Just getting started and lost already

I am just trying to input new music, very simple, one instrument, flute. I managed to enter the first 2 notes: a half note tied to a dotted half. Then I had to stop to go look up how to add a dynamic to the first note. Now I can’t seem to enter any other notes beyond the first two. The next note is an 8th note, but every time I try to enter it, the preceding notes change to shorter durations.

More specifically:
I double click on the dot of the second note, and that gives me an orange line with a quarter note showing at the bottom. Then I press 5 to get the 8th note, press the E for the note value, and now instead of my original half tied to a dotted half; there is a half note, tied to a quarter note, then an 8th note, and then a dotted quarter…??? What am I doing wrong?

Also, I forgot to add a rest at the beginning, and can’t figure out how to put it in now. I can’t believe I have been sitting here for 2 hours, and all I have is two notes.


The rest:
Write mode: Double click in the staff, caret becomes active. Now, position the caret with the cursor keys where you want the first note. Enter the note. The rest before will be automatically filled in.

Dynamic: press escape to exit caret mode. Then you can select the note where you want the dynamic, press shift+d etc.

Writing more notes: Make sure you are in the right position with the caret before entering the new note. Just clicking the dot won’t do I think.


Actually, you can enter dynamics in Note Entry (caret active) as well, which I often find more powerful since one has more control over exact positioning.

Janet, you might also try adding some more bars, since it sounds like you might be inputting your music with the mouse, and you’ll need to create some bars so that you can fill them in. Open the Bars and Barlines panel on the right-hand side in Write mode (it’s the icon that looks like a final barline at the end of a bar of music), select the last note in your piece, and then in the panel on the right, enter the number of bars you want to add, e.g. 32 or whatever, and click the Insert Bars button. If it turns out that you didn’t need all the bars you created in the end, use choose Trim Flow from the Write menu to remove any empty bars at the end of the music.

Thanks, that’s completely right of course. Now I just have to get used to entering the dynamic before the note in order to not have to back the caret to the note after inputting in…

What I have found, no matter what notation software I’m using, is that I work best if I simply enter all the notes first, not worrying about dynamics. In Finale I use speedy entry so I don’t worry about articulations either. When using Sibelius (which is most of the time) it’s easy to use the numeric keypad to select the rhythmic value and the articulation at the same time so I usually do that (except for slurs). My learning experience with Dorico serves to strengthen that practice - enter the notes (pitch and rhythm) first and then worry about the other stuff afterwards. I realize that to some people my method may seem counterproductive but I have found that concentrating on one aspect of the notation at a time serves me best.

I do break my workflow into smaller chunks, depending on the particular project, so I may enter the notes for a single page from my original and then go back and then get all the rest of the stuff entered for that page, or I may enter all the notes for a project and then go back and get all the rest of the stuff.

I find that for me, trying to enter the articulations at the same time as entering the notes simply slows me down, breaks the flow I get into while entering the notes. I’m not suggesting that my workflow is the correct workflow for everybody.

I share that with you only to suggest that you might want to try that while working in Dorico and see if it helps to speed up your workflow or even just simplifies things so you can concentrate better.

I have found by far the best way of learning Dorico, is to watch some YouTube videos and copying what they are doing:
Of course, the Dorico team’s ones are essential along with:

I would have the YouTube opened on a tablet or other PC so you are not switching back and forth. Also give yourself at least one full day to do this…followed by at least four or five sessions to consolidate. I’ve watched the Dorico team’s videos at least three times each and I’m slowly getting there. Remember, you now have a tool that’s taken a dozen people three years to develop…

In Finale, I enter all notes first, but only because that is how Finale (Speedy) forces it.
In Igor, you could enter notes, 'ff, ‘p’, ‘>’ etc. to add to the note straight after entry (without a different mode).
You could also push ‘s’ to begin or end a slur and something I can’t remember to begin or end a hairpin. This was really quick. There is something about Dorico’s (keyboard) input to me that is the worst of all worlds - too many things to push (without feedback, if the panels are closed) before the note exists on the screen.

I would imagine that if one were primarily interested in the speed of entering (notes) one would use a MIDI keyboard rather than the QWERTY keyboard anyway, except for touch-up.

That depends if one is on tour, or a plane or sat in a session…

(Sorry if this is going a bit off topic)

I used to work like that as well, but a few years ago I switched to simple entry. I can enter everything on the fly except smartshapes. In my opinion, it is very good to enter as much as possible at once when doing copy work. Less risk of missing things. This is of course very personal.

Dorico seem to have the possibilities of Igor, e.g. you can enter slurs and hairpins on the fly as well. I did not yet have time to investigate that though. Still fighting to get used to the concept of entering dynamics and articulations etc. before the actual note…

I think it could end up being a perfect combination of keyboard shortcuts for common items and the popovers for fast, inline entry of everything else.

