Dynamics and hairpins misaligned

Hi everyone,

My dynamics and hairpins are frequently misaligned. I know how to fix them, by selecting the offending items and choosing Edit>Dynamics>Align. My question is: Why does this happen in the first place? I had originally heard, maybe wrongly, that Dorico was super-smart and took care of these things automatically. I now realize that I have to take the time to fix these things manually. In Sibelius (sorry), I rarely have to adjust dynamics and hairpins. Am I missing something?

Thanks for your input.


Hi Mike, do you mean aligning dynamics or grouping dynamics?

Dorico automatically groups dynamics that were input together or in sequence, but adding each dynamic separately can result in adjacent dynamics not being grouped and therefore not aligned, because the positions of dynamics are calculated (like all other notations) according to the defaults set in Engrave > Engraving Options > Dynamics with Dorico providing automatic collision avoidance on a per-group basis.

Sometimes this is desirable, as if a phrase includes some very low notes far below the staff but later notes within the staff, the dynamics at the end of the phrase can be positioned much closer to the staff than if they were aligned with the dynamics at the start, which have to be much further due to the pitches at those positions.

(Speaking personally for a moment, as I happened to have worked on parts for 2 projects in the last couple of weeks, one in either software: I spent much less time adjusting dynamics in Dorico than in Sib, in large part thanks to Dorico’s clear and pretty comprehensive default horizontal/vertical position settings for dynamics specifically. Or perhaps my Sib chops are just not quite as good!)

Hi Lillie,

Thank you for your reply. Well, I guess I need to turn on grouping again. I turned it off to allow me to change one item (I don’t remember why) without changing the other items in the group. I now see the value of grouping for alignment purposes. I didn’t realize that grouping affected alignment.

Thank you very much.


There’s also a difference between grouping horizontally, and linking vertically. At the moment, linked dynamics move together if you e.g. nudge a dynamic in Engrave mode.

You can either ungroup an entire dynamics group, or just remove a single dynamic from a group, leaving everything else grouped.