Problems with microtonality system


I am having some problems with the microtonality system again while engraving a composition of mine. Basically, I can’t get all of my accidentals to work on all note nominals, precisely the following:

In measures 1-8, This pitch should be an F with the “Sharp, 16.5 c. upwards” symbol. Instead it gives me one of my G# variants.

In measure 6, trumpet II, beat 3: The pitch should be a B with the “Flat, -27.3 c. symbol”. Instead it gives me an A, with the “sharp, -3.4 c.” symbol.

Measure 6, trumpet 6, pitch should be a C natural. Same trumpet III, measure 8.

I can’t figure out why this is going on. All of these work fine in the first flow.

Here is a link to the file:

Bumping this back up, just in case it got missed.

This is totally outside my area of expertise, BUT:

“All of these work fine in the first flow” got me scratching my head. Then it occurred to me that your first flow shows a C trumpet, not a Bb trumpet. I tried changing the C trumpet into another Bb trumpet and then transposing the first flow down, and Dorico couldn’t transpose the first flow down.

That would indicate to me that somehow your tonality system is incomplete.

I apologise if I’m stating the bleeding obvious. As I say, this isn’t my area!

The tonality system being incomplete is definitely something worth checking.

I recommend more specifically, go into the tonality system edit dialogue and look at the accidentals column where each is shown as “x/y divisions” and make sure the denominators all agree. If they don’t, transpositions can be funky. To fix this particular issue, just go to the ‘edit accidental’ dialogue specific to the suspect accidental (where you can edit glyphs and such), don’t change anything, and click ‘OK’. You should see that denominator update.

Sorry, I’ve been away from the forum for a few days, but I know what’s going on here: it’s to do with instrument transposition.

When you write a microtonal accidental for a transposing instrument, Dorico applies the transposition assuming 12-EDO, i.e. it assumes that a B flat trumpet transposes by two 12-EDO semitones/half-steps, so a written C natural sounds as a D. If you have an accidental on, say, a written E, then Dorico has to apply this to a sounding F#, and it may be that your tonality system doesn’t have a consistent number of divisions between all of those steps. So what it does is it transposes the pitch by the instrument transposition assuming 12-EDO, then applies the pitch delta of the accidental, and if it can’t find an exact match, which it often won’t, then it chooses the pitch plus accidental that results in the closest pitch possible to the one you’ve asked for.

We’ve been over this issue with a number of microtonal composers over the past few months, but nobody appears to have a good answer for what Dorico could do differently in this situation. We are open to (reasonable, simple) suggestions from the community.


No problem. Thanks for getting back to me.

Since I’m writing this in a transposed score, perhaps there could be a way to override/turn off this smart accidental system by clicking a button in flow settings or notation settings.

Perhaps I’ll just write all of the parts for Trumpet in C for now, but keep the Bb range solid in my head.



Unfortunately the answer is not to “turn off this smart accidental system” – what would that really mean? I guess that your desired end result is to see the same accidental written on a note in a transposed score, but the problem is that it isn’t the same note if the tonality system is set up in such a way that transposing by e.g. 2/12 divisions means that the note ends up between two steps in the definition of the system with an incompatible number of divisions. At that point, the actual accidental you have chosen in the concert score isn’t available in the transposed pitch.

As I say, we’re definitely open to new ways of thinking about this problem, but the necessary solution will have to be something that allows us to retain the true definition of the pitch of the note, rather than trying to fudge around it and say that the actual precise pitch of the note doesn’t actually matter.