Wow, is what I'm thinking... and it ain't in a good way

Hello, here’s my first comment about Dorico. I’m sure my sentiments will echo some of the other users sentiments but here we go…

Where do I begin. First, there is a lot of things I like about this program but then, there’s some real dumb stuff in here! WOW! When you have to go to the help menu for pretty much anything you want to do, you’re in trouble. First of all, what’s the deal with the tied notes? My god, this is one of the stupidest concept ever. I get where you guys want to go with this but can’t you just give the option to delete a tie? Second, the note entry system needs some rethinking people. Chords symbols, why can’t I do a F#4? Copying slash notes with chords at the same time; why can’t I do that? Oh and the stems on or off on the slashed notes; why can’t I selectively display them or not within the same bar? If I choose the option in the menu, it changes all the stems on the entire part! What the hell is that? What is that good for? It should be only for notes selected!! Geeeeezzzzzz… Frustration is one of the things I’m feeling. On so many levels that I can’t even begin to talk about, I just want to throw the damn thing out the window!! You guys spent 5 years developing this? What kind of drugs where you on the whole time! I’m not sure I’ll be investing the time into this app. Too many things are ass backwards and too many things are just plain goofy. Somebody needs to go back to the drawing board, seriously…


  1. Hit U or use the scissors tool. Note that from the caret you can use it to split a single tie in a tie chain of any length. You can even use it to split a minim/half into two quarters/crotchets (or a dotted quarter/crotchet followed by an eighth/quaver etc.)
    Or learn the keyboard shortcuts for extending and contracting notes by the rhythmic grid.
  2. Which note entry system? Duration before pitch? Pitch before duration? Midi recording? Clicky mouse?
  3. Dorico thinks of F#4 as being a suspended fourth. In Engraving Options > Chord Symbols there’s a whole bunch of settings for how chords should be displayed, or you can override individual chords.
  4. Chord symbols are global (unless you’ve made them local), and slash notes aren’t. You can indeed copy slashes and chords simultaneously as long as you use either the System Track or a marquee selection. Copying and pasting chords is intentionally slightly hard; this is in order to prevent you from inadvertently pasting chords globally to the wrong spot and overwriting existing chords.
  5. Stems: you’re using the wrong option. There are Change Voice options (on Edit > Voices > Change Voice) that will change the voice of just the selected notes. You’re using the option to redefine the entire voice.

Sometimes Dorico is not easy to get to grips with , but from my own experience, there’s a good reason why things are done as they are, and over time I’ve got faster and faster with it. Plus, the quality of the output is so high, and it needs much less fiddling about to get it looking just right than other products, that I’m glad I stuck with it.


Why? The Help documentation is excellent. To say nothing of all the YouTube videos which are immensely informative.

If you just sit down and expect it to be like other programs you’ve used, without spending time learning how to use it, then yes, you will get frustrated.


You can, just check this Engraving Option:

There are multiple ways to accomplish slash notation. When you apply a slash region it’s true that the stem setting in properties applies to that whole particular slash region, but there’s no reason you can’t have multiple slash regions within the same bar. Shift+Alt+V will allow you to enter a slash layer that can be whatever rhythms you want, and you can choose to hide their stems if you wish too. I’m mixing all 3 methods below.

As Leo already pointed out, this is indeed easy to do.

If you mean copying chords vertically to other parts in the score, that’s a different issue. You don’t really copy them, you just choose where existing chords are allowed to show. This is accomplished by right-clicking the instrument in Setup and selecting from the Chord Symbol options, and using slash and chord regions. One obvious downside to this method is that you can’t have 2 chord symbols occupy the same location, so if you need to use alternate changes, you have to offset them by a 32nd or something then move them in Engrave. This workaround is required for anything like this for example:


You can now utilise local chord symbols at the same position as other local or global chord symbols, can’t you?
Your lead sheet example obviously isn’t a good contender for that, but e.g. a situation in which you wanted to give a learner guitar player a simplified chord vs a pro pianist would work fine.

You guys are saints. :relieved: :metal:


Dorico’s concept is to create a rating standard to facilitate speed.
If elements are set up in a certain way Dorico reproduces the same scheme to show how it should look according to the default settings.
If this is not appropriate, you can change the elements in a burst but use the bottom panel.
It is important to trust the software by following the default settings set in the burning options because too many people write anyhow without this concern of writing rules.
Dorico is an intelligent software that aims to show you:
This is how it should be done.
Thanks to this you will save time later on.
You just need to spend a lot of time in the block, write and engraving options to get things done with the minimum of problems.
It’s a bit like the automatic world correction.
You can still write any way you want but basically the English or French language requires precise spelling.
Music notation has been defined by two ledgers:
The Ted Ross book which largely inspired the software and the Elaine Gould book.
Don’t be so hard and revise perhaps the way you write.


Yeah, I sometimes use this for a simplified bass part if they don’t need to see all the upper alterations. You can even use it to have different changes in different parts if you want:

There’s no way to have a set of alternate changes or optional changes, and have both sets of chords appear without a bit of effort. Just a casual flipping through any of the Sher “New Real Books” shows this happens a lot, so it would be cool if there was a way to have another chord symbol voice or layer in order to have multiple chords at the same exact beat.

