Editing in Dorico

Hello there !

I’m Julien, new user (couple of months) and first post here…
So I’ve been watching Anthony Hughes tutorials, very informative and well explained !

However there are some things that are a bit odd to me, espcecially since the only notation software I’ve had up until now was Guitar Pro (6).
In GP editing is quite intuitive and easy, despite being a less powerful software, and the thinking process is quite different so maybe you could help me achieve things in Dorico that take me a couple of seconds in GP and make me pull my hair in Dorico…

One basic thing I can’t seem to do easily :
just basic editing.
By default Dorico considers that a bar has to be filled, a logic that doesn’t exist in GP in which your bar is red if incorrectly filled, but otherwise you can edit everything very easily inside it : if I want to make a note shorter or longer I just press - or + and done, it doesn’t change the rest of the bar.
In Dorico for instance I tried to delete a rest and then increase the next note by the equivalent duration, I can’t seem to be able to do that without rewriting the whole bar, else it shifted rhythmically all the subsequent notes of the score, not even just the bar !

A more concrete example of what I want to achieve with this attached screenshot.

It’s a Rhodes part of a composition I exported from Cubase and imported in Dorico.
This is a 16th note swung part, so I want to replace all my 16th notes triplets by just 16th notes, and add a tempo notation at the beginning of the score.
By googling first I got to know that Dorico still doesn’t implement swing notation, got very surprised given how basic and common this is and how powerful this software is. So I found this Metrico font that helped me achieve it, but of course as it’s just text it won’t impact the way things are played in Dorico, so that will just improve readability for my keyboard player.

Anyway, on the Em9 chord I had the same kind of triplet as on the Bm, tried to do what I want to achieve by deleting first the triplet, then tried to change some note durations but miserably failed.
When I deleted the first rest that you see (between F# and D) by using the insert carret it then shifted all my score rhythmically by a 16th note ; makes no sense to me but well I gotta get used to Dorico’s way of processing things…

So I just want to delete that rest and make my B note that comes just afterwards last a dotted quarter note instead of this dotted 8th tied to a 16th followed by another rest…

How can I achieve that ?
(and then same for the melodic pattern on the Bm chord, I want to delete that triplet with the rest as well and just replace it by 2 16th notes, something I would do in 3s in GP…)

Sorry for the very long post, gotta learn how to ask questions without getting lost into too many details haha

Thanks in advance !
Screenshot 2019-10-16 at 18.02.12.png

By default in Dorico, rests are nothing that can actively be edited, i. e. they are just “placeholders” or “filler material” to complete your measure. If you want to “remove” rests you’ll have to edit the notes by either moving them or changing their length which is terribly easy to do in Dorico. To move notes you select them and hold the Alt key and press the left or right arrow keys. This moves them by the duration you have specified in the rhythmic raster (bottom left of the window). To set a specific note length you select the note and press the number key that corresponds to the note length, i. e. to change a crotchet (quarter note) into a quaver (eighth note) you select the note and then press 5. Or if you want to add a dot to a note you select it an press the period key. To lengthen or shorten a note by the duration you’ve specified in the rhythmic grid you select it and hold Shift and Alt and press the right or left arrow keys.

If you have insert mode enabled it will, as you noticed already, shift all following notes. If you don’t enable insert mode it will just change the currently selected note without affecting the rest of the piece (except deleting following notes if the one you changed is going to be longer than the next notes position in the measure).

Welcome to the forum Julien!

In Dorico, yes rests are automatically shown around notes in bars so that the whole duration of the bar is shown, but unless you input rests yourself, these automatically displayed rests aren’t really “there” - they’re called “implicit rests” in Dorico. That means if you want to lengthen/shorten notes, you don’t have to delete the rests first, you can just change the duration of the note (which you can do in a variety of ways).

It sounds like you had Insert mode on if subsequent notes were moving around when you were editing the durations of notes. When Insert mode is on, you never overwrite anything you’ve already input: if you lengthen a note, that pushes all following material on that staff later; if you shorten a note, it pulls everything after it closer. When Insert mode is off, changing the duration of a note doesn’t move anything else, so it can overwrite following notes. (If you are in chord input, other notes don’t move around like in Insert mode, but they also don’t get overwritten, instead stacking up into chords. This also applies if you copy and paste notes with Chords activated in the Notes toolbox on the left of the window in Write mode: the pasted material is added on top of any existing material instead of replacing it.)

Although tempo equations for swing isn’t implemented yet (if I remember correctly!) you can now have 16th swings in Dorico 3. You can enable swing playback for all instruments and project-wide (Dorico Pro) or just specific instruments and in specific sections (both Pro and Elements).

