Frustrations - Lyrics

In his video ‘Improvements to Lyrics | New Features in Dorico Pro 3’, Anthony Hughes says ‘Dorico has always boasted powerful support for lyrics’.

Once the lyrics are in, Dorico’s now capable enough but in the absence of any hyphenation function, there’s no easy way of getting them onto the page in the first place. It’s incredibly frustrating that one can start off with lyrics in a reliable form and ready to paste but then have to type them in or use third-party tools for the hyphenation (I don’t know of anything really dependable anyway). It’s such a waste of time and it almost guarantees that there’ll be errors. I think this is now the weakest thing about Dorico.

Finale 2 could hyphenate the text in 1992; Sibelius has been able to do it for as long as I’ve had a licence. English, French, German, and Italian are most important for me.

I’d love to know how Finale automatically hyphenates lyrics. :open_mouth:
I’d recommend

I’d love to know how Finale automatically hyphenates lyrics.

Did I get that wrong? Apologies if I did. It’s been a long time since I last used Finale. I was quick with it in the nineties.

Sibelius certainly does separate the syllables as one pastes but not always correctly. It’s simple to change things afterwards but errors can go unnoticed too easily.

If I could paste into Dorico in the same way but with more reliable hyphenation, that would be OK.

There is no “reliable” way to hyphenate English except by having a complete dictionary. Some languages (e.g. Latin) have consistent hyphenation rules. English does not.

US and British English hyphenations are different. Even within one of those major groups, different dictionaries give different hyphenations for the same word.

In fact choosing the correct hyphenation depends on the semantics of the text, since there are homographs like “des-ert” (noun) and “de-sert” (verb) which are hyphenated differently.

And all of the above ignores the fact that in vocal scores, hyphenation may differ from the “dictionary rules” for practical reasons.

This is exactly what the new Lyrics paste feature provides. Get your lyrics “in a reliable form” in a text editor or word processor, and hyphenate as required; then select, copy: and you can paste each syllable in. You can also duplicate lyrics to other staves easily enough.

Finale has never been able to hyphenate lyrics by itself, and I’d take Dorico’s entry method over Finale’s any day. (I am constantly relieved that I no longer have to avoid Finale’s desire to put lyrics on rests and the second half of ties.) To say nothing of Dorico’s better spacing.

So you’re complaining that Dorico doesn’t have a feature that Sibelius has, which you still have to manually correct?

Thanks for this - very useful. It will save me a lot of time.

I don’t know how fast Sibelius is but it took me less than a minute to find the lyric I wanted online, enter it into hyphenator in the link provided, copy the result and paste it across 38 bars in Dorico. And it was 100% correct.

Gould has 5-6 pages (“extensive guidelines”) on word division.

Sibelius is fast. It’s just as buggy right now as it was 10 years ago, though - it forgets to hyphenate the odd (ordinary) word, meaning that then all future syllables end up offset by one. It’s often quickest to go back to your word processor, add the missing hyphen manually, then reimport the whole file into Sibelius.

This is not about what you like (‘I’d take Dorico’s entry method over Finale’s any day’); it’s about what’s most efficient. The whole point is that, though there are serious flaws in the system in Sibelius, entering lyrics is often very much quicker than it is in Dorico.

I’m interested in two kinds of efficiency: (1) speed of entry, and (2) minimizing the risk of corruption.

I’d be amazed if Daniel considers the lyric entry functions to be complete. Clearly there have been other priorities so far but it seems obvious that the current tools could be improved (the changes in version 3 are ‘Improvements’ rather than ‘New features’ in the version history). I don’t really see why you’re trying to defend the current way of working (you’re arguing against ambition). Dorico is a magnificent conception and I can’t believe that further development in this area hasn’t already been planned.

It also used to omit some words entirely and may still do so (the latest version I have is 7.1.3). Getting large numbers of lyrics into the score was undoubtedly very quick though.

  1. Algorithmic hyphenation seems to have its place:

  2. There are dictionaries and tools Dorico could be using: Hunspell for example (

If you believe that the Dorico Team does not yet consider the lyric tool complete (as you said), then your complaint seems that they are not doing what you want fast enough to please you. If your supposition is correct, which I suspect it is, and you realize how much the Team has on its plate already, which I think you do, then a little patience seems to be in order. Dorico is developing incredibly quickly, and each addition seems very well thought out.

