Suggestion: more slur contour settings; tie settings

Dorico has wonderfully complete notation and engraving settings, but I’m a little surprised that there are only two length settings for slur height and shoulder offset. Perhaps I’m missing something but it’s hard for me to find settings which look attractive at all slur lengths and angles. The defaults seem good for short and for long slurs but not for those in between, which look too flat for my taste, especially if they’re skewed. Has anyone experimented with this?

In general, I also miss being able to change the attachment note of the endpoint of a slur. There’s a specific case where I need to be able to override Dorico’s defaults. If a note is slurred to a tied note, officially one should slur to the final tied note but there are plenty of cases in which this would create incredibly long slurs which would only cause a lot of visual clutter. I can’t seem to find a way to create slurs from one note to the first tied note. Does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks for your feedback on our slur settings. How many more settings for curvature and shoulders would you ideally like to see? I can’t make any promises, but it’s possible we’ll be able to address this in due course.

As for making slurs end on the first note of a tie chain rather than the last, I had it in my head that we already have an option for this, but apparently not. I’ll discuss with András (the developer who has implemented slurs) and come back to you as and when I can.

I would love to see an option for flat ties. Similar to your flat slur setting.

I do not find how to add a slur between two notes that are not in the same voice (organ transcription, I use several voices on each staff).

Ben, to add a slur between two notes in different voices, simply select the note on which you want the slur to start, and Ctrl+click the note on which you want the slur to end, then hit S.

Hi Daniel, thanks for the reply. A setting for medium length slurs would be good. Both the shortest slurs and the longest ones seem to have good shapes but I find the medium slurs too flat, but have been unable to change their shape without adversely affecting the other lengths. It’d also be really nice to have a setting for flattening extra long slurs. I know this can be set individually in the slur properties panel but this might be a useful default setting.

Two more settings for ties would be handy, as well. One is for ties over system breaks (distance from last barline). Another is an addition to the first setting: curvature direction for ties when stem directions differ. Instead of curving either up or away from the staff, wouldn’t it be better to allow the tie to curve away from the first note? And it would be nice to be able to slur from a note to the first tied note or from the last tied note to the next note instead of having to create unnecessarily long slurs. Perhaps this shouldn’t be a document-wide setting, or it should at least be editable per situation.

Yes, I found it! It’s cmd+click (Mac)… it works, sometimes… I post a video on to show a bug.
Thanks for your job, it’s promising, and good luck for the debugging… :wink:

I second all of Vaughan’s points above.

In addition, I’ve come across several instances where the collision avoidance of slurs due to accidentals (sharps and naturals) seems overdone, resulting in way too much distance between the slur and notes (or accidental, if you prefer). Perhaps an option not to avoid accidentals on a case-by-case basis is in order? Alternatively (or perhaps even additionally) one should be able to chose the minimum distance between slurs and accidentals.

As I’ve lauded to in another thread, slurs over system breaks has also given me some headaches, especially when the last note before the break is very short. One reason for this is that Dorico seems to always draw the segments on each side of the break at an angle towards or from the top/bottom of the staff. While this is a common feature of slurs over system breaks, It isn’t always the best way to handle them, as it may result in a very steep slur angle. It would be great to be able to keep slurs horizontal over system breaks, and furthermore, to allow adjustment of the angle of each slur segment much more easily than what’s currently possible.

I’ve come across this today and I was surprised to find out that we can’t make flat ties.

More settings for curvature and height of slurs (as Vaughan suggested earlier in this thread) would be very welcome.

Additionally, I’d like to request the ability to set the shape style (normal/flat) for segments of slurs before and after a system break individually. I have a very long (and beautifully) flat slur that reaches the first note of the next system. It’s extremely hard if not impossible to make a short slur look good with the flat shape.

I am glad to see this post. Scores created in Dorico look really beautifully, any way I would agree - in some cases for my personal taste slurs in Dorico are a bit to flat.


Several of these features already exist. One needs to switch to Engrave mode to enable them - this decorates the slurs and ties with control points, and adds extra parameters in the Properties window. For example, slurs and ties in Engrave mode are shown with 5 control handles which make customization of a slur shape easy to do. Slurs even have property value settings to adjust the end and middle thickness of slurs, which helps make them visually distinct from ties. Slurs over breaks are treated as separate objects, so each side of the slur can be contoured to taste.

Of course there is possible to decorate each slur, but if you do a large project it would take time. I am working at the moment on piano arrangement with 12 flows. The score looks beautifully except these flat slurs. Please compare how it looks like after some work in engraving mode. Originally slurs are little bit to flat and an angle where they start and end is to sharp. Would be great if Dorico would do it some day automatically.
2017-12-06 11.17.08.gif

Please allow me to revive this thread, by adding my voice for flat ties. I’m working on a score with very long notes, and flat ties would make it a lot more pleasant to the eye (and more coherent with the original).


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The detailed shaping of each slur in EnNgrave mode does indeed take time!

The struggles of mipi in his video reminded me of my own negative impression of slur adjustment in Dorico. The arrangement and function of the adjustment boxes are quite similar to that of Finale, yet for some reason, it is much easier achieve a displeasing slur shape in Dorico. Perhaps it is because Dorico seems to allow a finer level of adjustment: fine enough to hang oneself.

I also found that the adjustment boxes and the dotted lines too large and prominent, so that they got in the way of seeing the overall visual impression of the slur as I worked.

The shape of slurs is one of the most important elements in engraving and one of the reasons I continue to use Finale: in my opinion, Finale creates the most beautiful slurs ever seen in music engraving, including that by plate engravers. The designers of Dorico would do well to incorporate the best aspects of Finale’s approach to slurs.

John, the struggles of mipi date from Dorico 1.0.
Improvements have already been made since then, notably regarding the sharp corners and the handling of slurs with articulation markings.

pianoleo, my impressions of Dorico slur adjustment were formed by trials of Dorico 2 and Dorico 3. The general shape of the Dorico slurs and ability to modify it has indeed improved, but adjusting the contour of individual slurs does not yield the beautiful results of Finale’s slurs.

I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I don’t find these slurs (not engraved by me) in Finale very beautiful. Aside from the fact that the collide with the beams, they are so thin that the ends are close to invisible.

At least Dorico avoids the collisions, by default.
Dorico slurs.png
FInale slurs.png

John, can you show us a slur that you can produce in Finale and not in Dorico?

I agree that slur routing is still one of Dorico’s weakest spots, but from a geometrical point of view it doesn’t make sense that either program should be able to describe a curve that the other one can’t describe: slurs are just bézier curves: two endpoints and two control points.
(There are flat slurs in Dorico and they’re a bit more complicated, but let’s ignore them here.)