# Octave slurs; something inconsistent?

In a recent project I found I had to edit slurs over two notes an octave apart more than I expected — Dorico usually puts everything where it should be…
So I tried an experiment, which I have attached here. Is there something inconsistent about the start and end points of these slurs, and should it be like this? And why are the treble clef ones different from the bass clef ones?

The treble and bass inconsistency stems from the inconsistency in stem directions. I can’t answer the other point right now (but I might piggyback on this thread later, about a similar point).

By treble and bass, I meant that e.g. c to c in treble, and e to e in bass, which look identical, same stem direction, have different start/end points.

The big variable between using quavers/eighths and crotchets/quarters is that the spacing is then very different. The tighter the spacing, the more extreme the angle of the slur. In general it is difficult to produce slur-like shapes at very steep angles. You can tweak the options in Engraving Options to increase the height of the slur or to give them a larger shoulder, i.e. to move the control points towards the ends of the slur.

Thank you, Daniel.
I should perhaps have been clearer. Why does the end control point of a falling slur differ from the start point of a rising slur and vice versa? There seems to be a difference of a space, and I cannot quite see why that should be. I would have expected a mirror image.

I agree… this example is rather odd and begs a few questions.

I will have to ask András for the exact reason why the result is not symmetrical in each direction. I can only speculate, based on my limited knowledge of the workings of the slur positioning code. The value that makes a difference is ‘Maximum angle for slurs’, which has a different effect for slurs that slope up than slurs that slope down. If you specify a slightly larger maximum angle, e.g. between 40 and 45 degrees, you should find that the slurs that end a space further away than you expect become more symmetrical.

To follow up on this, András and I have discussed this issue today and have identified that there is indeed an inconsistency in how the ‘Maximum angle for slurs’ value is applied for slurs that slope up or slurs that slope down, and we have found the offending case in the code and fixed it, such that these slurs will have (more or less) symmetrical start and end positions in a future version.

Are those default slurs? If so, the default settings are way off and need to be changed.

Daniel’s post immediately preceding yours addresses this.

Romanos, I suspect John Ruggero is bemoaning (again) the fact that Dorico’s slurs don’t look like Finale’s.

I doubt it: the slurs do not look good, as is agreed by all here!

AND, more significantly, they have been fixed.

David

No, I was just hoping that they are not still Dorico’s default slurs. Are they?

Default in this use case? Yes. Default for pretty much every other scenario? No.

Finale:

Dorico:

Dorico’s slurs have a slightly more pronounced shoulder than Finale’s default ones in this situation, but otherwise it’s a wash.

Thank you, Daniel. To me, the slurs look completely different. The Finale default slurs are not quite up to fine engraving standards and need a couple of settings changes, but are much closer than Dorico’s default slurs. I don’t understand why Dorico default slurs are like this, since Dorico has settings that greatly improve their appearance. I just looked through scores by Henle, Wiener Urtext, Peters, Associated Board, Schirmer and Universal, and see nothing that looks like Dorico’s slurs. They are all thinner in shape and more graceful in contour.

Certainly Finale’s slurs are thinner overall, both at their ends and in the middle, but aside from a slightly larger shoulder on the Dorico slurs, their placement and contour in this situation is ostensibly identical.

Thank you again, Daniel. For me, nothing is the same except the placement of the ends of the slurs. But that is beside the point. I was comparing Dorico’s default slurs to those seen in fine engraving, not in Finale. Why they do not look like that is a great mystery to me.

Well, John, I suppose you can ultimately blame it on my poor taste, since the buck for Dorico’s default settings in the end stops with me! We did a lot of testing and comparisons with a wide variety of scores, and we did a lot of side-by-side comparisons on paper, rather than relying on how things look on-screen (which can be very misleading, particularly when you focus in on a tiny area at a high zoom level). This is how we arrived at the comparatively bolder default look for everything in Dorico, from staff lines to stems to barlines to the 7% oversized noteheads to the slurs. We also tested this with human musicians early in Dorico’s development.

The defaults may not be to your taste, but they are very easy to change and to save as your own defaults for all projects. The attached image might be more to your liking, which is achieved by changing just three values in Engraving Options: slur end thickness is 1/16 spaces, slur middle thickness is 1/6 spaces, and ‘Offset shoulders by fraction of half length of short slur’ is set to 2/5 spaces.