Default tempo text placement

Is there a way to alter the default position of the initial tempo text marking on the (part) pages? Our particular page layouts start with no indents and currently the default tempo text (I.e. Andante) is located directly above the time signature. I would like to have it placed hard up to the left hand side of the music frame (above the clef and before the key sig). I know it can be moved in Engrave mode but it’s a daunting task when working on a full symphonic score to move every part individually.

Is there a solution?


Not a global solution that I know of.

But you could toggle through the parts using Alt-Shift-brackets, and switch on the “Start offset” property for the tempo marking, and set the X offset to -6 or so. Slightly faster for sure, and gives a uniform appearance.

The convention for placing tempo text is pretty consistent between traditions, so this isn’t really something that, at first sight, needed such a provision. Is this just a thing in the initial tempo marking, or do you need it in all of them throughout the piece, if you have more than one? Perhaps you could just place a text frame in the master page?

Thank you both for your advice.

Thanks Dan, That may be the way forward for me.

Regarding placing tempo text. I think Dorico has got it spot on with the position it uses for the default and this is the only position I would like to change. Any subsequent tempo markings can be positioned very well using the Cntl+E settings. Likewise your suggestion for using a text frame could well be a solution. If there is a token for tempo you’ve nailed it. I’ll RTFM. :smiley:

Thank you.

I had the same wish as ‘topDots’ and for sure I won’t use Dans solution. For me it’s just the first tempo marking on the title page, that has to be left hand side but you gave me a good idea and I will try that on the master page. But if this is not working I would be happy too, if I could change the positioning of the tempos globaly for all parts.

Can you please show me a page from a published score that uses this convention, so I can see it? It’s not something I remember being asked for before, either here or in the other place.

A quick search in my library gave me lots of examples (see attachments below). Especially German and French publishing companies do put the first metronome marking either completely to the left of the page or as variant on the left most in the header text. By now Dorico is still a classical based music notation application, with a strong tendency to English spoken publishers. This is more of a fact than an insult and I think it’s good as it is right now. But for non-classical not English spoken arrangers, there should be it little bit more flexibility, by means of positioning items (please refer also to my post about positioning (system) text System Text positioning - Dorico - Steinberg Forums or to the post about the chord symbols with lowercase letters Chord symbol on latter note in a tie - #19 by Romanos - Dorico - Steinberg Forums).
You could argue now this flexibility is always possible in ‘engrave mode’, but that is and always will be a work around.
I state again that the first tempo marking is often used as some sort of ‘heading’ for the whole piece of music and then it sits left-hand-sided (either near by the first staff or in the header itself. A good example here is also the real book or in general the tempo markings in Jazz tunes (also used as rhythmic styles > f.e. slow Blues).
Speaking for myself, I prefer this left-sided position because the first system is always a bit overloaded with infos or chord symbols or rehearsal marks or system text (as “Intro”) or …
As I’m starting out finally to use Dorico as my preferred and only notation tool, I would be happy, that you consider my arguments as a help for making Dorico the best music app in the field. My knowledge is strong in four fields of music notation, which Dorico covers in my opinion still not enough; that is educational notation (for schools), not English spoken publishing, layout for (modern) guitar publications and of course modern song writing.

Sorry for the sometimes too large images, I’m learning …
I also couldn’t attach more then the 3 images to the post above. So here comes the rest (even though I have much more …).

Why do you think this convention is used? None of this engraving looks particularly – shall we say – refined, which makes me wonder whether it’s not necessarily a conscious editorial choice but rather something that arises from the limitations of the software being used (the first picture you attached has a tell-tale comedy stem length which instantly identifies the software it originates in…).

We’ll certainly consider how we might achieve this in future, but it won’t be trivial to do because Dorico doesn’t currently consider any of the items in the preamble (clef, key signature, time signature, start repeat barline, etc.) for collision avoidance, so choosing a vertical position that would work equally well depending on the clef in use at the start of the flow will be problematic.

Some of the examples (Real Book, PDG Music) seem to have the Tempo text almost as part of the titling! :laughing: You could perhaps put the tempo instruction in a Flow Info field and use a token (with a font that allows for note symbols) in a text frame on the Master Page.

