Espressivo, dolce, morendo etc

I am looking in vain to find these items and the myriad others that should exist. Thank you.

Where are you wanting them to appear? These sorts of expressive terms are often used alongside a dynamic, so you can enter them in the dynamics popover, although you have to include an immediate dynamic (like f or p) which you can hide if you want.

I had checked that out yesterday but it seemed so convoluted that I figured it just couldn’t be. For instance I had a long, low held note over several bars that began with a dynamic but the place that I want to place the morendo is near the end of the held note. I would just like to place it wherever I want to. Also I couldn’t even get the dynamic popover to take the word morendo. I ended up attaching a dim. to the dynamic and dragging it over to the intended spot. Is this and other like situations all we’ve got? Also, terms like dolce and espressivo and the like are not really dynamics. Thank you as always.

Honestly, your best bet is to use staff text (Shift-X). You can create a paragraph style to define size, italics, etc. You can also control whether the text should avoid collisions or not. Then you’re free to drag it around however you want.

Because most things in Dorico exist at “rhythmic positions”, you don’t need to select notes to input dynamics at a certain position; but if there’s nothing else to select at the position you want, you can always use the caret:

(^ that technique applies to all kinds of notations, including playing techniques, ornaments…)

You need to include an immediate dynamic, so e.g. “mp morendo” will work but just “morendo” won’t. You can then hide the immediate dynamic if you don’t want to show it in the music.

You are also very welcome to do as Dan says, and add these markings using staff-attached text with the appropriate font formatting (e.g. create a paragraph style that’s italics so you can easily access that formatting again in future).

Both these techniques work nicely. The dynamics plus Hiding and the Shift X for text items. Is there a panel and/or Popover for expressive items such as dolce or cantabile etc? Also, is there a technique for applying text to a page not connected to a note or staff or player or instrument or system or really anything at all that would be suitable for items such as stage directions, scenes, scene changes etc. that would appear in all needed layouts? Not in parts, for instance. I note that text frames only seem to appear on the page in the layout entered. Thank you.

Not on their own, the best options are the ones already recommended (dynamics and text items).

Text frames are the answer here, but the step between “text frames only appear on the page in the layout you entered them in” and “appearing in all needed layouts” is to add the text frames to a page template, that can then be re-used on multiple pages and in multiple layouts. More info here:

Don’t forget that Shift X (and Shift Alt X) are just shortcuts for Write > Create Text > Default Text (and Create System Text).
You can add a shortcut for any Paragraph Style saved as a default for all projects. I have Shift E and Shift Alt E assigned to my own Expressions style:

There’s no palette of frequently used expression marks, but also remember that you can Alt-click on a selected object to copy it to a new location.


Thank you regarding expressions. Seems like having a palette of frequently used common expressions would be a must. At least for me.

Thank you Lillie regarding the text and text frames situation. I have poured over that material on page templates on a number of occasions and find it bordering on incomprehensible. For one thing, the kind of text I am thinking of would, of necessity, always appear at different places on different pages. What I would like is to just double click anywhere on a page and have a text box come up, and have the entered text also appear at that spot in a reduced score for instance. Or a piano vocal score and such. What I have done as a workaround is to use staff text at a specific spot, which does appear in other layouts. And hiding that text in unwanted layouts, parts for instance. A bit roundabout but it seems to be working.

Your text thing should be solved, if I understand your needs, with a new page template (with text, for instance) where you recreate exactly the default page template, but add that extra text frame. With a page template change, you make that text appear when needed, without causing an override. You can add as many page templates as you need (and flow headings, etc)…
Overrides have to be avoided at all cost if you don’t want any surprise when tweaking your file (page or space sizes, etc)

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Use Playing Techniques. Then they will appear in the PT Panel on the right.


Indeed. I’ve also created most of the aforementioned expressions as Playing Techniques with shortcuts defined for them so they require very little typing to enter.


Yes. And thank you for your note. I have just done that for dolce. But doesn’t it seem odd that a palette of expressions so commonly used as dolce or cantabile or mesto or triste and on and on is not available. Maybe people don’t use these Italian and French terms anymore, but I find them, well, expressive. I guess that’s why they call them expressions. I guess there are worse things in the world than having to create some of these things.

Don’t worry, people still use those… Until not so long ago (Dorico 3.5), writing those as a dynamics suffix or a playing technique was the go-to solution. Dorico 4 has made staff text even more flexible and it’s really easy to define a dynamics font style that you can call with your own shortcut. No doubt that the team could have added some in the dynamics panel, but it would soon be cluttered… And it’s so easy to use the keyboard and write exactly what you need. Just another mind set, I guess.

Understood. Improvements are a natural phenomenon in this whole business. I guess I will be throwing all of these things into the PT panel though they are not really in that category which is why I was just expecting to see an Expressions panel unto itself that wouldn’t be cluttered, as you say, with extraneous material. Minds do differ, don’t they. Thank goodness for that. And thank you.

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Many sound libraries have sets of patches recorded with different styles. Say you have a library that has some softer lighter patches that you would want to use for a Dolce passage. A PT would allow you to automatically switch to those patches when you input Dolce.

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Interesting…I will have to roll that around the old noggin for a bit. Thank you.

The reason Dorico offers preset items for tempos, gradual dynamics and techniques is that they have specific meanings for playback. These other direction words do not, so it’s just as well to use PTs or arbitrary text.

Just perfect solution. It made my day! Thank you very much