Most efficient way to enter

Sorry to be asking such a basic question, but what is the simplest (fewest keystrokes) way to enter this rhythm?

Screenshot 2023-07-21 at 11.36.33 pm

The combination of the interval + tie seems a bit fiddly.
[Okay, let’s face it - I absolutely loathe having to hit Q to turn on and off chords. Would much rather hit shift + note or shift + interval number rather than having to toggle it one and off.]

The best I’ve been able to work out so far is:
Q, 7, D, +, F, CMD-A, Alt-Shift-Right, Q

Using T for the tied notes proved to be a nightmare, easier to just extend the duration. The process overall still feels a bit convoluted to me.


7, D, Shift-Alt-Right, Shift-I, 3, enter, +


Five is weird. I once had someone ask me to create a differently shaped note head to represent a “whole note” in 5/8 or 5/4 time. Sometimes wish that Crumb’s method of putting a dot on both sides of the half note caught on…

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If inputting with a MIDI keyboard is an option, you can avoid all the Q input by simply playing the chord. I always use pitch first input, so I would play the chord, 7, Alt+Shift+arrow.

I knew a composer who used a half-note notehead with an eighth-note flag for a 5-eighths duration. Seemed quite elegant, but clearly it never caught on with anyone else.


Gardner Read mentions a proposal to use a + for that on page 123 of his book:


Still seems like it would be easier to simply be able to hit Shift-3 or whatever to input a 3rd.
Otherwise you have to type Q twice, and also Shift-I, 3, enter:

Where ideally I could just go:
7, D, Shift-F [or Shift+3], +, Alt-Shift-Right

But this gets even worse if you have to tie across to a semi because alt-shift-right doesn’t work and adding ties in is also weirdly convoluted to me.

There’s a lot I like about Dorico, but some of the note-input choices are really not that friendly in my opinion!

I recommend you set up key commands for changing the grid spacing. A lot of us use ctrl-4 to change the grid to semis and ctrl-5 for crotchets and so on.

You will find that a lot of ‘best’ key combinations are context specific. In your example above, I would want to know what comes before, after, and in other parts before knowing which approach to use.

Good tip, have set up some grid resolution shortcuts as suggested.

Another annoying thing about ‘Q’ is that by default, when you put in a note, it advances the input carat along the grid, and if you hit Q after inputting the first note, then then have to back track to the right position, even though the note is still selected.

When composing directly to Dorico, this seems to be one of those points of UI friction really begin to ruin your flow. Maybe it’s just me, but I just wish there was an alternative option one could select. Then those that like Q can use it, and those that don’t can use something else…

It’s perhaps only annoying because you forgot to hit Q first! If that happens, it’s often quicker to use shift-I to enter the chord instead of Q.

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Pitch before duration could be your friend:
(K,) Q, D, +, F, 7, T, 5

The lack of a “whole note” duration for measures of 5 or 7 doesn’t bother me as much as a lack of a full three-beat “whole note” in compound triple meter. At least in 5/8, it’s helpful to see the division of 2+3 or 3+2. But in 9/8 we really don’t need a 1+1+1 visual, and in fact we usually end up with 2+1, which is senseless.

Here’s a tip if you want to add an entire line of additional notes to a phrase.

Q + L

Q, to enter Chord mode, and L to keep the durations of the existing notes. Enter as many notes as you like on each note, and press SPACE to move to the next one.


Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t it be possible to record a macro for each interval and then map them to a desired key command? That could make it possible for a shift+3 shortcut