Steinberg2 – Dorico Elements 2 – User Manual

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Operation ManualCristina Bachmann, Heiko Bischoff, Lillie Harris, Christina Kaboth, Insa Mingers, Matthias Obrecht, Sabine Pfeifer,
Benjamin Schütte, Marita Sladek
This PDF provides improved access for vision-impaired users. Please note that due to the complexity and number
of images in this document, it is not possible to include text descriptions of images.
The information in this document is subject to change without notice and does not represent a commitment on
the part of Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH. The software described by this document is subject to a License
Agreement and may not be copied to other media except as specifically allowed in the License Agreement. No
part of this publication may be copied, reproduced, or otherwise transmitted or recorded, for any purpose,
without prior written permission by Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH. Registered licensees of the product
described herein may print one copy of this document for their personal use.
All product and company names are ™ or ® trademarks of their respective owners. For more information, please
© Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH, 2019.
All rights reserved.
Dorico_2.2.0_en-US_2019-01-298 Introduction
8 Platform-Independent Documentation
8 Usage of musical terms
9 Conventions
11 How you can reach us
12 First steps
12 Getting around
19 Starting a new project
22 Writing music
28 Dorico Elements concepts
28 Design philosophy
29 Key musical concepts
32 User interface
32 Hub
36 Windows
49 Setting up your workspace
55 Preferences dialog
62 Setup mode
62 Project window in Setup mode
70 Project Info dialog
71 Layout Options dialog
73 Players
81 Ensembles
82 Instruments
96 Player groups
98 Flows
101 Layouts
106 Videos
112 Write mode
112 Project window in Write mode
119 Introduction to inputting and editing
129 Notation Options dialog
131 Note input
163 Notations input
253 Arranging tools
259 Splitting flo ws
261 Layout and formatting
261 Engrave mode
261 Frames
262 Master pages
262 Page layouts
271 Music Fonts dialog
272 Editing text
278 Note spacing
281 Staff spacing
282 Play mode
282 Project window in Play mode
287 Playback Options dialog
288 Event display
296 Tracks
313 Playhead
314 Playing back music
319 Swing playback
324 Mixer
326 Transport window
328 Endpoints
332 Expression maps
340 Percussion maps
347 Played vs. notated note durations
350 Print mode
350 Project window in Print mode
354 Printing layouts
356 Exporting layouts as graphic files
359 Printers
359 Page arrangements for printing/exporting
362 Duplex printing
363 Handling page sizes and paper sizes
364 Graphics file formats
365 Annotations
366 Notation reference
367 Introduction
368 Accidentals
368 Changing accidentals
368 Deleting accidentals
369 Showing accidentals in parentheses
370 Altered unisons
371 Microtonal accidentals
371 Accidental duration rules
374 Articulations
375 Copying articulations
375 Changing articulations
375 Deleting articulations
376 Positions of articulations
378 Articulations in playback
379 Bars
379 Deleting bars
381 Changes to the length of bars
381 Splits in bars
382 Combining bars
384 Barlines
385 Deleting barlines
385 Moving barlines rhythmically
386 Barlines across staff groups
388 Bar numbers
388 Appearance of bar numbers
391 Bar numbers in parts
Table of Contents
3392 Hiding/Showing bar number ranges on multi-
bar rests
393 Positions of bar numbers
396 Bar number changes
398 Subordinate bar numbers
399 Bar numbers and repeats
400 Beaming
400 Beaming notes together manually
401 Changing the direction of partial beams
401 Beam groups
403 Beam placement relative to the staff
404 Beam slants
405 Centered beams
406 Creating cross-staff beams
409 Beam corners
409 Secondary beams
410 Tuplets within beams
411 Stemlets
411 Fanned beams
413 Note and rest grouping
413 Conventions for beam grouping according to
414 Creating custom beat groupings for meters
415 Brackets and braces
416 Brackets according to ensemble type
416 Secondary brackets
417 Chord symbols
417 Chord components
417 Changing existing chord symbols
418 Transposing chord symbols
418 Hiding/Showing chord symbols
419 Hiding/Showing the root and quality of chord
419 Positions of chord symbols
421 Changing the enharmonic spelling of chord
422 Chord symbols imported from MusicXML
423 Clefs
424 General placement conventions for clefs
424 Moving clefs rhythmically
425 Deleting clefs
425 Changing the position of clefs relative to grace
426 Transposing clefs
427 Octave lines
428 Lengthening/Shortening octave lines
429 Moving octave lines rhythmically
429 Changing the alignment of octave line
numerals relative to notes
430 Changing the position of octave line numerals
relative to accidentals
430 Changing the placement of octave lines
relative to the staff
430 Deleting octave lines
432 Cues
433 Dynamics
433 Types of dynamics
434 General placement conventions for dynamics
435 Showing dynamics in parentheses
435 Moving dynamics rhythmically
436 Copying dynamics
437 Deleting dynamics
438 V oice-specific dynamics
438 Niente hairpins
439 Expressive text
441 Gradual dynamics
445 Placement of dynamics
445 Groups of dynamics
447 Dynamics linked across multiple staves
449 VST Expression Maps for volume types
450 Fingering
450 General placement conventions for fingering
450 Changing fingerings to substitution fingerings
451 Changing existing fingerings
