Request: possibility to change duration/tie/dynamics/etc after note input, while in entry mode

Hello all,

I’ve been using Dorico for some months now, and I recently changed the preference “Specify accidental, rhythm dot and articulations” to “After inputting note”.
I really like this option because it allows me not only to think things one thing at a time, but also because it allows me to correct them after input, like if I forgot a rhythm dot, or if I put a wrong accidental, or just to play around with articulations before moving on to the next note.

One mistake I frequently make is to input a wrong note duration, which can be a pain to correct (I’ve seen in the forum other users mentioning the same). Presently, to correct it the fastest way I must:

  1. undo;
  2. enter the correct note duration;
  3. reenter again the same note.

Three steps isn’t that much, I admit, except when it needs to be replicated multiple times (comming from Sibelius, I frequently press 4 instead of 5 for selecting an eight note, for example).
(The Shift-Option-Right/Left Arrow method requires even more steps if I first need to change the rhythmic grid, and if I change a short duration to a long one, for instance after pressing 4 instead of 7, which is not an improbable thing to happen in a numeric keypad.)

To speed things up, it would be great if there was a way to change the duration (and why not many other things?) imediately after an added note without leaving entry mode (while the note is selected). If you can change the last note to a different spelling in entry mode, why can’t you also change other things?
Having already a “Set Note Duration” command in the Key Commands preferences, why not add a “Change Note Duration” command? Or something like “Add Backwards Tie”?

I can think of a modifier key, say “Control” in Mac (which is not that much used), to redo (and un-redo) things.
Want to change the duration of the last note to an eight note?: press Ctrl-5
Forgot to add a tie in the previous note?: press Ctrl-T
Forgot to start a slur in the previous note?: press Ctrl-S
Prefer to change piano to mezzo-piano?: press Ctrl-Shift-D mp
etc etc

It would require only one step to correct mistakes, and would be great to experiment with different durations/dynamics/etc before moving on to the next note.

Can I ask the Dorico team to please consider implementing these options in the future?

Thank you!

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What do one do if one makes a spelling mistake in a word processor? One probably uses the arrow keys to back up and make the correction. The same is possible in Dorico: one can use the left arrow key to back up and reenter the proper note withe the proper duration.

That is not to say that some correction key-combinations might not be desirable or forthcoming in the future. The question is how much programming time the Development Team should spend on that rather than moving forward with new features just to make up for indecision or inattention during note entry.

I’m aware that very simple things for the user could be very complex to a developer to implement. This can be the case, I don’t know. But it could also be a simple thing.
For me, and I suspect for a lot of people, the possibility of changing a note duration (or adding no matter what) during input in one simple step would be a precious time saver.

Dorico doesn’t tie from a note, but rather ties to a note or notes. The majority of the time these are exactly the same, but there is a difference. You never forget to add a tie to the previous note as you enter it before the subsequent note. I think Dorico’s way is superior to Finale for example because it makes things like this really easy.

To do the above I only input a single tie, right before entering the CEGB chord. I didn’t tie from any of the other notes, only tied to the C major 7 chord.

I still second the OP’s motion… :wink:


Just pointing out a lot of these shortcuts already exist for other commands. Ctrl+S is obviously Save, I have Ctrl+T to toggle layout transposition but I think it was originally New Tab or something, etc. It would be a major conceptual redesign to have Ctrl+something mean applied to the previous note. Even Ctrl+Shift+something would have a lot of conflicts as Ctrl+Shift+S is Save As, Ctrl+Shift+T is New Window (unless I changed that), etc. … I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, but it would be a major reconceptualizing of how Dorico’s basic shortcuts work.

FredGUnn, I imagine you are in Windows. When I say “Ctrl” I mean it on the Mac, which in this case doesn’t pose any command conflict (I don’t know what name that key is called in Windows). Sorry if I wasn’t clear.

Anyway, it’s just a command key suggestion, and anyone should be free to choose what would be more convenient to him/her. But for that to happen there should exist a “Change Note Duration/Dynamic/Tie/etc in Entry Mode” command available in Dorico.

Yes and no, Todd. Macs benefit from one more modifier key than Windows, and that additional modifier key happens to be described as Control. All of the shortcuts that use Ctrl on Windows use Cmd on Mac, leaving the Mac Control key free. (That said I’d rather Control on Mac wasn’t used by a bunch of factory shortcuts, seeing as I already have muscle memory for six years worth of custom shortcuts that use that key.)

