Understanding figured bass hold lines

I’m struggling to understand the instructions for figured bass hold lines as on the page in the manual headed “Figured Bass Popover” in the examples for “Hold and suspension durations both specified”. Could someone amplify the exact meaning of the figures for one of the examples please? Many thanks

Essentially the multiple examples are all variations of how you can structure the entry (i.e. including/excluding commas, describing the duration using a set number of quarter notes or as a fraction of the duration of the bass note in the music).

Taking the first (and “simplest”) entry


In this example, the hold duration is a whole note, the suspension duration is a half note, and the bass note at this position is a whole note.

  • 4->3 is describing a suspension on the 4th resolving to the 3rd

  • d=4 is describing the overall duration of the suspension/resolution figure in quarter notes – 4 quarter notes, ie a whole note filling a 4/4 bar

  • r=2 is describing that the resolution happens after two quarter notes, i.e. the resolution to the 3rd happens on the 3rd beat in the 4/4 bar

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Thanks for the reply. I’ve tried typing all the formulae at this point in the manual into the popover to see what happens, and it seems that there are two separate examples, which is not what is implied in the text to the left of them. Is this correct?

Apologies for the confusion, we’ve actually looked at this today to make this clearer. It followed the style for how we present multiple possible ways of achieving the same result using popovers, but I do agree that in this case, the distinction between the four alternatives isn’t clear.

The text on the left tells you the end result of entering any of the 4 “strings” given on the right, but where each of those starts/stops isn’t immediately obvious as two of them have commas within them. When we next update the manual, there will be two options separated with a clearer “or”.

Try entering the one I pulled out above – 4->3d=4r=2