452 Changing the placement of fingerings relative
to the staff
452 Hiding/Showing fingering
453 Deleting fingerings
453 Cautionary fingerings
454 Fingerings for valved brass instruments
454 Hiding/Showing fingering shifts for string
455 Fingerings imported from MusicXML files
456 Front matter
456 Project information used in default master
458 Grace notes
459 General placement conventions for grace
460 Grace note size
460 Grace note slashes
461 Grace note stems
461 Grace note beams
462 Holds and pauses
462 Types of holds and pauses
464 General placement conventions for holds and
465 Changing the appearance/duration of existing
holds and pauses
467 Moving holds and pauses rhythmically
467 Positioning fermatas on barlines
468 Changing the number of fermatas per staff
469 Key signatures
469 General placement conventions for key
470 Types of key signatures
471 Tonality systems
472 Moving key signatures rhythmically
473 Deleting key signatures
474 Multiple simultaneous key signatures
474 Transposing key signatures alongside
475 Enharmonic equivalent key signatures
476 Cautionary key signatures
477 Lyrics
477 General placement conventions for lyrics
478 Filters for lyrics
479 Types of lyrics
480 Types of syllables in lyrics
481 Changing the text of existing lyrics
482 Showing lyrics in italics
Table of Contents

4483 Positions of lyrics
486 Lyric hyphens and lyric extender lines
488 Deleting lyric lines
489 Lyric line numbers
492 Verse numbers
493 East Asian elision slurs
494 Project-wide engraving options for lyrics
495 Notes
495 Project-wide engraving options for notes
497 Notehead sets
510 Changing the size of notes
511 Moving notes rhythmically
512 Changing the width of ledger lines
512 Changing the consolidation of rhythm dots
513 Specifying on which string individual notes are
514 Deleting notes
515 Ornaments
515 General placement conventions for ornaments
516 Project-wide engraving options for ornaments
516 Changing the intervals of ornaments
518 Changing the speed of trills
518 Lengthening/Shortening trills rhythmically
519 Hiding/Showing trill extension lines
520 Positions of ornaments
523 Arpeggio signs
524 General placement conventions for arpeggio
524 Changing the type of arpeggio signs
525 Changing the end appearance of arpeggio
525 Length of arpeggio signs
527 Positions of arpeggio signs
529 Project-wide engraving options for arpeggio
529 Arpeggios in playback
532 Glissando lines
532 General placement conventions for glissando
533 Glissando lines across empty bars
533 Changing the style of glissando lines
534 Changing glissando line text
535 Moving glissando lines graphically
536 Changing the default angles of glissando lines
537 Project-wide engraving options for glissando
538 Jazz articulations
539 Jazz ornaments
540 Positions of jazz articulations
540 Changing the type/length of existing jazz
541 Changing the line style of smooth jazz
542 Deleting jazz articulations
543 Page numbers
543 Changing the page number numeral style
545 Hiding/Showing page numbers
547 Pedal lines
548 General placement conventions for pedal lines
548 Sustain pedal retakes and pedal level changes
555 Positions of pedal lines
558 Lengthening/Shortening pedal lines
559 Project-wide engraving options for pedal lines
559 Pedal line start signs, hooks, and continuation
564 Pedal line start, continuation, and restorative
566 Pedal lines in playback
566 Pedal lines imported from MusicXML files
567 Playing techniques
567 General placement conventions for playing
568 Project-wide engraving options for playing
568 Positions of playing techniques
570 Adding text to playing techniques
571 Erasing the background of text playing
572 Hiding/Showing playing techniques
573 Custom playing techniques
581 Playing techniques in playback
582 Rehearsal marks
582 General placement conventions for rehearsal
583 Positions of rehearsal marks
585 Deleting rehearsal marks
585 Changing the order of rehearsal marks
586 Changing the rehearsal mark sequence type
587 Adding pr efix es/suffix es to rehearsal marks
587 Project-wide engraving options for rehearsal
591 Markers
591 Project-wide engraving options for markers
592 Changing the vertical position of markers
593 Changing the text shown in markers
593 Changing the marker/timecode font styles
594 Moving markers rhythmically
594 Changing the timecodes of markers
595 Defining markers as important
595 Hiding/Showing markers
596 Deleting markers
597 Timecodes
598 Changing the initial timecode value
598 Showing timecodes on a separate staff
599 Hiding/Showing timecodes in markers
600 Changing the timecode frequency
601 Repeat endings
601 Changing the total number of playthroughs in
repeat endings
602 Project-wide engraving options for repeat
603 Lengthening/Shortening segments in repeat
604 Positions of repeat endings
606 Deleting repeat endings
606 Changing the text shown in repeat endings
607 Changing the appearance of individual final
repeat ending segments
608 Lengthening/Shortening repeat ending hooks
608 Repeat endings in MusicXML files
Table of Contents

5609 Bar repeats
610 Project-wide engraving options for bar repeats
610 Changing the length of the repeated phrase in
bar repeat regions
611 Moving bar repeat regions
611 Lengthening/Shortening bar repeat regions
612 Hiding/Showing bar repeat region highlights
612 Bar repeat counts
616 Bar repeat grouping
619 Rhythm slashes
619 Slash regions
620 Project-wide engraving options for rhythm
621 Slashes in multiple-voice contexts
623 Splitting slash regions