Also everyone please notice how Leo follows the spelling convention and writes out “Control” in full for Mac to distinguish it from “Ctrl” on Windows.

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Ah, got it, yep I’m on Windows here.

To anyone who might be interested, I managed to make some simple scripts that change the duration of the last note entered in Entry mode (it works for now, although I would very much prefer that there was a solid native “Change note duration/crochet etc” command in Preferences/Key Commands/Note Input).

This one changes the last entered note to a crochet (you can then duplicate the script and change the “kQuaver” variable to any other duration: kHemiDemiSemiQuaver kDemiSemiQuaver kSemiQuaver kQuaver kCrotchet kMinim kSemibreve):

local app=DoApp.DoApp()

And this makes a “retrospective” tie:

local app=DoApp.DoApp()

You could then use a third party tool (presently it’s not possible to set a script shortcut in Dorico) to choose your key commands to trigger them (in my case I chose: Control-5 / Control-T (mac nomenclature)).

(For some strange reason, the script menu sorts the custom scripts names in an aleatory order…)

What is deficient about using shift-alt-left/right to shorten/lengthen notes just entered?

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In entry mode, with the rhythmic grid set to eigth note, if you want to change a just inputed half note to a sixteenth note, how do you do it in one step? I’m relatively new to Dorico, so do please enlighten me.

You can’t do it one step with the grid set to eighth notes, to the best of my knowledge.

As @DanielMuzMurray says, that would be a 2-step process. However, you will soon get used to choosing the best grid spacing for your particular work and skilled at changing it with alt-] or alt-[ on-the-fly as needed. (May I humbly suggest it is better for you to learn Dorico before messing about with scripts…?)


The thing is, it’s not exactly a 2-step process. In the example I gave, using the shorten/lengthen method (and assuming you’re concentrated enough to not make mistakes in the run), you must do this:
shift-alt-left thrice;
alt-] twice;
and again shift-alt-left;
A 6-step process!
alt-] twice;
shift-alt-left 7 times;
(And if you want to go back to the previous rhythmic grid, an 11-step one…)

My feature request was to simply add some option to do it in just one step (as you can do it now if you’re not in entry mode, with the note as well selected, by simply typing “4”).
Actually, the Dorico preference “Note input”: “Specify accidental, rhythm dot and articulations” “After inputting note” is also a sort of “retrospective” mode, where you can do, undo, and redo things in an error-proof way, opposed to the default “forward” mode, where you can’t redo things easily.

Being that Dorico pre-selects per default the quarter note when entering entry mode (why it can’t remember my last chosing is beyond me), if I’m working essencially with sixteenth notes, I’ll for sure forget sometimes that pre-selected quarter note and will do a lot of mistakes.

I agree that we should abstain from using scripts, but for the time being this one can do what I wished in one quick step (it just replicate a sequence of simple key commands). In my machine, it has been working fairly well.

So you want a quicker way? Oops, I entered the wrong duration note… perhaps I should press ctrl-z… and try again?
If you do happen to enter a bunch of crotchets instead of semiquavers by mistake… just use Insert mode to change them all at once (select notes, I, 4, I - the final I just to turn off insert mode!)

By all means play with your scripts - but I guess by next month you will have a list of about 50 or so to sort through to find the one you want to invoke…

You are expending a huge amount of effort trying to re-engineer something that I am sure the Dorico team spent many months thinking about. Would your time not be better spent writing music?

I understand your point of view, and I thank you for your suggestions, as well the time spent discussing this matters.
But is my request (and of others, I’m sure) such an unreasonable thing to ask? Is Dorico that perfect and user-friendly? Aren’t the Dorico team always improving it (like the mentioned Insert mode in 4.0, among “minor” improvements) to become little by little what it is, that is, an incredible piece of software – which is supposed to make life easier for us all?
As I said, I have assigned shortcuts for my scripts (I took, what?, an hour making them), which take me a fraction of a second to invoke. I’d just prefer a “native” solution.

@emar , I don’t know if you use a numpad or not, but I rarely use the “official” shortcuts above for grid duration, as I’ve programmed Ctrl+numpad number to change the grid. Numpad 5 inputs an eighth, so I have Ctrl+numpad 5 set to change the grid to an eighth. The ability to program 2-step keycommands makes changing to a dotted resolution easy too. I prefer switching to exactly the resolution that I want rather than changing up or down, so perhaps that would be an option to skip a few keystrokes too.

I don’t understand this “2-step” keycommands. Can you explain me what exactly it is?