Gareth Montanarello

Creating Hauptstimme in Dorico

Updated: Dec 13, 2021

I found a solution to a pretentious problem that only a small percentage of Dorico users will ever worry about: inputting hauptstimme and nebenstimme symbols. This is easy to do in Sibelius since there is a dedicated hauptstimme item on one of the symbol dropdowns, but as far as I know, no such thing exists in Dorico. Here's what I came up with:

1. Find the symbol here on the SMuFl reference library. Select the symbol and copy it to the clipboard (ctrl + C or cmd + C). These steps will work for any other symbol in the library, too.

2. Go back to Dorico and select the note that you want to mark as the start of the haupt/nebenstimme. Create a text object using the "abc" text button in the lower right of the screen.

3. Change the font to "Bravura Text." You need to use this or one of the other

SMuFl-compatible fonts to display any of the symbols in the SMuFl library.

4. Paste the symbol (ctrl + V or cmd + V) into the text box. 11.9pt font looked a little small on my score so I increased the size to 20pt.

5. If you need to adjust the location of the symbol, go to the Engrave tab and select the symbol you need to move. Press the alt key and use the arrow keys to move it around. Free- hand movements with the mouse will also work.

6. Repeat the above steps for the "end of stimme" marking.

Before I figured out the above method I tried using the Symbol Editor to create the symbols I needed from scratch. It kind of worked, but I couldn't figure out how to get them into the score.

The symbol editor actually worked well for creating the stem slashes that indicate "close to sprechstimme" singing (regular sprechstimme uses an X instead of a slash). I used a tip from this Scoring Notes blog post and modified the buzz roll symbol with a slash. Not really an ideal solution, but it worked.

And finally, just to show what this stuff looks like in an actual score, here's a mockup of the fugue in scene 11 of Wozzeck. I created this mostly as a study reference for my next blog post, but it was also an excellent way to learn the ropes of Dorico. I'd say it turned out well, wouldn't you? Once you get past Dorico's... idiosyncracies... the quality of the output makes the learning curve well worth it.

You can also download a copy of this score here:

Download PDF • 70KB

If this post was any help to you please let me know in the comments and please consider sharing with your friends! See you next time.


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