Last note in a chain of legato notes shorter?

In classical music the last note of a group of notes chained by a legato slur often is played shorter. Is it possible to achieve this playback property in Dorico in a half-automatic way?

the last note in a legato chain will normally take the default note length as opposed to the legato note length in Playback Options so it is shorter. But perhaps you mean shorter still? There’s no automatic way (at least that I can think of) of doing this in Dorico on a global basis but how it works in practice depends very much on your VST as some will automatically play the final note of a legato differently. Do you have any particular library in mind?

Thank you for your hint on the default note length for the last note in a legato chain. By the way, this does not hold if this note has an accent.
I am mainly working with VSL-Librariries, e. g. Solo Strings in its synchronized version. As far as I can see there is no special handling of the last legato note.

as you say, any accents which change the length of the note will of course not follow the general rule. As for VSL synchronized solo strings, I use them and can confirm there is no special handling – I was thinking more of vendors like Spitfire or CSS which deal with legato in a different way.

Like other users (for example, here and here), I’ve found legato playback in Dorico somewhat problematic, and requiring perhaps more engineering than it should.

The latest annoyance is Dorico’s handling of these few notes in Schönberg’s Fünf Orchesterstücke, the first movement of which I’m currently entering into the application:

Notice that, for some reason, when the notes are slurred, Dorico interprets the second note’s duration as longer than short. That’s what the Playing Techniques lane shows, anyway.

Originally, I was disinclined to fault Dorico for the poor playback with the slur present (thinking that Spitfire was probably the real culprit), but when I watch my VST, it switches to my “short” sample for the second note regardless of whether the slur is present. So now, I’m just confused as to what Dorico is doing, and I suspect that it’s actively involved in screwing up the playback.

I don’t know about SSO but the BBC SO has no muted legato brass patches and the mute sounds much better as well. The only way I can get close to the kind of thing you illustrated is by having playback options → dynamics and note lengths at default. it’s absolutely essential to zero the offbeat and above all “humanise” dynamics and note start positions with Spitfire (and other libraries other than the most basic ones such as Halion).

The BBC Core plays the legato fairly well with this passage if it has a legato patch in the first place and even with the mute, it’s OK. One mustn’t forget that Spitfire libraries in general do have some sort of (not properly documented) latency for the legato patch which can lead to timing inaccuracies under some circumstances. I myself wouldn’t lay much of the blame at Dorico’s door --after all Spitfire libraries are not officially notation compatible and you need to work out bit by bit how to tame them.

Incidentally, my patch switch occurs on the A as it should.


trombone legato

Neither does SSO, and I don’t have Legato + muted defined in my expression map for solo trombone (or any other instrument).

Thanks for the recommendation. If no one comes up with a more specific guess as to what the problem might be, then perhaps I’ll start tweaking random settings along those lines. I prefer to do that as a last resort, since it’s likely to affect acceptable playback in many other areas of the score.

I don’t use any of the legato patches for my brass sections, and again, I can see the VST switching to my designated “short” sample regardless of whether the slur is present – which it shouldn’t even be doing, according to the Playback Techniques lane.

Any idea why the second note is ever recognized as “> short”? Shouldn’t it always be “<= short,” just like the two 16th notes after it? Why does removing the slur change it from “> short” to “<= short”?

That’s what’s really bugging me, especially since playback is fine without the slur.

Does it behave the same way without the con sordino?

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Good (educated) guess, @pianoleo! (As usual, for you.) No, without the con sord., it plays just fine (as in @dko22’s example ).

Interesting, because Spitfire’s mute sample is no laggier than their unmuted sample (as playback without the slur demonstrates).

here it is with the mute – naturally the legato plays “long” default as there is no legato. Makes no difference if there is a slur in the score. The automation to a stacctissimo patch only kicks in with tempo above around 80. Technically it should kick in already in this situation on the D. With no adjustments to the score, it kicks in a note later. If the D is nudged forward just a little then the switch to staccatissimo occurs in the correct place as per exhibit 2

A small lag with an articulation switch from long to short (esp. legato) is not uncommon with the Spitfire orchestras in general, I think, but it’s only a couple of seconds to adjust where necessary.