Add something to a lyric line that shows which member of a duet sings that lyric

I’m trying to put a direction into the lyric that shows which member of a duet (the man or the woman) is to sing each part of the lyric. If you look down at measure 7, I have an acceptable look that I got by simply entering the word “(Woman)” in parentheses before the first note of her lyric.

But at the very beginning of the piece, I’m stuck. I’d be perfectly happy if I could just insert a quarter rest before the two pickup notes and attach my “(Man)” to that so that it would be under “I don’t”, but I can’t figure out how to do that without making the pickup notes jump over into the first full bar.

Any tips would be very much appreciated! I’d actually like to know two things: how to insert a quarter rest at the beginning of the pickup bar, and how to do a direction like this most effectively.

One could write an introduction to give the singer the pitch, and that would provide space to specify the Singer before lyrics began.

The point is to get the software to do what should be a very simple thing, not to add music to the song.

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Add staff text (Shift+X) to the first note (it will probably go above). “F” to flip it below, then manually position it in front of the first lyric. You can even make it italics if preferred. Do the same for the “Woman” instruction if desired (rather than using Verse 2 lyrics to create).

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You can add it to the lyrics: Pressing shift+alt+space creates a space that will not break.
So enter “(Man) I” with this non-breaking space in between.


This is the way. I do this all the time.



Dan, how do you get part of the lyric to be italicized and part regular text?

Type J (Jump bar), then “Edit single lyric”


At least on my screen, I can’t see what you press to create a non-breaking space, but the standard keystroke seems to be Option+Space. Is that right? When I try it, hitting Option+Space jumps to the next word of the lyric. I tried other key combinations with space and got the same result. I"m on a Mac Pro, latest OS.

How do you manually position the text? I’m on Dorico SE 4. The manual says that SE doesn’t do text frames - I don’t know if that’s relevant here or not.

Thanks for catching that. The forum is suppressing things that look like HTML-Tags :wink:
I edited my post so the key combination shows. I’m on Windows, can’t help you much with Mac :confused:

IIRC it is in the Properties panel once one clicks on a lyric syllable or multiple syllables.

Unfortunately in Dorico SE, you don’t have access to Engrave mode where it’s possible to move items around graphically.

I also use the edit single lyric to enter non breaking spaces. I put in a dummy lyric first, then go back an edit it accordingly or copy and paste a prepared text (useful for setting e.g. psalms). I can also then use the edit single lyric dialogue to have some syllables bold or in italics.

And if you do this a lot like I do, give it an alias of “el” so you only have to type “jel”. (Much quicker)

Well, the Mac neatly defeated every tactic I tried to sneak a non-breaking space in there.

I finally got the problem solved as follows.

  1. Recreated the pick-up bar using the information on pp. 264 and 259 of the manual. The key sentence that broke the logjam is, “If you selected an existing time signature, the new time signature with pick-up bar directly replaces the existing one.” That allowed me to create a pick-up bar with two beats in it rather than the one I originally created, as seen in the screenshot in this thread. However, it inserted the rest after the two existing notes, not in front of them as I hoped.

  2. Monkeyed around with inserting/deleting notes/rests until I got the rest in front of the notes. I don’t understand how inserting notes works very well, and I don’t understand how insert rests works at all, so I’m not going to try to document what I did, but eventually I got lucky.

  3. Attached my desired word “(Man)” to the first rest in the pickup bar. No musician who ever looks at this is going to understand why there’s that weird rest, but only the most OCD ones will pay any attention to it. A very few might say, “Ah-ha! He uses Dorico SE on the Mac!”

Dorico pickup bar solution

I use non-breaking spaces on Mac every single day.
alt(option)+shift+space works just fine for me.

I do psalm verses like this without using the edit single lyric dialogue. I just type non-breaking spaces in as I go.

To clarify, it’s not the Mac in general that has a problem with non-breaking spaces (Option-Space in MacOS), it’s the Qt environment Dorico is written in. They need to make things work on 3 platforms, so long ago (in Sibelius days) they co-opted Shift-Option-Space for the “function” of inserting a non-breaking space in a text block.

You can also get them by copying text from another application and pasting it into the Lyric popover. Any hard spaces typed elsewhere are preserved when you paste.

Pasting should work. Unfortunately, for me, it doesn’t. Can’t explain it.

For what it’s worth, I didn’t seem to be able to paste a phrase with a non-breaking space in it either. Fortunately my phrase was short and I could reconstruct it.

Perhaps I did something wrong; not sure.