Tie direction

Why does the tie curve up?
I cannot see the logic.
Is this an error?

Isn’t this to differentiate it from a slur?

Not enough context. What voices are they? What’s going on in the upper staff (are they cross-staff notes?)

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As @benwiggy said, we need more context.
In theory, all things being as they should, it should curve down.

I was trying to replicate

It is last bar on 1st system

Just flip it. Why not? Depending on context of how you are using voices Dorico will put up or down accordingly. Sometimes you need to nudge it. Normal.

After more testing: Change the Bb to C or A (including any accidental) and the tie will curve in the correct way. Why should B (or B= or B#) be any different? There is some strange going on here that the developers need to take a look at. It is not ‘normal’ at all. We should not defend an incorrect behaviour with ‘Normal’. What does your Lilypond do by default in this case?

I never mentioned Lilypond in this topic.

I set it up in Dorico. Now that I look at it, it is rather odd.

I was just curious about Lilypond’s default behaviour in this case. Amadeus would have done this correctly (but other things wrong that Dorico does correctly and with excellence).

There seems to be a programming error here. If the non-tied note is on the same line or space as the previous chord note, the tie is in the wrong position. If the non-tied note is on a different line or space, the tie is correct:

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The dfference in behaviour between these two scenarios is related to this earlier thread:

Your second illustration, John, fits the criteria of the rules for single-stemmed chords that have moving notes within the tie chain. The first one does not, because the pitches of the untied notes are the same.

I will look into this in due course, but these kinds of involved things require time for investigation and careful examination of the rules used for calculating tie directions. When I have more information, I’ll share it.


Please note that it seems Dorico just looks at non-accidental’ed notes when it sees “moving notes”;

Here the Bb “moves down”, and still the Gould ‘rule’ is not applied (not saying I like the rule…), same here

but as soon as the “main note” goes to the “next step”;

the rule is applied.
A revision (and hopefully also a “Do not use the Gould rule” option) in an update would be much appreciated.

Yes, Dorico only considers changes of staff position when it comes to the way it handles “single-stemmed moving chords” (as Gould calls them).

I’ve just looked through the relevant pages from the Gould book, and this simply solidifies my opinion that there ARE large parts of her proscriptions and prescriptions that are just plain wrong.

please Daniel, don’t rely uniquely on Gould for reference. her book often contains a paucity of information that creates more doubt than anything, and she sometimes pulls things out of an orifice when establishing “rules”. (see her “suggestions” for how to notate string harmonics… pure BS)

I would love to have the Dorico team rely more heavily on a few other books/engravers. Maybe even some real LIVE engravers who have been in the business for ages? There are even a few on this forum (no, not me.)


Michel, I’ve seen you espouse this view on other forums as well. You don’t need to worry that we only look at Gould and no other books. We have a full library of all of the major published works on music engraving, including those that are now out of print and in languages other than English, plus the style guides from several major publishers. I also have a coterie of experienced professional engravers upon whose expertise I am fortunate to be able to call when I want extra opinions.

While we have a somewhat limited library of actual scores at our immediate disposal, I have spent time in the library of, for example, the Royal Opera House here in London to explore the repertoire when researching conventions, and likewise the British Library.

Gould is an excellent baseline resource for most things, but we do not use it at the exclusion of all other authorities.


Good, Daniel.
Sometimes, reading comments here it sounds like Behind Bars is the principal source of engraving information for Dorico. I’m glad to know this isn’t 100% true.

I think it’s fair to say that it is the principal source, but it’s certainly not the only one. Messrs Read, Stone, Chlapik, Ross, Roemer, et al, and many others besides, are all consulted in addition to Ms. Gould to build a consensus view, and we consult with experienced engravers on many matters too.


I didn’t see anything on pages 70-71 in Gould that pertains to this issue. All of Gould’s examples look completely orthodox to me. What is not orthodox is the example that started this thread.

I can’t believe that Gould thinks that removing the upper tie at A results in B:

tie 2

She even says that “A passage of such chords looks clearest when the ties are all placed in the same direction” which would not be the case if there were a series of these, since the bottom tie would change direction depending on the pitch of the following non-tied note as I showed in my first example several posts back…

Nor have I ever seen anything like B in the standard literature, but will hunt t to try to find examples of it, which I believe is the best way to decide such issues.

John, in your original reply in this thread, the second of the two examples you posted, i.e. this one:

CleanShot 2023-09-20 at 17.32.20@2x

does pertain precisely to the examples on pages 70 and 71 of Behind Bars, hence my own reply that linked to the other thread in which that specific rule has recently been discussed.

To return to Mats’s example at the beginning of the thread, which is the same as the first of the two examples you posted in your own original reply, John, i.e. this one:

CleanShot 2023-09-20 at 17.34.44@2x

I’ve spent some time looking into which of Dorico’s many rules for determining tie direction is being used here. It is actually using the most standard rule for single voice situations, which tries to balance the number of up- and down-curving ties in a chord evenly. In this particular situation, with only a single tie, it is ending up with an up-curving tie basically as a starting point. (For what it’s worth, Finale gives the same result as Dorico by default with its factory settings, perhaps for similar reasons.)

I agree that it would be worth adding an additional rule to handle this specific case, namely that the a chord with a single tie on the innermost (i.e. closest to the end of the stem) note should optionally have its tie curve towards the stem. I have made a note of this and it is something we will implement in a future version of the software.


Also … It occurs to me that we are discussing a left-hand staff. There may be an expectation that a tie on the outermost notes of a grand staff (with connected barlines) should curve outward (i.e. up on RH, down on LH). Just a thought; I don’t have examples handy.