Sharing my pain points as a new user


Here are a few things I found very frustrating:

Here, I’m trying to select the bottom row of notes, but very often it will expand selection in an unexpected way:
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Adding a tuplet:
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Adding a new bar:
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The forum platform won’t accept mov files and won’t allow me to post links for some reason, but I have no other way of presenting this to you.

  1. Don’t try to click each note. With those chords, you could drag a selection around the lower notes. Or select the whole bar, and use Edit > Filter > Notes in Chords > Bottom Notes.
    If you click on the stem, you’ll select the whole chord.

  2. Not quite clear what the problem is. The easiest way is to select the tuplet BEFORE you enter the notes inside it. Choose the duration, e.g. quavers/eighth notes; then enter the Popover, type 3:2, and you’ll get a tuplet of 3 quavers in the time of 2. You can then enter the notes, which may even start with a crotchet/quarter.

One other thing: generally, you don’t need to enter rests. Use the duration grid to skip over the gaps, and Dorico will fill in the rests. “Mouse Entry” is also generally quite slow and can be imprecise, compared to using the keyboard (QWERTY or MIDI).

  1. You seem to be trying to add bars without a time sig. Dorico warns you of that. Just select the rest, and type Shift M, then 4/4. Then do something like Shift B, 50.
    Dorico will keep adding bars as you enter notes, but I like to add too many, and then use “Trim Flow” to remove extra bars when I’m finished.

Just to add to ben’s point - if you’re using Dorico 4 just type “J” then start to write “filter bottom notes” and you should see the command pop up - makes this process a lot quicker. You can also set a key command if you use it a lot (like I do)

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Thank you for your suggestions.

If I try to drag select and click inside the staff it will select the whole measure instead of doing the rectangle selection. This is an issue for notes in the middle of the staff. That is why I found it easier to just click them. But it expands the selection in unexpected ways. I’m not sure if I’m doing something wrong, or if it’s a bug.

I’m really having a hard time understanding how this works. The documentation here:
h ttps://
states the following (generalized): N tuplet notes to fill the the duration of M regular notes (q/e/x). If so, then 3:1q = 3:2e = 3:4x, but the result is different for each. I just can’t figure it out, and it’s always a lengthy trial and error to insert a tuplet. I can’t see what I’m missing.

Thank you, I’ll do that

Three quarter-notes in the space of 1 is a different thing from 3 eighth-notes in the space of 2 eighth-notes. Three sixteenths in the space of 4 sixteenths is also a different thing.

Screenshot 22

All of them take 1 quarter-note’s space, but they are different tuplets.

Perhaps it’s easiest for you give us an example of a specific tuplet that you want to create, and we can tell you the easiest way.

I would never deploy the first or last without being explicit on the ratio (3:1 and 3:4)!

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Excuse my ignorance, I’m no expert at notation. I thought that a quarter (4th) note can only contain a triplet of 8th (tuplet) notes, and a 6-tuplet of 16th (tuplet) notes, 12-tuplet of 32nd (tuplet) notes etc. I can’t see how a quarter note can be made of 3 quarter notes triplet. I thought it was divided mathematically. If I saw this in notation I wouldn’t know how to play it, how to interpret it rhythmically. But if notation is so loose, then I guess I just have to get used to it.

There are of course rules about which base duration is used for particular tuplets, but Dorico gives you the flexibility to enter any type.

If you don’t want a tuplet of 3 quarters in the space of 1 – don’t ask for it!

So, again, I say: tell us which tuplet you want to write, and we’ll tell you the best way to write it!

I think you’re misinterpreting things here. You can have any kind of tuplet that any composer’s mind could think about… but it would be useless if it’s not correctly engraved, meaning you must specify on a tuplet the ratio and values, if we’re not talking about usual tuplets.

Hence my comment above. There is a property (in the properties section at the bottom of the screen) to show tuplets in different ways, one of which is to be explicit about the mathematical ratio. Musically, all the following examples will play exactly the same!

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You can actually change the file ending from .mov to .mp4 - and make the forum-software accept the video files.
example: → selection.mp4

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Thank you, I think I understand it now. It’s not about math, it’s about the visual style.

For anyone else confused, here’s how I understand it:

Rhythmical interpretation: given a tuplet, take a note out of it and remember it’s value/length as if it were a regular note outside of a tuplet (that’s a quarter in the first example above). Now, multiply that value/length with the second number to get the total length to fill. Finally, when playing, divide the total length by the first number.

To enter a tuplet: decide on the length to fill (a quarter, for example) and a type of the tuple (3, that’s the first number). Decide how you want the tuplet notes to look like (let’s pick 8ths, and that’s also gives the dorico note specifier “e”). There are 2 8ths in a quarter (fill length) so the second number is 2. Finally, the ratio is “3:2” (drawing 8th notes), and dorico code “3:2 e”.

Super confusing. I played some piano music, but don’t remember ever seeing tuplets being notated in these alternative ways. An 8th note triplet always fills a quarter. It seems it isn’t decided on how to uniquely represent tuples. Learned something new today. Thanks.

Composers can get quite creative with tuplets…

(Sorabje: Opusculum for Orchestra (extract))

Thankfully Dorico copes with all these without complaint!


To be honest: I never enter the ‘letter’ in the popover. If you just type ; 3:2, then Dorico will use the value of the currently selected note duration.

In fact, Dorico 4 now has a dedicated 3:2 button in the left hand tool bar (amongst other common tuplet ratios), so it’s a simple as choosing the duration (eights), and then pressing the 3:2 button.

I think you’re over-thinking it. The most common instances are 3:2 tuplets (and 2:3 duplets in compound times). Just choose the note duration that the tuplet uses for its ratio, and create a tuplet.

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yes, I was looking for an example like this one, too…

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Ah, Ferneyhough. Continually mentioned on Engraving forums; but never on a concert programme… :grin:


And yet reportedly the highest paid academic composer there is…

Edit: come to think of it, the last time I saw him was at a premiere of one of his pieces. It’s true not a lot is performed (not many performers can or are willing to put in the work!) but there are some notable exceptions.