Harmonising mode

It might exists already, but… A particular way I prefer to work in harmonising complex parts is to copy/paste the lead line to all instruments and then vertically changing the notes. Unfortunately in Dorico when you introduce a new note the caret moves forward, thus you have to navigate both down and left and even then the caret is unlikely to end up on the same note (since it moves according to resolution of the rhythmic grid).

It would be very, very useful to have a “mode” for just harmonising i.e. I change a note and then down arrow it goes to the same note. Alternatively a mode to change notes without entering into input mode as we can do to change rhythmic duration at the moment i.e. one click on a note and then a pitch on the MIDI keyboard.

Just a thought.

You do know about Lock Duration, right? It works like Finale’s Repitch tool.
You might also find it also helps to add use the popover intervals to a passage and then explode it to other parts.

Hi Derrek! Do you mean the Force Duration? I’m afraid I’ve never used Finale so I don’t really know what you mean… As for the Popover even less… :confused:

No, Lock Duration. You access it by typing L.

These are basic functions for Dorico that you can acquaint yourself with via the manual. https://steinberg.help/dorico/v1/en/dorico/topics/glossary/lock_duration_g.html

If you use Sibelius, it’s called Re-input Pitches.
What it does is let you change all the pitches without changing any rhythms. Input just hops to the next note already input.

Right: “Lock Duration”
I’ll change it.

Aha! I had indeed read it, believe it or not I did read the manual from cover to cover, but I seem to have forgotten this bit. However, if you read my post you’ll notice that the problem is the navigating: say you’re trying to harmonise a whole Tutti section of a big band, so you have the lead trumpet playing the melody and the first Alto playing a counter-line, everything else is on a block chord. I hate to mention another program in this forum, but to make the point in Sibelius I could click on the 2nd trumpet, input the pitch, press the down arrow and I’m on the same note but on the 3rd trumpet (this is not in Note Input, it’s just one click/select). I can continue like this for the whole band and harmonise that particular quaver, crotchet or whatever for every instrument. Thus why I called it hamonising mode.

thank you also Craig and Derrek!

Try experimenting with chord mode (even though you don’t want to write chords). In chord mode the cursor doesn’t move automatically to the next note, so down-arrow should take you to the same rhythmic position on the staff below.

In chord mode the space key moves you to the next note, or left/right arrows move along the rhythmic grid.

Good idea, but it didn’t work. Chord mode just adds another note and doesn’t replace the original. However, clearly the code is already in place for such a “mode” i.e. a combination of chord mode and locked rhythms. But perhaps the developers will come up with an even easier approach than this (as the usually do), for example a shortcut to explode down i.e. you input the whole harmonisation on the first instrument and then just press one key and it deletes extra notes in the first voice and places them in the appropriate lower staves. I think they call these types of functions “macros”?

I’m always up for changing my habits for better methods, but at the moment the whole copy/paste > delete > Paste Special > Explode system is too slow when you have a hundred thousand quavers, semi-quavers and triplets to harmonise. Especially if you’re not just doing them by 3rds

If your chords are in one voice, can you note copy that voice with a filter on and then explode it into the other staves?
I sure wish you would post a picture of what you are trying to do!



Sure thing! Say I want to harmonise this:


Then I copy/paste to the rest of the brass:

If then I want to harmonise this, whilst checking voice movements, etc at the keyboard, in ‘other’ programs all I have to do is click on the top voice and the press the down arrow to harmonise the note right below it, thus keeping one hand on the arrow and the other one on the MIDI Keyboard (harmonised till the red arrow):

In Dorico I cannot find a way to do this quickly and simply. My options so far have been:

1.- Grab the mouse and double click on the note below (slow)
2.- not copy/paste and notate it individually (very slow)
3.- Harmonise Lead trumpet, then cut > Paste Special > Explode (slowest method)
4.- Use the lock duration as suggested above and navigate with arrows (best method but still quite slow)

Perhaps this was not the best example since they’re mostly quavers, but when you have more intricate combinations of rhythms navigating between voices is nearly impossible due to the caret moving according to resolution instead of the selected rhythm duration, so you’re left with only mouse as an option.

