Inputting notes on tablature

You can input notes directly into tablature in the same ways as inputting normal notes. When inputting notes on tablature, the caret is smaller than when inputting notes on standard five-line staves and behaves as if chord input is always active, meaning you must advance the caret manually to input notes at other rhythmic positions.


These steps describe inputting notes with the default preference of duration before pitch. However, you can also specify the pitch before duration instead.

When inputting notes on tablature using pitch before duration, you must select note durations by clicking them in the Notes panel.


  1. In Write mode, select an item on the tablature and at the rhythmic position where you want to input notes.

    If both notation staves and tablature are shown in the current layout, you must select an item on the notation staff and then move the caret to the tablature after starting note input.

  2. Start note input in any of the following ways:
    • Press Shift-N.

    • In the Notes toolbox, click Start Note Input Start Note Input button.

    • Double-click the staff.

  3. Select a note duration in any of the following ways:
    • To select the next longer duration, press =.

    • To select the next shorter duration, press -.

    • In the Notes panel, click the duration you want.

    • In the Fretboard panel toolbar, click the duration you want.

  4. Input the pitch you want for the current string in any of the following ways:
    • Press the number on your computer keyboard or numeric keypad that corresponds to the fret number you want. For example, press 6 for fret 6.

      For fret numbers 10 and above, press the two digits quickly.

    • Press the corresponding letters on your computer keyboard.


      When using letters, Dorico SE automatically chooses the octave closest to the nut on the corresponding string.

    • In the Fretboard panel, click the corresponding string and fret position.

    • Play the note on a MIDI keyboard.

  5. Move the caret up/down to input notes on different strings at the same rhythmic position in any of the following ways:
    • To move it up, press Up Arrow.

    • To move it down, press Down Arrow.

  6. Move the caret to other rhythmic positions in any of the following ways:
    • To move the caret according to the current rhythmic grid resolution, press Right Arrow/Left Arrow.

    • To advance the caret according to the note duration currently selected, press Space or click Advance Caret in the Fretboard panel toolbar.

    • To move the caret to the next/previous bar, press Ctrl/Cmd-Right Arrow/Ctrl/Cmd-Left Arrow.


Notes are input at the caret position with the selected duration on the string indicated by the caret and are played back as you input them by default. Notes continue to be input at the caret position until you move the caret manually and overwrite any previous note on the same string. If you attempt to input a note that is impossible on the current string, it is input on the closest available string in addition to any existing notes.

If you have input two or more notes on the same string at the same rhythmic position, they are shown next to each other on tablature and are colored green. Similarly, when you input chords on tablature using pitch before duration with a MIDI keyboard, all notes in the chord are allocated to the same string. You can then select them individually and change their string allocation.