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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.
Documentation structure
In our documentation, we divide information into three different types of topics, according to their content.
Conventions
In our documentation, we use typographical and markup elements to structure information.
How you can reach us
You can access additional information from the Help menu.
Dorico is based on a number of key concepts that come from its design philosophy.
Design philosophy and higher-level concepts
Deep design considerations are required to create a notation software like Dorico, which might be of particular interest to users familiar with scoring applications. Dorico has a forward-thinking design that is led by musical concepts rather than computational convenience, and this provides many benefits.
Projects in Dorico
A project is an individual file that you create within Dorico. It can contain multiple separate pieces of music of any duration, written for any combination of instruments, and use as many layouts as required.
Modes in Dorico
Modes in Dorico represent a logical sequence of the workflow phases of preparing music, but you can switch between them at any time as required for your own workflow.
Flows in Dorico
Flows are separate spans of music that are completely independent in musical content; for example, a single song in an album, a movement in a sonata or symphony, a number in a stage musical, or a short scale or sight-reading exercise of only a few bars in length. A single project can contain any number of flows.
Players in Dorico
In Dorico, a player can represent an individual musician or multiple musicians in the same section. Players hold instruments, so you must add at least one player to your project before you can add instruments.
Instruments in Dorico
In Dorico, an instrument is an individual musical instrument, such as a piano, a flute, or a violin. Human voices, such as soprano or tenor, are also considered instruments.
Popovers
Popovers allow you to input different notations and perform tasks, such as transposing a selection of notes, using only your computer keyboard. They are temporary value fields that use text entries for different items and tasks, and there are specific popovers for different purposes.
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.
Rhythmic position
In Dorico, notes and items exist at rhythmic positions, which are calculated using their place in musical time in the flow rather than their position in a specific bar that has a particular time signature.
Layouts in Dorico
Layouts combine musical content, as represented by flows and players, with rules for page formatting and music engraving, and allow you to produce paginated music notation that can be printed or exported in various formats. For example, part layouts only include the music for that player whereas full score layouts contain all staves in the project.
Page templates in Dorico
Page templates in Dorico Pro allow you to achieve consistent page formatting by applying the same arrangements of frames to multiple pages and in different layouts.
Options dialogs in Dorico Pro
Options to control the default appearance of music and functionality of Dorico Pro are available in different dialogs according to their type and purpose.
The user interface of Dorico Pro is designed to keep all of the important tools at your fingertips. This chapter introduces you to key aspects of the user interface.
Project window
Dorico Pro’s main project window allows you to access all the options and tools you need to work on a project. You can open multiple project windows for the same project or for different projects.
Workspace setup
Dorico Pro enables you to set up your workspace according to your working style. For example, you can open multiple tabs to display multiple layouts in the same window. You can also open the same project in multiple project windows.
Color setup
Dorico Pro allows you to change the colors used in different contexts, including for project windows and pages in each type of layout.
Language setup
Dorico Pro allows you to change the language used in different contexts, including for the application itself and for instrument names in staff labels.
Preferences dialog
The Preferences dialog allows you to change how Dorico Pro functions by default across all projects.
Key Commands page in the Preferences dialog
The Key Commands page in the Preferences dialog allows you to view all the functions to which you can assign key commands, change existing key commands, and assign new key commands to functions that have no key command assigned by default.
Jump bar
The jump bar is a temporary value field that allows you to perform commands and go to locations in the current layout using only your computer keyboard.
In addition to opening and importing/exporting projects and other file formats, project and file handling also includes auto-save and project backups.
Hub
The Hub allows you to access recent projects, start new projects, and keep up-to-date with learning materials including tutorials, videos, and blog updates. The Hub opens automatically when you start Dorico Pro.
Starting new projects
You can start new projects from project templates, such as for orchestra or a vocal ensemble. You can also start empty projects.
Opening projects/files
You can open Dorico projects at any time and in addition to other open projects; for example, if the project you want to open is not listed as a recent project in the list in the Hub. You can also open MusicXML and MIDI files.
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.
