4 questions about tempo marks

Hello Community,

Some questions about Tempo changes:

  1. How do i enter custom gradual tempo changes with the popover or at all? I need something that is not in the standard list and don’t see a way to either enter or change a standard tempo mark to a gradual one…?
    In german i need something like “sehr zurückhalten bis Takt 423” and “nach und nach mehr drängen” which in general are “variations” of rit. and accel.

  2. Is there a way to prevent Dorico generally from setting a metronome mark when it recognizes a typed word in a custom tempo mark like “non troppo Allegro” … (which i want to set in an “Allegretto” context and not with q=140, in fact it should not change the tempo at all)

  3. Is there a way to override the behaviour, that when i write “Tempo I” or “a tempo” i can’t add a metronome marking to it ?

  4. I don’t want to use these pre-configured tempo marks at all, as i almost never use one of them.
    Can i edit them, delete them all and only show up the ones i really use and need? The list is completely crowded with useless words and even worse, the auto-recognition always messes up my playback tempos.

  1. Enter the “standard” (read Italian) marking and then change the tempo text in the properties.

  2. You always need to express tempi in a numerical value – behind the notation is a sequencer, after all. As such, Dorico will always do its best to pin down a number, even if it’s wrong or a default of 120 bpm. So no; change the bpm in the properties afterwards.

  3. Those two are special markings. Enter something else and then change the tempo text, at least for the time being.

I wish there would be less automation and more personal control in many functions of Dorico.
Or at least control over whether i want things like metronome mark turned ON or OFF and a customisable list of tempo indications and a little switch that turns gradual to static…

Maybe some day…

Do you mean control over whether a metronome mark is shown in the tempo marking or not? Because you can absolutely set that behavior in Engraving Options, and very easily override it on a case by case basis on the popover during input.

No, i mean i’d like to enter tempo markings that have no effect on the metronome and doesn’t auto-set one for me.


I enter “Allegretto” (the tempo is set to q112) some bars later i want “giocoso” (the tempo jumps to 120) and some bars later i write “affettuoso” (the tempo jumps to q72) — i don’t want any of these metronome jumps. For me, they are more tempo/expression characteristics rather than new metronome marks; i want to decide the metronome marking of anything i enter.
When Dorico does not know the word you enter it sets q=72…

That’s really annoying, or can i turn this behaviour OFF somewhere…?

I’m pretty confident the answer to your last question is no. Sorry.

Which you can, in the Properties panel.

As LSagueiro states, Dorico needs to have a bpm associated with a Tempo. It knows many (which have adjustable defaults through the Property panel if you want to change). When it encounters an “unknown” Tempo text, it defaults to quarter=72, as you have seen. I suppose another way to achieve an associated tempo to an unknown Tempo text would be to have Dorico pop up a dialog asking for a tempo in bpm, but having the user specify it in the Property panel is just about as easy.

I believe you wish a way to toggle Tempo text to not be associated with a bpm, and simply keep the previous tempo. But I imagine it would be rare to need a different Tempo text stated that does not change the tempo to a different value. Therefore, wouldn’t you need to specify the tempo of an unknown Tempo text item anyway?

it is more a general issue…
An artist (like a composer) is a creative person. If you have someone peeking over your shoulder and making suggestions it is sort of annoying at least - if not hindering your creativity…

Well, if you need something that looks like a tempo but does not behave like a tempo, just do that: Enter a “regular” text with the Shift+X popover and change its look to tempo text; there’s a font style for that, no?

And I don’t even think this is a workaround: Dorico is made to “understand” what the music means. If you need to circumvent this (because there is nothing to understand in your tempo indications), you can, and this would be the way to go. If what you want to put into your score is not a tempo indication that Dorico is meant to understand, don’t use the tempo popover.

If you don’t like the predefined MM marks, just type your own (e.g. “Allegro q=120”) and then hide the MM with the properties.

If Dorico knows something is a tempo mark, then it needs to be told the tempo somehow!

I agree the built in list of tempi seems both excessively long and the many of the MM marks seem peculiar (I think I asked once where the information came from, but never got an answer - they don’t seem to match any source that know of) but I just ignore them and type whatever I want in full.

For gradual changes, just create a rit (or accel) and then edit its properties, including the text.

