Notes and rests in Dorico

In Dorico, the notation and division of notes and rests is determined semantically by rules based on convention. This means that note and rest durations can change and appear differently later than when you first input them.

Dorico is able to update how notes and rests are notated depending on their context because of the following key concepts:

  1. Notes are treated as a single unit, even if they appear as a tie chain that contains multiple notes tied together.

  2. Implicit rests automatically fill the gaps between the notes you input.

In combination with time signatures and Dorico’s understanding of their corresponding meters, this allows you to input only the notes you want with the duration required. It is not necessary to input rests between notes or input ties for notes that cross the half-bar, for example. If you subsequently change the time signature or move notes rhythmically to start earlier or later, Dorico updates how notes and rests are notated, such as by notating a quarter note as two tied eighth notes if it now straddles a barline or consolidating two eighth note rests into a single quarter note rest if they are now in the same bar.

If you tie existing notes together, you might find that they turn into a single note, such as a half note instead of two tied quarter notes, or into a tie chain containing more notes. This is because tie chains are treated as single notes in Dorico, and Dorico automatically notates and beams notes appropriately depending on their duration, the current time signature, and their position in the bar. Similarly, notes can change after you input notes immediately following them as this changes the context, such as a quarter note tied to an eighth note becoming a dotted quarter note when it is followed by an eighth note rather than a rest.


In Write mode, selecting any part of a tie chain selects the whole tie chain because it is a single note. However, you can still input notations, such as dynamics, in the middle of tie chains by activating the caret and moving it to the required rhythmic position within the tie chain.

You can force the duration of individual notes and rests, for example, if you want to specify subdivisions within a tie chain that are different than the prevailing meter.