How to Work with Lyrics in Dorico | Write 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 Work with Lyrics in Dorico”…

Hi, I’m Anthony Hughes and in this video I’ll be showing you how to work with lyrics in Steinberg’s new music notation software, Dorico.

Adding lyrics to your music is really straightforward. You make a selection where the lyrics will start, then over on the Notations panel you press this button:

or use the key command Shift+L for lyrics.

The lyrics popover appears.

The number 1 here indicates that this is the first line of lyrics and this will be useful later when we are looking at multiple verses.

Now you simply type your lyrics and when you press space the popover automatically advances to the next note.

You can include punctuation in your lyrics and if you realise you make a mistake you can type backspace or the arrow keys to move between the individual characters and words. Lyric input automatically closes when you reach the end of a voice.

When lyrics have words with more than one syllable, type a hyphen at the end of each syllable and the popover will automatically advance to the next note.

Once you have entered the next syllable, Dorico will layout the lyrics with correct hyphens as required. Typing more hyphens will continue to advance over subsequent notes.


When words (or final syllables) extend beyond one note, you can press the spacebar as many times as needed

and Dorico will automatically insert an extender line.

You will notice that Dorico knows when a note is a tied note and correctly treats it as one note.

You can override these default input behaviours when you need to. If you hold down Alt when typing a hyphen you will prevent the popover from advancing to the next note.

And if you hold down Shift and Alt while pressing Space, then you can type additional words under the same note.

Typing an underscore in the lyrics popover creates an elision.


When you need additional lines of lyrics for verses, then all you have to do is press the down arrow key in the Lyrics popover and you are now inputting into verse 2.

Keep pressing the down arrow to add more verses. Dorico ensures the correct gaps between staves is maintained.

If you wish to show verse numbers then open the Engraving Options for the project by switching to Engrave mode and choosing Engraving Options from the Engrave menu, or by using the key command Ctrl+Shift+E on Windows (that’s Cmd+Shift+E on Mac) from anywhere in the program.

Select the Lyrics category, and scroll down until you see the Verse Numbers section. Select ‘Show verse numbers’ and click Apply.

To enter a line of lyrics for a chorus or refrain, press the Up Arrow when viewing verse 1 in the lyrics popover.

The popover will display a c to indicate you are typing into the chorus line.

Dorico automatically formats the text as italic and centres the line with as many verses as you have on that system.

It is also very easy to enter a line of translated text for one or more of your verses. With the popover open, hold down Alt while you press the down arrow and an asterisk is shown on the popover to indicate you are now typing a translation line.

Often, when there is more than one voice on a staff, you may need to input lyrics for the higher voice above the staff. You do this by holding down the Shift key and pressing the Up Arrow, then typing as per usual.

All of these features can also be accessed via the Properties panel, meaning that it is just as easy to set syllabification, line placement and numbers, chorus and translations and more even after you have input the text.

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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