Missing Fonts dialog
The Missing Fonts dialog appears when you open a project that contains a font that you do not have installed on your computer. It allows you to select replacement fonts that are installed on your computer as substitutes.
Project Info dialog
The Project Info dialog allows you to specify information about the whole project and each flow within it separately, such as the title, composer, and lyricist, as these might be different for different flows. You can then refer to these entries using tokens in text frames.
Project templates
Project templates allow you to start new projects that already contain a particular set of players and project library settings. For example, full score layouts in orchestral project templates have larger page sizes than in chamber ensemble project templates.
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.
Auto-save
The auto-save function stores a version of the currently active project at regular intervals, including new projects you have not explicitly saved yet. 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 allows you to set up the fundamental elements of the project: instruments and the players that hold them, flows, layouts, and videos. You can also determine how they interact with each other; for example, by changing the players assigned to layouts.
Project window in Setup mode
The project window in Setup mode contains 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.
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.
Players
In Dorico Pro, a player can represent an individual musician or multiple musicians in the same section. Players hold instruments, so you must add at least one player to your project before you can add instruments.
Ensembles
Ensembles are sets of multiple players that are commonly used together, such as a double woodwind section that contains two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, and two bassoons. Dorico Pro provides predefined ensembles, but you can also build custom ensembles.
Instruments
In Dorico Pro, an instrument is an individual musical instrument, such as a piano, a flute, or a violin. Human voices, such as soprano or tenor, are also considered instruments.
Player groups
A player group represents a collection of musicians that are considered together, such as one choir in a work for double choir or an off-stage ensemble. Player groups can have their own brackets, depending on the bracket grouping set for each layout.
Flows
Flows are separate spans of music that are completely independent in musical content, meaning they can contain completely different players from each other and have different time signatures and key signatures. A single project can contain any number of flows.
Layouts
Layouts combine musical content, as represented by flows and players, with rules for page formatting and music engraving, and allow you to produce paginated music notation that can be printed or exported in various formats. For example, part layouts only include the music for that player whereas full score layouts contain all staves in the project.
Player, layout, and instrument names
In Dorico Pro, you can use three different names to refer to the same player in different contexts. This allows you to show relevant information in different places, such as in staff labels and at the top of part layouts.
Flow names and flow titles
Whenever you add a flow to a project, the default name of a flow is Flow plus an incremental number. In Dorico Pro, flows have both a flow name and a flow title, which are the same by default but can be different if, for example, you want to organize sketch versions of flows without affecting their displayed titles in the music.
Videos
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 allows you to input and edit your music, including changing the rhythmic positions of items, changing the pitch of notes, and deleting notes and items. The available toolboxes and panels allow you to input all the notes and notation items that are most commonly used.
Project window in Write mode
The project window in Write mode contains toolboxes and panels with the tools and functions required to write your music.
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.
Caret
In Dorico Pro, the caret is a vertical line that extends above and below five-line staves but appears shorter on percussion staves and tablature. It shows the rhythmic position at which notes, chords, or notation items are input, which can be partway through tie chains.
Note input
In Dorico Pro, you can only input notes during note input, which is when the caret is activated. This reduces the risk of you adding notes to staves accidentally.
Note durations
In Dorico Pro, you can change note durations both during note input and for existing notes.
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 note input and by adding them to existing notes and music. In Dorico Pro, notation is a broad term that includes many different items, including articulations, slurs, dynamics, and more.
Selecting notes/items
In Dorico Pro, there are multiple different ways you can select notes and items in your project, from selecting items individually to making large selections covering multiple staves. You can also change whether notes play back during note input/selection.
Editing items
In Dorico Pro, there are editing methods that are common to most notations, including lengthening/shortening items and changing their staff-relative placement.
Hiding non-printing elements
You can temporarily hide all visible elements that do not print, such as signposts, selection highlights, and frames. This allows you to view the current layout as it will appear when printed/exported without switching to Print mode.
Navigation
There are different ways you can navigate around the layout currently open in the music area, such as moving the selection to different items or bringing specific bar numbers or pages into view. Many navigation methods function in multiple modes.
