free technique text

Hi all,

I’m a longtime Finale user, making his first steps to get acquainted with Dorico. I’m still figuring out basics, so maybe I’ve overlooked this one, but I can’t find a way to put in “free musical text”, let’s say for example: the word “cantabile” after a dynamic, or playing techniques that are not yet in the menu.

I tried inputting with shift-D, shift-P, but they don’t enter the words, and shift-X for free text only displays it above the staff, where I want it under…

Can you help me?


in the propoerties panel you can choose between “above” and “below” for text you created using SHIFT-X.

If you want to place your text anywhere you want, as far as I know, you have to create a text frame in the current version of Dorico.


You can also add text to dynamics, after having input one with shift-D. You select it, open the properties panel (below) and there you can enable suffixes or prefixes, and write whatever you want !

The only small issue I’m having with the SHIFT-X way of working is continuity. For example, say I want the playing technique flaut., as in flautando, or sim., I would have to write these in manually with SHIFT-X. I know flautando is available in the playing techniques menu, however the whole word is rarely used in modern scores due to most players knowing what it is, and by adding ‘flaut.’ to the ‘Alternative text’ box just changes it to ‘flautando flaut.’ The house style I follow also requires playing techniques like this to be italicised, so SHIFT-X is the only way around this, which is fine. However, what I meant by continuity is that I have to manually change the font size, italicise the font, and then do the same (or copy and paste) this if I use it later on in a piece. A solution I could think for this (and I am by no means a software developer so I don’t understand the complexity of what I might be asking) would be to have where there is a drop down to select either (None) or Music Text, it would be nice to have a few more options, such as expressions or playing techniques, similar to CMD-E or CMD-F in Sibelius. It’s also difficult to gauge what font size to use depending on what the stave/paper size is set. In the software mentioned above, I know these will be sized appropriately, similarly to the current ‘Playing Techniques’ available in Dorico to-date, but I would just love to see a bit more flexibility in inputting techniques that aren’t listed, and if they are listed, the ability to italicise them etc.

I apologise if these issues have already been discussed but I’d be interested to hear your opinions!

You are absolutely right, we should be able to write flaut. instead of flautando in the playing techniques. The behaviour with alternative text is weird. I had to use my dynamics workaround to input it in a score.
It is an area where some improvement is possible, I am sure Daniel and his team will provide it in due course !

Thanks for the replies, guys!
And I second T Earl’s request about abbreviated technique entry!

In the Engrave menu > Paragraph Styles, one can add/define new styles, e.g. expressions. When adding text with Shift-X these styles are readily available…

Indeed, I have no doubt that Daniel and the team are brewing up a system that is much better than my suggestion! When possible, I try and use the playing techniques that already exist, this is mainly due to them having a presence in the score so that the systems move and space out to compensate, whereas when I use SHIFT-X I have to manually move it in engrave mode to avoid clashing 90% of the time.

I did not know this, I will look into it now - thank you!

And IIRC John at Steinberg said in this week’s Discovering Dorico video that collision avoidance for text fields was part of next week’s program update.

Oh that’s exciting! I will need to watch this month’s discover Dorico! Did he confirm the update date?

On release of the update “the word is” sometime next week. But I am sure you, like me, believes they should “release no upgrade before its time” (to paraphrase an old wine commercial).

It would be good if there were some text equivalent of ‘force duration’, in which Dorico would just accept whatever you typed into it.