FR: Shift lyrics

I felt sure this had come up before, but searching returned nothing. Apologies if this is a duplicate.

I would find it immensely helpful if we had the ability to shift lyrics, similar to insert mode. I type fast enough for higher primates, but I have to mostly look at my fingers (or at the source I’m typing from). It’s fairly common that I’ll have typed a stanza of something, only to look at my screen and realize I missed a melisma near the beginning of the stanza, and the whole thing is shifted off by a syllable. At present there’s nothing for it except to delete and start over.

If Insert mode would allow all subsequent lyrics to shift to the next (or previous) rhythmic position… I might levitate.

And it would make lyric input so much faster if I could just type my heart out, knowing I could adjust after the fact if needed.

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The Edit Line of Lyrics dialog is useful for this.


Wrong: you can select the lyrics from where it’s gone wrong, cut and re-paste correctly. That is my workflow in this case. :wink: but I really like Leo’s method!


Thanks Leo, fair. I hadn’t thought of using the Edit Lyrics dialog for that. The request still stands though, as this would be much easier.

Ahem… “intuitive” (ducks)

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In the case of melisma it’s more complicated than that, though, isn’t it? Dorico would need to know whether you’d hit Space the correct number of times after each syllable, and the space between notes isn’t necessarily as consistent as a slot on the rhythmic grid.

Or maybe I’m misunderstanding the feature request.

Turn on insert mode, select a lyric, and move it left or right. All subsequent lyrics shift to the next available rhythmic position (the same way Dorico decides where to jump to when you press Spacebar).

Sure, there could be some fiddling required to get the melismas right. But this would still be a huge help.


That’s exactly what the Edit Line of Lyrics dialog does. I love this function.

To me “shift lyrics” is a Finale concept, where you can assign any syllable to any note. Dorico keeps the lines of lyrics in order throughout a flow. When I find I missed a lyric syllable or two, I like to write an obvious placeholder at the end on the staff such as • where the lyrics should move to, which I can then delete in the dialog once I’ve got the right syllables in.

It might be a Finale concept, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good one. How is it different from Insert mode, which is certainly a Dorico-ism?

I’m still not seeing why resorting to a dialog box would be easier and cleaner than simply applying the functionality of insert mode to lyrics.

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Just one more comment: If you try it, you will find it seamlessly handles the melisma issue.

I have, and I see how it works. I’m still not convinced what I’m requesting wouldn’t be easier!

I should know better than to second guess the development team, but it does occur to me that there are potential downfalls to allowing Insert mode to behave differently dependent on whether the lyric popover is invoked. For one, it would have to be turned on before invoking the popover (or by clicking the mouse on the icon) and then the user would need to remember to turn it off, having made the lyric tweaks.

No, I’m thinking of this apart from the popover. No popover, no note input mode. Just turn on Insert mode, select a lyric, and Alt-left or whatever to move it.


In that case, we may as well request the ability to lengthen and shorten lyric extenders/hyphens to note positions using Alt-Shift-Left/Right, with the possibility of following syllables shunting back and forth with Insert mode.

(I’m being serious!)


Like a, ahem, word processor… :wink:

Actually, the “edit line of lyrics” function is completely unusable for me. Because no matter what I try, I always get the whole lyric passage for the whole flow of a voice. Also additional verses are copied into the window. The whole thing becomes confusing so quickly, that I never use this function. That’s why I find a solution like Dan suggests fantastic. If I’m doing something wrong here, Mark, I’d appreciate your help. For me, the function would only be useful, if I could also select individual passages and individual verses. By the way, that’s not quite right because I also use this function, when I copy lyrics into a word processing software. However, the problem with the multiple verses remains there as well.

Or that you can assign a keycommand to shift lyrics by syllable and not by grid value.

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Yes I know, but this is not practical when there’s a whole line off, and the rhythmic values are not equal.

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I did not mean that, it’s exactly what you requested except without insert mode and with an assignable key command instead, so that every syllable is shifted one note to the left or right

I wouldn’t want to hijack this thread but do want to point out that this is another example of Dorico doing a terrible job of note spacing when lyrics are involved. The first full bar is pretty painful to look at.

Tristis, changing the defaults that ship with the program can yield a drastically different (improved) result. One of the biggest offenders here is that the default spacing allotments for hyphens is too wide. Tightening up that option immediately improves things. I don’t have any difficulty getting the program to yield beautiful results with minimal effort by tweaking a few engraving settings.