Instrument filters
Instrument filters allow you to show only the staves of selected instruments in galley view in Write mode. This can be useful in large projects when you want to focus on a specific set of instruments, such as only the woodwinds or strings.
Signposts
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 rhythmic feel changes.
Insert mode
Insert mode changes how notes are input and how edits you make outside of note input affect the music. When Insert mode is activated, notes are pushed to subsequent rhythmic positions instead of being overwritten if you input new notes or lengthen existing notes. Similarly, deleting notes or reducing their duration with Insert mode activated pulls surrounding notes closer together without leaving rests between them.
Arranging tools
Arranging tools in Dorico Pro allow you to allocate notes to different staves and voices quickly and efficiently.
Musical transformations
Dorico Pro provides multiple tools for transforming pitches and rhythms, including reversing and inverting pitches and rotating rhythms.
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, have different time signatures and key signatures, and have different options for notations, including note grouping and accidental duration rules.
Comments
Comments allow you to add notes or instructions at precise positions in your project without affecting the music. They are considered annotations in Dorico Pro, meaning they are not printed by default.
Engrave mode allows you to manipulate and modify every item in your project, but without deleting them, moving them rhythmically, or changing the pitch of notes. You can also determine how the pages in each layout of your project are formatted for printing or exporting.
Project window in Engrave mode
The project window in Engrave mode contains a toolbox and panels with all the tools and functions that allow you to format the pages, systems, and properties of individual notations in your score.
Page templates
Page templates in Dorico Pro allow you to achieve consistent page formatting by applying the same arrangements of frames to multiple pages and 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 page templates, allowing the same flow heading formatting to be applied to multiple flows in different layouts.
Frames
Frames are boxes that allow you to position music, additional text, and graphics on pages. Frames can be any size and shape, as long as they fit within the page margins.
Graphic slices
Graphic slices allow you to export portions of pages as graphics files; for example, to save small musical extracts for use in performance instructions. They exist as fixed frames on specific pages, and function in a similar way to frames.
Note spacing
The positions of notes and rests relative to each other, and the automatic gaps between them, are known as note spacing.
Moving items graphically
You can move items graphically without changing the rhythmic positions or notes to which they are attached; for example, to offset individual items on specific pages without either moving other items of the same type or changing their default positions, as set in Engraving Options. You can do this for the current layout and frame chain only or for all layouts and frame chains.
Play mode allows you to change how your music sounds in playback, including by adjusting the mix, changing the playback template, and assigning VST instruments.
Project window in Play mode
The project window in Play mode contains all the tools and functions for setting up your project for playback. In Play mode, your project appears in a similar way to that used in a digital audio workstation, or DAW, such as Cubase.
Tracks
Tracks are rows that represent a musical element across time, extending from left to right. They allow you to control multiple musical elements in a project simultaneously but independently of each other.
Playhead
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 use playback key commands in any mode.
Enabling independent voice playback
By default, all voices belonging to a single instrument, including divisi staves, use the same endpoint for playback. You can enable independent voice playback for individual instruments; for example, to hear the different playing techniques in playback for a string divisi where some parts are pizzicato and some parts are arco.
Muting/Soloing tracks
You can mute/solo individual tracks, instruments, and voices belonging to instruments with independent voice playback enabled. This can be useful if you want to ensure only certain instruments are played back while you are working on a specific section of a project.
Repeats in playback
Dorico Pro supports the playback of repeat structures, including repeat endings, repeat barlines, and repeat markers, provided all the correct jumps and sections are in place.
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.
Transport window
The Transport window contains playback and MIDI recording functions, such as rewinding and fast-forwarding. It contains additional and more precise versions of the playback functions available in the toolbar.
Playback templates
Dorico Pro uses playback templates to allocate sounds from VST instruments and MIDI devices to the instruments in your project.
Endpoints
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.
Print mode allows you to print your layouts or to export them as graphics files, such as PDF and SVG.