624 Moving slash regions
624 Lengthening/Shortening slash regions
625 Hiding/Showing stems in slash regions
625 Slash region counts
630 Rests
630 General placement conventions for rests
631 Implicit vs. explicit rests
633 Per-flo w notation options for rests
633 Project-wide engraving options for rests
634 Showing rest colors
635 Deleting rests
636 Hiding/Showing bar rests in empty bars
636 Hiding/Showing multi-bar rests
637 Moving rests vertically
639 Slurs
640 General placement conventions for slurs
643 Project-wide engraving options for slurs
644 Cross-staff and cross-voice slurs
645 Nested slurs
646 Moving slurs rhythmically
647 Lengthening/Shortening slurs
648 Linked slurs across multiple staves
649 Slur segments
651 Slurs in Engrave mode
655 Short slurs that cover large pitch ranges
656 Slur height
657 Slur shoulder offset
659 Slur curvature direction
660 Slur styles
662 Slur collision avoidance
664 Slurs over system and frame breaks
664 Slurs in playback
665 Staff labels
666 Instrument names in staff labels
667 Project-wide engraving options for staff labels
669 Changing the length of staff labels project-
671 Changing the length of staff labels at specific
672 Instrument transpositions in staff labels
674 Staff labels for percussion kits
676 Staves
676 Project-wide layout options for staves
678 Staff size
682 Changing the thickness of staff lines
682 Deleting staves
683 Extra staves
684 Ossia staves
684 System objects
686 System indents
687 Divisi
688 Stems
688 Stem direction
693 Project-wide engraving options for stems
693 Stem length
694 Hiding stems
695 Split stems for altered unisons
696 Tempo marks
697 Types of tempo marks
697 General placement conventions for tempo
698 Text in tempo marks
699 Positions of tempo marks
702 Lengthening/Shortening gradual tempo
702 Hiding/Showing tempo marks
703 Deleting tempo marks
703 Project-wide engraving options for tempo
704 Tempo mark components
705 Metronome marks
708 Gradual tempo changes
711 Ties
711 General placement conventions for ties
713 Tie chains
713 Ties vs. slurs
714 Non-standard ties
717 Deleting ties
717 Splitting tie chains
718 Project-wide engraving options for ties
718 Changing the position/shape of ties
719 Tie shoulder offset
721 Tie height
722 Tie styles
725 Tie curvature direction
727 Time signatures
728 General conventions for time signatures
728 Project-wide engraving options for time
729 Project-wide spacing gaps for time signatures
729 Types of time signatures
732 Large time signatures
734 Time signature styles
737 Positions of time signatures
741 Hiding/Showing time signatures
742 Deleting time signatures
742 Time signature font styles
744 Tremolos
745 Tremolos in tie chains
746 General placement conventions for tremolos
747 Changing the speed of tremolos
747 Deleting tremolos
748 Rhythmic positions of notes with tremolos
748 Moving tremolo strokes
749 Project-wide engraving options for tremolos
750 Tremolos in playback
Table of Contents

6752 Tuplets
752 General placement conventions for tuplets
753 Nested tuplets
754 Notations on tuplet notes
754 Turning existing notes into tuplets
755 Turning tuplets into normal notes
755 Moving tuplets rhythmically
756 Deleting tuplets
757 Tuplet beams
757 Tuplet brackets
761 Tuplet numbers/ratios
763 Project-wide engraving options for tuplets
764 Unpitched percussion
764 Percussion kits vs. individual percussion
765 Percussion kits
766 Project-wide engraving options for unpitched
767 Per-flo w notation options for unpitched
767 Changing the playing techniques of notes on
percussion kit staves
768 Showing notes in percussion instruments as
ghost notes
768 Moving notes to different instruments in
percussion kits
769 Notations on notes in percussion kits
770 Percussion kit presentation types
772 Playing techniques for unpitched percussion
776 Percussion legends
779 Voices in percussion kits
781 Unpitched percussion in Play mode
783 Universal Indian Drum Notation
784 Voices
784 Note positions in multiple-voice contexts
785 Per-flo w notation options for voices
786 Showing voice colors
786 Deleting unused voices
787 Swapping the order of voices
788 Notes crossed to staves with existing notes in
other voices
789 Rhythm dot consolidation
789 Slash voices
792 Glossary
802 Index
Table of Contents

7Thank you very much for purchasing Dorico Elements.
We are delighted that you have chosen Steinberg`s scoring application and hope that you will
enjoy using it for years to come.
Dorico Elements is a next-generation application for producing beautiful sheet music, whether
you are a composer, arranger, music engraver, publisher, instrumentalist, teacher, or student.
Whether you want to print your music or share it in a digital format, Dorico Elements is the most
sophisticated program available.
Like all of Steinberg`s products, Dorico Elements has been designed from the ground up by a
team of musicians who understand your needs and who are dedicated to producing a tool that is
both easy to learn and use, but also capable of results of the highest quality. Dorico Elements
also integrates with your existing workflo w and can import and export files in a variety of
Dorico Elements thinks about music the same way a human musician does and has a deeper
understanding of the elements of music and musical performance than other scoring
applications. Its unique design allows an unprecedented degree of fle xibility , in music input and
editing, in score layout, in rhythmic freedom, and many other areas besides.
