Some thoughts on breath marks in Dorico

As of now (Dorico 5.1.30), Dorico offers four types of breath marks with three options for vertical positioning:

I want to share three thoughts on breath marks in Dorico together with corresponding feature requests:

As far as I can see, at the moment there is no option to change the design of the breath mark itself. For example, some publishers in Germany use a vertical stroke as a breath mark (eg. in the “Evangelisches Gesangbuch”, the official hymn book of the Protestant Church of Germany, or in many publications for so-called Posaunenchor, a common brass ensemble in German Protestant churches, see examples below).


(Source: Evangelisches Gesangbuch, Sachsen, ISBN: 9783374021963; Sample page on


(Source: Posaunen-Choralbuch, Thüringen/Bayern, Strube VS 2099; Sample page on

Therefore, I hope Dorico will offer custom breath marks (or at least a single-stroke breath mark) in the future.

By the way: This topic has already been discussed on this forum in a thread dating back to 2016.

I might be mistaken, but apparently inputting a breath mark does not change the note spacing. This can lead to some very tight situations. In some instances, Dorico positions the breath mark too close to the next note.

Moreover, there is no way to change the horizontal position of breath marks intelligently. One can only change their x offset individually in Engrave Mode with all the resulting caveats: Different note spacing in score and parts (or changing note spacing after adjusting the x offset) might result in collisions.

Therefore, I hope Dorico will offer

a) an option that breath marks effect note spacing.

b) more intelligent horizontal positioning of breath marks and/or an option to specify the smallest horizontal distance of a breath mark to the notes/signs before and after it.

When there are two voices in one staff, up-stem and down-stem voices might need different breath marks (positioned on the top and on the bottom line), eg. in a choral reduction (SA-TB) or in Posaunenchor repertoire (for examples, see below). I believe this is not possible at the moment.


(Source: Posaunen-Choralbuch, Niedersachsen/Bremen, Strube VS 2102; Sample page on


(Source: Posaunen-Choralbuch, Thüringen/Bayern, Strube VS 2099; Sample page on


(Source: Vorspiele für Bläser zum Evangelischen Gesangbuch, ISMN 9790200908411; Sample page on

Therefore, I hope Dorico will offer an option for different vertical positioning of breath marks in up-stem and down-stem voices.

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You can at least change the glyph used for a given breathmark in the Music Symbols editor, as long as it exists in another font.

I vote for vertical strokes with configurable placement :+1:t2:

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For what it’s worth, I’ve managed to edit the music symbol for the Breath Mark (comma) and also align it vertically. See this project:
Atemzeichen_wie Strube.dorico (1.0 MB)

As for the breath mark in a different voice, you’ll have to move it in Engrave Mode for now. But the single stroke breath mark works realiably for me.

Hi @derKirchenmusiker and @User_4729,
I do it exactly the same way. It looks as you are using the Single stroke Caesura (U+E4D7). This caesura is too high for a Strube breath mark, so you reduced the size to 66%. For my taste, the caesura is still a bit too long and becomes too thin. I would prefer it if you could change the size (x and y) independently.
I use “Staccatissimo stroke above” (U+E4AA) instead and enlarge it to 110%.

Here is a template with a breath mark.

Posaunenchor allgemein.dorico (1.0 MB)