Arrow key selection behaviour in Write Mode

Doing some arranging in Dorico for one of the first times today (rather than the engraving/copying jobs I have used it for previously) and am greatly enjoying the writing environment, so thank you!

I’ve just one ‘pet hate’ with regards to the arrow key behaviour in Write Mode.
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Take the attached picture as an example (guess which carol I’m working on!) - if I select the second voice and right-arrow through the notes, instead of taking me all the way through the second voice’s line, after the F sharp, the selection moves to the first voice’s G, rather than the second voice’s E. This isn’t the only time I’ve come across this behaviour when using the right and left arrows to move between notes.

I appreciate that the G is closer to F sharp than the E, and I presume that this is Dorico’s logic when it comes to its selection, but (especially in the semantic idiom of Write Mode, rather than the graphical idiom of Engrave Mode) I would expect the right and left arrow keys to rigidly follow a voice’s line through, no matter the melodic contour of either voice. I completely agree that in the graphical idiom of Engrave Mode, it makes sense for the arrow keys to go between objects according to proximity, rather than the musical line, but this behaviour in Write Mode seems quite unintuitive to me.

I completely understand if I’m in a minority here, but it’s something that has been bugging me.

Thank you to the team for their continued wonderful work on Dorico - this is an incredibly minor ‘complaint’ in the grand scheme of things, of course!


I’ll just leave these here and say welcome to the club. Minority or not, this is one of my pet peeves also.

I do not think you are a minority :wink: These are probably things that will improve in due time, I understand adding important features is more important for the time being.

I recently responded to another post on this subject:
Dorico will always select the closest object when using the arrow keys. Even though this may be useful under certain circumstances, I think it would be invaluable if Dorico could allow a user to switch between this behavior and another option that would cause the selection of the closest identical object (in this case a note). And to be perfectly honest, I have never benefited from Dorico selecting the nearest object, so I have abandoned this means of navigation/selection. I further believe that Dorioco’s current implementation of this is geared toward selecting things to “tweak” them in Engrave Mode, but it is not very helpful in Write Mode (at least to me).

I remember Daniel mentioning in another post that one of the strengths of Dorico’s different modes is that the same shortcut/control could be mapped to do different things in different modes. Wouldn’t it be cool if the cursor arrow selections just automatically selected the nearest identical object in Write Mode and keep the current behavior as it stands in Engrave Mode? (I’m not sure if this is possible, or even desirable for the team to implement, but I would find it helpful). :slight_smile:

Thanks for the links to additional threads - I had forgotten that this has been raised before on here.

From my perspective, the 1.1 update was revolutionary when it came to editing in Write Mode. All of a sudden, the software’s editing idiom made total sense, with the ability to edit the musical duration of notations (such as gradual dynamic and tempo lines) whilst the graphical appearance was governed by Engrave Mode. It makes complete sense, and it improved a few frustrations that I had with the editing functions of Dorico in the very first version.

In a similar vein, I’d agree with you and make a request that the left and right arrow keys stick to a voice or stave, rather than moving to the closest note when in Write Mode. I totally get the graphical idiom of Engrave Mode, and the ability to arrow-key around the score elements as graphical objects really works there.

But when you’re in Write Mode, darting around a voice, perhaps looking to repitch the odd note (as I was yesterday) it’s a bit annoying when Dorico changes its selection to a different voice on the stave. Perhaps the up/down arrow keys could be set to always move to the voice above/voice below and then the stave above/below once all the voices have been exhausted?

That way we’d have a consistent musical behaviour - left-right arrows select notes across a voice and up-down selects the voice or stave above/below.

The reason keyboard navigation wokrs as it does, because we think it is useful to be able to navigate to non note objects with arrow keys like slurs, tuplets, dynamics, etc.; and not all of those objects live in a voice. I don’t think the current behaviour of keyboard navigation will change in the near future.

Yes, we’ve heard these reasons before. I think the approach many of us would like is to limit movement to within a given object type. So if I select a slur, and then press an arrow key, move to the nearest slur in that direction. Similar for dynamic, or voices. It is really not efficient the way not works now. Especially when moving back and forth the order of object changes depending on which way one goes. This does nothing but slow one down as you need to watch carefully as the selection moves. It’s really not useful the way it works.

Please, please, please consider changing this or making it an option to limit it to a specific object type.

+1 Yes, please…

what happens, if one presses the Alt-key together with the arrow keys? (I am not at my computer at the moment)

The currently selected item is moved by the grid value.

But it’s a good idea, isn’t it? Introducing a modifier key for the arrow key navigation. Press something + arrow key and the movement is restricted to the current type of object. Or make this the default behavior and go back to the graphical approach with the modifier.
I agree with András that it must be possible to select non note objects with the arrow keys.