Dorico Pro 2.2.20

Platform-independent documentation
This documentation applies to the operating systems Windows and macOS.
Usage of musical terms
This documentation uses American terminology for musical items.
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 Pro.
Getting around
The following sections give you an overview of the user interface and introduce you to how Dorico Pro is structured.
Starting a new project
After getting a first impression of the Dorico Pro user interface, you can 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 Pro concepts
The following sections give you an overview of the design philosophy as well as the concepts on which Dorico Pro is based.
Design philosophy and higher-level concepts
Deep design considerations are required to create a notation software like Dorico Pro, which might be of particular interest to users familiar with scoring applications. Dorico Pro has a forward-thinking design that is led by musical concepts rather than computational convenience, and this provides many benefits.
Key musical concepts
In order to work efficiently with Dorico Pro, it is important to understand the conceptual model of the program.
User interface
The user interface of Dorico Pro is designed to be as unobtrusive as possible while keeping all of the important tools at your fingertips.
Dorico Pro provides a project window and floating windows.
Workspace setup
Dorico Pro enables you to set up your workspace according to your working style.
Preferences dialog
In the Preferences dialog, you can make permanent settings for your workspace and define key commands.
Project and file handling
In addition to opening and importing/exporting projects and other file formats, project and file handling also includes auto-save and project backups.
When you start Dorico Pro, the Hub opens. The Hub keeps you up-to-date with the latest Dorico information and tutorials, and assists you with organizing your projects.
Projects from different versions of Dorico
You can open projects that were last saved in other versions of Dorico than the one you have. In such cases, Dorico Pro shows a warning message to make you aware of any implications.
File import and export
External files are files in different formats than Dorico projects, such as MIDI, MusicXML, or tempo tracks. It is possible in Dorico Pro both to import and export different types of files.
The auto-save function stores a version of the currently active project at regular intervals. This reduces the chances of losing significant amounts of work if you accidentally close a project without saving or in the unlikely event that Dorico Pro or your computer crashes.
Project backups
Dorico Pro stores backup versions of your projects each time you save them explicitly. By default, the previous five saves are stored as backups.
Setup mode
In Setup mode, you can determine the players and instruments for your project. You can also create and manage flows, set up layouts, and add videos.
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 add players and instruments as well as to create layouts and flows for your project.
Project Info dialog
For every project and every flow that you create in Dorico Pro, you can specify project information in the Project Info dialog.
Layout Options dialog
The Layout Options dialog provides multiple options that allow you to make changes that affect the way the notation is laid out on pages of each layout.
Players, layouts, and flows
In Dorico Pro, players, layouts, and flows are all connected to each other. Because they exist in the project rather than in a single score, you can, for example, have players and flows saved in the project without showing them in the full 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 Pro, 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.
Player groups
A group represents a collection of musicians that are considered together, such as a choir, orchestra, or chamber ensemble.
Flows are separate spans of music within your project, for example, movements or songs.
Layouts allow you to present the music in your project differently for different purposes. For example, part layouts only include the music that player needs to play whereas full score layouts contain all staves in the project.
Dorico Pro supports the use of videos within the program as well as the associated notations, such as markers and timecodes, and allows you to find appropriate tempos based on where important markers occur.
Write mode
In Write mode, you can create your music. You can input notes and notations into your project, make changes to existing music, and delete notes and notations.
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 required to write your music.
Notation Options dialog
The Notation Options dialog provides multiple options that allow you to make changes that affect the way music is notated for each flow by default.
Note Input Options dialog
The Note Input Options dialog provides multiple options that allow you to determine how Dorico Pro interprets the data and MIDI you input by default.
Inputting vs. editing
Dorico Pro distinguishes the processes for inputting and editing music.
Rhythmic grid
The rhythmic grid is a unit of rhythmic duration whose value affects certain aspects of inputting and editing, such as the amount by which items move. However, it does not control the duration of notes and items that you input.
Note input
In Dorico Pro, you can only input notes during note input, which is when the caret is activated. This allows you to input notations at the caret position at the same time as inputting notes, and also reduces the risk of you adding notes to staves accidentally.
MIDI recording
MIDI recording is a way of inputting notes into Dorico Pro by playing them in real time on a MIDI device. This can be particularly useful if, for example, you prefer to improvise your music rather than plan pitches and note durations in advance.
Notations input
You can input many types of notations, both during step input and by adding them to existing notes. In Dorico Pro, notation is a broad term that includes many different items, including articulations, slurs, dynamics, and more.
Editing and selecting
In Dorico Pro, there are multiple different ways you can select and edit the items in your project, from selecting items individually to making large selections covering multiple staves.
In Dorico Pro, signposts indicate the positions of important items or changes that cannot be seen in the score, such as key signatures with no accidentals, hidden items, and note spacing changes.
Arranging tools
Arranging tools in Dorico Pro allow you to allocate notes to different staves and voices quickly and efficiently.
