percussion rolls and ties and articulations and the like

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snakeeyes021
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percussion rolls and ties and articulations and the like

Post by snakeeyes021 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:43 pm

I'm having a bit of a conundrum about how to enter a percussion marking. I had been hoping it would be one of the improvements in 1.2.10 (an absolutely phenomenal "maintenance" update, btw), but alas, it was not to be.

Pic attached for the marking. I know the topic has come up before in a few different threads, but reading through, it seems that at the moment, the current method for inputting such a marking is "with some difficulty and/or tedium" or using slurs instead of tying, which can introduce its own tedious adjustments (and also, they just don't look the same). I guess I'm just wondering if indeed this is still the case and also if there are any plans to implement a better way in the near future (or rather in the next version, which I know is slated to be released later in the year, or perhaps an upcoming one soon after that).

For percussion, the convention is that a stroke that ends a roll is tied to that roll, but notated without the tremolo marking. For that part, the solution is to simply switch to engrave mode and toggle the single stem tremolo property. Not ideal if you have lots of them, but perfectly doable. (Also of note, this breaks the playback, as removing the tremolo from the second notehead seems to remove the tremolo property from the note group entity entirely for playback. There is a fix, but it's something of a workaround, and can take a bit to set up in your percussion maps and percussion playing techniques pages). One last thing to note is that depending on the meter and the note values, you may need to use Force Duration to keep the tie from consolidating the two notes into one.

Aaaanyways, the problem now is getting accents to show on both noteheads. As far as I know, while you can tell Dorico to put an articulation on either the first or last note in a tie chain, there's no way to tell it to do both. I think this means the accent has to go in as text, which is, again, doable, but not ideal at all if you have lots of them, given the way Dorico spaces text versus articulations.

So, unless I'm mistaken, the marking I've attached, and others like it, are only possible by tying while forcing duration, switching modes, selecting just the second notehead and adjusting its tremolo property, switching modes again, adding a dummy articulation as text, switching modes again to make sure it's spaced right, and finally making sure that it hasn't respaced the system or staves in any undesired way.

Given how common of a marking this is and that it is standard practice, it would really be lovely if a fix made it into the next version (I mean, honestly, I could use it now, but I know y'all have dozens of features about which users have likely said the same). If you'd like my (unsolicited :D ) opinion, the issue is that ties in Dorico behave the same way for percussion that they do for all other instruments, but they really shouldn't. Dorico's underlying behavior of combining tied notes into one entity works because on any other instrument that is truly what's happening in the performed music (and it's honestly quite lovely that Dorico does it this way). For percussion though, a tie really acts almost like a slur, but looks like a tie, and it might be worth considering having Dorico's underlying logic deal with them similarly.

Thoughts, comments, disagreements, etc.?
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András at Steinberg
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Re: percussion rolls and ties and articulations and the like

Post by András at Steinberg » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:08 pm

Wouldn't it be simpler for the time being to use a slur instead of tied notes? Then you don't have to force duration, the tremolo can be added to the first notehead without switching to engrave mode, and both notehead could have its own accent.

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Re: percussion rolls and ties and articulations and the like

Post by Claude Lapalme » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:34 pm

I seem to remember that there was a method using tie+forced-durations to get stresses within ties in 1.0. Was that eliminated, or am I remembering wrong?
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Robby Poole
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Re: percussion rolls and ties and articulations and the like

Post by Robby Poole » Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:32 am

I agree with your statements. As a percussionist, and someone who does percussion music notation primarily, this is something I am working to make understand better.

However, I will say that I do believe the slur for right now, is the best alternative to the options you have listed. I wish I could draw the slur in the same direction as the tie would go (up), but have the slur connect the note heads, as opposed to the stems. The slur, in my opinion, is the best option for the time being, and it doesn't look wrong. It might not look as good as a tie would, but it doesn't look wrong.

Also, there are a few exceptions to the tie in percussion music. Drums, and other instruments that roll, the tie does behave differently than other instruments. But for a few of the percussion instruments rolling is considered mostly in poor taste (such as Glockenspeil/Orchestral Bells), and here is a place where the tie should be a tie like it is to any other instrument.

Just my thoughts....

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Daniel at Steinberg
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Re: percussion rolls and ties and articulations and the like

Post by Daniel at Steinberg » Tue Feb 27, 2018 1:14 am

I think András’s answer is right on the money, since I’m not sure that such a note really qualifies as tied anyway: it is entirely made up of new attacks, and starts and ends with an accent. I think it makes perfect sense for that to be slurred, and not tied.

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Re: percussion rolls and ties and articulations and the like

Post by snakeeyes021 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:50 pm

On the one hand, I'm inclined to agree with you, Daniel, and in fact, I do agree that such a note shouldn't really qualify as tied and that it makes more sense as a slur. On the other hand, the convention is that it is a tie, not a slur (and as with many other conventions in music, the convention may be counter-intuitive or even incorrect if applied to other contexts, but that's just the way it is). My percussion colleagues tell me that you could ask 100 percussionists and they'd all tell you the same thing, and the repertoire would bear this out (I would normally reference Gould for something like this, but, surprisingly, she's silent on the issue and doesn't even have any notated examples where rolls with a finishing stroke occur. I also checked the other two vaguely related texts I had at arm's reach, Adler's orchestration book and Reginald Smith Brindle's Contemporary Percussion, and while both have notated examples, neither specify explicitly what notation is used.). Nonetheless, it is the convention, and though a player will almost certainly not fuss if you use a slur, for engraving purposes, a tie is the correct notation. (If you still need convincing though, I'll happily dig around deeper for an authoritative source on the matter (at some point in the near future, at least; alas, I'm currently under the gun to finish a large piece in the next several weeks))

I imagine it's something akin to how slurs function differently for a singer vs. a string player vs. a wind player vs. a piano player, etc. Ties simply have an additional function for percussion (and yes, thank you, Robby, for mentioning percussion with sustain; I do realize that they also use ties like everyone else, so in some instruments like vibraphone, you'll often see both uses, but I figured I'd rambled on long enough to warrant not mentioning it).

I totally appreciate, though, if, in the long term, you're opposed to altering how ties work under the hood in Dorico (it really is quite elegant and useful, and I'm sure it would be something of a hassle for something so seemingly trivial). That said, perhaps you'd consider adding an option in the properties panel for a slur to draw it and space it like a tie (and any other considerations necessary to have the software treat it graphically identically to a tie). I imagine this might be an attractive way to kill a number of birds with one stone, as playback would work correctly, durations wouldn't need to be forced, etc. At the moment, making Dorico's slurs look like ties is mostly possible, but tedious enough that it's not any more an attractive method for me than the other way.

Just my four cents (adjusted for inflation) ;)
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Re: percussion rolls and ties and articulations and the like

Post by Robby Poole » Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:30 pm

I like your idea of having options to make the slurs look like ties. I think it would accomplish the best of both worlds.


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