Hide stem in write mode

Feature request:

Whenever I need to hide a stem I have to switch to Engrave mode. Would be great if Hide stem was accessible in also write mode (just as Laissez vibraire is)


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If it were easily possible to show that property in Write mode, it would already be shown there. It can differ between different frames in the same layout, so it has to appear in Engrave mode.

Is it the same reason why the Hide ledgerlines control is only visible in Write mode?

You mean why it’s only visible in Engrave mode? Yes.

Is there at least the possibility of a shortcut? I can’t find it in the keyboard shortcuts.

Everything that you change in the properties panel can be accessed through a keyboard shortcut, but it sometimes need you to hack the keycommands JSON file. There have been some threads where you get detailed explanations on how to do this.
Basically, if you record a macro where you perform the “hide stem property” setting, and look for usermacro in your computer, you should be able to see how the setting is described in Dorico.


						"UI.InvokePropertyChangeValue?Type=kNoteHideStem&Value=true" : [ "Ctrl+K" ]

Even if you put it in the kGlobal context, it’ll only work in Engrave mode.

Thanks Leo — I’m away from my computer for some days…
It’s totally logical that this property is accessible in Engrave mode only.

Also, for the less inclined to dive into keycommands.json, you can always record a macro and save it for later use!

I haven’t tried this, but since lua is full-featured programming language, I wonder if it would be less accident prone (and more upgrade-proof) to write a single lua macro script that reads a key press directly from the keyboard and uses that to select the appropriate Dorico API command.

That way, if you assign a keystroke to run the entire script (not the default Ctrl-Sift-Alt-R but something like which is easy to find on US and UK keyboards) you could then have a whole new range of "two-key short cuts" without tinkering with the installation files - i.e. if you pressA the ` invokes the script, which reads the A (or any other key) does the corresponding action.

But the efficiency issue remains.It needs to be done in Engrave mode. Every time Dorico switches between modes, it takes some time (understandably, since each time it has to “re-draw” the layout). It hinders note input a lot.

I do know I can just leave it with stems until the note input is done and then hide all the stems necessary when engraving; but even this presents a problem in efficiency: when a project is very long (like a method book, a collection book, etc.), you run into the possibility of forgetting or overlooking one or two cases left “for later in engrave mode”.
I also know I can assign a note comment for every case in order to remember when engraving; but then, we’re back to the time lost in notes. Just as glissando lines, articulation, dynamics, etc. are all defined while note inputting, so are stemless notes necessary when note inputting.

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Not questioning the decision; I’m completely sure you have really given much careful thought and design to each little detail. Just for my knowledge, and out of pure curiosity… Why can stemless notes differ between different frames in the same layout? The notehead doesn’t change and there’s no need to take care of stem length or direction, etc.

In general the reason we allow things to differ between layouts and even between different chains of music frame within the same layout is to provide greater flexibility; we don’t want somebody to have reason to complain that they have to “extract” a layout from a project in order to make an edit that they don’t want to affect the full score, or vice versa. The price of this, of course, is that some things can’t be set in Write mode, or have to be set in multiple layouts (or propagated via Edit > Propagate Properties).

Thank you Daniel for your kind answer.

As someone who uses often stemless notation, may I ask at least for a way to understand, in Write mode, that the stems have been modified somewhere? For example, showing them dimmed or in a different color?

If this would be possible, maybe the Hide propriety could be shown in Write mode, even if the stems are not actually hidden in that mode.


In general the reason we allow things to differ between layouts and even between different chains of music frame within the same layout is to provide greater flexibility

Flexibility is a big strength in Dorico, thank you! However in this very case I would argue that the design now works the other way around: It hinders me from input the music in a flexible way.

The discussion tells us that:

  • It is not the best way to input notes without stems. It’s slow and complicated.

  • The chance of mistakes is big

Arvo Pärt’s Alina is a little masterpiece without a single stem.

So with all respect: this is still a feature request for coming releases: simplify noteheads without stems and stems without noteheads.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this discussion!

Why not enter it with stems, then Select All, Filter Notes, switch to Engrave mode and flick the “Hide stem” switch once?

Why not enter it with stems, then Select All, Filter Notes, switch to Engrave mode and flick the “Hide stem” switch once?

Thanks, I know. I used Alina as an example of a very successful and loved piece that is written in a contemporary style of music notation. And you are right, Alina would not be that hard to do in Dorico in this respect. But Alina is special since there are no stems at all. It’s worse when you only need note-heads without stems occasionally.

And it’s not easy to find out how to do it. The documentation uses “hiding stems”, which is fine once you know that that’s the way Dorico treats it: hidden stems. If you search for “note without stem” or “without stem” you will not find any answer. “Stemless” will lead you there.

There are other difficulties with Alina. Different key signatures on different systems – which Dorico handles in a great way. And cut-away style for the left hand (which I don’t know how to do in Dorico - extra staff?)

I would love to be able to use pre-defined styles of stems. There are other types of stems that are useful: Sprechgesang style (x on the stem) and there might be others.

I attach a short quaotation from Alina, just one bar to not violate any copyright.


Thank you for pointing this out - these are good suggestions for alternative terms, and I’ll add them as keywords to that topic so hopefully future searches will bring up the relevant topic :slight_smile:


I mean — is there anything less contemporary than notes without stems?

Now that we can store macros, this is very easily automated.