Splitting flows
You can split flows at specific rhythmic positions. Flows in Dorico Pro are independent of each other, meaning they can contain different players and have different options for notations, including note grouping and accidental duration rules.
Engrave mode
Engrave mode allows you to manipulate and modify every item in your project, but without deleting them or changing the pitch of notes. You can also determine how the pages of your project are formatted for printing or exporting.
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.
Engraving Options dialog
The Engraving Options dialog provides multiple options that allow you to make project-wide changes to your project by changing the graphical appearance and position of items.
Master pages
Master pages function like templates in Dorico Pro, allowing the same page formatting to be applied to multiple different pages in different layouts.
Flow headings
Flow headings allow you to show the titles of flows immediately above their first system automatically. They function like templates, in much the same way as master pages.
Frames allow you to position your music, additional text, and graphics anywhere inside the margins of a page.
Page layouts
In Dorico Pro, the layout of pages is determined by their margins, the master page applied to them, any casting off values applied to them, system and frame breaks, and frame padding.
Text formatting
Dorico Pro combines different settings for the appearance of text, meaning that you can format fonts and texts in different places depending on their function.
Music symbols
Music symbols in Dorico Pro is a broad term that covers all the different elements used in musical notation, including stem flags, clefs, articulations, and the bold numbers used in multi-bar rests and time signatures.
Note spacing
The positions of notes and rests relative to each other, and the automatic gaps between them, are known as note spacing.
Staff spacing
The vertical positioning of staves and systems within frames is known as staff spacing. Staff spacing calculations consider the height of staves and the necessary gaps between staves and systems.
Play mode
Play mode allows you to set up your project for playback. You can assign VST instruments, adjust the mix, and change the sounding duration of notes in playback without affecting their notated duration.
Project window in Play mode
The project window in Play mode contains the default toolbar and the event display, and also a toolbox and panels that contain all the tools and functions that allow you to set up your project for playback.
Playback Options dialog
The Playback Options dialog provides options that allow you to make project-wide changes to how the music you have written sounds when played back. These options affect playback, regardless of expression maps and patches.
Event display
The event display in Play mode is the equivalent of the music area in Write mode. It allows you to view and edit your music, but focuses more on how it sounds in playback rather than its notation. The event display presents your project in a similar way to that used in a digital audio workstation, or DAW, such as Cubase.
Tracks are rows in the event display that represent time horizontally from left to right. They allow you to control multiple musical elements in a project simultaneously but independently of each other.
The playhead is a vertical line that moves during playback, showing the current rhythmic position. It is also known as a playback line.
Playing back music
You can listen to the music you have written from the beginning of your project or from a specific point. You can also use the playback key commands in any mode.
Playback templates
Dorico Pro uses playback templates to allocate sounds from VST instruments and MIDI devices to the instruments in your project.
Swing playback
Swing is a style of performance where equally-notated notes are played in a regular pattern of alternating longer and shorter notes, which commonly entails eighth notes being played as a quarter note triplet followed by an eighth note triplet.
The Mixer allows you to control the sounds produced in playback, both for the master output and on each individual channel.
Transport window
The Transport window contains all the transport functions in Dorico Pro. It contains more precise versions of the transport functions available in the toolbar and additional transport functions.
Endpoint is the term used for the unique combination of inputs and outputs that together allow the correct sounds to be played for each instrument.
Expression maps
Expression maps tell Dorico Pro how to use appropriately the patches and sounds in the VST instruments that you have loaded into your project.
Percussion maps
Unpitched percussion instruments are played back using patches that map unpitched sounds onto different MIDI notes. The pitches required to produce different unpitched sounds vary by device, sample library, manufacturer, and so on, and have no connection to the position of percussion instruments on five-line staves.
Played vs. notated note durations
You can show notes in the piano roll editor in Play mode with their played duration or notated duration.
Print mode
Print mode allows you to print your layouts or to export them as graphics files, such as PDF and SVG.
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 layouts
You can print layouts individually or multiple layouts together. You can specify print settings for each layout independently, for example, you can select different printers for different layouts in the same project.
Exporting layouts as graphic files
You can export individual layouts as a variety of graphic files, such as PDF or PNG.
You can print layouts from Dorico Pro projects to any printer to which your computer is connected.
Page arrangements for printing/exporting
Dorico Pro provides several page arrangements that you can use for printing/exporting your layouts.
Duplex printing
Dorico Pro allows duplex printing, which means that you can print on both sides of each sheet of paper.
Page sizes and paper sizes
In Dorico Pro, page sizes and paper sizes use different settings. This means that you can print layouts with any page size onto paper with a different paper size.
Graphics file formats
Dorico Pro supports multiple graphics file formats as which you can export your layouts.
Annotations provide additional information for printed or exported documents, such as the date and time it was printed. Publishers and printing agencies can use these to identify and register printed images correctly or to embed exported graphics files into a desktop publishing application.
This notation reference contains information about the accepted conventions for presenting different notations and how to change their appearance and placement in Dorico Pro, both for individual items and by changing project-wide settings.