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As I said in my original post, I consider this is now perhaps Dorico’s greatest weakness. I certainly find it so, Daniel has previously posted that he would have found it useful to be able to paste lyrics into Dorico (obviously this can now be done as long as one does a lot of processing in advance - processing that in some cases is not easy), and it amazes me that more people haven’t commented on this in the past. There must be people working with songs, vocal scores etc.

I’m not sure what your point is.

I’d be interested to hear Marc Larcher’s view.

I work a lot with lyrics, and when I started working with Dorico 3 years ago I missed the Sibelius auto-hyphenation feature (buggy though it is). Three years on, I’d basically forgotten all about it - Dorico gets all the other jobs done so much quicker than Sibelius. On aggregate, Dorico saves me a substantial amount of time. For English, the Juicio Brennan site does a better job than Sibelius ever did.

(edit: I should clarify that Dorico saves me a lot of time over Sibelius. On the other hand, I didn’t spend anywhere near the amount of time on the Sibelius forum that I spend on this forum. That’s a different matter, though!)

Thanks for this. You’ve put things in a less critical way than I did and have helped clarify my position.

I am in no way critical of Dorico or the developers. It’s the fact that the conception is so ambitious and that the pace of development has been so great, that means it’s quite striking when a particular aspect of the program seems underdeveloped.

I know about the TeX Hyphenation algorithm. (In fact I recently implemented a version of it to hyphenate Greek place names transliterated into the Western alphabet, which of course don’t follow the same rules as any other European language.)

Everything in this thread is actually talking about syllabification not hyphenation. A hyphenation algorithm can simply skip all the difficult or ambiguous cases, to avoid mistakes like “the-rapists” and “wee-knights”. It only needs to find enough correct hyphens for good typesetting, but automatic lyric syllabification has to find every syllable division.

For example the standard TeX English hyphenation data set doesn’t hyphenate the word “manuscript” at all, because it can’t choose between “ma-nu” or “man-u”, and “u-script” or “us-cript”. Not much use for lyrics!

Hi tristis !
Nice to know that some users are interested in what I think (I know that Daniel and the team do, as they have proved many times)!
Automatic hyphenation is not something I really need, as I would not trust it anyway (I work mainly with French, Italian, German opera). I have been enjoying the new copy-paste feature this morning, which has made the completion of an Offenbach’s opera-bouffe a real bliss.

I am not against any progress the team can make on the lyrics topic, but as things stand, what I really do miss NOW is a complete XML export implementation. This would save me maybe hundreds of hours of a non interesting work. As far as I know, the team is aware and this should now be a priority ^^

It seems to use American dictionaries so ‘ordinary’ would have four syllables rather than the three it should have in British English.

The en_GB Hunspell dictionary divides it correctly: ‘or=din=ary’ (I used hyphenatr -

It’s not a U.S. vs. British conflict. Lyric Hyphenator is just as likely to split words like really into three syllables as the more colloquial two. That just confirms what others here have already said, that lyrics do not always use textbook division into syllables.

Hi there. Right on cue…

May I ask how you would proceed in Dorico 3 when preparing an aria. Copying and pasting into Dorico would seem to be of little use unless you’ve added every necessary hyphen, non-breaking space etc. before pasting.

Sibelius’ automatic hyphenation certainly isn’t to be trusted but even with having to check for mistakes, it’s the quickest way I know to enter lyrics.

Given that lyrics are almost always preexistent in some digital form, there needs to be a way to import them. Formatting them in advance isn’t easy unless the music is very simple (a hymn for example). I’m tending to think that what I really need from Dorico is a lyrics window where I can paste/see the text for a particular region and have a second pane beside it where I can have that text hyphenated by Dorico (with the changes clearly marked) and/or edit it myself. The hyphenated text would be linked dynamically with the lyrics on the page and it should be possible to edit either. It might be useful if the text would always exist in both forms: it could be stored as it would appear in a libretto (for example) and as it needs to be formatted for the score.

Obviously a setting will reflect the composer’s pronunciation or the voice chosen for a character. The output I’m seeing is typically reflecting American pronunication rather than British though and Lyric Hyphenator clearly has to be used with care. Merriam-Webster gives ‘re·​al·​ly’ for really (