How to Make Edits to Music Items in Dorico | Engrave mode

🎬  This article is a transcription of one of the excellent tutorial videos posted to the official Dorico YouTube channel.

Presented here in written form with the kind permission of its creator, Anthony Hughes, this tutorial is titled “How to Make Edits to Music Items in Dorico”…


Hi, I’m Anthony Hughes, and in this video I’ll be showing you how to edit the graphical position of music items here in Steinberg’s new music notation software, Dorico.

I’m in Engrave mode

which I can always get to easily by pressing key command Ctrl+3 on Windows, or Cmd+3 on Mac.

You’ll notice that because Engrave mode is all about fine-tuning the graphical appearance of your layouts, Galley View is not available and you always view your music in Page view.

Now, I can simply click on an item and drag it to a new position.

Note that this only affects the graphical appearance of the object and does not have any effect on playback or the underlying musical rhythmic position of the object. If an object is made up of more than one part, you can select each fragment individually to edit it. Some items such as slurs and ties have multiple control points—or handles—that give you complete control over their shaping and positioning.

For even more fine-grain control, hold down Alt and use the arrow keys to move the selected control points. Add Ctrl on Windows (that’s Command on Mac) to move in larger amounts.

Being able to select individual fragments of music items has other uses too. For example, in Write mode, when you click any tied note, the entire tie chain is selected. When working in Write mode this is useful, because musically it is just one note of a specified duration that might just happen to fall over a barline or beat group division meaning it has to be represented as a tie, and if you move or edit it then you want it to react as a single note would. In Engrave mode however, being able to access the individual noteheads give you the flexibility to set the graphical appearance as you need it; such as forcing the stem direction.

When you navigate through your music using the arrow keys in Engrave mode, you can move in any direction from fragment to fragment across items and staves.

[In the video example, I’m starting with this stem selected and I can press the down arrow, first to move to each notehead in the chord, and then to the second voice notehead and stem, and from there I can continue down to the high C on the next system.]

I can continue to move through the items in the score and at *this* point I can press the up arrow key to navigate to the slur.

From here I can hold down Alt and use the up/down arrows to move the entire slur,

or I can press the Tab key to cycle through the individual handles and then make more adjustments.

As you manually adjust the position of objects in the music, Dorico is setting properties with the exact dx and dy coordinates of each control point or handle. This means you can easily set precise values directly in the properties panel, or remove the overrides by simply switching the property off.

There are also useful menu items for resetting the appearance and position of various items.

Finally, you set the position of music items in Engrave mode safe in the knowledge that the changes only affect the layout you are working on. After all, if you are wishing to change the default positioning of items across all layouts you would use the Engraving Options.

I hope this has been helpful to you. Please subscribe to the Dorico Youtube channel to see more videos like this. I’m Anthony Hughes, thanks for watching.


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I appreciate your support of the OF NOTE  blog. If you find it to be a useful resource, please consider subscribing to OF NOTE and . ~robert

3 Replies to “How to Make Edits to Music Items in Dorico | Engrave mode”

  1. Do you have a video that shows how to edit notes? For example, how do I change two half notes rhythmically to a dotted quarter note followed by an eighth note tied to a half note in 4/4 time?

    1. Hi John. As far as a specific video getting more into the specifics of note duration editing, I have emailed Anthony Hughes to see if he has a video on this topic.

      In the meantime, one thing you might check out for this is a setting found in Setup Mode > Notation Options > Note Grouping.

      This setting is labeled “Notes starting on a beat followed by a rest in the middle of the beat”.

      By default, in Write Mode when you select the half note in your example and try to change it to a dotted quarter, Dorico will create it as a quarter tied to an 8th.

      By changing the above setting to “notate as a single note”, back out on the page, you can select the half note in Write Mode, then type a 6 for quarter followed by a period for the dot and you will get the dotted quarter value immediately.

      From that point you can arrow over to the 8th rest, type Shift-N to add the 8th note then type Escape – T to deselect and add the tie.

      Hope that helps, and stay tuned for more Dorico tutorials.

      ~robert

    2. HI John,

      I don’t have a specific video related to editing note values in Dorico – perhaps this might be a good topic for a future video series!

      You can freely edit the starting position and the rhythmic duration of all music items in Dorico.

      To move a selection of notes, hold down Alt and use the left/right arrow keys. The notes will move by the current value of the rhythmic grid, which is set by choosing a note value in the popup control found at the left edge of the status bar running along the bottom of the Dorico window. The default setting is an eighth note.

      To shorten or lengthen notes, hold down Shift+Alt and again use the left/right arrow keys. As before, the notes will be shortened or lengthened by the value of the rhythmic grid.

      So, looking at your example: select your second half note. Hold down Alt and press the left arrow key once to move the note one eighth note earlier. This will, by default, overwrite the last eighth note duration of the first half note. Now hold down Shift+Alt and press the right arrow key once to extend the duration of your half note so that it fills the remainder of the bar.

      Once you master these simple key commands, you will find that editing notes in Dorico is quick, easy and powerful.

      Additionally, if you do not want to overwrite other notes as you edit, try playing with chord mode (key command Q) and insert mode (key command I) when you use the move and shorten/lengthen commands, and see how the music reacts: you’ll find you can make any desired edit using these tools in Dorico.

      Hope this helps!
      Anthony

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