The formatting of pages in Dorico Pro is determined by a number of factors, including the layout’s staff size, page margins, the page template applied to them, any casting off values applied to them, system and frame breaks, and frame padding.
Changing the page size and/or orientation
You can change the page size and/or orientation of each layout independently. For example, you can use a large, landscape page in full score layouts and a small, portrait page for part layouts.
Changing page margins
You can change the page margins of each layout independently; for example, if you want wider margins for layouts in your project that will be spiral bound.
Applying page template sets to layouts
You can change the page template set used by each layout in your project; for example, if you want a custom score layout to use the Default Part page template set because that set shows the layout name on the first page.
Changing the default staff size
You can change the default size of staves in each layout independently. For example, you can have a small staff size in full score layouts but a larger staff size in part layouts.
Changing the default staff/system spacing
You can change the default gaps between staves and systems in each layout independently. For example, you can have smaller gaps between staves in full score layouts to accommodate more staves, and larger gaps between systems in part layouts to give players space to add pencil markings.
Changing the vertical justification of staves/systems
You can change the minimum fullness threshold above which Dorico Pro automatically vertically justifies staves and systems, which means they are evenly distributed to fill the height of frames. You can also control whether staves and systems are both vertically justified or only systems are vertically justified.
Hiding/Showing empty staves
You can hide/show empty staves differently in each layout independently. For example, you can show all staves, including empty staves, in a full score layout for the conductor but hide empty staves in a full score layout intended for reference only.
Hiding/Showing blank staves after final flows
You can hide/show additional blank staves to fill the page after the final flow in each layout independently; for example, if you want to emulate the convention of showing additional blank staves between the final system and the bottom of the page when formatting part layouts for recording sessions.
Inserting pages
You can insert pages into each layout in your project; for example, if you want to add an empty page to facilitate page turns. Inserted pages can be empty or can use a page template as a starting point.
Deleting pages
You can delete empty pages and any extra pages you have added to layouts.
Starting layouts on left-hand pages
By default, all layouts start on a right-hand page, as convention dictates that odd numbered pages are always on the right-hand page. However, you can set individual layouts to start on a left-hand page; for example, to facilitate page turns better in that layout.
Allowing/Disallowing multiple flows on the same page
You can allow/disallow new flows to be shown on the same page as previous flows if there is space; for example, to reduce the number of pages required for parts in works with multiple movements. By default, new flows are allowed on the same page in part layouts and are not allowed in full score layouts.
Changing when the First page template is used
You can change the circumstances when the First page template is used in each layout independently; for example, if you want to use it for the start of every flow in the full score but only want to use it for the first flow in part layouts, even when subsequent flows start at the top of the page.
Hiding/Showing flow headings
You can hide/show flow headings in each layout independently; for example, if your project only contains a single flow and you only want to show the project title. You can also hide the heading for the first flow but show flow headings for subsequent flows.
Hiding/Showing information in running headers above flow headings
You can hide/show flow titles, page numbers, and flow page numbers separately when they appear above flow headings at the top of a new page in each layout independently. Hiding such information in running headers is a custom in publishing.
Changing the horizontal justification of final systems
You can change whether the final systems of flows always fill the width of frames or only do so above a certain fullness threshold in each layout independently. By default in Dorico Pro, the final systems of flows only justify to the full width of the frame when they are more than half full.
Enabling/Disabling condensing
You can enable/disable condensing in each layout independently, with separate options for condensing section players and divisi staves. For example, in a large-scale work with orchestra and chorus, you might want to condense vocal staves in the full score but show uncondensed vocal staves in a custom vocal score.
Margins
Margins determine the spacing around music on pages, such as on all four edges of each page and above/below flow headings.
Staff size
Staff size refers to the distance between the top and bottom lines of staves, and can be expressed as a point size or in another supported unit of measurement, such as millimeters. For individual staves, you can use a scale size of the default staff size in the layout. The most appropriate staff size depends on the intended purpose of the layout.
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.
Casting off
Casting off is the term used to encompass fixing the layout of pages of music, such as setting the number of systems per page.
