Platform-Independent Documentation
The documentation applies to the operating systems Windows and macOS.
Usage of musical terms
This documentation uses American terminology for musical items throughout the documentation.
In our documentation, we use typographical and markup elements to structure information.
How you can reach us
On the Help menu you find items linking to additional information.
First steps
This chapter helps you to get started with Dorico.
Getting around
The following sections give you an overview of the user interface and introduce you to how Dorico is structured.
Starting a new project
After getting a first impression of the Dorico user interface you may want to get started with inputting your own music. In this section, you learn how to set up a new project.
Writing music
Once you have set up your project, you can start writing music.
Dorico concepts
The following sections give you an overview of the design philosophy as well as concepts on which Dorico is based.
Design philosophy
Key musical concepts
In order to work efficiently with Dorico, it is important to understand the conceptual model of the program.
User interface
The user interface of Dorico is designed to be as unobtrusive as possible while keeping all of the important tools at your fingertips.
When you start Dorico, the Hub opens. The Hub keeps you up-to-date with the latest information and assists you with organizing your projects. It consists of the News section and the Projects section.
Dorico provides a project window and floating windows.
Setting up your workspace
Dorico enables you to set up your workspace according to your working style.
Setup mode
In Setup mode, you can determine the players and instruments for your project. You can also create and manage flows and set up layouts.
Project window in setup mode
The project window in Setup mode contains the default toolbar, the music area, and the status bar. It provides panels with all the tools and functions that allow you to create players and assign instruments as well as to specify the layouts and flows for your score.
Before you start writing music, you must specify the players that are playing one or multiple instruments.
If you add an ensemble in Dorico, multiple players are added to your project at the same time.
You can assign instruments to solo and section players as well as to ensembles.
A group is a collection of players.
Flows are separate spans of music within your project, for example, movements or songs.
Layouts define how the music in a flow is presented.
Write mode
In Write mode, you can create your music. You can input notes and insert notations into your score.
Project window in Write mode
The project window in Write mode contains the default toolbar, the music area, and the status bar. It provides toolboxes and panels with the tools and functions that you need to write your music.
Note input
There are several different ways to input notes.
Engrave mode
Engrave mode allows you to manipulate and modify every item in your project. You can determine how the pages of your project are formatted for later print or export.
Project window in Engrave mode
The project window in Engrave mode contains the default toolbar, the music area, and the status bar. It provides panels with all the tools and functions that allow you to format the pages, systems, and properties of individual notations in your score.
Master pages
Master pages in Dorico allow the same formatting to be applied to different pages in different layouts.
Frames allow you to position your music, additional text, and graphics anywhere inside the margins of a page.
Properties in Engrave mode
In Engrave mode, you can edit notes, notations, or parts of them individually or project-wide.
Note spacing
Print mode
Print mode allows you to print your layouts or to export them as graphic files.
Project window in Print mode
The project window in Print mode contains the default toolbar and the print preview area as well as panels and sections that provide all the tools and functions that allow you to prepare printing or exporting your layouts.
Printing your layouts
Exporting your layouts as graphic files
Printing/exporting multiple layouts
You can print or export several layouts at the same time.
Layout page arrangements for printing/exporting
Dorico provides several page arrangements that you can use for printing/exporting your layouts.
Handling page sizes and paper sizes
Dorico handles page sizes and paper sizes differently.
When printing/exporting your layouts for publication, you can include typical annotations. Publishers and printing bureaux can use these to identify and register the printed image correctly or to embed the exported graphic file into a desktop publishing application.
Accidentals show that the pitch of a note has been altered so that it does not conform to the current prevailing key signature.
Articulations are markings that are drawn above or below notes and chords. Articulations tell a performer how to attack a note or how long a note should be relative to its notated duration.
Bars indicate a usually regular segment of time according to the number of beats, which is usually determined by the prevailing time signature. Bars are separated from other bars to the left and the right by vertical barlines.
Barlines are vertical lines that cross staves in order to show how music is divided into bars, according to the time signature.
Bar numbers
Bar numbers provide a crucial reference point for music that has multiple players, and make the chronological sequence of the music clear. They tell you where you are in the piece, and allow players to co-ordinate themselves easily in rehearsals and concerts.
A beam is a line that connects notes with tails together to show rhythmic groupings, which varies according to the metrical structure of the current time signature.
Note and rest grouping
Brackets and braces
Brackets and braces are thick straight and curved lines in the left-hand margin that show instrument groupings.