At the moment in Dorico if I single click on a note I can change its duration, it would be very useful if we could also change its pitch in the same manner. Furthermore, if I use the arrows to navigate around it goes crazy! For example, if I click on the first note of the Lead Trumpet and then I press the down arrow, I get all sorts of different results:

a) the selection jumps to the number 3 in the triplet below
b) the selection jumps to the slur below
c) the selection jumps to the first rest then, then to the second note
d) after jumping to slur it often goes to the 2nd note in the triplet

Crazy right? I attach the file of you want to replicate it:

I couldn’t attach it to the previous post so here it is.
Untitled Project.zip (346 KB)

Thank you for the images. After Lead Trumpet, your next two images appear to be the same. I don’t see a red arrow in the second Ensemble file, only in the one after that.

If I use lock duration and my MIDI keyboard, I do not need to use the arrow keys to move from one (changed) note to the next. Is it possible we have different settings somehow?

I copied the Flute to Oboe and then enabled the caret on the first note of the oboe, chose Lock Duration, and started playing notes on mi MIDI keyboard.
lockDurationSample.dorico.zip (566 KB)

Yeah, I don’t know what’s going on with the forum but my attachments keep getting deleted or don’t show up properly. In any case it’s the file at the bottom of my post titled Harmonised.

Right, I see where we are misunderstanding each other. You’re talking about horizontal navigation, whereas I’m talking vertical. So I consider horizontal more of a ‘melodic’ mode and vertical a type of ‘harmony’ mode. When doing complex harmonisation one would normally focus on all voices vertically and harmonise according to the movement of the lead i.e. chromatic, diminished and dominant movement on upbeats and diatonic variable voicings on downbeats… Etc. It’s a different method of working than for example counterpoint which is more of a horizontal procedure.

Is there any way you can record a short video demonstrating the problem? Reading through the thread, I’m afraid I have to admit I haven’t yet understood the difficulty you’re experiencing, and, judging by your response to the people who’ve tried their hand at helping you, perhaps I’m not alone.

He’s talking about harmonizing from the top down for all staves by changing each tutti note to an appropriate harmonic pitch as if working in columns. Using Lock Duration, Dorico currently auto-navigates to the next note in the current staff, but the OP would love to have, for instance, an option to tell Dorico to instead auto-navigate to the same rhythmic position of the staff below, so he can input a pitch. It’s a “top down” approach for Lock Duration.

I could see how this could be very useful, and would request the team consider implementing something like this.

Would Shift - I (that’s I for Interval) and Paste > Explode be useful here?

To summarise, the three existing options are:

  1. Do what you’re already doing. If you don’t have the caret invoked then you can use Alt+up/down to change the pitches of notes (but not MIDI pitches or note names)
  2. Do what you’re already doing, with Lock Duration turned on. With the caret invoked you will indeed find that the caret advances to the next note, but if the material really is homophonic then hitting the Down arrow then the Left arrow will ALWAYS get you to the same position in the stave below.

  1. Harmonise one line and then explode down. If you have a MIDI keyboard this is by far the quickest method: play in block chords (or use Lock Duration and overtype existing melody - articulations and slurs etc. will remain in place), and then explode down.

Yes, given Bollen’s most recent description, I would go with Leo’s Option 3.
I have to confess, in these situations I generally do work horizontally, keeping the harmony in my head as I go through each line.

I am very glad to see this thread, as I do this kind of harmonizing all the time (copy the lead line to another instrument, then change pitches as needed.) I had not discovered “Lock Duration” yet and will add that to my bag of tricks.

I am much more comfortable using alt-Up and alt-Down to adjust the pitches (as opposed to typing note names or entering on MIDI.) This works well for me. I would love some day to see this extended to be more harmonically aware. Today alt-Up/Down moves to the next note diatonically within the current key signature (at least I think that’s what it does.) I would like to see this enhanced to move to the next note within the CURRENT CHORD (*), if one has been entered. That’s a non-trivial thing because there are some ramifications and complications. However, this would be a real time saver for those that often work in dense jazz chords. Such an enhancement would not change anything for people who do not add chord symbols to the score.

I would note that chord awareness is a major part of DAW evolution these days, with Cubase being a big innovator, and StudioOne recently adding chord track capability. It is all part of the evolution and we should be thinking about these things.

  • When I say the next note within the current chord, I mean the next note in the scale that is most readily associated with that chord. e.g. Dm7 or Dm9 would be D Dorian scale.