Adding lyrics

Perhaps unsurprisingly at this stage, Dorico has a dedicated popover for inputting lyrics that stays open after each lyric/syllable. You can press different keys to advance the popover to the next note automatically depending on whether the lyric/syllable needs a hyphen after it or not.


  • You have input the vocal melody. Although you can input lyrics independently of notes, it is much easier to input lyrics with notes already there.

  • You are in Write mode (press Ctrl/Cmd-2).


  1. In Write mode, select the first note on the vocal staff, that is, the C in bar 5.
    • You can do this in the full score or the voice part layout.

  2. Press Shift-L to open the lyrics popover.
  3. Enter the first syllable I’m into the popover.

    Lyrics popover above the vocal staff with the lyric "I’m"

  4. Press Space to advance the popover to the next note.

    Lyrics popover advanced after inputting "I’m"

    • Pressing Space tells Dorico the lyric you input was a complete word, or the final syllable in a multi-syllabic word.

  5. Enter so into the popover, then press Space.
    • The next word comprises three syllables, so you must advance the popover differently.

  6. Enter un into the popover, then press -.
    • The hyphen between syllables does not appear until you input the next syllable.

  7. Enter hap into the popover, then press -.

    Lyrics popover advanced after inputting "hap"

  8. For the final syllable, enter py, into the popover, then press Space.

    Lyrics popover advanced after inputting "py,"

  9. In bar 6, enter the lyrics I feel so blue, into the popover.
  10. In bar 7, enter the lyrics I al-ways feel so sad, into the popover.

    Lyrics popover advanced after inputting "sad,"

    • You might notice that ways and sad, are left-aligned with their noteheads rather than center-aligned because they span more than one notehead, and that after you input sad, Dorico lowers the whole line to avoid a collision with the A.

    • Dorico counts tied notes as a single note.

  11. Continue inputting the lyrics up to the end of bar 11.

    I made a mis-take, right from the start, Oh, it seems so hard to

    • The next syllable is sung over two notes.

  12. In bar 12, enter part into the popover, then press Space twice.
    • This advances the lyrics popover two notes ahead. When you press Space the second time, Dorico recalculates the horizontal alignment of the lyric: it is now left-aligned with the notehead rather than center-aligned.

    Lyrics popover advanced two notes after inputting "part,"

  13. Continue inputting the lyrics until the end of bar 26.

    A-bout this let-ter, that I will write, I hope he will re-mem-ber, when he re-ceives it, See, see, ri-der, see what you done done, Lawd, lawd, lawd, You made me love you, now your gal done come. You made me love you, now your gal done come.

    • The lyrics lawd, on beat 3 in bar 20 and come. at the end of bar 22 require two Space presses. All other lyrics only require a single Space press.


You have input the lyrics for the first verse and chorus. Dorico automatically shows lyric hyphens between syllables and lyric extender lines for lyrics on tied notes or that span multiple notes when there is sufficient horizontal space. Dorico also automatically left-aligns lyrics that span more than one note, including tied notes, and calculates a consistent vertical position for whole lyric lines in each system.

  • If you have the lyrics written out with syllables separated appropriately using hyphens already, such as in a text editor or existing lines of lyrics in Dorico, you can copy and paste them into the lyrics popover. When the lyrics popover is open and the lyrics are copied to your clipboard, you can simply press Ctrl/Cmd-V to input each syllable one at a time. For syllables that span more than one note, you must press - or Space to tell Dorico how long they should last.

  • You can change the alignment of individual lyrics by selecting them and using the Lyric text alignment property in the Lyrics group of the Properties panel. In some cases, this can reduce how much notes are moved horizontally to accommodate lyrics.