Clefs and octave lines
Clefs and octave lines provide crucial information about which notes are desired, and how high or low they should be.
Chord symbols
Chord symbols describe the vertical harmony of the music at a specific moment.
Cues are passages of music shown in instrumental parts that are played by a different instrument, usually to help orientate players before entries or solos following a significant passage of rests.
Dynamics indicate the loudness of the music, and can be combined with other instructions to give the performer a detailed understanding of how the music should be performed, while leaving a lot of room for interpretation.
Fingerings can be added to music to give recommendations as to which fingers players should use for notes. This can be useful for difficult or physically awkward passages of music where certain fingering patterns make the notes much easier to play.
Front matter
Front matter in Dorico is a broad term that covers all information included before the first bar of music in scores.
Grace notes
Grace notes are small notes that are intended to be played quickly. They are scaled-down versions of normal noteheads, and are commonly shown with a slash through their stem.
Holds and pauses
Different notations are used to show where the established rhythmic flow of the music is interrupted, either with a moment of repose or a short silence, before continuing. The most subtle effect is produced by a tenuto mark, with more significant effects denoted with holds and pauses.
Key signatures
Key signatures are the markings that show the current key of music by indicating which notes in the scale for that key are sharpened or flattened.
In Dorico, the term lyrics is used to represent all text that is sung by singers.
Notes are shapes that are positioned on staves to indicate musical pitches. Notes are most commonly shown with oval-shaped, round noteheads, however there are many different designs of noteheads that can be used.
Arpeggio signs
Arpeggio signs are vertical lines that indicate chords should be played spread so that the notes in the chord are played very quickly, one after another. Arpeggio signs are normally shown with wavy lines similar to trill extension lines.
Glissando lines
Glissando lines indicate a continuous transition between two notes. They can have straight lines or wavy lines, and can be shown with a text indication or as a line without text.
Ornaments are markings that indicate multiple notes should be played in addition to the notated pitch. They are used to decorate music, particularly Baroque and Classical styles.
Page numbers
Page numbers are used to give each page a unique number, and indicate its position relative to other pages. Just as in newspapers and books, musical scores and parts use page numbers to make sure the music stays in the correct order.
Pedal lines
Pedal lines indicate to a performer which piano pedals they should use, and can also give performance instructions, such as how far they should be depressed.
Playing techniques
The term playing techniques covers a wide range of instructions intended to tell a player either how they should modify the sound of the note or notes they are playing, or change the way they are playing.
Rehearsal marks
Rehearsal marks are an ordered sequence of letters or numbers, which along with bar numbers, provide a reference point for music that has multiple players, and make the chronological sequence of the music clear.
Repeat endings
Repeat endings are also sometimes known as volta lines, or as 1st and 2nd endings.
Rests are markings that indicate no note is played for the rhythmic value indicated by the rest. Each note duration has an equivalent rest, for example, a quarter note rest is different to a sixteenth note rest.
Slurs are tapered, curved lines that join notes to indicate articulation and phrasing.
Staff labels
Staff labels are used to identify staves in music containing multiple players. Usually, staff labels indicate the instrument or instruments currently playing the music in the staff or staves to which they apply.
Stems are vertical lines that extend from noteheads that are a half note or shorter in duration. In combination with notehead design, they allow the duration of each note to be clearly identified.
Tempo marks
Tempo marks indicate how fast music should be played, often with a combination of text instructions and metronome marks.
Time signatures
Time signatures indicate the meter, and apply to all bars from where they first appear until a subsequent change of time signature is found. Meter describes the rhythmic pulse of music, and its division into beats and bars.
A tie is a curved line that joins two notes of the same pitch, and a tie chain can be created by joining multiple, adjacent notes with a sequence of ties.
Tremolos are thick, slanted lines that cross individual stems or are positioned between multiple stems. They are used to indicate that notes should be repeated, either individual notes or sequences of multiple notes.
Tuplets indicate where a beat is divided into a different number of subdivisions than is usually expected according to the current meter. They can be used to fit more notes or fewer notes in a beat than usually exist in a beat, according to the usual pattern of subdivision.
Unpitched percussion
The term unpitched percussion covers all percussion instruments that are not tuned to specific pitches. This includes instruments such as bass drum, guiro, maracas, cymbals, and shakers.
Generally, each staff contains a single musical line in a single voice that can be read left to right along the staff. When multiple, independent lines need to be shown in a single staff, each line can be given its own voice.