Dorico has list of tempi, the same way it has list of play techniques, instruments, lines, music symbols etc…
Since version 1 many of these lists started to receive editors, like the play technique editor, the music symbol editor, so my I think sooner or latter the tempi will receive their editor too, and this way the user would be able to custom their tempos and save them to the database to use in future scores. The Dorico Team has been delivering us a wonder product in record time, so for sure down in the road this feature will come.

As an absolute beginner with Dorico (but not by any means a newcomer to music notation programs), I decided to notate an old piano piece of mine, and I’ve finally reached the end of bar 1. Much of the time spent was taken up in trying to understand the Tempo feature. My original tempo marking was Non troppo lento q = 66 (with the q being a crotchet symbol, obviously), but Dorico removed the metronome marking, which I wanted. I used the help pages to discover that I could show the marking by toggling an option in the Properties panel, but then I needed the help pages again to find out why the ‘Metronome mark shown’ option wasn’t there. I then discovered that by choosing one of the offered tempi (Lento q = 60), the option list appeared, and I could then successfully edit the text to Lento non troppo q = 60. But then I tried to change 60 to 66, and both the metronome marking and the option box disappeared.

In the end I figured out that I needed to use the separate BPM box to increment the MM number, so now I have my desired tempo marking. That’s all fine, but is this the recognised way of achieving my goal, or have I taken an unnecessarily roundabout route? And can I save my own tempo/metronome marking combinations as custom ones? The help pages state that the list ‘used in this flow’ contains ‘any tempo marks already used in the flow, including custom tempo marks added using the tempo popover’, but mine isn’t visible there as yet (not that I’m likely to use this particular one more than once, it has to be said).

Gareth, you’ve stumbled into an unusual hole, I’m afraid!
Typically you just type Shift-T Whatever q=numbers Enter, and Dorico instantly
a) puts it in the score
b) adds it to the “used in this flow” panel.

There are a bunch of words that are parsed by the popover as being something other than a standard Absolute Tempo Change. Just scroll down to the Tempo section of the right panel, and you’ll see that Dorico considers “non troppo” as meaning a Relative Tempo Change.

In the case that you really want to use these terms as part of an Absolute Tempo Change, you do indeed have to jump through some hoops.

Hi Gareth, I believe that’s because “Lento” is treated as a “relative tempo change”, so including the word “lento” in your entry means it gets classed as a relative tempo change, and these don’t show metronome marks. (You can specify a relative % change in tempo instead)

Try entering just “Non troppo q=66” into the popover, then adding “lento” afterwards in the Properties panel (using the “text” field, rather then opening the popover again - when you re-open a popover and edit the entry, that technically re-inputs the item afresh)

I’ll make a note to see if I can make it clearer which words will change the tempo into a relative tempo change - if it’s just the 5 that appear, that wouldn’t be too burdensome an addition to the docs! It’s odd though that you’re not seeing it in the “Used in This Flow” section - as after a few cursory tests, I’m getting all the varieties including “Non troppo lento”

Many thanks, Lillie and pianoleo! It’s fascinating getting to know Dorico, particularly from the standpoint of a Sibelius veteran. The available guidance, whether on this forum, on YouTube or on steinberg.help, is second to none: I’m sure I shall have many more questions to ask as I learn, but I know now that I’ll get prompt and knowledgeable replies to them all.

Yes, thank you, Lillie. I’m trying (that’s sincere, I am indeed trying; I want to understand how all this works) to understand the philosophical stance that treats “Lento” as a relative tempo. Is there a historical reason?

Più Lento is a pretty common way of saying “slower”, which is relative.

And ‘Più allegro’ means ‘faster’ but this doesn’t mean that Allegro is a relative tempo change. I must say that I don’t understand the logic of calling Lento a relative term just because ‘Più lento’ is. Sounds like a logical fallacy to me. Besides, I’ve seen Lento in many a score and it is clearly meant as an absolute tempo marking.

It’s the same with ‘Sostenuto’. Dorico treats it as a gradual tempo change, which IMO it isn’t per se.

Exactly. “Più” is the adverb “more,” which introduces a relative aspect. But in all my decades of teaching music theory (including music fundamentals for non-musicians), I’ve taught “Lento,” like “Adagio” and “Largo” and maybe some others, as an indication of a slow tempo. Connotations may well be different among these, of course, and how slow is always open to interpretation. And I’m aware that some terms historically had affective meanings that they have now largely lost, and there’s always room for discussion and becoming better informed, as I always hope to. But I remain puzzled at present.