Slurs problems

Is there some way to move more than one control point in a slur at once, to retain the shape while lifting either end?
In Finale, moving the left- or right-most control point vertically makes the slur kind of rotate around the control point at the other end, thereby retaining the slur shape even if it’s angle changes. In Dorico, however, lifting the same control point totally screws up the shape, since all the other control point stay put.

This behavior requires extensive manual editing to change the angle of a slur, especially on smaller slurs, e.g., on system breaks close to a barline. See attachment.
Skjermbilde 2016-10-26 kl. 23.25.51.png

I can confirm this. There seems to be no way to select more than one slur control point and any adjustment distorts the shape.

No, there’s no way to move the control point when moving the end point, at least at the moment. I actually find this quite useful when making small adjustments to the shape of slurs, but certainly when making larger adjustments it does require you to work in a different way (I find that moving the control point before the end point works OK for my purposes).

I see.

I agree that this is good for minor adjustments, and mostly Dorico gets close to the desired shape. One exception is slurs on system breaks, like the one in the screen shot, which Dorico doesn’t place correctly by default and makes very hard to edit.

I struggled enormously with a (piano) slur going from the left hand, over the top of the right and back down to the left, using a 3-segment slur…(I’m working on it every day, still not satisfied…)

I kept wishing that I had been able to restrict movement to a single handle only, and also that Dorico in slur scenarios like this could “listen” to a series of coordinates first, and then magically draw the slur based on those…

Multi-segment slurs are more complicated, so one should expect them to be harder to edit, but I agree that some enhanced editing features that facilitates movement and rotation while retaining (part of) the shape would be needed for Dorico to rival the ease of manual tweaking of slurs in other programs.

I think that my specific example of Dorico drawing certain slurs faulty over system breaks is more pressing though, since these are much more common than multi-segment slurs.

At the moment, you can only move the whole slur vertically without altering its shape, by dragging the slur itself instead of dragging one of its handles. I agree it’d be useful to have the ability to rotate slurs.

As for multi-segment slurs, it’s a bit trickier, because other than the two endpoints, it’s not possible to move a single control point, it will always affect some other control points as well to keep the curvature smooth and continuous. When it comes to adjusting multi-segment slurs I find the easiest way is to first position the two endpoints, then the joint points of the segments, and finally the inner control points of each segment to achieve the required shape.

Bézier curves are the industry standard for drawing curved lines, and I would guess Dorico uses them - or something close to them. With Bézier curves, the endpoints are specified exactly, but control points in the middle only “guide” the curve toward them. The curve hardly ever goes exactly through the control points.

But there are alternatives to Bézier curves. Hobby splines, for example, work so that you choose some points, and the algorithm finds a nice, smooth curve that goes exactly through the points. It is very rare to find this feature in well-known programs. The only exception I know of is Apple’s Keynote, where curved lines work just like this.

It might help if you know that the slope of the slur always lies along the line from a control point on the slur (at the ends, and between the segments) to the adjacent control point that is off the slur.

If you change the distance of an “off-slur” control point from the slur without changing the direction away from the “on-slur” point, you make the curve of the slur tighter or looser near that control point.

If you can visualize where you want the slur to go, you can create it “one step at a time”

  • Position the end point of each segment in the right place.
  • Get the slope of the slur right at the end of each segment.
  • Adjust the curvature at the end of each segment so the complete slur looks “smooth”.

Moving slurs in their entirety isn’t always possible. You have to do it in Engrave mode and usually Dorico selects one of the handles, making it impossible to drag the entire slur. Switching to Write mode, selecting the slur, and then switching back to Engrave mode sometimes works. There must be a better way to do this!

Thanks for this info. Hope someone from the team reads this post :slight_smile:

Thanks, to a certin degree this was helpful, because now I managed to redo the slur twice, spending less than 2 minutes on each attempt. However, I can’t seem to adjust each segment completely on its own. Even if I start by selecting segment 2, as soon as I drag a handle, segment 1 also becomes selected and changes its shape… I still wish I could position individual slurs, then select them and ask them to be joined so the tapering between them disappears.

If you could adjust the control points for each segment independently, you would get a kink in the slur where the segments join.

When you move an off-slur control point in one segment, the off-slur point on the adjacent segment moves to so that slopes of the segments always match up. The two control points either side of a join always lie on a line passing through the end of the segments join.

It looks like Dorico also enforces that the two off-slur control points are the same distance from the joining point as well as in the same (or opposite) directions. IMO that is unnecessary and sometimes unhelpful - a kink in the middle of a “smooth curve” looks wrong, but a sudden change in curvature is much less noticeable.

All this would be easier to understand and explain if Dorico showed the control points for all the segments, not just for the one you are editing!

That’s the core of the problem IMHO. Luckily I’m not dealing with this kind of slurs every day, so with a bit of practise I guess I’ll feel fine :slight_smile: Thanks for your input!

As long as you click on the inside of the curve and not directly on or outside the slur shape, you should be able to make a clean selection.

Another exception is the MetaFont and MetaPost untilities in TeX and LaTeX, which are very widely used for mathematics and scientific publishing. John Hobby did his PhD working with Donald Knuth in the early days of developing TeX (back in the 1980s).

Actually, Hobby splines can represent exactly the same shapes as Bézier curves (no more and no less), except that the user interface is different. But the UI for Hobby splines probably isn’t right for creating musical slurs anyway - I don’t think it would give you a good way to control the shape of the ends of a slur. The default shape of the end of a Hobby spline is part of a circle, not the typical “curled up” end of a long musical slur or tie.

When I click on a slur in Engrave mode, one of the handles is always selected. I have to go to Write mode (slur selected but not editable) and then back to Engrave mode, which then shows the slur with all the handles deselected. It’s a bit roundabout!

There are options to view all of the handles, even when the slur is not selected, in the Engrave > Handles submenu.