System breaks
System breaks occur when musical material reaches the right page margin and must continue on a new system, usually below the previous system on the same page or on a new page. Dorico Pro automatically arranges music across systems so that notes are correctly spaced and legible, but you can also control system breaks manually.
Frame breaks
Frame breaks occur when musical material reaches the right page margin at the bottom of a frame and must continue on a new system in the next frame in the music frame chain, which is usually on the next page. Dorico Pro automatically arranges music in frames so that systems are correctly spaced and legible, but you can also control frame breaks manually; for example, to insert page turns at specific positions in part layouts.
Tacets
Tacet is the indication used to show that a player does not play anything in an entire flow, which might be a movement in a symphony or cue in a film score. In Dorico Pro, you can generate tacets automatically.
Condensing
Condensing is the process of showing the music for multiple players on fewer staves than normal, usually by allowing multiple instruments of the same type to share a staff, such as Flutes 1-2 or Horns 1-4. In Dorico Pro, this is an automatic process that allows you to show condensed staves in some layouts, such as full score layouts, and uncondensed staves in others, such as the part layouts.
Part formatting propagation
The propagation of part formatting involves copying the layout options and system formatting that determine the layouts of pages in specific part layouts and applying them to other part layouts. This can save time when formatting similar parts.
Properties are settings that apply to individual notes and items and allow you to edit them, such as by changing their appearance or position. You can access properties in the Properties panel.
Properties panel
The Properties panel in Write mode provides options that allow you to edit individual notes and notations, such as by changing their appearance or position. It is located in the lower zone at the bottom of the window in Write mode and Engrave mode.
Local vs. global properties
Properties can affect items either in the current layout and frame chain only or in all layouts and frame chains. This allows you to have the same items appear differently in different layouts, such as if you want to show gradual dynamics as hairpins in part layouts but as cresc. text in full score layouts.
Changing the property scope
You can change the property scope of local properties; for example, if you want the subsequent properties you change to affect all layouts and frame chains.
Changing values in numeric value fields
You can change the values in numeric value fields in multiple different ways, such as doubling or halving the existing values. In Dorico Pro, value fields are most commonly used in the Properties panel and in options dialogs.
The Mixer allows you to control the volume, panning, and sounds of channels in playback.
Mixer panel
The Mixer panel allows you to control the volume and panning of channels in playback. It is located in the lower zone at the bottom of the window in Write, Engrave, and Play modes.
Mixer window
The Mixer allows you to control the volume, panning, and sounds of channels in playback. It provides access to channel strips, which are not available in the Mixer panel.
Mixer channels
Mixer channels allow the source connected to them, such as instrument tracks, to produce sound. You can access all channels in the Mixer panel and Mixer window, and individual channels in the Track Inspector for the corresponding track.
Hiding/Showing channels
You can hide/show channels in the Mixer according to their type; for example, you can hide MIDI channels while working on instrument channels.
Scrolling through channels
When many channels are shown in the Mixer, you can scroll through them in order to view channels that do not fit in the view.
Changing the height of channels
You can change the vertical space occupied by channels and channel strips in the Mixer window; for example, you might make channel strips taller when loading inserts or changing EQ settings.
Changing the volume of channels
You can change and reset the volume of individual channels in the Mixer; for example, to balance instruments in an orchestral project.
Panning channels
You can change the pan position of individual channels on the stereo spectrum; for example, if you want the pan positions of instruments in an orchestral project to match their positions on a real-life stage.
Loading inserts into channels
You can load up to four inserts into each channel, excluding MIDI channels. For example, you can load specific EQ plug-ins instead of using the default EQ channel strips, and apply amp modeling plug-ins to clean guitar channels.
Changing the reverb plug-in
You can change the plug-in used for reverb on the FX channel; for example, if you want to use a specific reverb sound. By default, the reverb plug-in REVerence is loaded into the FX channel.
In Dorico Pro, the library is the total compilation of visual items and options that are available in all projects on your computer. It combines factory default settings, custom items/options you have saved as default, and items/options only available in the current project.
