Pitch-before-duration issues

Basically I have two big issues with pitch-before-duration input. I am inputting accidentals before inputting notes and I am not using a MIDI keyboard.

The first one: Note auditioning.

For some reason, Dorico doesn’t actually play back the note it is about to enter on the stave.


  1. When entering B Natural, it first correctly plays back the ghost note as B Natural. (Also, it would be really-really useful to see the ghost accidental)

  2. In the first bar it, of course, stays as a B Natural and Dorico correctly plays it back as B Natural.

  3. In the second bar, however, it changes it back to B Flat (as it should), but Dorico still will play it back as B Natural. This is wrong.

The second issue, and that is a very infuriating one - chord mode.

Actually, it’s not even chord mode, it’s just Dorico’s way of carrying over accidentals to the note you are about to enter from the previous note.


  1. I press “G” to create a ghost G Natural.

  2. I press B to switch the ghost note to B flat, as indicated by the key signature.

Result - I’m about to enter B Natural, because Dorico carried over the Natural from G to B.

Using chord mode (the thing on Q) with pitch-before-duration, while specifying accidentals AFTER inputting notes is just plain impossible, because you just cannot control the accidentals.
(Small example:)

  1. Pressing “E G B D”

  2. Dorico enters some abomination. The expected behaviour would be “Eb - G - Bb - D”, like in the key signature.

Actually, this example even confirmed that I don’t fully understand, how Dorico handles accidentals. I expected it to enter “Eb - Gb - Bb - Db”, because the Db carries over from Bb, but I guess something went wrong?! Basically, I would be really thankful if someone explained that to me.

In that mode, when you specify accidentals before inputting notes, you are unable to change accidentals before actually inputting the chord. And as a result of Dorico highlighting the whole chord on input, when you have to fix the (wrong) accidentals, that it decided to apply, you have to leave note input mode and go note-by-note. That is very slow, and I would even say unusable. That made me switch to specifying accidentals before inputting notes. Even with that mode I have to somehow expect the accidental that Dorico is about to put and cancel it out using my accidental keys. Which is still slow, but at least semi-useable.

The fix for pitch-before-duration chord input:

  1. Make Dorico stick to the key signature and accidentals already added in the same bar by default. So that means no carrying over accidentals from previous notes.

  2. Let us change accidentals when inputting ghost notes in accidental-after-input mode. Please.

  3. Fix the playback when carrying ghost notes over barlines.

  4. Maybe put a visual indication (a ghost accidental) on what accidental you are about to enter.

I am very sorry if I sound rude, these problems have been bugging me for over a year now. And my English is not very great. Even with these problems, I’ve never had so much fun using the notation software after switching from Finale. Really hope this gets fixed.

I think your main confusion is how long accidentals are active for inputting notes:

If you are in the key of E flat and hit e b or a they will automatically be altered. So far so good.
But if you activate the flat accidental it will only be activated for the next note you play. If you repeat that note within the same bar it will stay altered. As soon as you reach the next bar, you have to activate the accidental again.
So in the case of chords you have to activate the flat accidental before entering every single note that’s altered.

So basically after doing even more testing I’ve realized, that the “accidental carrying over” rule applies differently depending on how you start the chord input.

For the test I’ve shown in the original post I entered the chord as I usually do:

  1. I enter Note Input mode
  2. I get the “root” note (without chord mode activated)
  3. I activate chord mode by pressing Q
  4. I enter all the other notes

With that input sequence Dorico indeed “carries over” the accidental from Eb to Gb.

But if I try to input the same chord while activating Chord Mode before entering the root note, I get the correct result: Eb - G - B - D.

That is exactly why this confused me so much, I have no idea why the order of activating chord mode should matter for accidentals, but here we go.

I really hope that is a bug that will get fixed (and not intended behaviour), because I cannot imagine a situation, where that is useful.

Hi there,

I don’t get this - here’s what I’ve done, copying you above:

  • shift N (note entry)
  • K (pitch before duration)
  • -(flat), E (Eb)
  • (Q) chord mode
  • G, B, D
  • 6 (crotchet)
    The result is a chord with Eb, G, Bb and D (I emulated your key signature)

to get your chord using pitch before duration, I do this:

  • Shift N (note entry)
  • K (pitch before duration)
  • Q (chord entry)
  • E, -G (Gb), B D
  • 6 (crotchet)

et voila, your chord. In pitch before duration, you specify the accidental before the note. you would like. If you specify another pitch, you need to specify the accidental again. In chord mode, these pitches are committed straight away (although not onto paper until you press a duration), and you need to specify the accidental again for the next note.

I think you’re right about the B natural - Bb though. If you specify B natural and keep pressing the same duration without changing the pitch, then you should continue to get B naturals and this behaviour isn’t consistent. It could be a bug, or just not thought through. B natural also keeps playing, which is clearly wrong.


Are you on D4 or D3.5? I’m still on 3.5 but looking at the version history I think this behaviour might have changed?

I’ve tested both on Dorico 3.5 and 4.0.10 and I have no idea why that works differently for me. I am copying your inputs:

  1. Eb major key signature
  2. Pitch before duration (tested with both accidental BEFORE and AFTER input - the result is the same)
  3. Shift + N
  4. Press “E”, so the root note Eb appears (The result is the same if I press “-” first, because the Eb still appears, and, consequently, the flat carries over to G)
  5. Enter chord mode with Q
  6. Press “G” “B” “D”

Result is Eb-Gb-Bb-D

Basically the flat in the left panel stays activated after the Eb and carries over to G.

The only way to get Eb-G-Bb-D (without manually entering every accidental “flat E natural G flat B natural D”) is to enter chord mode BEFORE pressing E to create the root note.

Nope - 4.010 here

Okay, I can reproduce this. That is indeed weird behavior… It can also be reproduced with other notes.

Make sure chord mode is off:

  1. Eb major key signature
  2. Press “K”
  3. Shift + N
  4. Press “C”
  5. Enter chord mode with Q
  6. Press “E”, “G”, “B”

Result is C-E-G-Bb. E natural should be E-flat.

I can reproduce it as well. But, if I enter Chord mode before entering the first note (C), it works correctly.

  1. Why are you pressing ‘-’ at all? There is no need, unless you want to enter a note ‘out of scale’ (like a Gb!)
  2. if you are entering chords toggle the Q switch before you start and just leave it there. No strange behaviours!

There is no difference between pressing “-” and not pressing, the result is the same. I’ve just tested both scenarios, because sometimes there are weird inconsistencies.

Sometimes it’s not possible to stay in chord mode.

There is a jump of more than an octave, so I’m forced to leave chord mode and jump above.

I just really hope this “bug report” gets noticed and fixed as soon as possible.

I can confirm this behaviour, and that we’ll take a look at it in due course. Thanks for reporting it.