I’d agree with Daniel that these are all not the finest examples of the craft…

I agree with Daniel and benwiggy it’s not ‘refined’ or ‘state of the art’, but nevertheless it’s used a lot by more modern publishers and for me it’s a way to not have the start of a piece cluttered with all the information > see my arguing above …

Some of the examples (Real Book, PDG Music) seem to have the Tempo text almost as part of the titling! > :laughing:

Actually that’s exactly what I would need :exclamation: :exclamation: even if it makes you laugh …

But I’m already happy that it shall be at least considered, meanwhile I go for workarounds …

Just a quick question, are there any updates on this? It would really be great to be able to set the position of the initial tempo/style marking separately (e. g. to align with the left edge of the first staff and higher up vertically), while not changing the engraving options, since I guess they are very reasonable for tempo/style changes later in the piece.


Not using tempo marks as far as I’m aware, but in 3.5 there is now an option for paragraph styles to align text with the start of systems - you could create a paragraph style that matches your tempo marks, activate that option, and use system text in those instances where you want that alignment? (You can also do this for individual text objects regardless of their paragraph style.)

Ok but are there any drawbacks with using plain texts intead of tempo marks for this?

They won’t affect playback if you wanted them to indicate a metronome mark change - but you could input a tempo mark for the playback speed and hide it (or draw it in the Time track in Play mode, which hides the tempo changes automatically). They also wouldn’t interact with neighbouring tempo marks like a tempo mark would (I don’t think) - like the way a rit… aligns with an A tempo that follows immediately.

Hm, ok. Perhaps it is a bit easier to adjust them with the mouse on every part. Not sure, I have to try it. Thanks anyway. //DT

Whilst I agree that the current positioning is usually correct, there are occasions when it would be desirable to set an alternative default for the horizontal position of tempo indications – most usually to be aligned with the first beat of the bar. I’m wondering whether this has been addressed in D4?

No, Dorico 4 doesn’t introduce any options for this. I’m also curious in what kinds of music it’s typical to show the tempo marking aligned with the first beat in the bar rather than the time signature, if the time signature is present?

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It is quite a long time ago that I also tried to make clear that the tempo indication does not necessarily have to be aligned with the time signature, which I also showed with many examples. Unfortunately, the comment was only that my examples didn’t really look “refined”. Meanwhile, I would have many more such examples from German, French, Japanese and other publishers. I don’t quite understand why we have to justify this wish, which other users also express, at all. It would simply be nice if the first tempo indication could easily be handled more flexibly in terms of positioning. For me, it would be left-justified in relation to the page margin (see this thread 3 years ago).

Jürg, I am interested in seeing examples where publishers have chosen to align tempos with the first beat of the bar when a time signature is present – ideally examples from before the age of computer engraving so that we can eliminate faults or limitations in the operation of the software from consideration.

It’s all very well saying, “we need this flexibility so implement it for us”: in general, of course, that’s absolutely our approach (Dorico has literally thousands of options to allow you to customise the appearance of the music) but every option that we build adds complexity, cost, time, increases the testing surface, increases interation with other features, adds cognitive load to the user, etc.

If somebody just thinks tempos should be aligned with the first beat of the bar in the presence of a time signature, which by all accounts is at best highly unconventional, then I’m not of a mind to spend the time and money to implement this option, adding further cost and complexity to all future work involving tempo in the software for all time, unless there is a demonstrated need that goes beyond a single user’s own tastes. Sorry, but it’s just not a good trade-off.

The issue of showing the tempo for a song left-aligned in the frame is different, because there is an established convention in pop/commercial music for this kind of thing, and I agree that in future Dorico should support this. But even having determined that something is desirable and a good feature for the software to have, all of the other factors still come into play: it costs time and money to implement the feature, it adds to the documentation and localisation burden, it adds to the testing burden, it increases complexity both within the area of tempo handling specifically and in its interaction more generally with other features, etc.

So we need to approach all of these kinds of decisions with care. I commit to you that we will add the option you are asking for concerning the positioning of tempo at the frame margin. But I cannot provide a specific commitment about when. I know this is frustrating, and I’m sorry, but I would rather be truthful with you and say that we don’t currently know when we expect to do this work than to dissemble and raise your expectations that this will be done in a specific timeframe.