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 to play a note 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 indicate where players are in the piece, which allows them to co-ordinate themselves easily in rehearsals and concerts.
A beam is a line that connects notes with tails to show rhythmic grouping, which varies according to the metrical structure of the current time signature.
Note and rest grouping
There are generally accepted conventions for how notes and rests of different durations are notated and grouped in different contexts.
Brackets and braces
Brackets and braces are thick straight and curved lines in the left-hand margin that show instrument groupings.
Chord symbols
Chord symbols describe the vertical harmony of the music at a specific moment. They are frequently used in jazz and pop music, where players often improvise around chord progressions.
Clefs are the symbol at the start of every system that give the notes on the staff context; that is, the clef tells you which note of the scale applies to each line or space of the staff.
Octave lines
Octave lines indicate where notes are played higher/lower than they appear in the score or part.
Cues are passages of music shown in instrumental parts that are played by a different player, 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 to perform the music, while also leaving room for interpretation.
Fingerings can be added to music to recommend which fingers players should use for notes. This can be useful for music aimed at players learning the instrument and for difficult musical passages where certain fingering patterns make the notes much easier to play.
Front matter
Front matter in Dorico Pro is a broad term that covers all information included before the first bar of music in scores.
Grace notes
Grace notes are notes without a fixed duration, which are intended to be played quickly. They are scaled-down versions of normal notes, 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. They are shown at the start of each system on every applicable staff.
In Dorico Pro, the term lyrics is used for 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 that are either filled or void depending on their duration, but there are many different designs of noteheads that you can use.
Ornaments are markings that indicate multiple notes are played in addition to the notated pitch. They are used to decorate music, such as in Baroque music, which is highly decorated with trills and other ornaments.
Arpeggio signs
Arpeggio signs are vertical lines that indicate chords are to be played arpeggiated, or 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, which can be smooth or in chromatic steps. They can have straight lines or wiggly lines, and can be shown with a text indication or as a line without text.
Jazz articulations
Jazz articulations in Dorico Pro cover a range of note ornamentations that are idiomatic to jazz music, and brass instruments in particular.
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 performers which piano pedals to use, and can also give performance instructions, such as how far down to depress the pedals and when to lift the pedal to clear the resonance.
Playing techniques
The term playing techniques covers a wide range of instructions intended to tell performers to modify the sound of the notes they are playing, for example, by changing their embouchure or changing the position of their bow, or by modifying their instrument, such as adding a mute or depressing a pedal.
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.
Markers are labels locked to a particular position in time, most commonly in relation to a video. They typically indicate an important moment that requires musical prominence, and composers often use them to help shape the writing process.
Timecodes indicate an exact position in time, usually in the context of a video. They allow precise synchronization between multiple elements, such as music and moving images, and can be used as a reference tool.
Repeat endings
For music with repeated passages, repeat endings show which bars are played at the end of each repetition, with different endings each time if required. They are also known as volta lines, or as first and second endings, but in this documentation, we refer to them as repeat endings.
Repeat markers
Repeat markers show that musical material is to be repeated, but unlike repeat endings, repeat markers often involve jumping to different positions and sections in the music instead of moving through the music consecutively.
Bar repeats
Bar repeats indicate that the musical material in preceding bars must be repeated exactly, but without notating that material again. Bar repeats can comprise groups of one, two, or four bars.
Rhythm slashes
Rhythm slashes are diagonal lines positioned on staves that are used to indicate that performers should play something, but without specifying the exact rhythms and pitches. They are often accompanied by chord symbols to indicate the set of notes the performer should use.
Rests are markings with a rhythmic value that indicate no note is played for that duration. 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 legato articulation and phrasing.
Staff labels
Staff labels are used to identify staves in music containing multiple players, and are positioned to the left of systems, before the initial barline of each system. Staff labels indicate the instrument or instruments currently playing the music on the staff or staves to which they apply.
A staff is a line or group of lines on which musical notes are notated to indicate the pitch and rhythm of music. Pitched instruments use the traditional five-line staff and unpitched instruments often use a single-line staff.
Divisi is when players split, or divide, in order to play multiple lines of music, commonly for a limited passage, before returning to play together, or tutti. Divisi passages can be notated with all lines on a single staff or across multiple staves.
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 is played, often with a combination of text instructions and metronome marks. They are also known as tempo changes, tempo indications, and tempo markings.
A tie is a curved line that joins two notes of the same pitch. When multiple, adjacent notes are joined with a sequence of ties, that is known as a tie chain.
Time signatures
Time signatures indicate the meter of music, and apply to all bars from where they first appear until a subsequent change of time signature. Meter describes the rhythmic pulse of music, and its division into beats and bars.
Tremolos are thick, slanted lines that cross individual stems or are positioned between multiple stems. They are used to indicate that notes are repeated, either individually or in 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.
For many instruments, such as flute or trombone, each staff usually contains a single musical line in a single voice that is read from left to right along the staff. When multiple, independent lines must be shown in a single staff, each line can be a separate voice.