Multiple hairpins

Is it possible to have a hairpin on each of a repeated motif a few times along the measure, with a general hairpin underneath indicating it is getting louder throughout? I inputted the motif’s hairpin for each figure on an angle upwards under the notes, but adding the measure hairpin and using the key command to move it to the right deletes each hairpin as it comes across it.
I have resorted to a general text indication for the measure then looked for a dotted line to insert to the end of the measure but could not find one.
1 is it possible to use multiple hairpins in this way?
2 is the gliss line to be used for a dotted line for now? (does it need to be attached to anything?)

It’s not really supported to have two sets of hairpins on the same staff simultaneously, which I think is a pretty rare requirement.

You could add your “general” hairpin first in the normal way, then try adding your more specific hairpins using the Shift+D popover, confirming it with Alt+Enter rather than Enter on its own: this will attach the dynamics specifically to the current voice (whereas normally dynamics are assigned to the instrument, rather than to a specific voice).

However, because Dorico isn’t really designed to handle multiple simultaneous gradual dynamics on the same instrument, you’ll have a bit of a job to position them exactly as you want them, though it can be done in Engrave mode with a bit of patience.

Just wanted to chime in that while you’re right that it’s rare, it definitely does come up. I am engraving just such a big score right now.

(I’m unfortunately not doing this in Dorico, since I need all sorts of things not yet possible, including aleatory, voice-leading lines, divisi strings and winds, and eventually cues. Someday, I hope.)
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It might be rare, but I have seen it a few times over the years (different instruments).
Example attached.
It would be nice to have Dorico accommodate this a little better in the future. Interesting seeing it also in high5ths’ score.
Thank you.

Dorico accommodates it just fine (see the attached) – though there are quite a few questionable choices in that kind of notation, in my humble opinion. (86.6 KB)

Daniel, I would like to know why you think it is questionable and what you would suggest instead. I value your knowledge. Thanks!

I personally would prioritise showing the septuplet groupings more clearly over the additional hairpin. I don’t think the extra hairpins really convey any additional information. But that’s just me! (And I assume the missing ledger lines on the final note of the first septuplet is just a little engraving error.)

With no offence meant to the composer or editor, if the septuplets are a keyboard part (judging from the beaming which apparently shows the division between two hands) the “short” hairpins are just telling the performer how to suck eggs, IMO.

While I don’t like unnecessary clutter, I think this particular case has merit. The short hairpins cause a different affect than the music would have if they were missing. You could also conceivably have decrescendos on each of the groups with a general crescendo over the entire bar and this would yield a completely different result. Perhaps it would have been better to use the word cresc. instead of the longer hairpin.

I agree that situation would be worth notating. But it’s similar to the early 19th-century notation of a “large accent sign” articulation on the first note of each group, rather than a hairpin attached to the whole group.

The alternative notations of a messa di voce on a single note as an “<>” articulation, or two hairpins, is similar.

arco’s piano example seems quite clear and legitimate to me, indicating an individual crescendo on each group of notes, each time louder. (One might, I suppose, debate whether the level of the first note of each group should be the same each time, but I hear it as each group starting from a higher level of sound and making crescendo.)


IMO it’s certainly a legitimate playing technique, but it’s more or less a standard way to make a long crescendo sound more “exciting” as a crescendo, given the limited dynamic range between f and fff (in high5ths example). That’s my objection to “writing what’s obvious” (at least to a good player).

A bit like how the exhaust note of a car or bike engine revs up through each gear with a manual transmission, compared with an automatic!

“Micromanaging playback” with too much notation is one of the downsides of computer playback, of course…

My attached example is from Goyescas (no IV), Granados (IMSLP), testing my (lack of) skills learning Dorico.
At the moment I have the hairpins horizontal as normal, with a cresc. below. I thought of following it with a dotted line, but haven’t found out how to create one yet.

click on the cresc., and go to properties panel (cmd 8) below the score. There you will find you can play with “gradual style”. Select the cresc… one and you’ll find the dotted line.
Each time you need to tweak a particular notation, check in the properties panel what is available for that notation. Dorico’s team has thought of “really” a lot of options.

Thanks Marc, I have not needed to use the dotted line for anything important, but nice to know how easy it is to find.

Chopin and others used hairpins to mean two different things:

A The traditional meaning: A gradual drop or rise in volume starting at the prevailing dynamic level.

B The alternate meaning for the dim. hairpin: an immediate rise in volume over the prevailing level followed by a gradual drop. It is an intensification that is something like an accent spread out over several notes.

The alternate meaning for the cresc. hairpin: a sudden drop in volume followed by a rise, something like a subito piano effect.

Context determines the appropriate interpretation.

For this reason, as well as the common case illustrated in the Granados, where a short group receives a specific dynamic shaping within a general cresc., the ability to easily place any number of simultaneous hairpins is a basic requirement for notation software.

I tried (for the fun of it) to replicate the excerpt from Goyescas, doing all the tweaking in the first tuplet and then copying. It worked fine, expect the forced stem direction didn’t copy. Also, it seems not to be a property in the sense that it’s not in the property panel. So what is it and why can’t it be copied?

It is a property, but it’s an intrinsic property of the notes and hence it works a little differently. There’s no real reason that it cannot be copied, it’s just not yet been done.