Writing rips for horn

I´m writing a piece for solo french horn, and I want to write a rip. It´s not listed in the articulation site in Dorico 4. And the manual doesn´t give a satisfying answer. Can it be done, at all?

What’s a rip?

If you know the start and end notes, you could use a glissando line?

If you only know one or the other, you could use jazz articulations?

1 Like

There are couple of “lifts” in the jazz articulation panel:

The length of both styles is editable in Engrave too.

Yes, thanks @FredGUnn , I´ve seen them, and that comes close. I would have to write “rip” underneath, and that certainly can be done, even though I´d like it better if Dorico had an option for that. But I guess will will make do.

1 Like

Right, @Lillie_Harris
I considered that, but thought maybe there is a specialist option?!

@MarcLarcher a rip is like a rake on the guitar. It´s a series of several very fast notes that lead to an actual note as an embellishment.

1 Like

Wouldn’t this be written with acciaccature (grace notes)?

Not as far as I know. I learned that it should be written like @Lillie_Harris and @FredGUnn suggested, with a wiggly line and rip underneath. But scrolling through the jazz articulations I wonder if “lift” wouldn´t do the job?! But I suspect it may be a shake?

1 Like

As an ex-horn player, for horn rips I would prefer to see the first example by FredGUnn above. In the finale of Firebird, Stravinsky uses grace notes for the same purpose.

1 Like

Great, thank you for this confirmation @Stephen_Taylor !!!

I have a similar problem of notating rip in my horn score for live performance. I was surprised there is no built-in ability to notate the text “rip” (but only “gliss.”, etc). I made my own notation using System Text and a unicode arrow character. However, the professional horn performers rejected the overall motif in my score rehearsal as ‘not very readable, and not truly playable’ so I am rewriting it. They also suggested using a “first note - last note” notation.


I tested using Slash Noteheads for notation but it was still rather messy. I think what I would prefer is to keep the stems and hide the noteheads completely; so the rhythm could be notated precisely.

I am borrowing the suggestion above for using Gliss, wavy line, and Edit->Delete Rests feature. Although, this generalized-notation approach lacks the specificity of what I originally wrote, in rhythm and pitch. Dorico playback is a mostly good simulation of a rhythmically-even gliss using HALion.


If anyone has further suggestions on this Dorico notation, I would like to hear it. Likely I will be writing for a pro sax ensemble (perhaps providing more opportunity to write virtuosically) in coming months and incorporating these sorts of motifs there as well.

I’m not a horn player, but I think a rip on a horn would pass through a series of partials, not chromatically.
Further: if you notate glisses, try to notate note values that add up to the actual metre: in the last example, it’s quite unclear where the beats are in the F horn part. There’s a 32nd with a gliss line, but apparently, the gliss is supposed to last for two beats. Frankly, this is unreadable. Better to write a half note with an upward wavy rip line without an end note, or maybe a grace note at the end to indicate the end pitch. And don’t use 8ba, use a bass clef. But also remember that partials are widely spaced in the lower register. A lip gliss will not produce many different pitches down low.
(I suspect it’s supposed to sound like an elephant, so I guess the exact pitches aren’t that important anyway? For a decent elephant sound, I’d recommend to use higher partials.)

– I’m aware my avatar is appropriate here :elephant: :wink:

1 Like

Here’s what I did with a horn part in my latest composition:

Screen Shot 2023-05-17 at 5.50.04 PM

Any Horn players correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that last example would pass through only 4 harmonics. The Horn part in post #12 is so low that there are exactly zero and one harmonic between the endpoints of those two glisses.

Horn rips work up fairly high, where the harmonics are close together, and I have only ever heard them ascending. The Trumpet bits in post #12 would have to be half-valve smears at best. It’s not a rip, technique-wise.

Hmm, I realize what I’ve written doesn’t notationally work that well; but in this case the score deadline is up. In this case I wasn’t able to ask the performer directly, “just scribble out on paper, what you want to see, and I will try to notate it that way”. Also, the score examples I’ve studied don’t use gliss, they notate each note (ex. “Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring, Part 2, horn parts, Reh. 177-178” quoted in “100 Orchestration Tips” by Goss); as grace notes.

I tried alternatively using grace notes as the starting point of the gliss, but couldn’t Remove the rests under the gliss, as is done when gliss starts at a normal note.

There are a variety of instrument breaks in brass that are a bit hard to understand. It would be nice if Dorico would highlight a Gliss as red, when it detects the gliss passes through a break (like it does with out-of-range notes). This gliss feature would applies to other instruments with breaks as well. This indication would have been handy to catch a few other mistakes in trombone gliss too.

Whether or not “rip” is the proper term for what I attempted to write (vs. “gliss”), I don’t know either; only that I received score feedback to write “rip” for such a move.