New alternative fingering option

I just encountered a new option under Engraving Options>Fingering>Alternative, Editorial and Cautionary>Enclosure for alternative fingerings>None. Thank you very much, Daniel! I had asked about such an option last year and it was very nice to see it in Dorico 3.

A few comments:

  1. I have rarely seen the option “italicized” as shown; it must be very uncommon. The two numbers would usually be over one another rather than side be side, usually with the italicized number closest to the notes to show that it is the composer’s fingering. In some cases, however, editors might show the composer’s fingering in normal type and the editorial fingering in italics, so it would be good to have options for the italicized number both above and below. No line separates the numbers in this case.

  2. The “None” option will work well in the case of set of alternative fingerings that form a unit, since the two numbers may be adjusted to be far enough apart to insert a line between the two sets.

  3. In the case of a single alternative fingering, a short line is generally placed between them to distinguish such fingering from chordal fingering. Therefore another option would be welcome called “line” which would like “none” but have a line between the numbers. This would avoid having to manually insert a tenuto mark, or whatever.

“Line” and “None” options would handle a majority of cases. However, remaining:

  1. Multiple alternative fingerings. Three and more sets are not unheard of.

  2. Alternative fingering is sometimes placed below or beside the notes, which avoids the use of the dividing line. This would require being able to move the two (or even 3 or more) numbers independently from each other.

Therefore the best solution would be for the user to be able to assign as many independent finger numbers as needed to a single note.

Thanks for the feedback, John. Being able to assign an arbitrary number of fingerings to a single note is not something that fits especially well with the way this feature has been designed. The fingerings are stored in the note itself, and it’s not really practical as things stand to allow you to specify an arbitrary number of fingerings. However, once you are going beyond two fingerings for a given note, Dorico’s ability to position them automatically diminishes, so at that point you gain less by having them be real fingerings. As such, I wonder whether adding the third or beyond fingering using either a custom playing technique or a simple Shift+X text item using an appropriate paragraph style and then manually positioning the numbers would be any less practical. Shift+X text may be preferable since you can explicitly disable its collision avoidance effects. Once you have entered one or two fingerings with Shift+X text you can of course duplicate them elsewhere in the piece using copy and paste (e.g. using Alt+click).

You are very welcome, Daniel. I will continue to experiment with the new capability and also combining it with the text style of entry. Using a glissando line works well for the divider, since I am not concerned about playback.

Please do consider the proposed fifth option of “Line”; alternative fingerings occur most often singly, and having the line there already would allow a very efficient input of most alternative fingering. And also the options of the italicized alternative fingering being below or above. This situation occurs a lot in urtext editions.

It’s decidedly non-trivial to automatically create a line between a primary and secondary set of fingerings, but we certainly don’t rule it out for the future. In the nearer term there will be better solutions for creating arbitrary lines than to abuse a glissando line for this purpose.

Thank you, Daniel. I think you understood my comment, in which case, please ignore the following:

The “line” option would place a short hypen-like line between a single finger number and its alternate, not groups of such pairs. Since single pairs occur much more often than groups this would go far in handling this issue. If you are also considering the automatic placement of lines between sets of such alternative fingering, that indeed would be wonderful.

It would be great if Dorico team would consider to add in Engraving Options for alternative fingering an option “Above”. I would like to please a main fingering close to the note and alternative fingering in brackets above it, but Dorico gives me just an option to place it in an opposite way. I couldn’t find a better solution as to write and place it each time manually using text tool. Quite inconvenient way…

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I agree 100% that an alt should be further from the note, not closer.

I’m not exactly sure what you are requesting, mipi, but piano fingering can be quite complex and Dorico has only scratched the surface, so there are many situations that it can only handle with the text tool. This makes it very inconvenient for those for whom this is an important requirement. I can’t imagine that the major publishers of urtext and educational piano music would be able to use Dorico at its present state of development.

It also depends on the physique of the individual player! I’m doubtful of the benefit of having multiple fingerings even in educational scores. Much better for teachers to have a clean slate to adapt for each student.

Janus, I don’t think that Henle, Wiener Urtext, Peters, Associated Board and the other major publishers of the last two centuries agree with you.

Some piano fingering is obvious and universal, a little depends on hand size and some presents thorny musical and physical issues. These latter places are those that cause players of all levels to pay big bucks to see what others have done.

Actually, they do. Instances of alternative fingerings are rare, because as you rightly observe “…
players of all levels pay big bucks to see what others have done.” So each publisher commissions a renowned editor/performer to present a personal opinion. Those opinions will rarely offer an alternative as that would suggest indecision and hence diminish authority.

Even in guitar repertoire, where the composer’s fingerings are commonplace - alternative fingerings are rare.

But alternative fingerings are not at all rare. Here is a page taken at random from Claudio Arrau’s edition of Beethoven’s piano sonatas for Peters. There are three areas of alternative fingering on this page alone. No one questions Arrau’s authority or suspects indecision, but respects his thoughtfulness and insight in providing alternative possibilities in the very tricky situations that abound in Beethoven’s piano sonatas.

