Playing technique vs dynamics


Something I have some difficulty grasping is how to use dynamics text vs playing technique. In Sibelius we have some sort of “middle ground” in expression text, but in Dorico I haven’t found a good way to enter some terms.

If I want to enter “marcato”, for example, is that counted as dynamics or playing technique?


Probably I would say that’s really a playing technique, but I don’t think we have a marcato playing technique defined at the moment, so for now you can either add it as a suffix to an existing dynamic (via Properties) or using Shift+X text.

I think there’s a small problem that Dorico doesn’t differ between expression text and playing technique (one of the things that Sibelius does right). Traditionally, expression text is written beneath the staff in italics (words like “marcato”, “legato”, “volante”, and playing technique is written above the staff in regular style (“arco”, “pizz.”) etc, although obviously there are a lot of exceptions.

The way to do this in Dorico is using dynamics instead of expression text, but to do that I have to (as you say) enter a dynamic and add a suffix, and then hide the dynamic mark, which seems kind of a roundabout way to do it.

Or do I misunderstand the basic concept?

I think you’re probably right, and one thing we could look at for the future is providing a choice of text appearances for playing techniques, so that they can appear either above the staff in roman type or below the staff in italic type. If you don’t want an actual dynamic to appear when you write e.g. “marcato” then I suggest you instead use Shift+X text and simply make it look like a dynamic.


I made my own “Expression Text” paragraph style:
Engrave/menu engrave/paragraph style/new. Name: “Expression Text”; Font as you wish, Style: Italic.
Klick OK
Now you can insert text formatted as “expression text” like in Sib. In Write Mode, klick shift/x; in the pop up window, change “Default text” to “Expression text” (in the above left drop down menu) and write the requested expression. Now you can change the text position to “below” in the bottom panel.
It works very quickly - at least more quickly than describing the “how to” …

Sounds good, I’ll try that!