Smorzando, morendo, dolce... [whatever]

I’ve hunted for the answer to this and have found only two ways to write something OTHER than “cresc.” in the same type of font – things such as “smorzando, morendo, dolce…” you name it. Shift+D or Shift+T. However, if I type “smorzando” as a dynamic, nothing appears. If, on the other hand, I first put in ‘f’ for ‘forte,’ or ‘p’ for ‘piano,’ then I can add a beautiful “smorzando,” “dolce” or whatever, and it looks fine, as does “cresc.” HOWEVER: I don’t want to add an unnecessary or incorrect dynamic marking in order to type in an indication. My other choice is Shift+T, but that forces me to use bold font, such as a major tempo marking, e.g., “Allegretto,” or “Lento molto,” etc. Is there not an easy way to type in something other than “cresc.” or “dim.”??? Serious composers need to add a lot more things to their scores than a few common indicators. PLEASE HELP…

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I have made a Paragraph Style called Expression that looks identical to Dynamic Text, and is invoked with Cmd-Shift-X. Of course this text has no bearing on playback whatsoever.


There is a property to “Hide Intensity Marking”, leaving the prefix/suffix text.


But as @hrnbouma does, I also have created an Expression Paragraph Style, and assigned a key shortcut to it. (Shift E, in my case.)


Thank you – I keep attempting to move from Sibelius to Dorico and have had a time making it work! I finally decided, come what may, I need to make the switch but these kinds of hurdles always end all hope. I was able to create a new Paragraph Style, regular but italicized font, which I called Expressions. [Honestly, Dorico should not make users “create” the ability to write simple things like this into music – nobody can enter a part or existing score of ANY music, be it Bach, Beethoven or Corelli without needing to put indications like this into the music – and we are expected to “create” this ability?] …Anyway, I am stuck at the step of how to apply a keyboard shortcut in order to use it. Instructions tell me how, but when I choose options it won’t take me beyond being able to create a keyboard shortcut to reach “Paragraph Style…” Furthermore, let’s say I don’t need to create a keyboard shortcut for the moment, but am willing to dig into “library” then “Paragraph Style…” then find my new “Expressions” style that I’ve created… I don’t know how to open up that Paragraph Style now and use it. Once you’ve chosen a “Paragraph Style” how do you access and use it? Sorry to have so many questions…

I agree. Like @hrnbouma, a separate expression style is one of the first things I added to Dorico. It feels cumbersome to have to input an arbitrary dynamic level to be able to add a suffix to it, and then make Dorico ignore the dynamic.

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You can only create a shortcut for a Paragraph Style that is Saved as a Default for all documents.

Perhaps it’s an oversight that there is no Expression style out of the box, but it’s hardly an obstacle of any significance.

If your problem is “I need to enter text in an Italic style”, then Paragraph Styles are the obvious solution.


I have so far made more use of “Hide Intensity Marking” for these kinds of markings, and I find the hidden dynamics are often useful for playback balance.

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Hey, Mark! Instinctively my very first thought was “I wonder if there is any way to hide this ‘forte’…” I read your comment and liked it, but it went a little over my head – how to do it – so I tried the "create an expressions [style]… using a key command [LIKE: Shift+D] first. It took just a LITTLE researching, but I was able to figure out what you meant now, and it is an easy solution. Trouble is, I’ve spent weeks – months – over time (I always have “urgent” projects that I have to “go back to Sibelius” to complete) trying to get started with Dorico again and, today, I had to teach myself again where the Dynamics properties panel was. So much to learn and try to remember… But, alas, this solution works! THANK YOU!!! (Still, “Shift+[something]” then simply typing in what you want to say would surely be more convenient – just saying…) Thanks again, Mark! I can now continue what I was doing until I hit the next wall. I love how helpful the Dorico community is and I thank you all for your ongoing patience.

Thank you, Mark! That totally works!

I hope I can finally figure out how to use Dorico. I absolutely love
what it can do, but find it mind-boggling. The concept, for example,
of being able to compile a symphony with four distinct movements –
keeping them together in one document (as it should be) is the kind of
thing that I love, but I still can’t figure out any of that. Also, the
concept of making, say, a piano reduction; or (to be preposterous) an
“oboe trio” version of some opera you’ve written and keep that as a
“version” of the project – I love all these amazing ideas – but I
can’t make heads or tails of how to do it. The video tutorials seem to
start virtually anywhere, then you can “take a class” so to speak,
about “how to manipulate time changes,” or whatever, but you never
really know “START HERE… FINISH HERE,”: now you’ve learned the
course. It’s more like, “If you want to know how to do this…” Well,
I just want to know how to do everything – period. Do you know if
there is a simple “start to finish” tutorial? I spent months going
through the manual (versions ago), but it, too, seems to work the same
way. “For more information about entering dotted notes, see this

I just want to know how to use the entire program, then use it.
Instinct tells me I would LOVE it if I only knew the whole program.