Then for your example, if I understand correctly and you want the D and B to move a 16th note to the left, you can change the rhythmic grid to a 16th note, select those 2 notes, and in Write mode press Alt-Left arrow to move them a 16th note to the left. (The rhythmic grid controls how much items move by, amongst other things) For the triplet, if you want to keep all the notes but change their rhythms/move them about, I’d recommend putting Insert mode back on, deleting just the triplet bracket (which expands out the notes inside the triplet) and then move the notes into position as before.

Notes in Dorico are also automatically shown as tied notes if their duration and position in the bar requires it, according to the meter. If you have Dorico Pro, you can change the default settings for these for both note grouping and beam grouping in Notation Options (choose Write>Notation Options or press Ctrl/Cmd-Shift-N), you can specify beat grouping within a time signature, and you can force the duration of notes, which stops Dorico automatically adjusting how the note is grouped.

Just a few quick hints for now: first of all, rests in Dorico are just the gaps between notes. Normally, there’s no need to bother entering them explicitly. If there’s a note you need longer, just make it longer, and any trailing rest (or note, for that matter) will be shortened accordingly.
BUT: this depends on your use of Insert Mode (toggled by the ‘i’ key shortcut, or the I-beam button in the left panel in Write Mode). From your description, it seems you have insert mode switched on permanently. This will shift your music back and forth if you edit durations in the middle of your score. So start switching insert mode off, and you’ll see how rests will simply shrink or grow on lengthening or shortening the preceding note. Personally, I have Insert mode almost always switched off. It’s very powerful.

Dorico does have swing playback options. Although you may find the wonderful (third-party) Metrico font useful to indicate swing details in a system text object, those will not be interpreted by Dorico’s playback engine. You can define them in a Dorico-native tempo indication. I’m afraid I’m no expert in this subject, but the manual may be of help here.

Edit: Lillie and VIPStephan beat me to it! Apparently, I think I didn’t even talk nonsense :slight_smile:

Wow thank you all for your amazing replies !

That helped a lot and I managed to solve my problems!
Starting to understand better now…

@Lillie : for now I’m on elements 2, although since yesterday I’m currently working on the Pro 3 trial.
Don’t have enough money now to upgrade to Pro 3 but I’ll upgrade to Elements 3 at the end of the trial period, cause on the Dorico FB group someone introduced me to some new functions like Extend to next note that are not included in 2 and help a lot clean my scores (I import from Cubase MIDI files, but every time I use the sustain pedal it introduces ties that make the score difficult to read ; Dan from Dorico FB group gave me the tip to press 4 to delete subsequent tied notes then the Extend to next note function or Extend to end of selection and it helps a lot saving time ; although sometimes the result is a bit random on chords for the latter, sometimes just one note of the chord is extended although all are selected, don’t really know why but the only trick I’ve come up with so far is to add a note after my selection, then do Extend to next note, then delete the note I’ve added to get my initial rest… will do the job for now).

For the playback option that’s not really a problem because for now I’m not using Dorico as a playback engine, just to prepare scores for my musicians so readability is my main concern (they got the real audio that I recorded for the playbacks :wink: ).
In the case of this track (won’t post a link as I don’t wanna spam, but you can find it on my bandcamp if you wanna lose 5min of your time : julienmarocco - Stillness album from my project Rhesus - track is called Relativity ; I’m preparing scores because we’re recruiting a new keyboard player), the swing feel is only for the first part of the track, then it switches back to normal feel; so thank you for the link, it’s good to know I can change the feel in my project :slight_smile:

Thanks again and have a great time until my next noob questions haha !

Hi Julien!
A little OT message to invite you to join the Groupe des Utilisateurs francophones de Dorico on FB. You’ll find nice resources and a bunch of nice fellows willing to help in French. If you haven’t read it already, here’s a link to my translation of Dan Kreider’s nice guide for beginners in Dorico :https://www.dropbox.com/s/6nxz893m20fdf5o/Guide%20du%20débutant%20dans%20Dorico%202.2.10.pdf?dl=0
It’ not really up to date and has no warnings about Essentials version (just ignore everything about Engrave mode) but the philosophy of the software is very nicely explained and you might greatly benefit from it.

Hey Marc !
Thanks, I tend to avoid french stuff first because I hear my fellow french speakers everyday hahaha second because usually anyway most people speak english so I’ve got way more chances to get replies from english speaking people ; lived in New Zealand with english, NZ & AS flatmates so I’m fine with the english speaking community :slight_smile:

Cheers !


This reminds me of (more OT):
A French colleague and I had to change trains in Lion. As we had some time to cover, he suggested we visited a real old fashioned true French restaurant at the station. I happily agreed. We went there.
The French restaurant was gone and had been replaced by a McDonalds…
My poor colleague, I think he must have aged by 10 years at that very moment - at least this is what his face was suggesting…