Why does Dorico alter the duration of adjacent notes?

I’m just getting starting with Dorico so this is a neophyte question.

When I enter a note on the staff, Dorico then automatically alters the notes to either side of it, changing their duration. Why does it do this? What is the concept here? Is there any way to turn this behaviour off? I’ve browsed through the Help but can’t find anything. If anyone can point me to the relevant section, I’d be grateful.

Can you be a little more specific as to what you want to do and what Dorico is doing? In general, when editing existing music, Dorico will do the following:

  1. If you have insert mode engaged, it will push the existing music to the right, making room for the notes you entered.
  2. If you don’t have insert mode engaged, it may delete some of the existing music so that the bar stays full. For example, if you have 4 quarter notes in a 4/4 bar and change the first to a half note, the second quarter note will be deleted.

In both cases, Dorico may change the rhythmic spelling to conform to the options in Notation Options. For example, if you have a dotted quarter note on beat 1 and you add music that pushes it to beat 3, it may be respelled to an eighth note tied to a quarter note.

Does this help?..

Well, the stave I see has no bars on it other than at the beginning and end. If I look at the last section there are three quarter notes followed by a half note. If I then add another quarter note at the end (not in Insert mode), the previous half note is changed to a dotted quarter. If I add the quarter between two existing quarters, they are both changed to eighth notes.

It sounds like your input caret might be positioned in the wrong rhythmic place. Also, check what rhythmic value you’re using at the bottom left corner of the screen.

If you haven’t done so already, I recommend watching the YouTube videos on note input. Dorico channel—Playlists—How to—Note Input.

And please read Dan Kreider’s Beginner’s guide ! Very helpful when you start!

To follow up what Dan said, Dorico will never change the notes unless told to do so in one way or another. Sometimes Dorico will try and fix the math in the measure, but this is because you’ve input something to force it to do so.

Like Dan I can only assume your caret was off by an 8th note. Sometimes, Dorico will change how a note is displayed (ie. turn a half note into two quarter notes tied together) based on the notation options (tie across beat boundaries for instance). It is not infrequent when my grid resolution is set to 8ths (certainly 16ths!) for me to be off a bit from where I thought I was. (Thank God for undo, arguably the most important innovation in all of computing.)

One of the most confusing things is if your grid is (accidentally) set to a dotted rhythm, like a dotted eighth.