Getting confused with "Voices" in keyboard writing

The attached extract from a Dorico score repesents a keyboard piece, in which the notes with stems upwards are to be played by the r.h and stems downwards for the left hand. The first voice is blue and the second purple. The next step is to remove the rests. When I select the bar and press “Edit/Remove rests”, the result is to make all the stems point upwards, as in the second jpg.
What do I do next and what is the intended method of notating this kind of thing in Dorico, please?

Many thanks,


You could select (or filter-select, if a large selection) all downstem voice 1 notes, and F to flip their stems downward.

Do you need two voices? If you remove the rests, there’s no real reason in the piece you’ve shown to have two voices. If what you wanted was a pattern of 16th notes, with stems down for the left hand and stems up for the right, you could have written it all in voice 1 and then, as Dan says, select the notes you want and use F to flip their stems so they’re shown the way you want.

As to the whys and wherefores, when you only have one voice on a stave it defaults to whatever the correct stem direction is, relative to where on the stave the note is. When you remove rests, what you’re actually doing is ending a voice. In the case above, for one sixteenth/semi there is only Upstem Voice 1 in existence; at the next sixteenth/semi there is only Downstem Voice 1 in existence, etc.

Maybe I am doing this all wrong. I want a score without any instrument name, and it seemed to me that I could not do that on the full score, but only on the part. The part also promised other formatting advantages, like starting new flows (movements) on the same page. But if I flip the stems on the score, they dont flip on the part. So it seemed to me that I should try a less local method. Hence I used voices.

I cannot find in the manual how I am supposed to treat a score which is a piano solo.


That stuff is all adjustable in Layout Options. It doesn’t matter which layout type you use for a solo piano piece, but do ensure that when you adjust Layout Options you have the correct layout selected in the right panel of that dialog.

If you flip the stems, that’s a property change. You need to propagate it to other layouts. Select the note (or select everything!) and Edit—Propagate Properties.

Ah! I was trying to find the Propagation command earlier, but couldnt remember the word, and thought I must have dreamt it.

Thanks too for the advice about the voices ending when the rests are removed. I am too used to the way voices work in Sibelius. (Also, I keep using “x” instead of “f” when I want to flip!)

I think I understand how it all works now. Many thanks all for your help.


Sibelius handles this particular issue exactly the same way as Dorico.

Welcome to “adjusting to Dorico.” As one [former] Sibelius user to another. :wink:

I meant that the philosophy behind voices in Sibelius is totally different. i dont need to elaborate, but as far as this case is concerned, I would not have thought to involve a second voice, because Sibelius doesnt describe them as voices with stems up or down. Also, I would have hidden the rests in Sibelius.



What I meant was that Sibelius typically defaults Voices 1 and 3 to having stems up, and defaults Voices 2 and 4 to having stems down. If there’s only one voice present (and that includes if you’ve hidden rests, as I’ve done in the image above), the stem goes up if the pitch is on or below the middle staff line, or down if the pitch is above the middle staff line.

Maybe I’ve missed the point.

What I meant was things like: in Sibelius on every stave voice 1 is always blue, voice 2 is always green, and the voices dont terminate when you hide a rest. By contrast, I have to refer to the earliest part of a Dorico score where there is more than one voice, to see what colour it is, and this is different for every stave.


Note that there is now a readout in the status bar at the bottom of the window - select any note and it’ll tell you what voice it’s in.

Thanks! I never noticed that.