Library Manager
The Library Manager gives you an overview of all visual items and options in the current project, and allows you to compare these against another project, your user library, or Dorico’s factory library. You can import visual items and options from any of these locations into the current project, from all options down to individual options.
Layout Options dialog
The Layout Options dialog allows you to change various aspects of each layout independently. For example, you can change the physical properties of the layout, such as page size, staff size, or margins, and how the music appears and is laid out, such as note spacing or staff labels.
Notation Options dialog
The Notation Options dialog allows you to change how music is notated by default in each flow independently. For example, there are options for beam, note, and rest grouping, voices, accidentals, barlines, and condensing.
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.
Engraving Options dialog
The Engraving Options dialog allows you to change the default graphical appearance and position of items project-wide, in all flows and layouts. For example, you can change the line thickness of notation items, their continuation style, their default staff-relative placement, and their minimum distance from the staff and other items.
Playback Options dialog
The Playback Options dialog allows you to change how the music you have written sounds when played back. These options affect playback regardless of expression maps and patches, such as how dynamics, pedal lines, and different notations are interpreted during playback.
Music Fonts dialog
The Music Fonts dialog allows you to change the font used for notations and glyphs project-wide. Any font you use for notations and glyphs must be SMuFL-compliant.
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.
Edit Chord Diagrams dialog
The Edit Chord Diagrams dialog allows you to design your own chord diagram shapes, either by creating a new blank one or by editing any of the available chord diagram shapes.
Custom chord symbols
You can customize chord symbol components and whole chord symbols, both for all instances of specific chord symbols project-wide and for single instances of chord symbols.
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.
Custom notehead sets
You can create and edit custom noteheads and notehead sets; for example, to create noteheads with specific shapes that represent extended techniques.
Custom playing techniques
Custom playing techniques allow you to represent any playing technique in any way you want; for example, if the default glyph used for a particular playing technique is not the one to which you or the players reading the music are accustomed.
Custom lines
Custom lines allow you to design lines that appear any way you want and save them for use in multiple projects.
Custom tonality systems
Custom tonality systems allow you to specify a unique number of divisions of the octave for your project. This can be useful for music not based on traditional Western harmony. In Dorico Pro, you can design your own custom accidentals and combine them into custom key signatures within each custom tonality.
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, sound library, manufacturer, and so on, and have no connection to the position of percussion instruments on five-line staves.
Playback techniques
Playback techniques link together the notations you input into your music and techniques/articulations in sound libraries in order to produce the correct sounds in playback. They are used by expression and percussion maps to trigger the appropriate commands, such as key switches or control changes.
Introduction
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 default settings.
Accidentals
Accidentals are shown beside notes to indicate their pitch, both when notated on a staff and written out in text. In music based in Western tonality, they usually show that the pitch of a note has been altered so that it does not conform to the prevailing key signature.
Articulations
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
Bars indicate a usually regular pattern of beats, determined by the prevailing time signature. Bars are separated from adjacent bars by vertical barlines, and each bar has a unique bar number.
Barlines
Barlines are vertical lines that cross staves in order to show how music is divided into bars, according to the time signature. The most commonly used barline is the single barline between adjacent bars, but there are different types, such as double or repeat barlines.
Bar numbers
Bar numbers provide crucial reference points in music and make the chronological sequence of music clear. By providing a unique number for each bar, they enable accurate references to specific parts of pieces and allow players to co-ordinate themselves easily in rehearsals and concerts.
Beaming
A beam is a line that connects notes with tails to show rhythmic grouping, which varies according to the metrical structure of the prevailing 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 and meters. In Dorico Pro, notes are automatically notated to fit within bars and are grouped according to your per-flow settings.
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.
Chord diagrams
Chord diagrams represent the pattern of strings and frets on fretted instruments and use dots to indicate the stopped finger positions required to produce the corresponding chord. This demonstrates the specific shape of chords in a compact way and is useful if a particular voicing is required.
Clefs
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. To minimize the number of ledger lines required for notes, different clefs are typically used according to the register of instruments.