The reason why I said this is because software should be as intuitive as possible. When you have your head deep in the manual it usually means that it is not intuitive. This is a problem with many software developers who usually start from an engineering standpoint first. The user experience is usually not the priority at that point so the end product reflects this. No doubt the development team is very good at what they do. However, this is too common with code writers. The best example of user friendliness when it come to notation is a program that came out in 1996 called Overture. Although the program was full of bugs and the author of the app did very little to fix them, the app was extremely easy to use and fairly powerful relatively to the times. I know it’s hard to build apps like this especially when they are this complex but some things should be following a certain basic logic. For example, when you want to move from note to note, you just use the left and right arrows on your keyboard so the logic would be that if you want to change note pitch, you would just need to use the up and down arrows but no, you have to use a modifier key (Option on the Mac) to do that. Instead, the up and down arrows moves you to the next stave (even if it’s on a part you don’t want to go to!) which is not logical. When you select a part to edit, you should be staying on that part until you manually select objects on a different part. It’s called “intent”! This is just one of many examples I can point too. I’ll work some more on it and see what I think of it in a couple of weeks. I am thankful that people have been reaching out to help. Thanks everyone!



Sorry, but what you call intuitive in a notation UI, I call unintuitive. And what you call confusing, I call logical.

Surely you can see the futility of trying to assert a universal set of operations for any software. Dorico isn’t Overture. Dorico isn’t Finale. Nor is it Sibelius. The requirement for Alt- or Opt- to move a note wasn’t random. It was an intentional means to make it harder to accidentally change notes.

Ok, you don’t like it. Well, I do. When I started using Dorico, it was new, but I decided I was going to learn the software, so I did. Now I don’t even think about it, it’s so second-nature.

To my knowledge, the development team are all musicians. They’re not coders hunkered away in some cave, detached from the reality of music-making. And many of them were formerly with Sibelius, so this isn’t their first rodeo. Dorico represents their attempt to do something right “from the ground up,” having learned from Sibelius what works and what doesn’t.

I can guarantee you Dorico isn’t fundamentally going to change. If you want to use the software as it was intended, I’m confident you’ll end up being quite happy with it. But you have to agree to learn the way that it works, rather than imposing your own assumptions on to the software. The latter will only lead to frustration, as you’ve discovered already.


For what it’s worth, the reason we chose to make the arrow keys hop the selection rather than change the pitch of notes is by analogy with applications like word processors. In a word processor, the left and right arrow keys move the caret left or right a character at a time, while the up and down arrow keys move the caret to the line above or below. Of course the analogy isn’t completely apt, because you rarely need to select a character and then edit it one at a time in the way you need to edit notes in a music notation application, but imagine that pressing the up or down key in a word processor changed the last letter you typed to a the next or previous letter in the alphabet. Would that be a useful or consistent behaviour?

We took the view that the arrow keys alone should always only ever change selection or navigate, and never edit the music. One of our goals was to eliminate as far as possible the chance that you might accidentally edit your score, leading to a mistake that you don’t spot until much later.

I hope that as you come to spend a bit more time with Dorico you will come to believe that we weren’t on drugs while designing or implementing the software. (Because, to be absolutely clear, we weren’t.)


Well said Daniel :grinning:

:thinking: Well…


Of course to overwrite a character in a word processor, one does have to press a key to switch from insert to overwrite mode; so the analogy is less a stretch than one might suppose. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Intuitive doesn’t mean that we all leap from the womb knowing how a GUI should work.
It means ‘when you’ve figured out how one bit works, you can apply that to something else’.

Arrow keys in Dorico always navigate.
Alt-Arrow keys always move the selection.

It works for any object: notes, hairpins, text frames. Now that’s intuitive.


Some of us deal with keyboard works where there are more than one note per stave. How would we navigate if anytime we pushed an arrow key the current note was changing? How would you get to the second note in a chord of five notes without everything in between?

Turns out the navigation arrows aren’t so dumb after all. I can navigate to any note in either plane and then press alt to alter it. Seems intuitive to me.


I’m just a user BTW. I would characterize Notion as one of those tools whose first priority is to be as intuitive as possible in five minutes if that is what you want - but try this: Use Notion to transcribe a Jazz Trumpet Part that’s about 100 bars long or so . Just a simple one line part, but it won’t be simple in rhythms and articulations .

Give your likely aching arm/hands a break, watch a few tutorials, then do another one in Dorico. You may have to slow down initially to learn a bit. But once you are done, ask yourself which one you’d rather use to write all the rest of the parts for the piece. No one will hate on your for your choice.

I would characterize Dorico as a hammer for people who swing hammers day after day, keeping their eyes on the goal. When you find yourself in the position where a little learning and change is more than okay if it saves you time and various kinds of pain.

The group of people most satisfied seem to be those focused on writing music; either professionally, or at the very least in a student/professional manner. Engineers occasionally seem the least satisfied - but that’s statistically true anyway. :slight_smile: (Hey, if years of experience, code written and # engineers/company size count, then I’ve earned the right to say that. :slight_smile: )

(Sorry Dan, didn’t mean this to you. I hit the wrong reply button.)

One thing you’ll find about the dorico team is this is never a problem. Maintenance updates are common (one a week ago, for instance) and they really do listen to user feedback. Some of the things I’ve personally suggested have made it into the app with major updates. Now THAT’S what I call service!

I suspect that if in the future you take a walk and then decide to make a suggestion for an improvement with a calmer head, you might find yourself in my position in a few months, enjoying the fact that a much-desired feature or program enhancement has come into being because the developers heard what you personally had to say and thought good of it. And I am hardly unique in this… there are a plethora of other users in the same position (many of whom have offered very calm responses to you already).

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Welcome, Segway

Judging from the replies you have received, your sentiments do not echo others.

You said “…there is a lot of things I like about this program…” Care to share what they might be?