Sostenuto - inconsistent preset behaviour


  • If I do Shift-T and write “Sostenuto q=80” the tempo marking just disappears, leaving just the word and the inability to then add the metronome marking in the Properties panel
  • If I do Shift-T and write “q=80” and then press Return and type “Sostenuto” a new mood marking of Sostenuto pops up, separate than the q=80
  • The trick to getting my “Sostenuto q=80” is to Shift-T and write “q=80” and then go to the Properties panel and write Sostenuto there and click “text shown”

I don’t want this thread to devolve into a mood marking versus tempo marking debate. I just am hoping for some clarity on why a mood marking like Sostenuto brings up a different Tempo Properties panel than other mood markings. Even if the software is going to interpret the mood marking differently, it would still be helpful to have the same type of Properties panel (perhaps with more options rather than less to accommodate its difference), so one can add a metronome marking to the mood marking.

The issue is similar with Meno mosso and Piu mosso, one cannot add a metronome marking or a bracketed metronome marking reminder without a work around.

Maybe all this is solved in v.3 and this point will be moot. But if not… v.4?

Thanks again.

It’s as if Dorico considers Sostenuto a gradual tempo change rather than a set tempo change like rit. or accel. Same with meno and piu mosso, as you say. I’m also puzzled why that is so.

Yes, Dorico does consider “Sostenuto” as a gradual tempo change. I guess we can argue the toss as to whether that’s good or bad…

Following up on this matter (I let it go when the Dorico 3 release fever was running high).

I did some research (I’m using a Sostenuto mood marking in my thesis composition and referencing it in my dissertation; I didn’t want to be committing an error). For the most part, it does just mean sustained, no tempo change, but there are also references where it sometimes can mean a slackening of tempo. So we’re both right!

It would be great to have the option to have Sostenuto as a mood marking or a gradual tempo change in future versions of Dorico? This is obviously not top priority; as I mentioned above, there is a hack to getting a tempo/mood marking for Sostenuto and avoid the gradual tempo quality.

Mood marking references:
“a movement or passage whose notes are markedly prolonged. sustained to or beyond the note’s full value —used as a direction in music”
Screenshots of:
Gerhkens 1921 _ Music Notation and Terminology
Baker 1907 - Dictionary of Musical Terms
Riemann 1896 - Dictionary of Music

Sustained, with sometimes a tempo change references:
“sostenuto — sustained, sometimes with a slackening of tempo”

“A direction that has been used both to designate a style of playing and as a tempo mark or modification; the abbreviation sost. is common. It is occasionally used to indicate a slowing down (e.g. in Brahms and Puccini; Brahms wavered, for the slow movement of his first symphony, between poco adagio and andante sostenuto). The words ‘sostenende’ and ‘sostenente’ (present participle) are also found and are perhaps more precise. The ‘sostenuto’ pedal on a piano is the one that sustains notes by lifting the dampers from the strings.” Fallows, D. (2001). Sostenuto. Grove Music Online.

"Sustained, sustaining in duration; sometimes with the implication of a slowing in tempo."Sostenuto, Sostenendo -LSB-It.,Abbr.Sost.-RSB-. (2003). In D. M. Randel (Ed.), The harvard dictionary of music (4th ed.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Could a Bold Roman Capitalized version signify a tempo change and an italic, lowercase version (perhaps below the staff) signify a playing technique similar to legato? (Of course then why not just say legato?)

I suppose one could create the version(s) one wanted given Dorico’s evolving tools.

Gehrkens 1921 mixes up sostenuto with tenuto IMO, when he calls it the opposite of staccato, but I admit the terms are related. (BTW Gehrkens is written with -hr-; I may suggest to spell your sources’ names correct in a dissertation :wink:
Which doesn’t mean I disagree. I also think Sostenuto is rather a description of mood (‘heavy’, ‘solemn’) than an absolute tempo or tempo change. Derrek is right, it’s not always clear whether you need an expression or a tempo marking.

Beethoven has several movements with the initial tempo marked “sostenuto” and with a MM mark. Clearly the whole movement can’t be gradually slowing down. There are a couple of instances of “poco sostenuto” and “assai sostenuto” - presumably analogous to “poco allegro” or “allegro assai”.

Beethoven also uses it as an adjective, e.g. Andante sostenuto, Adagio sostenuto e espressivo, etc.

None of these imply a gradual tempo change.

And so did Chopin as well.

I’m not sure Chopin needed a tempo marking to bend the tempo. :slight_smile: