Text style for string designation


I wonder which text style should be used for indications like, when writing for strings, “I”, “IV”, “sul G”. Which style would you use? Staff text? Fingering?

Also, I usually prefer to place the string designation next to the note. So, the indication should be moved vertically, and possibly attached to the note itself. Which strategy for this?


Custom playing techniques could also be an option - that would seem the most logical, and also gives you the opportunity to mark passages using exension lines if you wish.

This is a playing technique, so making it a playing technique in Dorico is the obvious thing to do. If you have a sample library with sampled notes on different strings, you could even make it play back.

Unless you want to mark the strings for individual notes, I don’t really understand why you want to place the text “next to” the note. Usually it is above or below the staff. (Guitar notation gets more complicated than strings, because a guitar is polyphonic…)

Sometimes with complicated trills with harmonics it is preferable to place the string designation near the note, even in the staff

Double stops and trills/oscillations between strings are to be very precisely indicated, so sometimes you have to show the string number next to the relevant note.


OK, I’ll take your word for it.

(Though I did play violin myself for many years so I have a reasonable idea of what level of instructions are actually necessary, and Gould doesn’t seem to agree with you about this either).

Sciarrino, for example, prefers to put the string designation next to the note, instead of above or below the staff. This is probably to be sure the indication is not lost in a very dense polyphony.


OK, it’s probably just a different interpretation of English.

I wouldn’t have described the Sciarrino example as “next to the note” which implies “right next to the note head” (like piano or guitar fingering) to me.

The markings in the Sciarrino are just moved from the standard position (above or below the note) to save space, IMO. That’s why Dorico has Engrave Mode!

Here is a situation where the string number designation is not exactly a playing technique: you write a natural harmonic, and to be sure that the player uses that exact fingering, you write the string number next to the note, just as a courtesy.

a) Should this be considered totally unnecessary, so no problem exist at all? Or,
b) It is in any case a technique?

In case (b), I wouldn’t like to have to create a new technique for harmonics on a particular string. But I understand it can be a ‘dummy’ technique falling back on the natural harmonic playback playing technique.