Most sincerely yours,
Your Steinberg Dorico Elements Team
Platform-Independent Documentation
The documentation applies to the operating systems Windows and macOS.
Features and settings that are specific to one of these platforms are clearly indicated. In all other
cases, the descriptions and procedures in the documentation are valid for Windows and macOS.
Some points to consider:
● The screenshots are taken from Windows.
● Some functions that are available on the File menu on Windows can be found in the
program name menu on macOS.
Usage of musical terms
This documentation uses American terminology for musical items throughout the
The following table lists all the notes and notations that have different names in American and
British English:
8American Name British Name
Double whole note Breve
Whole note Semibreve
Half note Minim
Quarter note Crotchet
Eighth note Quaver
Sixteenth note Semiquaver
Thirty-second note Demisemiquaver
Sixty-fourth note Hemidemisemiquaver
Hundred twenty-eighth note Semihemidemisemiquaver
Two hundred fifty-sixth note Demisemihemidemisemiquaver
Staff Stave
This documentation only uses “bar”.
In our documentation, we use typographical and markup elements to structure information.
Typographical Elements
The following typographical elements mark the following purposes.
Requires you to complete an action or to fulfill a condition before starting a
Lists the steps that you must take to achieve a specific result.
Informs you about issues that might affect the system, the connected hardware, or
that might bring a risk of data loss.
Informs you about issues that you should consider.
Provides you with an example.
Shows the result of the procedure.
After Completing This Task
Informs you about actions or tasks that you can perform after completing the
Related Links
Lists related topics that you can find in this documentation.
Elements of the user interface are highlighted throughout the documentation.
Names of menus, options, functions, dialogs, windows, and so on, are highlighted in bold.
To open the Project Info dialog, choose File > Project Info.
If bold text is separated by a greater-than symbol, this indicates a sequence of different menus
to open.
Choose Setup > Layout Options.
File names and folder paths are shown in a different font.
Key Commands
Many of the default key commands, also known as keyboard shortcuts, use modifier keys, some
of which are different depending on the operating system.
Many of the default key commands use modifier keys, some of which are different depending on
the operating system. When key commands with modifier keys are described in this manual, they
are indicated with the Windows modifier key first, followed by the macOS modifier key and the
Ctrl/Cmd-Z means: press Ctrl on Windows or Cmd on macOS, then press Z.
Key commands in Dorico Elements
The default key commands in Dorico Elements depend on your keyboard layout.
If you move the mouse over a tool or a function, the information in brackets shows the key
command that is used to activate or deactivate a tool or a function.
You can also do one of the following:
● Choose Help > Key Commands to open the Dorico Key Commands window, which
provides an overview of all available key commands.
● Search for key commands of specific functions or menu items in the Preferences dialog. In
this dialog, you can also assign new key commands or change default key commands.
Interactive Dorico Elements key commands map on page 57
Searching for the key commands of functions on page 58
Preferences dialog on page 55
Key Commands page in the Preferences dialog on page 56
Assigning key commands on page 59
How you can reach us
On the Help menu you find items linking to additional information.
The menu contains links to various Steinberg web pages. Selecting one of these menu items
automatically launches your web browser and opens the page. On these pages, you can find
support and compatibility information, answers to frequently asked questions, information
about updates and other Steinberg products, and so on.
This requires that you have a web browser installed on your computer and a working Internet
How you can reach us
11This chapter helps you to get started with Dorico Elements.
When you start Dorico Elements for the first time, we recommend that you open one of the
templates first to have a look at the user interface and the functions that Dorico Elements
provides before you start your own projects. You are welcome to skip this part and explore the
program for yourself.
The following sections inform you about the following topics:
● Overview of the most important workspaces
● Setting up a new project
● Writing your music and adding notation items to your score
● Laying out and formatting pages
● Playing back what you created
● Printing and exporting
Getting around
The following sections give you an overview of the user interface and introduce you to how
Dorico Elements is structured.
Opening a template
Before you start your own project, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the user
interface of Dorico Elements. To prepare for this, open one of the templates that are provided
with the program.
You have started Dorico Elements. The Hub is open.
1. In the Hub, select one of the listed template groups. For example, select the Choral and
Vocal templates.
2. Select one of the listed templates.
First steps
123. Click New from Template.
The template opens.
Proceed to the following sections that provide a quick overview of the user interface and that
introduce you to the main functions of the program.
Hub on page 32
Quick tour of the user interface
The user interface of Dorico Elements consists of different modes that represent different phases
in the workflo w of preparing a score.
The user interface has a structure that is the same in each of the application’s modes. There is
always a large area for editing your music in the center of the project window. In every mode,
there are collapsible panels on the left, right, and bottom of the project window, depending on
which mode you are using. The contents of these panels change according to the selected mode.
When you open the template, the first view shows the project window in Write mode:
The project window when you open a template
The project window contains the following areas:
The toolbar is located at the top of the project window.
First steps
Getting around
On the left side of the toolbar, the modes are displayed. By activating a mode, you change the
workspace and the available panels. The active mode is highlighted in a different color. In the
middle of the toolbar, layout options allow you to switch between the different layouts in your
project and to show/hide panels and tabs.