And I love the way, once you have a project completed, that the parts,
etc., do not need to be messed with – they are already ready to
print. Every Sibelius project I work on – constantly – is followed
by an equal time, after doing all the work, scooting everything around
with the mouse, virtually every dynamic marking, notes, etc., before
you have anything ready for publication.

Eventually, I will get it. I surely do appreciate your kind and
generous help with this question. Thank you for taking the time – I
really appreciate it. I actually have composition students who now use
the programs – have, indeed, written violin and viola concertos,
symphonies, tone poems and several film scores using Dorico, so I know
there is hope. They assure me that Dorico does the job, although there
are things they don’t care for, where they are “forced to do it
Dorico’s way” when they would like some flexibility. My feeling is
that Dorico is the program for me – if I can ever figure it out.
Anyway, thanks again, Mark.

Best wishes,

Kelly Richardson (LudwigVanBeethoven!)

Quoting Mark_Johnson via Steinberg Forums

Thanks, benwiggy – that makes sense. I was afraid to do anything that involved clicking the word “Default,” but I will give it a whirl.

Sounds true! …But I can’t seem to make it work. I added “Expressions” as a Paragraph Style, hit the only button I could find to make it “Default,” then followed all the information I could find on how to add a new keyboard shortcut, but I still get nowhere. I just feel like writing something like “play it as if you’ve had a lot of expensive lessons” (or, “dolce…”) beneath a passage ought to be doable without needing a workaround, i.e., adding and hiding a dynamic. The two items are unrelated – I miss the days when all I had to do was order score paper then write on it using a “music” fountain pen. :wink: It was SO much faster!

Stick with it! I’m certainly much faster (and tidier) than I ever could be with a pen!

Dorico is very consistent, and once you’ve learnt how a few things work, you’ll find that everything else works in the same way. And you can always ask here.


Is it possible in the creation of a paragraph style like “Expressions” to set the default position “below” only for this style without changing the others? Is it possible to make the same setting for “Avoid collisions”?

Starting out trying to enter a symphony is trying to take a huge bite out of the program all at once.

Have you discovered the First Steps tutorial to get started understanding the structure of the program? Other items from the Dorico Blog Resource Page may also be of use to you.

Then there is the “ten-thousand hours rule” :grimacing:

I’d say learning Dorico is somewhere between {one session with a getting started video} and {10,000 hours’ practice makes you a professional}. The program’s capabilities (and people’s use-cases) are so wide-ranging that I’d guess very few users learn all of it.

There’s lots of info on this forum about a large number of specific topics and issues if you search. We’re glad to help.


Thanks, benwiggy! …I think the best resource for Dorico are YOU people!!! I really appreciate your encouragement and help. I will stick with it. (Just hope you don’t mind the plethora of questions that will soon be coming…)

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Thanks, Mark – especially for the “glad to help” part! I did put (well over) the 10,000 hours on violin, piano (additional) and composition – I had hoped learning the new software program wasn’t considered a skill like unto the others. I did, incidentally, take the “First Steps” tutorial a few times. Projects keep making me quit, then I forget virtually everything. WITH YOUR HELP (all of you), I’ve decided not to quit this time – although admittedly I will have to keep doing my major projects (generally full orchestra-- and not small, I am frequently asked to orchestrate for “The Rite of Spring” and on 2-days notice). But I plan on working at least daily on some smaller project – ask a lot of questions – and familiarize myself with all the workings of Dorico until I can bravely make the switch. Thanks EVERYONE!!!

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Hey, kids! I really appreciate your encouraging me – I keep asking colleagues “are YOU finding Dorico to be better than Sibelius?” – getting mixed answers; MOST of the negative ones have MY problem, they just can’t learn how to use it. TODAY (just now) I discovered Shift+X, which allows one to add text to the page. WHO KNEW? …That probably could have answered my original question. It answers a lot of them. I am consistently creating some music for my grandson to play and using that as a daily way to keep on learning Dorico. Already, little step by little step, I am beginning to see the logic and superiority in the way things can be done using Dorico. I would say that the biggest problem with Dorico is its (seemingly!) very poor way of presenting the way to use the program. Today’s question sent me all over the forum looking for answers and I found years worth of people’s attempts to figure out the same thing. The only necessary skill for all the confused people in the various threads seemed to be ‘Shift+X’ in order to write text… INCIDENTALLY: when choosing ‘Shift+X’ I have to say that the flexibility Dorico immediately puts at your fingertips is amazing. I am very satisfied with the genius that has gone into this program. SOMEWHERE OUT THERE, there needs to be a Shakespeare to write up a better course to teach the program.

If you look in the Write menu, you’ll see that SHIFT something is how you add everything. And the initials are mostly memorable.

Note that Shift X adds Text to the selected Staff: there’s also System Text (SHIFT ALT X), which adds text to the system (e.g. it will appear on every part, and only on selected staves in the Score.)

Have you worked through the First Steps Guide, or sat down with a cup of something and watched Anthony Hughes’s helpful videos?


I suppose Ludwig would need to use subtitles. :upside_down_face:

(Pardon the dad joke)

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