Notation problem

How can I convert the attached music notation in Dorico. I’m not really getting anywhere. Seems to be more complicated than initially thought. Help is welcome!

First, welcome to the forum.

I am a little puzzled by how this originated and what you hope to do with it. This example appears to be a preparatory sketch or a reduction of a multi-instrument composition. If the goal is to create a playable keyboard reduction, some creative simplification will likely need to happen, and Dorico is not set up to do this automatically.

So are you asking for technical Dorico notation advice or suggestions on what to combine and what to omit, really more along the lines of composition/arranging advice?

that is some rather sadistic piano writing. it’s not exactly the most comfortable hand position unless you have gigantic hands.

that said, just put the chords in one voice, and the repeated notes in another voice.

The file name of your screenshot confirms my suspicion – it’s a cruel piano exercise.

I’d like to refer you to this example that I covered in the very first Dorico review, for inspiration.

Yes, it is an excercise for independence of the fingers from I. Phillipp. I’ve tried it with the different voices, but can’t get along with it, and the note lengths with the ties don’t really match either. I need it set up once, then I can transpose it myself in semitone steps.

Well, I or others of us could certainly set it up once, but then when you transpose the stem directions may need to change. TBH, I don’t think it’s worth writing out. If it is not already printed in multiple keys, it’s because the pattern in the fingers is easy to understand from this example.

But that’s exactly why I need it, because it’s not easy for me - not yet, hopefully - and I’d like to write it out for other keys. It would be really nice if someone here could help me with the first step - i.e. for the first key that is printed here, to notate it in Dorico.

Okay – Here you go: Finger Exercise.dorico (391.1 KB)
I noticed in the original, in LH, several expected ties are missing, starting from beat 4.

I recommend practicing the chord pattern by itself first. Start with this diminished 7th chord and teach yourself to move up & down by semitone, by whole step, and by larger intervals. (Minor thirds of course yield inversions of the same chord). It’s easier to play than it is to notate and then read. Transposing this notation is fraught with confusing enharmonic choices.

How I did this in Dorico:

  • Meter 8/4, hidden
  • Copy the first quarter note chord with all 5 notes in each hand, and force its duration
  • Duplicate to fill all 8 beats, and tie everything together
  • Select the individual notes in the first 4 beats of RH to change to down-stem with ShiftV
  • Select all the last 4 beats and Command-click to deselect the notes that stay up-stem; V to move all the rest to the down-stem voice. (This doesn’t exactly match the original, but I figure why bother with more than 2 voices.)
  • In the next bar, in the down-stem voice, create a 16th sextuplet and fill with the C’s from beat 1; hide the tuplet and bracket; select and Alt-click to the first bar (replacing the down-stem quarter note)
  • Duplicate the sextuplet with R and transpose to the right pitch with Alt-↑
    (Signposts must be showing, or the hidden tuplet won’t copy!)
  • Break the beam between Beats 1 & 2 and 3 & 4 manually.
    (I could not find a setting that beams this way automatically.)
  • Change the temporary sextuplet in the 2nd bar to up-stem, copy to beat 5, transpose, duplicate, etc.
  • Copy the sextuplets from the first half of the bar in RH to the second half in LH, and vice-versa, and shift to the correct pitches. It is helpful that we can select a whole group of these 16ths by one click on the beams.
  • Add the fingerings

Not easy but quite doable in Dorico.

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This might give you a start.
piano-study1.dorico (488.6 KB)

If this is an exercise, one might also consider using more than two staves (a la Barvinsky, etc.) to separate the repeated notes from the sustained notes.

As a pianist, I used to practice these types of things, so it looks normal.
Dohnányi comes to mind (I still have it … somewhere) and it might suggest a different way to notate what you are doing? You can use l.v. for the slurs (move them in Engrave mode).

Thank you very much!
That helps me alot!

Thank you very much!
That helps me alot!

A warning. Exercises of this type can bring severe tension and tendonitis if not done by someone who knows exactly what they are doing (and someone like that doesn’t need to do them.) Our fingers will never be independent from each other because that is not the way our hands are constructed. Composers know this and don’t write like this for the piano because it so anti-physical. Chopin himself was dead set against them. As he discovered, there are much better ways to gain strength and dexterity by allowing the fingers to help each other rather than fighting each other and allowing them to relax as much as possible while holding down the keys. That is just the opposite of what tenuto exercises of this type promote.


Thank you John, now you mention it, I now remember my piano teacher talking about this at the time.