Sounding chords in Write mode

In Sibelius, I’m used to being able to hear all the notes of a chord when I replay it after moving the playhead back before it by a bar or even a single note, then advancing in the score using the right arrow key (etc).

Is there a way in Dorico 1.1 to hear all the notes in a chord at the same time in Write Mode when moving forwards (or backwards) ‘manually’, please?


No, there is not: only the notes that are selected are auditioned. When you have one note of a chord selected, try Shift+up/down arrow to select all of the other notes in the chord.

Thanks, Daniel - I can select (Shift + Up/Down arrow), Yes. But then moving away deselects them for playback.

Is that something that could be added to the wishlist, please?

I will definitely think about it, but I’m not making any promises.

Of course, Daniel! Thanks.

One way I’ve just found is to do as you suggest - and select all the chord’s notes; then (while they’re still selected) audition the chord by actually moving it (all) up or down by the default interval (Alt + Up/Down arrow).

All three notes sound. When happy, put (back) to (old or) new pitches.


Dear MarkSealey, you are not alone. I would be very happy to be able to choose such option to play ALL the notes in chord as well. It is very useful, while editing, checking for mistakes etc, “playing” some particular voice just by selecting a note and clicking left or right arrows…Thank you Daniel that you at least consider adding such option…

Dorico has gotten a lot better with the 1.1, but ‘sounding chords’ are among the things that I miss the most. Not only when transposing one not inside a chord (where it would be great to have an optional mode a la Sibelius, where this edited note will be heard along with all the other chord notes), but also when auditioning a chord progression by going left or right with a key command - in this context, hearing all the notes in the next/previous chord would be extremely helpful, because that’s how things when work when I compose at the piano.

Thanks for your endorsements, FlowerPower and mipi!

I suspect that this is another of those cases where some composers - for whatever reason - are (as yet?!) unable to ‘hear’ what they wrote and need constant audio feedback.

That’s my case, for sure.

Beethoven would obviously have needed no such feature.

(Or am I over-simplifying?)

There was so much latency between note input and playback in the early version(s) of Dorico that I just switched audio off when entering notes.

So far, I haven’t bothered to switch it back on to see if it’s improved…

But then, my “favorite” serious notation tool before Dorico was Lilypond, which doesn’t do playback at all except for generating MIDI files. (I also have both Sibelius and Finale).


Doesn’t that mean that you are experienced and/or fortunate enough to be able actually to ‘hear’ the notes which you have just entered in your head?

I have little musical training - except as a listener for over 50 years. So I am lost without hearing back what I have just written.

Would you say that was a ‘weakness’; or something that may come in time?

Well, I started “composing” (for want of a better word!) about 50 years ago. Back then, there wasn’t any computer playback. If there wasn’t a piano available, just using a pencil and MS paper was the only option.

Personally I’m not at all convinced it’s hard to learn that skill. After all, you figured out how your native language worked by the age of about 3, with no formal tuition at all! But since computer playback is such an easy-to-use set of “training wheels,” people just don’t seem to bother to learn to get along without it these days.

Thanks, Rob!

Is it thus possible that - because you had to - you did effectively train yourself to ‘hear’ what you’d written?

Or was it ms paper, pencil - and piano (etc)?

If not, how would one set about ‘making’ the sound of the notes inside one’s head that way?

I can see how a chord (or note, of course, for that matter) just entered ought to be recallable.

Although even then - and I have a good ear - I can’t really hear it. Failing?

So if I decide to add/insert a small section after a chord which I want to step-play, and absolutely couldn’t hear, I’d probably copy it into a bar by itself 10 or so bars further on and have Dorico play it as normal - as a kind of reference; in the hopes that it would stay in my head while I wrote after the ‘original’ in-place chord.

That’d be a long way round, though, wouldn’t it?

Hi Mark,
Your experience with writing music sounds like it might be similar to mine. After studying piano as a child and playing trombone in school bands, I sung in choirs for a good part of my adult life and have always had a significant interest in music. Now retired, for the past 4 or 5 years I have been studying at the local conservatory of music taking music theory and harmony lessons and writing some of my own music. My studies have helped me become much better at identifying musical intervals and chords, writing melodies that will work well with accompanying chords and appreciating how to write music that has a good sense of forward motion and structure. I am not able to read complex music and hear it in my mind the way some can, but can nevertheless “hear” most melodies and straightforward harmonies, write music that I feel proud of, and continue to make satisfying progress. For me, at least, I am confident that I would not have advanced to the same level without instruction. I don’t assume that the same route will necessarily be useful to you but hope that my experience with related objectives might be useful. Regardless, I wish you the best of luck in getting to where you want to be in musical terms!

How kind of you, Mike, to write so encouragingly!

(Yes, I did minimal piano as a child. I have listened … it seems like for hours daily… to music for 50 years. But no formal other training than what I learn working in Sibelius and now Dorico - and Logic before that.)

I am so determined with this that, if I need to do formal music theory, I shall invest in something like this; in addition to the many books on musical theory which I own and either have read, or am preparing to read.

I sense that you’re really advising that there’s no substitute for training in the theory of harmony and melody?

And that they ought to accustom me somehow to know how any given collection of notes will sound?

Am I right?

I confess, it seems hard to imagine it. But I’ll… stop at nothing for this! :slight_smile:

Thanks again!

I don’t really know how I learned it - apart from the usual “aural test” component of the ABRSM practical music exams.

Of course the ABRSM theory exams still have to be done with just pencil and paper. They include 4-part harmony, and it’s not just a matter of “learning lots of rules” and carefully applying them - you have to be able to look at the given part and identify modulations etc.

But it’s probably easier to start learning skills like this when you are 9 years old rather than 39 or 69 - especially if nobody puts you off by telling you it’s hard!


So right. I’m 65 :slight_smile:

Probably the best advice I could give is “just go for it”. Switch off your speakers and write a page of music, then listen to the whole page. Repeat till you improve!


Interesting. Thanks. What harm can it do!

(I’d still like to see chord-sounding implemented in Dorico, though :wink: )

I want to delete this duplicate post but don’t know how.