I don’t know of any that have a different tone for fffff versus fff or even ff. I’m asking because it might be a matter of how dynamics are mapped to which Midi CC’s for your library - of getting the config right. Some for example use CC11 for dynamics tone, and then CC 7 for actual volume. You might need to tweak both of those settings. With that plus tweaking the curve that Lillie mentioned, you shouldn’t need to be extreme in the notation.

Many composers stuck to the old definition that “ff” meant “as loud as possible” so adding more f’s was pointless.

If you look at the start of Strauss’s “Also sprach Zarathustra” for example, the dynamics “only” range from pp to ff.

On the other hand, Mr. Tchaikovsky threw p’s and f’s around as though he were planting a lawn and the letters were seeds.

Notate what you mean! What do you mean?

You can create a Paragraph Style with a Foreground Colour that has 0% Opacity. Then set your Playing Techniques to use that Style. Then the symbols will be hidden from print.

You can Reduce or Increase each dynamic with Edit > Dynamics > Increase/Decrease Intensity. So select one ffff, then Select More twice to select all of them, and so on.

Playing Techniques have a “Hidden” property, don’t they?

True, but if you always want a particular PT just for playback purposes and not for print, you can’t set it as the default for that PT.

If you clear the Text box, Dorico won’t try to space an invisible playing technique.

(Setting a Paragraph Style that uses a tiny point size in addition to 0% opacity will achieve the same result.)

Hello, everybody. To begin with I want to thank everyone who has responded on my question. I really appreciate all the thinking along. And I did find a solution for the 2 points. To make this message not too long I just tell the solutions. Perhaps somebody else can benefit from this now or in the future.


  1. Go to Engrave > Music Symbols…
  2. Choose in the categories in the left upper corner “Dynamics”.
  3. Scroll down the column at the left. Here you see all the dynamic signs from pppppp to ffffff.
  4. Click for example on ffffff.
  5. At the right side select behind the word “Range”: “Dynamics”.
  6. Click on the bin under the white window. The orange letters in the white window disappear.
  7. Doubleclick at the right side on ff. Now you see in the white window ff in orange.
  8. If you want that in new pieces the changes are from start, you have to click now on the star. (In existing pieces this change will not happen,
    they stay unaffected, as far as I could see).
  9. Click on OK.
  10. In the places where I notated ffffff I see now ff. And in this way I can change all the dynamic signs that I want to change. See the picture.

    Playing Techniques.

The last solution of Pianoleo works for me. I can choose in this way which Playing Techniques will not be shown. In the Write Mode and the Engrave Mode you don’t see that PT’s anymore but you see them in the Play Mode. (Of course it is very difficult to work with them, when you don’t see them in the Write Mode, but this is just at the end of the whole process of composing the piece, just for making the lay-out).

PS: Later I discovered a quicker solution, see: here

And of course: with thanks to the team of developers, who made the software in a way, that these needs were already met before they were mentioned (as far as I know :wink: )

I have been engraving scores, and using (Sibelius) scores for playback for more than 10 years.

What I do is to engrave the original score for print or publish, and to create a second copy of the score expressly for playback. The choir or the congregation see the print score–I use the playback score to actually produce music. That’s where I use all the markup that we’d never show on a printed score–but we need to produce the sound we want.

This may be wildly impractical for you–I’m doing this with hymns that typically don’t have more than 200 bars. But it’s worked for me very well.

I found a way to select Playing Techniques, that I want to hide, when I start engraving a score.
I saw, that the playing techniques in the category “keyboards” most of the time can be set in a score as text. For example: if I play something with my left hand on the piano, the sample doesn’t need to be changed at all.

What I did, was: I changed the categories of the Playing Techniques that are just for choosing another sample (and not meant for a player) in category " keyboard".
When I click on a playing technique in a score and type two times ctrl+shift+a, then all the playing techniques of that staff in the same category are selected. Now I can hide them at once (I made for this the key command ctr+alt+shift+h).
NB.: take care to choose a playing technique in a bar where no playing technique of another category is present. Because in that case all playing techniques are selected and that is not what you want.

NB: when you need some of the keyboard Playing Techniques, there is always a possibility to move them to another category. I saw for example signs for footing (do you call that in English that way, an alternative for fingering? Yes, according to Google translate this should be right :slight_smile: ) of pedals of an organ, these can be very useful of course.