Copying lyrics -- just one syllable at a time? (newbie)

I just finished one verse of a choral chart and entered the lyrics into the Soprano staff (very nice process using the popover). There are long sections where the Altos are singing in harmony with the Sopranos and thus have the same lyrics. I was assuming I could ‘bulk copy’ lyrics from the Soprano staff to the Alto staff (assuming rhythms and syllable distribution were the same), but all I could find in the documentation is a process where I have to continually hit Cmd-V to paste in the lyrics one note at a time (after first selecting them en masse in the Soprano staff. I must be missing something really obvious. Can you forgive my newbie ignorance and point me in the right direction for copying extended text settings?
Thanks in advance,

Hi Charlie -

You read it correctly, and actually the safest way is to copy the lyrics (having first selected them) and then using the lyrics popover just paste paste paste - it will move automatically onto the next note after pasting and if you need to have a lyric over several notes just press space repeatedly.

It’s really quick that way, but you can of course also just select the lyrics and alt-click on the alto line to copy across. It’s not the best because you can’t ensure that the lyrics attach properly to the notes and that elision happens properly.

The same normal bulk-copy operations work the same on lyrics as for other items, like select all-filter lyrics-copy-paste, or select lyrics then Alt/Opt-click where you want to copy them to.

The copy lyric-by-lyric option is really useful if you have the same lyrics but different rhythms (e.g. specific words need to happen on different beats for the Alto vs the Soprano) or if you’re copying text from a text editor into lyrics in Dorico.

Thanks for the quick response! So, messing around with the process a bit since I got your response, the way to copy a lyric – irrespective of how long it may be – to another voice is to:

  1. Using Filter to select the lyrics that you want to copy and use Cmd-C to put them on the Clipboard
  2. Click the first target note for the copy operation.
  3. Activate the Lyric Input popover (Shift-L)
  4. Paste, paste, paste (always being careful to hit space when necessary for melismas.

I also experimented with the Cntrl-click-paste option and I can see that it could fail pretty easily in a lot of situations but might be good in certain very restricted instances.

Thanks again!

That’s right - I speed things up a little by setting Cmd-F, L as the (sequential) key command to filter the lyrics (you can set these in preferences - it’s really easy and useful)

Once I have selected the lyrics using any of the afore-mentioned methods, I often use Edit > Paste Special > Duplicate to Staff Below (if the note values in both vocal parts are the same).

If the music is the source and destination staves has the same rhythm, then you can just select the lyrics, and use Duplicate to Staff Below (or Above); or just Alt-click on the first note.

I have key commands set for most of these tasks, so, it’s Command F, L, Shift-Alt M. And I’m done!

Thanks to all! I now have key commands set up for filtering lyrics and pasting into either the staff above or below. Andd, in cases where bulk copy/paste won’t give the correct alignment, I can always fall back on the more detailed ‘paste, paste, paste’ approach which is perfect in those situations.

Next on my list of things to learn is how to get the correct spacing for lyrics that overlap bar lines after their entry. Looks like it’s on to Engrave mode…:slight_smile:


Dorico shouldn’t join barlines between vocal staves, for precisely this reason - are these instruments definitely voices? There’s a choir (reduction) instrument too, which doesn’t have barline joins.

Yes: don’t use barlines between staves for vocal music. It’ll look like something on CPDL. :rofl: :face_vomiting:


OK – I found the setting in Engraving Options that was joining bar lines. I confess it didn’t both me because I’ve written a lot of instrumental ensemble charts where that seemed to be the norm. So definitely my mistake,. Thanks for the course correction,

Removing the joined bar lines definitely fixed the horizontal bar line overlaps with the lyrics. Now I need to figure out how to increase the spacing between the staves so that there is room for the lyrics since some parts of the chart are stems up/stems down divisi and the stems down overlap the lyrics. I’m 99% sure that must be Engraving Options 101.

Thanks again for all the helpful info. Pretty soon I can take ‘newbie’ out of my message header…:slight_smile:

Can you share a screenshot of an excerpt that shows the overlaps?

Dorico should handle vertical spacing to avoid collisions, but if the staff size is too large you can end up with overlapping staves. Much of the relevant settings are in Layout Options (as they often need to be different in scores vs parts), including staff size, page size, gaps between staves, gaps between staves with content (like lyrics). Minimum gaps between lyrics and the staff are in Engraving Options (as are other similar minimum gap settings for other notations).

Here’s a screenshot. I admit to not having crawled around in Layout (or Engraving) O

ptions very much. This is my first client chart in Dorico. I wanted to make a clean break with Sibelius and I was expecting lots of time-intensive learning curve hurdles. I appreciate the Forum’s willingness to hold my hand…:slight_smile:

Are you in galley or page view? Dorico never performs clever note or vertical spacing in galley view, to minimise computing requirements.

If you want more space vertically when working in galley view, you can increase its spacing.

Oh boy. So was that the dumbest mistake yet? Things look beautiful now that I’m Page View. That never even occurred to me…:::-(.
Can I ask you one more probably naive question: What to the numbers (e.g. +2, +3, +4, etc.) mean after you select a note for divisi entry and hit Shift-V. I started out thinking they were voice indications, but a bit of playing around didn’t bear that assumption out as far as I can tell. I need to read a lot more of the documentation on divisi since I use it a lot.,
Thanks in advance, I really appreciate you help!

They indicate the voice number - Shift-V creates a new voice each time you press it. You can just press V to cycle through existing voices. You want to use as few voices as possible in most cases for simplicity/avoidance of excess rests and stem direction complications.

Related documentation -

You might also like our First Steps guide, which is a tutorial working through a piano piece aimed at introducing beginners to key Dorico concepts.

Thanks Lillie. I’ll go through the First Steps guide tomorrow before I put in too much more time on my client chart since I’m deadline is still a few days out. RE the creation of new voices with Shift-V: I could see that the more times I hit Shift-V, the higher the ‘+’ number by the caret (even if there are no actual voices showing). It seems to me that if you create a voice with Shift-V, it’s there whether you put notes in it or not. I’m sure there must be a way to delete selected voices created either by mistake or in anticipation of unused divisi. I need to spend some more serious time on the Documentation based on the pointers you gave me above (thank you!!). I’ll try not to post any more questions until I’ve gotten through all of those assignments…:slight_smile:

You should find that if you stop note input without inputting any notes into the new voice, it wasn’t actually created. Unused voices get automatically cleaned up when you close projects.

Thanks to everyone for their responses to my various Newbie questions and, in particular, to Lillie for all of the links. Having now completed the First Steps Guide, I must sheepishly admit that had I known about – and then gone through – that resource, I could avoided populating the Forum with all my ultrta-newbie questions. I have a friend who is about to make the move from Sibelius to Dorico and I am going to point him to that resource as his Step 0 in making the jump.
Again, thanks to all!


That’s great to hear, I’m really glad you’ve found the guide helpful as a learning resource. That’s what we hoped for!

Questions are always welcome here - a lot of people put time & care into making this forum a friendly and helpful place, so do always feel free to ask questions if you’re stuck or unsure.