Spelling decisions while recording via midi

Hi! I’m recording notes via midi in E minor, and almost all accidentals are being entered as flats. Sometimes notes are spelled as A flat, then G sharp within the same measure. Is there a way to adjust how these decisions are made?


Do you definitely have an E minor key signature? If not, it would be worth adding one. Dorico does know the difference between major and minor key signatures, and will act accordingly, though A flats would be pretty distant even in E minor’s relative major, so I wonder whether you actually have an open key and are somehow have fooled Dorico to thinking you’re in another key altogether?

I do have an E minor key signature.

Are you recording in real-time or using step-time input? Can you attach an example of the kinds of spellings you are receiving? If you start an empty new project with an E minor key signature and input the same notes there, do you see the same spellings? If so, can you attach that new project here?

Thank you! I’m recording in real-time. Here is a new project I opened with E minor key sig. Same result.

Also, I have been unable to record onto two adjacent staves for a while now. It was working before, but now when I select two adjacent staves(made sure caret is extended across both as well) and play two notes at a time, both gets only written onto the top stave. Did I turn this feature off somehow?
spellng example.dorico (467.1 KB)

Thanks for sending through your example. The material you’ve shared is harmonically reasonably abiguous, I hope you would agree. If Dorico doesn’t think that the music you’ve played matches the prevailing key signature, it will instead choose accidentals that it thinks matches more closely the actual key centre, and I don’t think the choices it’s making are unreasonable, really. Once Dorico thinks you’re in an A flat kind of a world, then it will keep spelling things that way, though as you see at the end of bar 2 it starts to think of a V-i into a G minor kind of sound. In any case, having a lot of the raised third (G#) when you’ve got a key signature of E minor is certainly going to throw Dorico off the scent!

Bad enharmonic spelling makes these pitches much harder to read, but it’s actually quite clear and simple to the ear. You’ve just got the wrong key signature. That combined with the chromaticism, I don’t blame Dorico for spelling this single line badly.

Here’s how it sounds to me, with proper enharmonic spelling, clearly in E major, as simple as Mozart or Rossini:

I agree! It is ambiguous in this case. The example is from Carmen, which goes between E min and E major without key sig. change. In my experience so far, spelling in these kinds of passages has been often problematic with lots of both flats and sharps mixed. And with fixing the spelling, real time recording has ended up taking more time than manual input.

In this example, I would choose “sharps only” or “same as key signature” if possible, and the result would be perfect. If I was in a key sig with flats, my choice would be flats. When it’s consistent, it is easier to make large selections and respell all at once.

In short, my feature request: customizable spelling algorithm :slight_smile:

This is the sort of case where I like to use a temporary key sig while copying. When you’ve got the notes in, you can delete the extra key sig, and all the notes are still spelled correctly.

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I tried this too. Even when I switch to E major though, I end up with loads of Ab, Gb, Db…

I actually tried re-entering the notes myself with an E major key sig before posting my example. I knew I would have to correct the first note, but once I did that, all the rest went right with the sole exception of the A♯ which came out as B♭ (which I think is to be expected without harmonic context).

The lesson here is that Dorico understands context for enharmonic choices, so if you’re starting a line on ♯5, you’ll have to ensure it gets written correctly. (By the way, there have been tons of complaints over the decades about Finale and Sibelius defaulting to ♯5 rather than ♭6 in midi entry.)

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Have you explored the Edit>Filter>Notes by pitch… tool, followed by applying enharmonic changes (Alt-/Alt=)? It’s really very flexible and quick.


I did! I love this tool and have been using it a lot. I use it so often that I wish there was a quicker way to add notes, such as playing the midi notes or typing on the keyboard once popup is open. Clicking to select each note, accidental, de-select octave(in most cases) and click add… makes this take a bit longer than it could have.

If you want to respell all flat notes within a passage as sharps, it’s probably quicker to Filter Flat Notes, then respell to note name below. Or Filter Sharp Notes then respell to note name above to do the opposite.