Expression marks and technique text

Semi-newbie here. I’m an old hand with Finale, nearly 30 years experience, so I’m hardly a newcomer to notation software. I downloaded Dorico a while ago, and have been too busy to try to learn it till now. For about a month now I’ve been practicing Dorico with a short orchestration I did last summer. At this point, I think I’ve gotten most of the basics figured out, but there are still a couple of issues that stymie me.

First, expressive text. I would like to enter a simple “espress.” marking, not attached to a dynamic. Possibly I’m just reading the directions wrong, or overlooking something simple, but I cannot get the expression to appear in the score. I’m using the dynamics popover, and start by typing simply “espress.” but nothing appears in my score. I’ve also tried entering “p espress.” and going to the properties panel to hide the “p.” Same result, nothing appears. So what am I missing?

A similar problem with the technique text popover. At several points, I would like to enter such marks as “1 solo,” “2 soli,” “tutti” and so on, but if I type the text in the popover window, it simply dissappears when I hit Enter. “Pizz.” and “arco” show up with no problem. Again, is there something I’m missing?

Dan Powers

Welcome to the forum, Dan. The dynamics and playing techniques popovers are not strictly speaking inputting text: they will only input “real” dynamics and playing techniques.

For “espress.”, you have two options: either use the dynamics popover to input e.g. “p espress.” as you suggest, then use the ‘Show intensity marking’ property to hide the “p”, which should leave “espress.” shown (and which can itself be edited by changing the ‘Suffix’ property); or you could create a new paragraph style in Engrave > Paragraph Styles called e.g. “Expression”, and if you click the star button in the dialog to save it as a default for future projects, this will allow you to create a key command to this specific paragraph style. However, this text won’t be positioned like dynamics, i.e. it won’t be below the staff by default, and it won’t have the intelligent positioning that a dynamic has (for example, automatically being centered between the two staves of a piano), so on balance I personally prefer using dynamics with hidden intensity markings.

For “1 solo” etc., in future those will be handled automatically when Dorico has features to provide an automatic condensation of music for multiple players onto a smaller number of staves, and they’re not considered playing techniques, so they are not possible to create by default using the Shift+P popover. You can of course design your own playing techniques to do this job if you wish, in the Engrave > Playing Techniques dialog, or you could define a new paragraph style, save it as a default, and then assign a key command to it.

Hello Dan and Daniel,

I’m just starting my third week with Dorico but I think that the best way to add “1.”, “a 2”, “Tutti” etc. is to add those instructions as permanent playing techniques and insert them with the mouse. Not as elegant as typing Shift+P, but it works fine.

By the way, after 25 years of Finale, I can already tell that Dorico is brilliant, specially where Finale hurts the most - formatting. Bravo!, I’ll sure buy it next month. Solve the “condensation” thing for double/triple winds in orchestral scores/parts and create a “hide/show staff” for individual systems and you will probably nail it all.


Welcome to the forum, Guilherme. I’m very pleased to hear that you’re enjoying your Dorico trial.

Thank you Daniel and by the way: I don’t know how far you guys are into the " automatic condensation of music for multiple players onto a smaller number of staves" but, as a conductor who edits a lot and specially as a composer who writes a lot for orchestra, I would really prefer the opposite approach - automatic separation of the parts of a staff directly written for 2 woodwinds/horns/trombones or three trumpets. It actually sounds easier to do computer wise and that’s how it should be written anyway.

I would like this as well, as I always start with condensed scores. But apparently it’s not the primary functionality anticipated:

In the meantime, “Explode” is your friend and works quite well.

Do read what I have to say in the post that Dan has linked to. I mean what I say about the impracticality of approaching the problem from the direction of starting with music for multiple players written on a single staff and then producing the separate parts. It is, in general, impossible to do. The only way it would be possible to do with no ambiguity would be to put so many restrictions on what you can and can’t write, and on the ways in which you would have to mark up what you have written, that it would be incredibly laborious to write the music on one staff in the first place. The big benefit of doing it the way we’ll be doing it is that writing each part is just as straigtforward as it is now, and you don’t even need to think about what will happen when the music is condensed.