Best way to enter custom expressive text?

What do you guys use to enter expressive text like “leggero” or “cantabile”? Also “Playing technique” with a different font? Or does Dorico provide a different way?

I created an “Expressive Text” Paragraph Style, which is basically just the italic version of my default text font. After hitting the Save as Default star, it becomes available in Preferences/Key Commands too, so I just assigned Shift+E to it.

Anytime I want to add Expressive text I just use that shortcut and type it in. If you need it to actually trigger a different playback technique, then yeah, use a playing technique.


If the text is related to a sound change, I use a playing technique and include in the expression map.
Otherwise I usually just add a suffix to a dynamic mark (mf espr.). Fonts are just default italic.


@FredGunn Thank you very much for sharing your very handy technique! Love it and prepared it. Am I observing correctly that it is not possible to place that kind of text below the staff? Or am I missing a setting? (Aside from moving it manually in “Engrave mode”.)

@Janus Also, thanks to you for your feedback! I am not working with expression maps yet, but so far I did add my expressive texts to “Playing Technique” category. I also used your “add to dynamic” technique quite a bit already, but unfortunately it MUST include a dynamic, right? As soon as I remove the dynamic, any other text is removed, too.

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You can hide the dynamic by toggling the hide intensity marking property. The suffix (or prefix) will remain.


@janus Excellent! Love it!

The first property for text is Position: Above / Below. Shortcut F (for Flip).


I’ve created a “do nothing” playback technique to assign to these Playing Techniques. Later, if I develop an expression map, I can then change the Playback Technique for those currently display-only items.

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how did you do this?
I’ve only found a way of having the “default” playback (legato, ordinario) as the playback technique.
it’s not terribly useful when you have something like muted strings, or strings pizzicato. because then that playback technique rests the mute or the pizz to basic arco.

As far as I know, it does not reset anything, but please let me know if you find that is not so.

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aha! this “do nothing” must be new to 4.0? I never noticed it in 3.5

This “do nothing” is Derrek’s creation and he’s just given you the receipe to recreate it!

well! that’s what I get for trying to read too fast after FAR too little sleep! LOL