How to Use the Arranger Tools in Dorico Pro

🎬  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 Use the Arranger Tools in Dorico Pro”…


Hello I’m Anthony Hughes, and in this video I’ll be showing you how to use the new arranging tools, here [since] Dorico Pro 2, the advanced music notation software from Steinberg.

Dorico Pro 2 introduced a number of new note editing tools to assist with common tasks during arranging; including multi-paste, explode and reduce, and moving and copying material to the staff above or below.

Multi-paste (00:33)

When pasting copied material, Dorico can now paste multiple copies both horizontally and vertically to fill the range you specify.

First we need to copy some music—and we can do this most quickly by right clicking the page and choosing Copy from the context menu, or by using the key command Ctrl+C (that’s Cmd+C on Mac).

Now, if you select a single item, then Paste works exactly as it did before, creating one new copy of the source material at that rhythmic position. Again, you can right-click and choose Paste, or use the key command Ctrl+V (and that’s Cmd+V on Mac).

But if you select a range of bars, Dorico will paste as many copies as will fit into that range. (01:17)

If you select multiple staves, then Dorico will paste on to each of those staves. (01:24)

You can even select non-adjacent staves and paste directly to them. This becomes very useful pretty quickly, especially when considering the items you can copy don’t necessarily need to be just notes. (01:30)

And multi-paste works in both directions at once, filling the selected range with as many copies as will fit, in their entirety, on as many staves as specified. The source material can even be on multiple staves. (01:44)

Reduce (02:00)

Reduction is the process of taking music for more than one instrument and assigning it to fewer instruments (even a single instrument, in the classic case of a piano reduction). Dorico Pro 2 can help you with this potentially daunting task with the new Reduce feature, found in the Edit menu, under Paste Special.

The Paste Special menu can also be accessed by right-clicking on the music.

Simply copy some music from the staves you would like to reduce, then select the destination staves, right-click and choose Paste Special -> Reduce.

Paste Special > Reduce can also be accessed from the main Edit menu.

It’s as simple as that, but let’s have a look at some of the things that Dorico is doing here with different selections of music. (02:27)

If you copy music where the rhythms match across all staves, Dorico will reduce them into the same voice, and remove any unisons. Also, items such as clef changes, octave lines and cues are not included. (02:44)

As soon as you are pasting into more than one staff or instrument, Dorico will allocate the notes as evenly as possible, from the top down. So, in the case of these four voice parts being reduced down to these two piano staves, they are split equally; the upper two parts going to the piano right hand, the lower two parts to the left hand. (03:01)

In the case of these five wind parts being copied down to these three string instruments, you can see that Dorico pastes the notes from the top two wind staves to the first violin, the third and fourth notes to the second violin, and the note from the lowest wind staff to the viola staff. (03:23)

As soon as the rhythms in the different staves don’t match, Dorico apportions them in the same way, but starts splitting out into voices.

Let’s reduce more of this vocal piece into the piano part. It’s the work of seconds. And thanks to Dorico’s powerful voice editing features, if you want to merge any of the resulting music into one voice, you can manage that easily. We’ve taken the approach of giving you a reliable, predictable result whatever the situation, that can then be extended quickly with Dorico’s existing functionality. (03:54)

Explode (04:21)

Explode is the opposite of reduce, and comes with the added benefit of sounding a lot more exciting. You can copy music typically from one or two instruments, and paste them to a larger number of instruments, enabling you to split chords across a whole section.

This is an invaluable tool when arranging for ensembles, and can also really speed up transcribing passages of block chords, as you can input the chords quickly using a MIDI keyboard, then use Explode to allocate the notes to the instruments in the section. (04:39)

Moving music to the staff above or below (04:57)

Beneath the Reduce and Explode items in the Paste Special menu, you will find some new options for moving and copying music from one staff to the next, either above or below. The key command to move the selected items to the staff above is Alt+N, and to move to the staff below is Alt+M. These key commands are derived from the existing key commands for crossstaff notes being N and M respectively.

Duplicating music to the staff above or below (05:29)

You can also duplicate the selected music to the staff above or below, and if this is something that you find yourself doing often, you may like to define your own key commands for these operations. Do this by opening the Preferences dialog (which here on Mac is in the Dorico menu and on Windows you’ll find it in the Edit menu); switch to the Key Commands page; and under Selection and Navigation, choose the duplicate commands and assign a key command of your choice.

I very much hope you’ve found this video helpful. If you have, just for me, please click the thumbs up button below—that lets me know you’ve liked it—and subscribe to our Dorico channel right now to see many more videos like this one.

I’m Anthony Hughes, thanks for watching.



I hope you’ve found this tutorial transcription to be helpful, and appreciate your support by subscribing to OF NOTE. For even more ongoing music notation news and info, please follow me on Twitter.
~robert puff

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