On the right side of the toolbar, you can open a Mixer and use basic transport controls that,
among other functions, allow you to play back and record your music.
Show Mixer button
Music area
The music area is the main part of the project window in Setup and Write modes where you set
up, input, edit and format your music. In Play mode, this area is called event display, in which
every note is displayed as an event. In Print mode, this area is called print preview area, which
shows a preview of what is going to be printed or exported as a graphic.
The music area in Write mode after starting a new project from a choral template
The music area displays the scores or the instrumental parts that you create. Above the music
area you can activate several layouts in tabs and switch between them. Layouts in Dorico
Elements allow you to show different presentations of your music. If you have a full score with
different instrumental parts, such as a violin part and a bassoon part, you can switch between
that full score layout and the layouts of each part. To save space on the screen or to focus on a
specific layout, you can hide the tabs.
Toolboxes are the columns on the left and right edges of the project window. They contain
different tools and options according to the current mode, but in general their purpose is to
provide tools that allow you to input and modify notes and notation items. The Notations toolbox
also determines which options are shown in the Notations panel.
First steps
Getting around
14Notes toolbox in Write mode
Notations toolbox in Write mode
Dorico Elements provides panels with various functions in all modes. When you open the
template, there is a panel on the left of the music area. This is the Notes panel in Write mode. It
contains all the durations, accidentals, slurs, and articulations that are most commonly used
when inputting notes.
Notes panel in Write mode
First steps
Getting around
15Status Bar
At the bottom of the project window, a status bar allows you to select different views and page
arrangements for the music area. It contains different options in different modes.
Status bar
Functions of the modes on page 16
User interface on page 32
Mixer on page 324
Transport window on page 326
Functions of the modes
Modes represent different phases in the workflo w of preparing a score.
By switching to another mode, you change the workspace and the available panels.
Setup Mode
In Setup mode, you can create players and groups of players, and assign instruments to them.
You can define different layouts for your project that you can print or export independently. For
example, you can print or export a layout for the full score and separate layouts for each
instrumental part.
You can switch to Setup mode in any of the following ways:
● Press Ctrl/Cmd-1.
● Click Setup in the toolbar.
● Choose Window > Setup.
Write Mode
In Write mode, you can input your music. The available toolboxes and panels allow you to input
all the notes and notation items that are most commonly used.
You can switch to Write mode in any of the following ways:
● Press Ctrl/Cmd-2.
● Click Write in the toolbar.
● Choose Window > Write.
Play Mode
In Play mode, you can assign virtual instruments and effects for playback to instruments and
playing techniques. You can make adjustments to how individual notes are played back in order
to produce a more realistic performance.
You can switch to Play mode in any of the following ways:
● Press Ctrl/Cmd-4.
● Click Play in the toolbar.
● Choose Window > Play.
Print Mode
In Print mode, you can print your layouts or export them as graphic files.
You can switch to Print mode in any of the following ways:
First steps
Getting around
16● Press Ctrl/Cmd-5.
● Click Print in the toolbar.
● Choose Window > Print.
Setup mode on page 62
Write mode on page 112
Engrave mode on page 261
Print mode on page 350
Play mode on page 282
Hiding/Showing panels
You can hide/show individual or multiple panels. This is useful if you want to see more of the
music area, for example.
● Hide individual panels or all panels in the following ways:
● To hide/show the left panel:
Press Ctrl/Cmd-7.
Click the disclosure arrow on the left edge of the main window.
Choose Window > Show Left Panel.
● To hide/show the right panel:
Press Ctrl/Cmd-9.
Click the disclosure arrow on the right edge of the main window.
Choose Window > Show Right Panel.
● To hide/show the bottom panel:
Press Ctrl/Cmd-8.
Click the disclosure arrow at the bottom of the main window.
Choose Window > Show Bottom Panel.
● To hide/show all panels:
Press Ctrl/Cmd-0.
Click Hide/Restore Panels.
Choose Window > Hide/Restore Panels.
The corresponding panels are hidden/shown. Panels are hidden when no tick is shown beside
the corresponding panel in the menu, and shown when a tick is shown in the menu.
If you hide all active panels, the Hide/Restore Panels button in the toolbar changes its look and
indicates which panels were active but are now hidden.
Appearance when panels are shown Appearance when all panels were previously shown
but are now all hidden
First steps
Getting around
17Working with tabs and windows
Dorico Elements enables you to set up your workspace according to your working style.
Dorico Elements allows you to open multiple tabs to display multiple layouts in the same project
within the same window. You can also open the same project in several windows.
Setting up your workspace on page 49
Opening a new tab
You can open a new tab to display a different view or layout within the same project window.
Each tab can contain a separate layout or a different view of a layout already open in another tab
or window. Whenever you open a new tab, you are prompted to select a layout that you want to
display in the tab.
You can find tabs in the tab bar, located at the top of the music area, below the toolbar. If you do
not see any tabs, click Show Tabs in the toolbar.
● To open a new tab, do one of the following:
● Press Ctrl/Cmd-T.
● At the right end of the tab bar, click New Tab.
● Choose Window > New Tab.
