Note input shortcuts

How can I change the note input shortcuts? So C D E F G A B become D F G H J K L.
I can transcribe in real time in Finale using arrow up/down and number keys for note length.
I’m 30 times slower in Dorico and it doesn’t seem like just an issue of getting used to it.

Also, can I octave up and down before I input the note. It’s a clunk to see the wrong one and then move it.

I think a good general principle should be that I never have to hear or see the wrong thing first, on input. It breaks flow.

Hi Steve.

I get the feeling you have not been reading much the forum before asking the forum. That’s ok for me, but I wish some valuable people from Dorico’s team who are working really hard on making this piece of software even better do not waste too much time answering those topics already handled in the forum for some weeks now.
If you want to input a note an octave higher than what would come automatically, press alt-shift-note. If you want to output one octave lower, press ctrl-note (mac)
I’m really happy to help, so don’t get me wrong for the first words of this post :wink:

Hi Marc,
I have been searching the forum and the ‘help’. What I’m asking (badly) is slightly different - basically for octave up/down shortcuts rather than relative ones, so that I get notes in ‘middle range’ without a modifier, 8ve with a modifier etc.
I know that the Dorico staff are working hard on this, but I also think that (at this stage of development) it’s worth a few ‘me too’ or alternative workflow posts.
Of course, I’ve also missed a few idiot things…

Sorry Steve, I did not understand you at first !
I’ve read in a previous thread that octave selectors (as well as other choices, like rythmic values or accents) were in the pipeline, with MIDI input (some octaves in the keyboard would be used for this kind of change that would affect the notes you input with the other octaves).
To change input shortcuts, I guess you already have tried the function that goes with the preferences ?

The best general answer is probably “learn to touch type” which will make everything quicker in the long term, not just Dorico note entry.

At least on an English language keyboard, the A-G keys are all in the left half of the keyboard. With the left hand typing the notes and the right hand on the numeric keypad for durations, and also for accidentals etc, entering monophonic lines into Dorico can definitely be “faster than real time” so long as you switch off “play notes as you enter”, otherwise the playback latency might slow you down.

I agree that using your “arrow key” method is about the quickest way to do note entry with the computer keyboard in Finale, but it’s still very slow compared with almost any other notation program I’ve used.

Marc, yes AFAICS, they’re not possible to change in the preferences shortcuts.
Rob, yes I can type. I don’t like the random layout of ABCDEFG on the keyboard and I really don’t like pushing ‘E’ when I mean ‘Eb’. Assuming that ABCDEFG are really shortcuts, it may be easy to allow changing them.
If this was the Sibelius or Finale forum I wouldn’t waste time asking about fundamental alternatives, but Dorico is still in development and the team is clearly responsive and thinking creatively.
I massively appreciate the help from you both!

I guess different people prefer different options. I’m a keyboard player, but I find most attempts to map a musical keyboard onto a computer keyboard are to error prone. On the other hand I don’t have any problems “playing notes” accurately as fast as I like on the A-G keys. Maybe being left handed helps.

But the Finale method of “hit a duration number to enter a note and then pitch it with the arrow keys” is just “the least bad option that Finale have managed to invent in 20+ years”, not “a good option”, IMO.

To be fair… huh? Who enters notes this way in Finale? At this point, entering notes is, at least using MIDI, in both programs on a par.

I do a lot of work without a midi keyboard, especially whilst on the road. But Finale’s method is the opposite. Pitch with arrow keys, then hit duration to enter. If I’m copying from a printed or written score, I might enter dozens of bars without even looking at the screen. At the moment with Dorico, I can’t enter a note without looking…

I think there are a few things going on here:

  1. Dorico does have the ability to lay the note input keys out in a piano key arrangement, but you can’t currently set this up from the Key Commands editor. I could provide a key commands file that you could drop into your user data folder that would define these shortcuts, so that A = C, W = C#, S = D, E = Eb, D = E, F = F, etc.

  2. You can’t currently change the shortcuts used for pitching notes up and down to be just plain arrows rather than Alt+arrow, but this will be addressed soon (though possibly, unfortunately, not in the 1.0.20 update, but if not then shortly thereafter).

  3. You can specify the octave of the next note to be input by typing Shift+Alt+note name (e.g. Shift+Alt+A or whatever) for the octave above the currently selected note, or Ctrl+Alt+note name on Windows, or just plain Ctrl+note name (not Command) on Mac, for the octave below the currently selected note.

I’d like to try that input arrangement. Would I need a default file to revert?

Is it possible to have a ‘parenthesise’ shortcut. I’ve searched for a way to do it, so sorry if it is obvious somewhere.

Yes please! Thank you.

Download the attached file and unzip it: (3.4 KB)
It contains a single file, keycommands_en.json. Place this in %APPDATA%\Steinberg\Dorico (Windows) or /Users/your-user-name/Library/Application Support/Dorico on Mac. If you have your own custom key commands set up already, be sure not to overwrite the keycommands.json file that’s already in there, but you will need to move it aside so that only one .json file is found in that folder.

Once you restart Dorico, it should load the new .json file, at which point you should find A = C, W = C#, etc., up to J = B. All of the other key commands are set to their defaults.

And for the german version of Dorico? Does a rename of keycommands_en.json to keycommands_de.json do the job?

Yes, probably close enough, though some of the other shortcuts are different.

The accidentals here seem to ignore key signature (In Ab, the ‘w’ key inputs a C#).
Is there any way to solve this?

Unfortunately not with this somewhat simplistic approach. It’s hard-coded to C#, Eb, F#, Ab, Bb at the moment. Hopefully Alt+= isn’t too much of an inconvenience.

Dear Daniel,

Ctrl+Alt+UP or DOWN (Octave up or down) doesn’t work anymore with this keycommands file.

And since Alt+= doesn’t work too ( like described in this thread: ) it’s impossible to use it… By the way, respelling by using the menue is also not possible. When I use the MIDI keyboard to input notes it’s no problem. But I guess you know that already.

Thank you for all the hard work.


I guess the problem on your system could be that you’re using a German keyboard layout, and the key commands file I uploaded was really only intended for an English keyboard layout. Sorry!