As well as SteveParker’s comment, it doesn’t necessarily follow that using two keyboards for step-time input is quicker than one. As a keyboard player and a pretty good typist, I actually prefer computer keyboard to MIDI for most note entry. (Entering a lot of big chords in simple rhythms would be an exception).

Of course if somebody figures out how to develop software that creates accurate notation from Horovitz-speed real-time playing, that would change the level of the playing field :wink:

So…I don’t know why all of you seem to be talking about dynamics…that wasn’t the question. The question is how to pick up where I left off and add more notes. Here it is again:

I have two notes, a half note tied to a dotted half. The next note I want to enter is an 8th note. But no matter what I try, Dorico insists on altering the notes I already have in the staff. So instead of half note tied to dotted half followed by 8th note I now have half tied to dotted quarter, then an 8th note and another quarter note.

I tried adding bars like Daniel suggested, but that failed, too. Same thing. I double click to get the little orange note and caret line after my original two notes, then when I click on “insert bars” I end up with a half note tied to a dotted quarter and another dotted quarter…but no extra empty bars.

To say I am frustrated is an understatement at this point. It’s impossible to write music when you can’t leave a piece and then come back to add more notes. I’m not giving up…I didn’t learn Sibelius in a day…but I was able to enter more than 2 notes first time around…just sayin’

Al, unfortunately I don’t have an entire day to devote to watching videos…I have to fit this in around the rest of my responsibilities.

I would suggest, in write mode, you double click on the last note you input. The caret should be appear on that note, and the rythmic value showing in the notes panels on the left should be the same than the selected note. To move the caret to the end of this note to input the next one, press Space-bar. That’s it, you can now choose the next rythmic value and input the pitch of your next note (using keys from A to G…) or move the caret further with the right arrow if you want Dorico to input a rest (that will appear only when you will have input another note, Dorico fills the gaps).

To add bars to your project, assuming you have defined a meter (click on the first note, shift+M,write 3/4 or [2+3+2]/8 or whatever your meter should be), select the first note (or another), press shift+B, write +10 in the popover. You should see 10 empty bars following !

Hope it helps, much longer to write than to do !

Daniel’s instruction to add bars will also only work if you have defined a meter for your piece.

Question: Do you have a time signature for your piece? According to your first post you seem to have one, because otherwise half note tied to dotted half would merge into whole note tied to quarter. Unless you actually mean slur instead of tie.

If you don’t have a time signature, you can’t “create more bars” using Daniel’s method, because Dorico doesn’t know how long a bar is (and every bar might be a different length). If you don’t have a time signature, you can create bar lines anywhere at any time (even half way through a note - Dorico will split it into two notes tied together). You don’t have to do the Sibelius thing of inventing a time signature to give you the number of beats you want.

There is no problem adding music to the end of a file using the computer keyboard or a MIDI keyboard for note entry, with or without a time signature, but if you want to enter notes with the mouse, first you have to create some empty space on the staves to click into. Otherwise you will keep overwriting the last note, which seems to be what is happening.

To create some more space on the staff using the computer keyboard, get the orange cursor displayed somewhere in the score, then hold the right-arrow key down to move the cursor to the end of the stave. Then hold the space bar down. Each “space” character will add a rest to the score, but if there are no barlines, Dorico will merge all the rest symbols into one long rest, so you won’t see a string of quarter-note rests appearing.

Then, you should get an orange “ruler” displayed above the staff, marking the rhythmic positions (by default, every 8th-note. Use those as a guide to click notes into the staff.


I can’t help but finding it regrettable that mouse input is so difficult and non-intuitive in Dorico.
Regardless of which other software someone is coming from, it should be possible to choose a note length, click in your score and have that note appear where you clicked.
But what Janet is describing is very close to my own initial experience, but since I started with a non-mission-critical mindset, I could afford to be patient…
I also understand that the developers had to triage what areas of the program they wanted to perfect first, and it seems that the choice was classical scoring and keyboard input, likely a reflection of the personal preferences of the team.
This is fine, of course.
Having said that, however, I really expect to have world class input workflows in all three paradigms, keyboard, mouse and real-time MIDI in due course.
In reality, most people will use a mix of all three anyway, depending on the situation.

All the best,

YOU’VE SOLVED MY PROBLEM!! Thank you so much for the clear directions. It never occurred to me to place the caret on the last note, then press space bar. Somehow that info seems to be missing from the documentation.

You also answered a question I hadn’t asked, which was how to enter rests.

You were right about adding bars, I had not entered a meter yet. I followed your directions and shazam! Perfection!
I can’t thank you enough.