Problem adding fingering in parentheses

There’s evidently an issue in Dorico 3.5 that makes it impossible to add any fingering in parentheses if it is by itself, i.e., not an alternative fingering but a note not meant to be played. This isn’t something encountered only avant-garde music; here’s a famous example by Bach:

https://d.pr/i/Exv7SL

In it, the voices converge on the same note, so only one hand should play it, while the other hand is silent for that note. The desired notation for this is (0), but apparently the fingerings popover only accepts parentheses if they are preceded by another fingering. Thus, 1(0) would work but (0) does not and instead incorrectly outputs 0, thus deleting the parentheses.

May I kindly request that the next minor update be less restrictive in how it interprets fingerings? In the meantime, can anyone suggest how to notate a silent piano fingering in parentheses? Many thanks in advance.

Do you have any references for that notation?

I’ve been playing keyboards for half a century (literally) aid I don’t think I have ever seen it - certainly not in anything by Bach.

If you want to notate which hand is silent, a standard way is to put the note in parentheses.

I have a Henle edition of Brahms Op 118/2 bar 64 with the 0 fingering in right hand. (Left hand plays that note). But it doesn’t have parentheses.

The edition I have doesn’t have any fingering at all.

I sometimes wonder why editors feel that people who can play a piece like that at all need to be told something obvious. The note is clearly part of the left hand counter-melody, and ironically it would do no harm to play it with both hands anyway. You don’t have to tie yourself in knots to do that :slight_smile:

Many thanks for the replies, though honestly it’s not really helpful to say that some edition or other doesn’t have any fingering or that players shouldn’t need an explanation or even fingering. The fact is that this is a question that beginning students ask frequently. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had a beginning student who didn’t ask how to play the same key on the piano with two hands simultaneously the first time they encounter such notation. This becomes an opportunity for a short lesson on voice leading and why it was necessary for the composer to write the same note in two voices even though one voice is “silent.”

If the note itself is placed in parentheses, it implies that the editor wrote it, rather than the composer, so this doesn’t seem to be an ideal solution.

Beginning students are sometimes also confused by finger “0” and I find that simply placing it in parentheses provides clarity. It’s not meant to represent any historical notation.

In any case, since Dorico does support parenthesized fingerings, it shouldn’t only do so when they are immediately preceded by a different fingering. This is simply too restrictive. Hopefully it can become a bit more flexible—in my experience this small detail would help students quite a bit.

In the meantime I suppose I can just leave the 0 by itself, though any tips on adding fingerings in parentheses would still be helpful. Many thanks in advance.

There’s another issue involving Dorico and parenthesized fingerings that I just noticed: Dorico also rejects a single parenthesis, i.e., “(1” or “5)”.

This is important because I often write a series of fingerings in parentheses in my scores, such as “(1 2 3 4 5)”. This would look very awkward, not to mention unclear, as “(1) (2) (3) (4) (5)” and it would obscure the important context that “(1 2 3 4 5)” is a fingering for a passage that belongs together. The alternate fingering is the whole set “1 2 3 4 5”—not each finger individually. In other words, “1 2 3 4 5” is one alternative fingering, not five alternative fingerings. And this is a notation that is in fact encountered in editions by major publishers.

Hopefully Dorico’s overly restrictive interpretation of parentheses can be changed soon.

If does support “editorial” fingerings in [ ] brackets, and you can change the brackets to parentheses in the Engraving Options. (You still have to type [ ] in the fingering popover to create them).

That doesn’t support your “( 1 2 3 4 5 )” style of fingering though.

Beginners do often ask about “duplicated” notes of course, but IMO your (0) notation is conflating two different things: which hand plays the note, and which finger to use.

FWIW I checked the Brahms example (and looked at the first edition as well as the edition that I have) since Brahms was a pianist, an editor, and an inventor of new notations (e.g. “pf”). The fact that he just wrote the notes and nothing more seems significant, at least to me.

Many thanks—turns out placing the 0 in square brackets works well, and [0] arguably is clearer than (0). (I don’t see how this notation conflates which hand plays the note and the fingering, though: Without the [0], students are likely to assume that both hands still play the same note. To my eyes at least, [0] or (0) immediately conveys that the hand doesn’t play that note.)

Let’s hope [1 2 3 4 5] or (1 2 3 4 5) can be supported soon.

I suspect you know what it means because you invented it, and your students know what it means because you told them.

If I saw (0) (at least in a contemporary score) I would probably guess it was a playing technique that I didn’t understand, and go down a rabbit hole trying to identify it!

(And sometimes our students are more clever than we give them credit for.)

The 0 fingering I saw in Brahms was perfectly obvious. But I’m not a student, I’ve been playing for over 50 years too.