Write a cappella lyric

Hello, I am using Dorico SE in a Windows 10 environment. I have opened a solo piano template. I am trying to write lyrics into an empty bar. Bar 1 is a 5/4 bass line, bar 2 is a sung reply a cappella. This repeats a number of times. I want to write the four word lyric into the empty bar but it will only allow one word. I have tried to change the rest from a semibreve to five crotchet but that is not possible. I have used a hyphen between each word but the lyric does not line up with the start of the empty bar. I have read through the help documentation using the search terms I can think of but I am unable to determine the correct search constraint. Please tell me where to find the information that I need to be able to enter multiple word lyrics into an empty bar. Thank you.

Lyrics are designed to fit under notes. Either just use text (Shift X), or add notes for the rhythm, add the lyrics to them, and them delete only the notes afterwards.

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Thank you for your very quick assistance. This has helped me achieve what I need to do. It does seem a bit strange that there is no facility for including a cappella lyrics section within a musical work. Maybe it is extremely rare. Thank you for responding so quickly.

a cappella usually means voices unaccompanied by instruments. “Lyrics without Notes” is something else, I would have thought.


Yes, that is my understanding of the meaning of the term, but I have been unable to find any reference to the fact that it is absolute.



Prosody is more to do with intonation and non verbal vocal cues.

Sprechstimme is more spoken, rather than sung, words to music.

Indeed… although I’m still at a loss to understand how it is that you can have lyrics without notes (that are sung?) and have it not be sprechstimme…

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I am wanting to write one bar of instrumental music which is echoed with one bar of unaccompanied sung lyrics. My understanding is that Sprechstimme is not sung vocal but rather a hybrid of speech and singing which is accompanied by the music.

Schoenberg notated Sprechtstimme with x on the note stem:

Humperdinck, earlier, just used x noteheads:

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Thank you Janus. I appreciate that you have presented actual evidence of Sprechstimme notation which I will study in order to learn. However, in context of the entire post, and indeed the initial premise, this does not answer my query.
Benwiggy’s response went some way to resolve my problem but it seems to me to be cheating. Music should be about creativity. Juxtaposing A with B should not require multiple counter-intuitive steps. Am I demanding too much of the software? I don’t care about the nature of the content of the correct answer. I only want the correct answer. I can then work out how to achieve my ends. Obfuscation helps no-one.

If you need to split a semibreve rest into crotchet rests, the following procedure worked for me:

Select the semibreve rest, press shift-N,
then press 6 O , Y (that’s number 6, letter O, comma, letter Y).
Each time you press Y, another crotchet rest will be created.

Simple answer, yes. It is unreasonable to expect the programming team to create a built-in solution to a non-standard situation for a single individual.

But that said, the program provides a way for you to do what you want; Ben has described the process of creating temporary notes, attaching syllables, and then deleting the notes. Just as sometimes the perfect is the enemy of the good, being too much a purist can prevent one from seeing a perfectly workable solution.

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I guess it would be a lot easier to help you better if you actually shared an example of what you’re trying to achieve (handwritten or otherwise). I, for the life of me, cannot imagine precisely what it is that you’re trying to accomplish.

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Here is another way of entering lyrics without notes being visible:

View > Note And Rest Colors > Implicit Rests - the rests should show in grey.

In the empty bar where you want only lyrics to be displayed, select the semibreve rest (and maybe check, in the status bar in the lower LH corner, that it is up-stem voice 1).

While the rest is selected, press shift-B, enter rest in the popover and confirm it by pressing Enter. If you de-select the rest, you should notice that it has turned to black.

Select the rest, press shift-N, shift-V (to enter a new voice), 6 (for crotchets, or any note value you want), D (or any pitch you want) 4 times (or whatever you want).
Select the first of the notes which you have just entered, press shift-L and enter your lyrics.

Enter Engrave mode, open the Properties panel, select the four notes.
In the Notes and Rests section of Properties, click on Hide stem and Hide notehead.

While still in Properties, select the semibreve rest and use Rest pos. to move it up/down to where you want it.

The screen should look like this.

The hidden noteheads will not print.

If you don’t want the semibreve rest, simply enter all the above in up-stem voice 1.

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This is all rather phylosophical!

Can you draw what you want to achieve? Take a photo and upload? Then we might be able to help you with what you want to do. I can’t quite picture it

Either way I’m pretty certain you can do it.

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