How to tell which voice in a bar?

When entering a score, if I use only one voice (default voice 1), then no problem.
But if I have used voice 2 (or voice 3, etc.) in earlier bars, then in a subsequent bar, how do I tell what voice the note belongs to (without actually editing it)?


Under the View menu, you can go to Note and Rest Colors → Voice Colors. Is that what you’re looking for?

Hi Stephen,
I tried your suggestion of ‘Voice Colors’, yes, that works, I can now have a visual view of all the voices, this allows me to check all the voices are in the right places. Thanks!

But if I continue to stay in the default black color notes, then can’t see these voices. It seems more logical to have voices listed in the ‘property’ pane, so that besides knowing which voice, they can be easily changed too.

Some update… after entering some more staves, I think whenever I start to use more than 1 voice in the score, it is better to turn on the Voice Colors, so that I can verify them visually as I enter the notes in each voice. Somehow, if I enter the wrong voice (e.g. voice 3 instead of the correct voice 1) in a few bars and I use ‘Force Stem Up’ to correct them, the voices before these bars also have stems modified and the whole score looks wrong. Without the ‘Voice Color’ turned on, I won’t be able to tell that the voices were wrong when I entered them.

With ‘Voice Colors’ turned on, then there is no need to view voice in the property pane!

As you’re entering notes, hit the V key, and you’ll see that your cursor cycles through the different voices you have available to you; if you need to add a new voice, type shift-V (see the manual, page 101). If you need to change voices after you’ve already entered them, you can control-click on a passage to show the contextual menu; at the bottom of this menu, under “Voices” you can change to Default Stems Up, etc.

Then you don’t need Voice Colors turned, unless you really want it. But I agree with you, it might be nice to see which voice a selected note belongs to in the Properties panel.

Just to report some minor discovery… before I learn to turn on ‘Voice Color’ to see the voices, I know for sure that every time I start to enter a second voice in piano staves (somewhere in the middle of the score), all the voices of piano (including those before the voice 2) would go wrong. Now I can see why this happens… this is because as soon as I finish entering voice 2 of the piano bars, hit ESC, the subsequent empty bars now take the voice 2 as default (while I still think it is in voice 1). If later I enter in 2 or more voices, all the voice orders become wrong. This was a mystery that has been puzzling me since I started using Dorico actively to enter music.

Perhaps Dorico can restore the voice of subsequent empty bars (when ESC is hit after entering in voice 2, 3, etc.) to voice 1. This would seem more logical. Of course now with ‘Voice Color’ turned on, I can see all voices in colours and I can correct wrong voices immediately.

Dear chengjm,
Pardon me if this looks bold, but we’re dealing with Dorico’s voices system for over a year now, and it does work perfectly once you “learn” how to use them. So maybe, instead of trying to make the system work as you wish it would, you might try to work with it the way it’s designed to be… You’ll earn time, I guarantee!
Use voices colors when dealing with complicated staved, be really careful with the little reminders on the cqret, and use the “change voice to…” with the right click any time you feel the need for it :wink:
But don’t try to make us ALL change the workflow, unless there really is a major failure and you have an answer.
FWIW, reading again you previous post, I know what has upset me : when I enter notes on piano staves and create a new voice, I DO NOT have all my previous notes go wrong. Actually it does not change anything — well, of course, it could change the stem direction, accordingly to the type of voice I add, but this is all under MY control.
You might need to be more specific on that field, because I think I misunderstood your real problem.

Dear MarcLarcher,
Do not worry! I’m not suggesting anything drastic, if what I suggested is implemented, it doesn’t change your current workflow at all.
I write software in my engineering profession, so I presume I can guess how they do things in software. I’m just suggesting to toggle the flag to voice 1 for next entry in subsequent empty bars when ESC key is hit. (if ESC is not hit, it will just continue in the current voice as you enter more notes)
Please refer to the following two screen captures. The first picture shows bar 105 piano bass clef is in voice 1.
After I enter voice 2 into it, starting from bar 106 piano bass clef is changed to voice 2. So if I don’t turn on Voice Color, I will be entering this clef in voice 2 instead of voice 1. This is what I mean by toggling the flag to set it back to voice 1 for subsequent empty bars. I believe it works this way in Sibelius.

In any case, I’m perfectly fine with the current ‘work around’ using voice colours. I suggested it because I thought it would be an improvement in software (resume the default voice instead of leaving it at whatever last used voice).


JM, you ARE asking us to change our workflow. Many of us are very happy that when we come back to continue working on a passage, after hitting Esc (for whatever reason), the voice we last used is the one we continue working in!

JM is also falling into the fallacy of two alternatives. His system will become unpredictable as soon as more than two voices are in use.

JM, the voice that is chosen when you start note input is based on the selection, so either select the note in the voice you want to continue inputting before you hit Return or Shift+N to show the caret and resume note input, or explicitly double-click a note in the voice you want to use. (We are trying to avoid giving the Esc key magical powers in Dorico, so I don’t support your suggestion, I’m afraid.)

Here’s a suggestion for the Esc (or some other key). Why not have it show the voice colours when held down and go back to black when released? That way you could easily peek at the voice colours without having to go through a few menus.

+1 to show (and change) which voice a note is assigned to in Properties. I think it would be a lot more clear and seems easy to implement (yeah, like I know the innards of Dorico!).

You can set a keyboard shortcut to show and hide voice colours.

If you double-click a (black) note, the caret will show what voice it is.

So to explain further: I have turned on voice colours. I plan to export my Dorico project to another notation program, where it’s important to have notes in consistent voices to avoid a lot of work in that program. Dorico is so great at inputting music! Anyway, I selected a bunch of music and right-clicked to change voices. It took me several tries to get the notes into the voice colour I needed.

Some of my voices for piano jump from bass clef to treble clef (using M and N commands), and consistent voices help me keep track of that them.

So it’d be nice if the voices had a name like “1, 2, 3, 4…” or something besides “upstem voice 1…” which for piano doesn’t indicate which clef I’m working.

Also (separate subject), is there a way to draw a line when notes jump to another clef?

The whole point of piano staves having separate voice colours is to distinguish between the ones that start in the top stave and the ones that start in the bottom stave. So, unless I’m missing something, just turn on Voice Colours and all should be clear.

Voices often go from one stave to another in contrapuntal music like this, when they are near middle C:

For lines between voices moving to another clef, you can use a glissando line (under the Trill tool on the right panel), with the text turned off in the bottom Properties panel. That’s just a kludge for now, of course; in time I’m sure we’ll have an excellent implementation of lines.

To say truth, I am still missing in Dorico just a simple definitions like voice1, voice2, voice2 like in an “other” program. Dorico could let a user to define in settings a default direction of each voice, which could be changed thought context menu while working on a particular project. If selecting a note Dorico would reflect a color of a voice (instead an orange color for all voices), there would be no need to switch on or off a voice color in order to find out which voice is in use at the moment.