Erase background stems?

I’m not sure why this happens…

According to some posts here erase background only works for staff lines and bar lines? Then how do you present texts clearly visible if they are placed over stems?

I’ve already asked a similar request too: Dynamics: erase background issue

Maybe it won’t be taken in consideration even that there are so many score where we encounter dynamic erasing barlines and stems like in your example.

oh… thanks… this can be done very easily in Sibelius. I don’t understand why this is still missing in Dorico.

Is there a workaround?

If there is no workaround, this would be quite an issue for engravers.

The idea of limiting users rather than giving them all options does puzzle me, and I wonder whether it didn’t take more time to program a limitation like the one described above to erase background, than to simply include everything.

There is a workaround, but it isn’t easy:


After entering the notes and dynamics, I created an instance of staff text with two lines and with collision avoidance disabled. The top line contains several occurrences of the Unicode character Full Block (U+2588) with its foreground color changed to white and its font size changed to hide the right amount of the stems. The lower line contains the SMuFL character dynamicPiano (U+E520) inserted as music text followed by a space and the string cresc. with the font sizes changed to mimic the appearance of the real dynamics. After selecting the lower line, I used the baseline shift to position the fake dynamics over the Full Block characters and positioned the staff text so the fake dynamics were on top of the real ones.


Thanks, johnprice. I thought that a solution with some sort of overlay might be possible. But as you said, it isn’t easy. In Finale, one can create a background of various shapes and any size that is an integral part of the expression. I’d miss that capability if I were using Dorico.

Thank you. I managed to achieve it by using the solid line (thicker) with terminate lines to erase the stems. I hope this function will be available soon.

I find this kind of comment quite vexing, and would encourage people to please consider keeping such ill-informed musings to themselves. We work very hard to give users a great deal of flexibility and it is never the case that we deliberately “program limitations”. It’s an absurd notion, and, as is no doubt evident, I find it annoying to read and, in spite of myself, I end up goaded into writing in defence of our work.

It’s not as if software starts off being able to do everything, and then programmers go around switching bits off to create limitations and frustrate their users. Building software is not like sculpting from marble, where you start with a large block and then you chisel away parts until it reaches its final, perfect form. Building software is more like tending and growing a garden, carefully planning how it will look, preparing one season for things you will grow the next. You start with nothing, and nothing grows without your time, care, and attention.

Every piece of functionality that is present in Dorico has to be carefully designed, implemented, and tested. A system like Dorico is fearsome in its sophistication. Things that might seem simple to you, or that are possible in another application, can be very complex to achieve – not because of any fault in the capabilities or intentions of the people responsible for building (or growing) the software, but because there are architectural, performance, design, implementation considerations that you as a user can not know about.

The bottom line: I agree that this kind of notation ought to be more easily achieved in Dorico than it is at present, and we will make it so in future versions.


I understand it can be frustrating for developers. I’ve been using Dorico over a year, even though I use Sibelius more than Dorico simply because of a workflow I currently have, I find Dorico is a very powerful program. Especially I really like how one can create a full score very easily compared to competitors – whenever I need an orchestral score, I know I’m going to use Dorico.

This is something for a relatively new program indeed – other popular notation softwares have been developed over decades! I know you were in Sibelius team, which probably made you knowledgeable enough to build another program – but I think it’s amazing that you and your team achieved it in very short time.

Of course we, as users of Dorico, are always looking for possibilities to make things easier, and we all have several complaints about the product (and with all other programs as well). I hope you will not be discouraged so much because of that. After all, we all love Dorico. I’m always looking forward to future versions, and I can’t wait to see new functions your team will bring into the software. Thank you for your magnificent work!

By the way, I hope Dorico will have a handle for half-dashed slur / half-dashed hairpins to modify where the dashed part begins and ends. These are no use in the current system unfortunately!


Thank you for your response, Daniel. I am glad that this was not a conscious design decision, and that the capabilities for erasing background will be expanded.

If an instance of staff text has the Erase background property set, only staff lines and barlines underneath the text will be erased. However, I have just learned that if the staff text uses a paragraph style with the background color set to white, other objects underneath the text will also be erased, including portions of stems.


That is good to know! Thank you.

Many thanks Daniel for the erase background feature with the new update of Dorico
Keep the good work!!


But they did it now! Let’s stay optimist.

Just tried the reversed rehearsal marks mentioned in the release notes. Not really my taste, but cool that it can be done.

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Yeah, I noticed the feature! This can be useful for jazz and pop chart.

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