Changing the played duration of notes

After reducing the final tempo of the poco rit. in the previous task, it sounds like the played (sounding) duration of the last chord in bar 42 should be adjusted for a smoother transition back into the starting material. You can change the played duration of notes in Dorico without affecting their notated duration.

These adjustments are subjective, but we suggest making the quarter note (crochet) sound a little shorter and the eighth notes (quavers) sound a little longer to create the effect of a breath before the start of bar 43.


Make sure that Played Durations Played Durations button in the Play toolbox and Object Selection Object Selection button in the Play toolbox are selected in the Play toolbox on the left of the window.


  1. In the ruler at the top of the event display, click and drag downwards to make notes in the piano roll wider.
    • This makes it easier to make small adjustments. You can also use the key command Ctrl/Cmd-= or Z.

    • When you click in the ruler, the playhead jumps to the position of your mouse pointer.

  2. In bar 42, click and drag the right end of the E quarter note event on beat 3 to the left a little to shorten its sounding duration.

    Reducing the duration of the E♭

  3. Click and drag the right end of the other note events on beat 3 to the right a little to lengthen their sounding duration.

    Increasing the duration of the other notes

    • They don’t have to line up; in fact, having them end at slightly different times creates a more natural effect.

    • Overriding the default played durations removes the start offsets on the arpeggiated notes so you need to delay their starts.

  4. Click and drag the left end of the B and G on the bottom staff to the right a little, with the G starting later than the B.

    Offsetting the starts of the arpeggiated notes


You have overridden the default played durations of some note events without changing how those notes are notated in the score. They are shown with a different color in the piano roll to indicate they have been changed.

Played durations overridden

After Completing This Task

  • Click in the ruler at the top of the event display anywhere in bar 41 to move the playhead there, then press Space or Enter to start playback and hear how this sounds.

  • If you want, you can continue tweaking the played durations of notes, dynamics, and/or tempo fluctuations throughout the piece.


    Moving the start/end positions of dynamics and tempo marks in Play mode, such as making a rit. start on beat 1 rather than beat 2, affects where those items appear in the music. This also applies to moving or lengthening/shortening note events with Notated Durations Notated Durations button in the Play toolbox selected in the Play toolbox.