I confess that I was confused when you said “clean slate”, which seemed to represent a distaste for all fingering. In any case, Dorico’s issue with piano fingering goes far beyond alternative fingering. Fingering is placed in all kinds of unique places in relation to the notes and requires tremendous flexibility. In many ways, it represents a unique challenge to designers of AI-oriented notation software.

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Clearly not taken at random, and if you watch carefully not even followed by Arrau himself (Claudio Arrau Beethoven "Les Adieux" (Full) - YouTube)!

I have 2 editions of the Beethoven Sonatas - the Henle Urtext 1975/6 and Peters Koehler/Ruthardt (c1910?). Neither has any alternative fingerings. And the Urtext has just 3 fingerings (bar 5) on the page you quote.

Yes. I have a dislike of rigid fingering. Each performer should find a fingering that suits their interpretation of the notes, and in doing so, deepen their understanding of the music.

I’m left asking myself why you would want to present complex alternative fingerings in Dorico? Are you perhaps just seeking to copy the work of others?

I have participated in notation forums for many years and never been addressed like this.

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Two things:

  1. As a composer (and full-time professional organist) there are occasionally times in my own works where I would prefer a specific fingering for an articulation effect, but, realizing that such a move might not be comfortable for all hand sizes/types, I may want to offer an alternative. The fact is, there are perfectly legitimate reasons for wanting to offer alternative fingerings.
    (I can think also of times where you might want “4,” for instance, but small hands might not be able to reach, so you indicate “(5)” as an alternate.)

  2. I utterly fail to see how the desire to indicate an alternative fingering warrants the theory that someone is trying to steal someone else’s work. (It is also quite ironic that this can be done without offering alternative fingerings.) Lastly, many on this forum seek to reproduce old editions that offer such things; this does not at all imply intellectual theft or laziness (indeed, reproducing a specific engraving is often MORE work than simply creating a new edition), particularly when the works are in the public domain.

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Hi John, I wonder you didn’t understand what I am requesting for. Here is a simple example. See screenshot. As a main fingering I would like to write 124, but it would be possible to use here 135 as well. Both versions have some advantages or disadvantages. I would like to have 24 close to the note as it is my first choice and alternative fingering (3) (5) more far away from the note, as it is “just” an option. Unfortunately Dorico “knows better” how it has to be written. No matter what I write in a popover - (3)2 or 2(3), I cannot get (3) over 2 etc.

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Sorry, mipi. I should have understood but was confused by the example in your first post that seemed to show that there was such an option in Dorico. (The one with the question mark.) So I guess you just added that graphically to illustrate. Or it exists and isn’t functioning properly. I am not yet a Dorico user so I can’t check that out.

In any case, what you are trying to do is the standard way to position the numbers. The parenthesized numbers are usually further from the notes, and I am sorry that that is not possible yet in Dorico. An even better way would be for the 3 and 5 to be inclosed by aa single set parentheses as one sees in the Arrau example above.

I myself require an excellent fingering tool because I publish urtext editions of piano literature based on my own research and experience as a professional pianist and editor. Anyone interested can read my numerous posts regarding the editing of the Beethoven piano sonatas and other topics at notat.io.

Thank you John for your replay. Yes it was a mockup to show how it could be done. And like you said (3 5) would be even better as (3) (5). And yes, I would write an alternative fingering further from the note then a standart one, but Dorico knows one way only - to do it in an oposit way. I am not sure what is here a logic behind. Would be just great if the team could add this option showed in my mockup or allow users to overwrite defaults writing some special signs direct in a popover. Umfortunately if I change 4(5) to (5)4, Dorico’s output is 45 written in one line…

Perhaps the team can simply allow a modifier to save the fingering in non-standard order, just like how you can save peculiar figures bass figures. (Ie- “follow input literally”)

[Side note: @Lillie_Harris, when you look at the manual for figured bass, there is a reference to “follow input literally” on the main “inputting figured bass” page, however there is no information on that page, or a dedicated hyperlink at the bottom to show you where you can learn how to do that. I realize it is on the “figured bass popover” page, but tbh, I wasn’t sure which of the existing links to click on to find out how to do a manual override. It would be nice if a dedicated link existed for people who know how to input general FB but can’t remember how to do an override.]

If you mean this sentence for the reference - “Unless you included an entry for Follow input literally at the start of your popover entry or changed your figured bass input setting to Follow input literally” - then my intention was that the linking between “entry for Follow input literally” and “popover entry” clarifies that this is something one can do in the popover. The second part of the sentence uses the same wording as in the title of the corresponding task.

At the bottom of the page, there are links both to the popover reference, and to the task “changing the figured bass input setting”. Both of those topics also come consecutively after the inputting task in the manual structure, meaning if you click “next topic” at the bottom right of the page twice, you get to first the popover reference, then the input setting task.

I have however made a note to add a tip to the input setting task about being able to override this for individual figures in the popover.