Octave lines
Octave lines indicate where notes are played higher/lower than they appear in the score or part. They are dashed or dotted horizontal lines with an italic numeral at the start. The numeral indicates the number of pitches by which the phrase is changed, such as 8 for one octave and 15 for two octaves.
Cues
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
Dynamics indicate the loudness of the music and can be combined with expressive text to give further clarification about how to perform the music. Dynamics can indicate an immediate change in volume or a gradual change over a specified duration.
Figured bass
Figured bass is a shorthand that uses figures to specify the harmony above the notated bass notes. It is particularly common in Baroque and early Classical music and in the parts of accompanying instruments, such as harpsichords and viols.
Fingering
Fingerings use numbers and letters 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.
String indicators
String indicators are commonly used in guitar music to tell performers the string on which they should play a note, particularly for pitches that are possible on multiple strings.
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.
Tonality systems
The term tonality system is used in Dorico Pro to encompass three crucial elements that together make up the concept of tonality.
Lyrics
In Dorico Pro, the term lyrics is used for all text that is sung by singers.
Notes
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.
Bracketed noteheads
Bracketed noteheads are often used to indicate that notes are optional, editorial, not played in all playthroughs in music with repeats, or pressed down but not fully struck on the piano. In Dorico Pro, you can show brackets on any notehead.
Stems
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.
Harmonics
Harmonics are pitches produced by touching resonating strings at specific positions along their length, allowing the corresponding harmonic partial to sound. Harmonics often have a high pitch with a glassy, purer sound than stopped pitches. There are two different types of harmonics: natural and artificial.
Ornaments
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.
Trills
Trills are fast alternations between two notes, similar to a tremolo, that were a common decoration in Baroque, Classical, and Romantic music. Trill marks are usually added to a single note, to indicate the performed notes are the notated pitch and the note either a half-step or whole step above, and can have extension lines to show the duration of the trill.
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 as vertical wavy 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.
Guitar bends
The guitar bend is a technique commonly performed on electric guitars, where the performer pushes strings out of their normal alignment after notes start to sound. Bending strings tightens them, which produces the characteristic pitch fluctuation.
Guitar techniques
The term guitar techniques covers a range of techniques typically associated with guitar music, such as hammer-ons, pull-offs, and pitch alterations that use the vibrato bar on electric guitars.
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.
Harp pedaling
Harp pedaling is a broad term that covers the specific requirements for notating music for harps. This primarily involves harp pedal diagrams, which are often necessary due to the way in which modern concert harps change their tuning.
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.
Lines
Lines can convey a variety of meanings in music, such as indicating which hand to use in piano music or a gradual change in bow pressure. In Dorico Pro, lines can be vertical, horizontal, or angled between notes and have different styles and appearances.
Rehearsal marks
Rehearsal marks are ordered sequences of letters or numbers that provide useful reference points, such as indicating significant changes in the music. They allow performers to co-ordinate easily in rehearsals and make the chronological sequence of the music clear.
Markers
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
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.
Numbered bar regions
Numbered bar regions allow you to show bar counts in specific regions without additional notations. This can help performers keep track of how many bars have passed when playing repetitive music.
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
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
Slurs are tapered, curved lines that join notes to indicate legato articulation and phrasing.
Staff labels
Staff labels are used to identify the instruments playing the music on the corresponding staves, and are positioned to the left of systems, before the initial barline of each system. Staff labels are typically used in music containing multiple players.
Staves
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
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.
Tablature
Tablature is an alternative notation to the five-line staff, and is used for fretted instruments. On tablature, pitches are indicated by fret numbers positioned on lines, each of which represents a string on the instrument. As tablature is commonly used for guitars, it usually shows six lines.
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.
Text items
Text items exist at rhythmic positions within flows and allow you to display generic text in the music.
Ties
A tie is a curved line that joins two notes of the same pitch. When notes are longer than the maximum duration of a bar in the prevailing time signature, they automatically appear in Dorico Pro as tie chains; that is, a sequence of adjacent notes joined with ties.
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
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
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.
Voices
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.