Frustration with Engraving - Aligning Dynamics


I’ve been using Dorico since March this year, more or less, and I can’t get around with the engraving mode. Why all the dynamic marks are always so out of place? In Sibelius it was way easier and the magnetic and automatic alignment of the score was usually very accurate, with just a few exceptions I had to adjust manually. In Dorico, my experience is completely different: I have to adjust EVERYTHING manually. I tried grouping the dynamics and then aligning them, but it doesn’t do a great job. Sometimes it works, and MANY times it doesn’t. Am I doing something wrong?





I’d really appreciate any kind of help. It’s very frustrating having to deal with this stuff for every score I make…ending adjusting every single thing by hand! I end losing up a lot of time… :slight_smile:

Instead of aligning graphically in Engrave mode, you should first group dynamic phrases together in Write mode. Grouped dynamics are automatically aligned in all layouts.

Be careful about linking dynamics between staves (as it looks like your pp dynamics are). Dynamics that are linked can’t be grouped differently on different staves. So I’d recommend unlinking the pp dynamics between your Violin 1 and 3 staves, as their subsequent dynamics are different.

It’s possible that the Align Dynamics command isn’t reliable if you’ve already manually offset some dynamics in Engrave mode. You could try resetting their position first before aligning them.


Wow thanks!! That fixed it! Thanks Lillie :heart:

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another thing I learned about dynamics is it really helps to enter them in sequence.
for example, if I’m adding p followed by crescendo hairpin and a forté, I select the 1st note and the penultimate note, then enter my dynamic as “p<f”.
This will automatically group the dynamics, placing the p on the 1st note, the f on the last note, and the hairpin between.

(select the penultimate note, not the one where you want your final dynamic to go… if you have a sequence of eight notes, select the first and SEVENTH… the last dynamic will be placed on the eighth note. it’s a bit of a strange philosophy on dynamics entry, I don’t quite understand why, but that’s how Dorico does it.)


The logic is: Extend a gradual dynamic across the full selected duration, and place immediate dynamics at the endpoints.

the problem is, that’s not QUITE how it works, is it.
if you have a hairpin that starts piano and ends forté,
you select the first note, and select the last note…
apply “p<f”… and you’ll see that the hairpin ends on the last note, while the forté actually goes past your last note.
Try it on a run of 16th notes, there would be eight 16th notes covering two beats.
If you select the phrase, from the starting note until the target note (whatever note comes AFTER those 16th notes), then your target note won’t actually get the final dynamic. it will skip forward to whatever is next.

The way Dorico has you do it is that you must select everything up to, but not including, the final note.
You can select the first note of the run and Dorico will put the starting dynamic beneath it and start the hairpin slightly to the right.
but you can’t select the final note you want covered by this dynamic grouping.
Dorico will include that final note in the hairpin… but will place the final dynamic PAST that note.

I’ve gotten used to how Dorico does it, but it still seem illogical to me.
my first reaction would be to include the final note, where the final dynamic should be inserted, when selecting notes.

I mean, Dorico takes into consideration the first note and its dynamic and shifts the hairpin over a bit. So it recognizes the FIRST selected note as being the target of the FIRST dynamic.
So why does it not recognize the LAST selected note as being the target of the LAST dynamic?


That is what “the full duration” means. I didn’t read the rest of your post carefully because this argument is not going to go anywhere.


Edit: False or misleading information.

The solution provided is a good one. However, why is vertical alignment not automatically better prior to dynamics being grouped? Dynamics align much better “out of the box” without any user extra steps at all in some other programs.

There’s now a preference for this. You can change it to the option you prefer.


Lillie, I feel seriously stupid and want to honestly apologize to the team for misremembering this issue and misrepresenting the software.
I did not know about this feature, which is fantastic and very much appreciated!
Thank you for your seemingly bottomless patience with people like me… :pray:

Have a great day, sincerely,


I did NOT know about this.

Thank-you Lillie. This is almost as game-changing as double-tapping the note value to get a dotted value!!!

Now I hate myself for putting so much work into what was basically a WRONG idea in my post!

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And I regret saying “this argument is not going to go anywhere.” In future I should not assume a method can never be changed in Dorico! (I’m still on Dorico 4, but I will read the latest Version History more carefully.)

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Well, you know, hopefully lesson learned: a positive attitude and an open mind are more likely to be productive.

As is remembering the Dorico maxim: there’s probably an option for that, and if there isn’t, there could well be in the future.


Wow! this is great!!!