A new tab opens that shows several icons at the top and a list of layouts at the bottom.
Options available in the music area when you open a new tab
First steps
Getting around
You can click one of the icons or select a layout from the list at the bottom. Alternatively, you can
click Select Layout in the toolbar and choose one of the layouts from the menu. The layout that
you choose opens in the active tab.
Tab bar on page 40
Opening a new window
You can open another window for the same project.
This can be useful if you want to see and work on multiple layouts at the same time. You can also
open multiple project windows to show different modes of the same project.
● Open a new project window in any of the following ways:
● Press Ctrl/Cmd-Shift-T.
● Choose Window > New Window.
A duplicate of the window opens. It contains the same tabs and the same view options as the
original window.
Opening multiple project windows on page 53
Starting a new project
After getting a first impression of the Dorico Elements user interface you can get started with
inputting your own music. In this section, you learn how to set up a new project.
All inputs that are made and the images that are used to accompany the steps in this chapter are
intended merely to be helpful examples. Therefore, there is no need to make the exact same
entries in order to get the depicted results.
Close the template without saving. The Hub reopens.
● Start a new project in any of the following ways:
● Press Ctrl/Cmd-N.
● Click New Empty Project.
A new project window opens.
First steps
Starting a new project
19Whenever you start a new project without selecting a specific project template, Setup mode is
activated. This allows you to specify players and assign instruments right from the start. The area
in the middle, the project start area, which becomes the music area once you have added a
player, allows you to start your project with different types of players. On the right, the Layouts
panel shows a Full score entry. This entry is available in every new project. At the bottom of the
window is the Flows panel where you can specify separate spans of music for your project.
Start your project by adding an individual player or by adding a section player and assign an
instrument. You are free to assign any kind of instrument. In this chapter, only one piano player
is added as an example.
Windows on page 36
Flows in Dorico Elements on page 30
Adding a solo player
In this section, you learn how to add a player and assign an instrument.
You have started a new project. You are in Setup mode.
1. Click Add Solo Player.
The instrument picker opens.
You can also open the instrument picker at any time by clicking the plus symbol to the
right of the added empty-handed player.
First steps
Starting a new project
20Alternatively, you can right-click the player and choose Add Instrument to Player from
the context menu.
2. Select a piano in the instrument picker in any of the following ways:
● Enter piano into the search box.
● Start entering the instrument name you want, then select it from the filter ed list.
● Click an instrument family and then an instrument.
● Press Up Arrow/Down Arrow to select an instrument family, then press Tab to
switch to the instrument column. Press Up Arrow/Down Arrow to select an
● An enclosure line shows which instrument family or instrument is selected
when using the keyboard to navigate.
● Press Shift-Tab to switch back to the previous column in the instrument
3. Click Add.
You have added your first player. In the music area, the required piano staves including their
respective clefs are displayed.
Save your project.
You can save your project at any time.
Optionally, you can now edit the project title or add more players.
The following sections help you to create flo ws and layouts. If you want to start composing, you
can skip those sections.
Writing music on page 22
Adding solo/section players on page 74
Creating a flo w
Flows are separate spans of music within your project, for example, movements or songs. In this
section, you learn how to create a flo w .
You have added at least one player. You are in Setup mode.
● In Setup mode, click Add Flow in the Flows panel at the bottom of the window.
First steps
Starting a new project
A new flo w is added to your project each time you click Add Flow. All existing players are
assigned to new flo ws, and new flo ws are automatically added to all existing full score and part
Rename the flo w if required.
Optionally, deactivate the checkboxes of the players that you want to exclude from the flo w in
the Players panel.
Optionally, deactivate the checkboxes of the layouts from which you want to exclude the flo w in
the Layouts panel.
Flows on page 98
Renaming flo ws in Setup mode on page 100
Adding flo ws on page 99
Creating a layout on page 22
Creating a layout
Layouts define how music for one or more players in one or more flo ws is presented, including
page size, margins, staff size, and so on. In this section, you learn how to create a new layout.
You have added at least one player and one flo w . You are in Setup mode.
Several layouts are often used in ensembles with multiple players, where each player may
require a layout of the individual instrumental part. Dorico Elements automatically creates a full
score layout that contains all players and all flo ws as well as individual part layouts that each
contain one player and all flo ws. If you require a different combination of players and flo ws, for
example, a part containing the music for two players, you can create your own layouts, as
● In the Layouts panel, click Add Instrumental Part Layout.
An empty part is created on the Layouts panel.
Double-click the empty part to give it a name. Optionally, select the flo ws that you want to assign
to the layout in the Flows panel. Activate the checkboxes of the players that you want to assign
to the layout in the Players panel.
Creating layouts on page 102
Writing music
Once you have set up your project, you can start writing music.
In Write mode, you can input notes and insert other notations into your score.
First steps
Writing music
Throughout Dorico Elements, most tasks can be accomplished using only your computer`s
keyboard. You do not need to use the mouse or touchpad. Learning key commands allows you to
use Dorico Elements most efficiently . The fastest way to input music is using a MIDI keyboard. If
you do not have a MIDI keyboard, you can use your computer`s keyboard. Of course, you can still
use the mouse or touchpad if you want.
In the following sections, you learn how to input notes and notation items.
