Input on Multiple Staves at the Same Time: real-time playback

When I input notes on multiple staves at the same time as described in the manual, I can only hear the top instrument (violins I in my case) as I enter the notes. Is there a way to hear every instrument I am writing for as I input the notes in real time? Thanks!

-When I play the passage back after entering the notes I can hear every instrument.
-I am using Dorico Pro 3.5 on a Mac running Big Sur.
-I am using a default String Ensemble (Setup, Add Ensemble, String Section), and Dorico’s default library (the default libraries in HALion Sonic SE).

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Welcome to the forum, How are you inputting the notes themselves? Are you using a MIDI keyboard to input the notes? I assume so, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to input more than one note at a time in any case. Or do you mean that you’re inputting a single note with the computer keyboard and it is input onto all of the staves across which the caret is shown, but you hear only the instrument of the top staff? If so, then that is at present the expected behaviour: Dorico only echoes the first staff during input.

Thanks for your answer @dspreadbury. Sorry if my question was vague, I will detail the process:

  1. I select pitch before duration because I want to try different voicings before I enter the chord.
  2. I extend the caret to all the string section (2 vln, 1 va, 1 vc, 1 db)
  3. Using a MIDI keyboard, I play a 5 note voicing (1 note per instrument) and I see the notes for each instrument in light gray as expected. The problem is only the notes in the violin range will play as I enter the chord, and I would need to hear what all instruments are playing before choosing a voicing. Just for clarification, the violin is the top staff in the extended caret.
  4. I choose the note value and the notes are entered correctly.
  5. At this point, playback for the voicing works as expected and all instruments are playing. But I need to hear it before I enter it and not after.

On a last note, if Dorico only plays the first staff during input, extending the caret to other staves and exploding music automatically wouldn’t be useful to me since I am composing and I want to use my ears.

Thank you so much again for your help and thanks for Dorico, just switched to it and I absolutely love it.

Right, I understand what’s happening now. Thanks for the additional clarification. At the moment Dorico will only audition using a single patch, because it does that as soon as it receives the notes you play, rather than waiting to find out which staff each note will end up on, and then playing each note using that sound. However, I agree that would definitely be a useful thing to be able to do, and I’ll talk to the team about how we might achieve that in a future version.


Thank you! Until then, I will use a full orchestra patch for the first system so Dorico plays all the notes I’m trying to input, even if they are below the violin range. Thanks!

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particularly for works which are predominately harmonically rather than contrapuntally based, this could be really helpful and I’d welcome such a feature if it could be implemented.

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Has this feature been implemented in Dorico 4? Thanks!

No, I’m afraid not.

This is a rather frustrating omission in the playback engine that sets Dorico apart from the competition in many areas. I often find myself cursing at the screen because I cannot audition doublings in real-time with my keyboard. Since I’m also unable to extend the caret to non-adjacent staves, it feels very cumbersome to input notes in one staff, copy them around, find and select the parts again (often spread across the score) and finally hit p to audition the combination, when a simple control click to select the staves I need to audition with my midi keyboard would do. And if I want to try something else, I have to do it all over again. Honestly can’t wait to have this implemented. Thanks!

Hello there!

I’m a new user and this is my first post!

I’m surprised it’s not implemented yet. It’s actually the only thing I really dislike in Dorico. I must say that despite it’s only a single thing that I don’t like, it’s problematic enough that I don’t actually enjoy using Dorico…

If I pick-choose some staves with CTRL-mouse click for example, it must “MIDI-Input-play” that sounds correspondingly to the Midi Input options - in particular : the Step Input Onto Multiple Staves options (Distribute notes between staves vs Input all notes on each staff…)

Same behavior should apply for the “Pitch Before Duration” note inputting technique (something that I love and I always use!)

Also, a minor detail that bother’s me (if I may…) : If I have a bunch of staves selected and I press Shift+N, that mean that I want to Midi Input that very staves and not just the first of the bunch… (just make that an option if a new behavior could potentially irritate peoples who like the way it work actually…)

I hope my suggestions will be implemented soon… It could change my life (and may boost the happiness of many musicians!) Keep up the good work! Many thanks in advance…

Welcome to the forum, @IHeardAThing, and thanks for your feedback. We will try to push these items up the priority list. I know they are small details, but we have (I hope) demonstrated a willingness to tackle even the smallest of details in the many years we’ve been building Dorico. Please continue to share your feedback with us!


Hi @dspreadbury and,
Few days ago I came to an application called Divisimate, thanks to the VSL website.

Here is the official web page of Divisimate:

The YouTube channel:

This program is more DAW oriented, but a guy from the company told me that it should work
with Dorico, too.
Probably a collaboration between the Dorico’s team and Divisimate, could bring a very useful tool
for faster Real-time recording / Step Input entry of notes.
Divisimate already looks a very powerful tool, but in order to work more properly with Dorico, surely it will need some improvements.
In the mail I received from them the guy told me that they are open for improve the application in order to fit the Dorico needs in case there is an interest by the potential users. :slight_smile:

Best regards,

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Thanks a lot. It’s really appreciated !

That’s an interesting suggestion.

I could imagine some good usages for that software eventually. I will prefer however a simpler approach to use a integrated Dorico way to mess around with instrumentation and chords layering…

I’m afraid of too much of the nested softwares in software kind of “solutions”. I already use Vienna Ensemble in all my projects and I spend already too much thinking time in the technical aspects. I hope to do some music one day! Ah ah!

Thanks for the tip and have a nice day!

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Hi @IHeardAThing ,
Well, I wouldn’t expect the Dorico’s Team to focus their attention on building a native Divisimate-like solution for Dorico. Much easier will be the making of Divisimate closer to Dorico, since it’s already ready to use product.
One of the things I really like about Divisimate is the ability to create instrument combinations presets and buttons, and to input notes on fly directly into desired staves.

Best regards,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:

I have to admit that the lack of the ability to audition more than one instrument (the first staff) in Dorico 5 at the same time in real-time MIDI input mode leaves me still very dependant on my daw. I need to be able to hear the flute and the violin and other combinations at the same time. It takes composing to a whole new level so the lack of this ability is a negative. I hope this feature will be added in future Dorico updates. In my DAW I can arm multiple instruments at a time which is vital to the inspiration I get when writing. This need at present is only partially addressed in scrub playback but I need it at the original input stage.

Any news for this issue/request (3 years later)? @dspreadbury

No, there’s no news. If it’s not implemented in the current version, there’s no news; and it isn’t.