Meaningful Fingerings for Woodwind Instruments

I was trained as a professional clarinettist, and have taught woodwind instruments for over twenty years—I also taught brass for several years.

Clarinettists often use “L” or “R” to indicate which key will be used to play a particular note. “Frk.” is another abbreviation that indicates a forked fingering.

I have been inputting Auguste Périer’s “331 Exercices Journaliers de Mécanisme” into Dorico. Some of the exercises requires sliding a pinkie from one key to another.

It would be great if Dorcio allowed woodwind instruments—especially the clarinet—to use text like “R,” “L,” or “Frk.” as an actual finger marking. This would especially help to avoid collisions with any other text on the page.

I appreciate this may be a lot of work to implement.

Fingerings—March 2023.dorico (762.6 KB)


I’d say creating a few custom playing techniques might be the way to go, but maybe there are special considerations that make it difficult to use a PT, or lyrics?
And I wonder: are these markings international? Would a French clarinettist use different abbreviations? (Just curious, I’m a string player…)


Likewise worked professionally (clarinet) before changing careers (and instrument to piano), never saw this one in my time on the West Coast (U.S.) OK I guess you’d use that for the pinkies on the bottom notes where you can use either left right (same for those keys the next register up), and maybe for using the oddball Bb/etc keys near the break. It was usually obvious from context which to use I thought, can’t ever remember needed a notation.

Looking at your project it’s perfectly clear as you did with the text, personally I like that better than adding arbitrary text to the fingering system (which would look very odd from a pianist perspective). Just my 2 cents

@PjotrB , you raise a good point about international variations in marking.

At the end of last year, I attended a masterclass with Nicolas Baldeyrou, who discussed fingerings as described at the start of the Klosé Clarinet School (Key No. 1, Key No. 2, etc.).

I supposed I’d like to be able to enter text that would respond in the way fingerings do for brass instruments, and have the flexibility to take into account regional variations.

Heh, I’m just a doubler so I still sometimes end up penciling in some Ls and Rs.

If these are to be expanded for woodwinds, “bis” is really common in saxophone music. I’m not at home to double-check what’s currently available, but capital S for side, T for table (in some methods), and simply F for fork are all pretty common too.

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Support for woodwind multiphonics would be an asset. On the flute, this could take the form of a flute icon showing the key outlines with the ability to fill in the outlines to indicate how a particular multiphonic should be fingered.

Something like this:

When I search for ‘woodwind fingering font’, I find several examples, like this one.
Or the promising looking Legni font family.