[suggestion/request] glissando and portamento

Dear Doricorians,

I have been distinguishing glissando and portamento as follows:

However, Dorico treats them as a selective option under glissando category.
I think distinguishing them is often better.
Even on timpani and strings like violin family without fretboard, it is often better to differently notate:

  • glissando: gliding pitches with tremolo
  • portamento: gliding pitches without tremolo

When using portamento, I always must change three options:

  1. changing Glissando style
  2. changing Glissando text
  3. changing Glissando text shown

For No. 1 and No. 2, it would be simple if Dorico automatically process these options by typing popover text

  • “portamento” or “port” for portamento and
  • “gliss” or “glissando” for glissando.

For No. 3, it would be very convenient if there would be a global option for glissando text show under Notation options (CMD + SHIFT + N).

I would like to know how other users think about my suggestion/request.

Glissandi are still under development in Dorico. So far only diatonic and harp glissandi are realistically supported, although I expect one could use an expression map to send portamento codes to an instrument library that supported it.

Since strings can use portamento/glissando with or without tremolo (AFAIK), I don’t think Dorico should get too fussy with default terminology. Of course you can define them as you wish in your own work.

And as the article quoted says, any attempt to definitively distinguish between portamento and glissando has the problem that centuries of music did not make a distinction between the terms, or made it in different ways. None of those ways, as far as my experience goes, has anything to do with being with/without tremolo. I think software should leave it up to the user to distinguish and define them as desired.

You can assign a keycommand for this (or most of this) now. I had similar request a while ago and Leo talked me through how to do it in this post. My request wasn’t as complicated as yours, I just wanted all glisses to be wavy, but I would imagine you could record macros, then assign keycommands to accomplish what you want. If you have a StreamDeck or other macro program you might be able to do it all in one shot.

Currently, Dorico does not leave it up to the user to generally distinguish and define them.
Users should define every individual items separately.

If the terms “glissando” and “portamento” give us some problems, we could use the following terms:

  • discrete glissandi: according to key signature and accidentals (diatonic, chromatic, microtonal)
  • pitch-bend: continuous glissandi or portamenti

There was a thread somewhere about modern musicians constantly coming with their own one-off notation for things. I wouldn’t want to do that. Given what was said about the practices of previous centuries, is there a common agreement on how to notate it today? That would be a lot easier since you could just put it in the score…

… I’m kind of anticipating that the answer is “no” though. The thing for me is - while I can and do write for VST playback, how do you tell the live musician your intentions?

For musicians, I have been using just glissando and portamento and description, if required, as follows:

  • glissando, diatonically stepwise glissando according to key signatures and accidentals.
  • glissando, chromatically stepwise glissando
  • portamento, gliding pitch, sliding pitch, bending pitch, glissando like on trombone while playing a long (plain) note

I would not invent a new notation. Regarding glissandi and portamenti, I think it would be better to use waved lines for stepwise glissandi, and straight lines for continuous glissandi. Now I see narrow-width lines not so well, so I would like to show “gliss.” and “port.” with the line together.