Playing Technique(s)


Is there a way to add a Playing Technique that is not listed? I want to add fluttergrowl to a trumpet part but when I press Shift-P and type it in and press return, the text disappears.
Any suggestions?

Also when I write “sul pont” for a string part, the default changes it to a symbol. I prefer the words, so can I override this somehow?

Perhaps an update could allow users generate their own Playing techniques?

For now, you can add unknown playing techniques as text using Shift+X, which would be the way around both of these problems.

In the future we definitely intend to make it possible to define your own playing techniques.

Thanks, Daniel!

Another quick question: Is there a way to add an arrow between playing techniques? Like when I want to direct the violinist to change from sul pont to sul tasto over X-amount of measures.

Not yet, but this will be added very soon: the developer who is working on playing techniques is on holiday this week but I hope this is what he’ll be working on when he returns, I hope refreshed, on Monday.

Great! Will we be able to enter it in the style of the dynamics entry mode? That would be fabulous :slight_smile:
i.e. select the notes and then press Shift-P and then type “sul pont → sul tasto”

Before posting a similar question yesterday (Adding playing techniques - Dorico - Steinberg Forums) I had figured out the workaround of using text. In light of Daniel’s response I’m wondering whether there will be a way to easily convert that workaround text into full fledged playing techniques in the catalog in the future. While a workaround is good for now, not having artifacts of that in long lived files would be better.

On related note, to ensure the playing techniques added as text match existing playing techniques it appears that the font for playing techniques is Academico Regular at 8 points. Is this correct?

Look at the settings of the ‘Playing techniques’ entry in Engrave > Font Styles to be sure of what the font to be used for playing techniques is.

I don’t know whether we will be able to convert manual text into “real” playing techniques at a later date. It would require some fairly fuzzy logic to identify the text items that should be turned into playing techniques. In general I think this is the kind of thing we should avoid, since it risks changing the appearance of existing projects in an unpredictable way.

If there are obvious playing techniques that you think we’re missing, best to make sure you tell me what they are, so that I can add them to the default set as soon as possible.

Harmon mute!

You want it as text? We have various symbols for harmon mute with the stem half-in/half-out, etc.

Sorry, I’ve only used text previously. Didn’t even look at the other symbols. And when user defined playing techniques are implemented, this won’t be a problem.

In the meantime, though, I would welcome feedback from you and other users about what playing techniques you commonly use that are not included. I managed to come up with more than 220 of them on my own, but I bet there are more out there.

Of course. Maybe there should be sticky threads for stuff like this, so that people know where to post suggestions without making new threads for everything.

Here is a suggestion – I know you’re drowning in them, but I can’t help myself.

When I open the playing technique popover and type in a playing technique, I want whatever I type to appear, and I want it to match the formatting of other playing techniques. Maybe that means the program “converts” my unrecognized playing technique into a text object with formatting matching other playing techniques – that would be a great solution to this issue. Similarly, if I type in an unrecognized dynamic marking to the Shift-D popover, it could become a text object with fake-dynamic formatting. The idea that unrecognized input disappears into the air means that before every input, I have to ask myself, “Is this in Dorico’s dictionary?” and this friction significantly undermines the usefulness of the wonderful popovers. If nothing else, the paragraph styles included in the “default” Dorico document should already exist so I don’t need to root around for them.

Thanks for considering all of this. I know the modes of interaction with Dorico are very carefully thought-through, but this does feel like a corner that us pros are going to be banging up against a lot. I love the popovers and eliminating friction in using them would be good!

Yes please! I write for a lot of brass bands, and you can never trust a cornet player to decipher a picture! :laughing:

(In all seriousness, usually: [Harmon Mute (Stem In/Out)] is great. Longwinded but easy to understand!)

Hi Daniel,

Thanks for all the fabulous support on this thread! :slight_smile:
Here are some suggestions, and ideas, for playing techniques:

When a playing technique is chosen, one should be able to go to the Properties and select whether we want it to be a symbol or a text; some performers love symbols, other ones ask you for as much text as possible.
And, also important, the “Alternative Text” should have the option of completely changing the text, not just adding text. For example, this way I can select the “sul pont” playing technique but then replace it with my choice of abbreviation or language: s.p., or au chevalet, etc. (if I am writing a score for an ensemble in Germany, I will include certain playing techniques written in German rather than Italian).
It would be helpful to have a dropdown menu for “Alternative Text” with many suggestions for different abbreviations or languages.
I mentioned this questions above, but I wanted to ask it again because it could be a very helpful possible addition: For transitions (arrows) between playing techniques, will we be able to enter it in the style of the dynamics entry mode?
i.e. select the notes and then press Shift-P and then type “sul pont → sul tasto”

Here are some of the playing techniques that I often use and that are missing from the Dorico list so far:

all instruments:
Bisbigliando (bisb.) and/or timbre trill ( - or you could add timbre trill to the trills section
poco vibrato


names of all the mutes in text

alto sul tasto (a.s.t.)
poco sul tasto (p.s.t.)
molto sul ponticello (m.s.p.)
poco sul ponticello (p.s.p.)
bow the body

Thanks for this list: we will do our best to add more playing techniques in the first update.

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Yesterday on my very first Dorico day I’ve missed a string technique (violin) too:

sul G (or “G Saite”, “G corde”, “on G”)

Just for the file. The workaround with text input is ok for me as long there is no impact on playback anyway.

Our house style is to request all mutes as text unless its hand stops on horn or special client request, so harmon mute as text would be wonderful, as well as abbreviations and capitalizations for them and an “Open” instruction. I.E. we would put “St. Mute” on trumpets, then “Open” at their next entrance.

Much like percussion symbols, mute symbols seem like a great idea but in practice they are extremely likely to be misunderstood and incorrectly applied. Every publisher I’ve worked for has wanted text for these items.

Hi Daniel,

Hope you had a great holiday and Happy New Year!

Any chance that an update to Playing Techniques is coming in the next update? I know it is small thing compared to all the work that has to be done in the updates, but it would be very helpful for my composing to have these options.