Inputting your first notes
In this section, you learn how to input notes. You can start inputting notes without having to first
add a time signature or key signature.
● You have set up your MIDI keyboard.
If you have not set up a MIDI keyboard yet, you can start inputting notes with the
computer keyboard.
● You have added a piano player in Setup mode.
● You are in Write mode.
1. Select the rest that was automatically inserted next to the clef when you added a solo
2. Start note input in any of the following ways:
● Select the staff where you want to input notes and press Shift-N or Return.
● Select the staff where you want to input notes and choose Write > Note Input.
● Double-click the staff where you want to input notes.
The caret is displayed.
3. In the Notes panel, click a duration.
By default, Dorico Elements selects a quarter note (crotchet) for you.
First steps
Writing music
234. Start playing notes on the MIDI keyboard, or press A, B, C, D, E, F, G on the computer
keyboard to input the corresponding pitches.
If you want higher or lower pitch for the note that Dorico Elements inputs for you, you can
force a different register.
● To input a note above the previously input note, press Shift-Alt as well as the letter
for the note.
● To input a note below the previously input note, press Ctrl (macOS) or Ctrl-Alt
(Windows) as well as the letter for the note.
You must press Ctrl on Mac, not Cmd.
The pitches you enter or play in are input as notes.
Input notes with the caret still active after the final note
Write mode on page 112
Register selection during step input on page 136
Key commands in Dorico Elements on page 10
Adding a time signature on page 24
Adding a time signature
In this section, you learn how to add a time signature at the beginning of the staff. You can add a
time signature before or after inputting a melody.
Press Esc to deactivate the caret.
1. Select the first note on the staff.
2. Press Shift-M.
The time signatures popover opens above the staff.
3. Enter a typical time signature into the popover, such as 3/4.
First steps
Writing music
244. Press Return to close the popover.
The time signature is automatically input to the left of the note, and the required bar lines are
automatically inserted at the correct positions. If you want to insert a key signature, proceed to
the next section.
Adding a key signature on page 25
Adding a key signature
In this section, you learn how to add a key signature. You can add a key signature at any
rhythmic position on the staff.
When you start a new project from scratch, by default, there is no key signature shown.
Depending on the kind of music you are writing, the key signature might be taken to mean C
major or an open key with no specific tonal center.
You can change the key anywhere on the staff. To add a different key signature at the beginning
of the staff, for example, D major, proceed as follows:
1. Select the first note on the staff.
2. Press Shift-K.
This opens the key signatures popover on top of the staff.
3. Enter a key signature into the popover. If you want to enter D major, enter an uppercase
For D minor, enter a lowercase d.
4. Press Return.
First steps
Writing music
The key signature is inserted between the clef and the time signature. Dorico Elements
automatically adds accidentals where necessary.
Inputting your first chord
In this section, you learn how to input a chord with the computer keyboard, using chord mode. If
you want to use a MIDI keyboard instead, you can input the chord with your keyboard, and you
do not need to use chord mode. Dorico Elements automatically inputs the correct notes.
Select the last note or rest on the staff, and press Return. This shows the caret.
1. Activate Chords in any of the following ways:
● Press Q.
● In the Notes toolbox, click Chords.
The caret shows a plus sign at the top.
2. Optional: In the Notes panel, select a duration.
3. Input the notes that you want in your chord by pressing keys from A to G, one after the
other. For example, for a C major chord, press C, E, and G.
By default, Dorico Elements adds each new note above the previous note. You can select
the register of notes manually.
The example shows a possible result.
4. Press Space to advance the caret to the next note position and continue with the next
Dorico Elements expects further chord input until you deactivate it.
5. Optional: To deactivate chord input, press Q or deactivate Chords.
First steps
Writing music
Key commands in Dorico Elements on page 10
Register selection during step input on page 136
First steps
Writing music
27The following sections give you an overview of the design philosophy as well as concepts on
which Dorico Elements is based.
We recommend that you familiarize yourself with these concepts as these are often returned to
throughout the documentation.
Design philosophy
If you are experienced with other scoring applications and are interested in learning more about
deep design considerations for scoring programs, you may find the following discussion
illuminating, but everybody can safely skip it.
Dorico Elements has a forward-thinking design that is led by musical concepts rather than
computational convenience, and this provides many benefits.
Higher-level concepts
In most graphically-orientated scoring applications, the highest-level concept is the staff or the
instrument definition that creates a staff or staves. When setting up your full score, you start by
adding the correct number of staves, and you are immediately forced into making decisions
about the layout. This means that you must know in advance whether two flutes share a staff or
have their own individual staves, or whether there should be two trumpets or three. Many of
these decisions have significant effects throughout the process of inputting, editing, and
producing individual instrumental parts.
Typically, every system of a score must contain the same number of staves, even if some are
hidden on particular systems. This requires the user to manage common conventions for
themselves, such as multiple players of the same instrument sharing staves. This can be time-
consuming and is naturally error-prone.
Dorico Elements is designed to conform more closely to how music is performed in the real
world and to make the score a fle xible expression of the practical choices that go into a musical
performance, rather than to make the musical performance subservient to the way the score was
initially prepared.
