Inputting notes

You can input notes into your project during note input, which is when the caret is activated. You can input notes with a computer keyboard, with the mouse, or by playing notes with a MIDI keyboard.

  • These steps describe inputting notes with the default preference of duration before pitch. However, you can also specify the pitch before duration instead.

  • These steps describe selecting rhythm dots, articulations, and accidentals not in the prevailing key signature before inputting notes. However, you can also select them after inputting notes. If you change this setting, you must perform step 7 before steps 4 to 6.

  • You do not have to input rests between notes, as Dorico Pro automatically shows implicit rests of the appropriate duration between the notes you input. Similarly, you do not have to input ties, as Dorico Pro shows notes as tie chains if necessary.

  • You can also input notations alongside notes without deactivating note input.


  • You have chosen the appropriate input pitch setting.

  • You have chosen the appropriate note-based notation input setting.

  • You have connected any MIDI devices you want to use for note input.

  • If you want to input notes into multiple instruments held by a single player or instruments not visible in the score in page view, you are in Galley View.

  • If your music requires a key signature, you have input that key signature.


  1. Start note input in any of the following ways:
    • Select a note or rest on the staff where you want to input notes and press Shift-N.


      If you select a notation, such as a dynamic, pressing Return opens the corresponding popover instead of starting note input.

    • Double-click the staff where you want to input notes.

  2. Optional: If you want to input notes onto multiple staves at once, extend the caret to those staves.
  3. Select a note duration in any of the following ways:
    • Press the number on your computer keyboard that corresponds to the duration you want.

      For example, press 6 for quarter notes (crotchets). Press smaller numbers for smaller durations, such as 5 for eighth notes (quavers) and 4 for 16th notes (semiquavers). Press larger numbers for larger durations, such as 7 for half notes (minims).

    • In the Notes panel, click the duration you want.

  4. Optional: Select any required rhythm dots.
  5. Optional: If you want to input a pitch whose accidental is not in the prevailing key signature, select the appropriate accidental.
  6. Optional: Select any required articulations.
  7. Input the pitches you want in any of the following ways:
    • Press the corresponding letters on your computer keyboard.


      Dorico Pro automatically selects the note whose register is the smallest interval away from the previously input note. However, you can force a different register.

      • To input a note above the previously input note, press Shift-Alt/Opt as well as the letter for the note, for example, Shift-Alt/Opt-A.

      • To input a note below the previously input note, press Ctrl-Alt (Windows) or Ctrl (macOS) as well as the letter for the note, for example, Ctrl-Alt-A (Windows) or Ctrl-A (macOS).

    • Click the staff at the rhythmic position of each note you want to input.

      A shadow notehead appears when inputting with the mouse to indicate where the note will be input.

    • Play the notes on a MIDI keyboard.

  8. Optional: Press Space to advance the caret by the currently selected note duration without inputting notes.

    You can also move the caret in different ways and by different increments.

  9. Press Esc or Return to stop note input.


Notes are input with the selected duration at the caret position or where you click and are played back as you input them by default. Their pitch follows the prevailing key signature. For example, if you press F in G major, an F is input automatically.

If you selected rhythm dots or articulations, notes continue to be input with them until you deactivate them. However, accidentals not in the prevailing key signature are only added to the first note you input after selecting them.

Dorico Pro notates and beams notes appropriately according to their duration, the current time signature, and their position in the bar. This includes showing notes as tie chains if required.

If you advance the caret without inputting notes, Dorico Pro fills the gaps between notes with implicit rests of the appropriate duration.

If you input notes on notation staves belonging to fretted instruments, Dorico Pro automatically allocates these notes to the strings on which they can be played closest to the nut. Because this calculation is done for each note separately, multiple notes can be allocated to the same string. In such cases, the notes are shown next to each other on tablature and are colored green. You can then select them individually and make your own string allocation.


You can change the default beam, note, and rest grouping settings for each flow independently in Write > Notation Options. You can also specify custom beat groupings within individual time signatures.

After Completing This Task

You can move notes to different rhythmic positions and other staves after they have been input.

You can also show brackets on noteheads individually.