Suggestion: include default text styles as paragraph styles

It would be really nice if the built-in font styles were available as paragraph styles, so when we need to create “Shift-X” text we had those styles easily available. It would be even more magical if they were “linked” to the Default Text Styles options, so when we updated our Dynamic Text Font in Engrave->Font Styles, the linked paragraph style updated. That way my (e.g.) Shift-X “(non dim.)” text object with “Dynamic” text style will always match the Shift-D “espressivo” in the next bar and with the Shift-X “lontano” in the following bar.

(Incidentally, I just figured out how to make a “(non dim.)” Shift-D dynamic, but it takes a lot of clicks to get there.)

I think this is really the wrong solution to the problem. I think the real solution would be to make it easier for you to enter a custom dynamic so that you don’t have to use a similar-looking paragraph style. I don’t consider the current behaviour of the dynamics popover absolutely set in stone: the problem is that something like “(non dim.)” is really not a dynamic, in as much as it is communicating the exact opposite thing to a dynamic.

The whole idea behind using semantic objects for things like dynamics and tempos is to avoid having to have bits of text lurking around that look like they are the same, but they’re not, yet the semantics of music are sufficiently messy that trying to design a framework to accommodate all of the things musicians write in their scores is no small task in itself.

Thanks for your reply, Daniel. I couldn’t agree more that it’s the wrong solution, it just seemed like a more reasonable request than asking you to re-think the way the technique and dynamic objects work. I love the idea behind your semantic objects, but there are literally thousands of possible markings; is the idea that the Dorico dictionary will contain all of them? I have a music dictionary with hundreds of expressive and technical markings in four languages; should I send you the PDF to add all of those? I can’t imagine that’s what you want to do. Conversely, it’s odd to think that before I type in a marking, I should have to wonder whether if it’s in Dorico’s dictionary, and if it isn’t, I would need to either fake the marking with a non-semantic object or open up a preference pane to add it to a list of techniques.

I know a ton of thought has been put into Dorico’s system, and I don’t mean to be annoying. But there is currently no way to easily input a marking like “espressivo” by itself without a kludgey system like the one I’m describing, right?.. I would love for this to be a semantic marking (it’s not a dynamic, but it’s obviously a musical marking, right?) but how do I do that? I mean, what is the Dorico equivalent of an Expression text object? It seems like there isn’t one. And complex scores have hundreds of these markings to deal with.

I guess in my ideal world (not that anybody’s asking me) anything I type into the dynamic popover would become a dynamic (i.e., Italic type), and anything in the technique popover would become a technique (Roman). No second-guessing, no adding things to a dictionary, just… though I’m supremely impressed with the algorithms of the program and its future promise, I want to be a power user. Treat it all semantically, but don’t get in the way.


I agree with Jeffrey that entering text like “dolce”, “espressivo”, “leggerio” etc. on its own is currently a bit awkward.

They are not dynamics, so using Shift-D doesn’t seem appropriate. But using Shift-X and getting the correct text formatting is difficult too.

I wonder if a solution might be to have an equivalent of the Playing Techniques panel, called, perhaps, Playing Instructions? It could include the most popular ones and allow users to create their own too. Playing instructions could be entered via Shift-I and would appear in the correct italicised text style.

I would love to have an easy way to add arbitrary text to a dynamic and have it positioned and fomratted beautifully, even if semantically speaking nothing changes in the MIDI playback. Dynamics like this are something I see a lot of:
…if I could type “p, ma espressivo” in a popover and get what’s in the image, that would be awesome…

You can do that right now, except that the “,” gets ignored, and if you try to add it using the Properties panel it messes up the spacing.
p ma espress.png


Any further news about this?

Please don’t bump threads by typing in a reply with the word “bump” in it. I know people do it on other forums, but I personally find it obnoxious. By all means ask another question related to an existing thread, but do so in a specific way rather than simply posting “bump”!

This thread discusses several different issues. Which particular issue or issues are you asking for an update on?

A related question…
What is the best way to add text whilst inputting?
Whilst arranging for sessions and theatre, I often need to write things like ‘WATCH!!’ or ‘maybe don’t play this?’ or ‘slightly spooky’ etc…
These are not engraving issues but on the same level as note input.
I’m finding a lot with Dorico (possibly due to current incompetence…) that I’m writing a paper list of things to do later, which properly should be done as I go.

Steve P.

I would think you could generally just hit Shift+X to add text as you go along. You can always come back to it and fix it up for paragraph style, size, etc. later on. Text does not currently move out of the way of other items like other things do: we hope to get this implemented in 1.0.20, though James, the developer working on text, is still currently tied up with some other important issues, so it’s possible that this will not make it in until the first update next year, but we’ll see. It is certainly a little annoying that you have to switch to Engrave mode to move text around, when Dorico can move other things on its own.

Dragging this kind of text is crucial. Often I want it to be attached to a bar or a note (so I know what I’m getting at if I have to go back to the project), but I want to drag it so it gets read at the perfect time.

You can drag it (or indeed nudge it with Alt+arrow keys) just fine already, in Engrave mode – but Dorico should also position it better than it does by default at the moment.

Jeff, totally agree with you. I am working on a project and trying to put such expressions as dolce, espressivo molto and similar. It is quite uncomfortable to create each time it as a text, format as italic and adjust a text size…In Sibelius we had something like Cmd+E called Expression. So there was possible to put in dynamics and any kind of expressions or your own music character descriptions. Would love to be able to do it in Dorico…

You can add that sort of text as the suffix of a dynamic and then hiding the dynamic itself! If you just need to input dolce, you can input “p dolce” and hiding the piano via the Properties panel.

Or you can once and for all create a paragraph style i.e. called Expression, after which you can access it in the Shift-X editor. It won’t remember the setting, but it’s faster to change the style than building it up every time you enter a text.
You could also edit the default text, if the expression style is what the use the most.

Hi thank you for your help and suggestions. I created a new paragraph style called Expression and it saves time. Any way I hope one day such functionality will be solved in a more elegant way for example pressing Shift+E and typing in a popover such typical and daily used words as dolce, cantabile, espressivo, and so…Or even using Shift+D?

I quite liked high5ths OP. It seems to me a great idea, while on the other hand I understand Daniel/Dorico’s perspective. They are (rightly) putting a lot of effort into creating a program that “understands” the music more than simply displays it. As a result, they need to make sure that layers & their semantics are properly integrated and not simply “slapped on”.

All of that said, having those other styles accessible within Shift-X seems to me a very useful idea, even if it is not the “proper” way of doing things. There are frequently times I want to input something that I don’t consider a dynamic or tempo, for instance, that I also don’t want (or care) for it to affect playback. When you are trying to match a different style used elsewhere, the only way to get exact matches is to create a paragraph style. If you don’t do this carefully and you rescale your score, things will be off. Simply having the paragraph styles that match the various categories of text that Dorico does actually (semantically) understand accessible elsewhere in the program (read: Shift-X dialogue) would indeed be useful in some cases.

Well, you can certainly do that yourself…

Where is that choice available in the Properties panel? I can’t seem to be able to reproduce what you describe …

You select the dynamic and you have the suffix and prefix fields available in the Properties panel (see pict.)
Capture d’écran 2017-06-07 à 15.18.36.png