To that end, the highest-level concept of Dorico Elements is the group of human musicians that
performs a score. A score can be written for one or more groups, for example, a double choir or
an orchestra plus off-stage chamber ensemble, and so on. Each group includes one or more
players which correspond to the humans who play one or more instruments. Players may either
be individuals who can play more than one instrument, for example, an oboist doubling cor
anglais, or groups in which everyone plays only one instrument, for example, eight desks of
The actual music that is played by the group in your score belongs to one or more flo ws. A flo w is
any span of music that stands alone, for example, a whole song, a movement of a sonata or
symphony, a number in a musical show, or even a short scale or exercise. Players might or might
not have any music to play in a given flo w . For example, all the brass players might be omitted
from the slow movement of a classical symphony, or certain players might have nothing to do in
Dorico Elements concepts
28some cues in a movie score. This is no problem as you can combine players in flo ws in any
Dorico Elements provides several benefits. Chief among them is its ability to produce different
score layouts that share the same musical content. For example, in the same project you can
create a full score with each player`s music on separate staves, a custom score layout containing
just the piano and vocal staves, and an instrumental part for each player that only contains the
music belonging to them.
One crucial difference between Dorico Elements and other scoring applications is that the
musical content exists independently of the score layout in which it is viewed.
Key musical concepts
In order to work efficiently with Dorico Elements, it is important to understand the conceptual
model of the program.
The model is closely based on the practical considerations of how music is written and performed
by real humans.
Projects in Dorico Elements on page 29
Modes in Dorico Elements on page 29
Instruments in Dorico Elements on page 30
Players in Dorico Elements on page 30
Groups in Dorico Elements on page 30
Flows in Dorico Elements on page 30
Layouts in Dorico Elements on page 31
Projects in Dorico Elements
A project is an individual document that you create within Dorico Elements. It can contain
multiple separate pieces of music, from very short to very long, written for any combination of
instruments and using different layouts.
Modes in Dorico Elements
Modes represent different phases in the workflo w of preparing a score.
Dorico Elements contains the following modes:
In this mode, you can set up the players and instruments that are played in the
project. You can create and manage flo ws and set up layouts.
In this mode, you can write your music. You can insert notes and rests, key
signatures, time signatures, and idiomatic notations.
In this mode, you can set up your project for playback. You can assign VST
instruments, adjust the mix, and change the sounding duration of notes in playback
without affecting their notated duration.
In this mode, you can define different print jobs, such as printing full conductors
scores, study scores, individual parts, and so on. For every print job, you can specify
options for page size and duplex printing. You can also manage other output, such
as exports to various file types, such as PNG.
Dorico Elements concepts
Key musical concepts
29Instruments in Dorico Elements
In Dorico Elements, an instrument is an individual musical instrument, such as a piano, a flute, or
a violin.
Dorico Elements has a database of information about properties of each instrument. These
include the playable range, common and uncommon playing techniques, notational conventions,
transposition properties, tunings, clef, number of staves, type of staff, and so on.
Instruments on page 82
Players in Dorico Elements
In Dorico Elements, a player can represent an individual musician or several musicians.
● Solo players are individual musicians who can play one or more instruments, for example,
a clarinettist who doubles on alto saxophone or a percussionist who plays bass drum,
clash cymbals, and triangle.
● Section players represent multiple musicians who all play the same instrument, for
example, a violin section player can represent eight desks of musicians, or a soprano
section player can represent the whole soprano section in a mixed voice choir.
Section players cannot double instruments, but they can play divisi. This means that they can be
divided into smaller units, which is commonly required for strings.
Groups in Dorico Elements
A group represents a collection of musicians that are considered together, such as a choir,
orchestra, or a chamber ensemble.
In a typical project, there might be only one group that contains all of the defined players, but
you can define as many groups as required to allow easy separation of forces in larger-scale
works. It might also be necessary to assign players to these groups for the purposes of, among
other things, properly bracketing and labelling their staves in the conductor`s score.
A work for double choir and organ can define the two choirs as separate groups. This allows each
choir to have its own label in addition to the labels for each sectional player (soprano, alto, tenor,
bass) within the choir.
In a complex work, such as Elliott Carter`s “A Symphony of Three Orchestras”, each of the
orchestras can be defined as a separate group.
Flows in Dorico Elements
Flows are separate spans of music that are completely independent in musical content, for
example, a song, 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 one or
more flo ws.
Each flo w can contain music for any combination of players. For example, brass players are often
tacet in the second movements of Classical-period symphonies, so you can simply remove brass
players from the flo w for the second movement. In a set of cues for a movie, for example,
specific players might not be required in some cues, so the corresponding flo ws can contain only
those players who have anything to play.
Dorico Elements concepts
Key musical concepts
30The correct assignment of players to flo ws allows Dorico Elements, for example, to generate
tacet sheets automatically for individual instrumental parts.
Layouts in Dorico Elements
Layouts define how music for one or more players in one or more flo ws is presented, including
page size, margins, staff size, and so on.
Layouts combine musical content, as represented by flo ws, with rules for page layout and music
engraving. As well as part layouts for individual players, you can have layouts for multiple players
drawn from multiple different flo ws. You can use the layouts to produce paginated music
notation that can be printed or exported in various formats.
A typical project for an ensemble of multiple players contains several layouts. For example, a
work for string quartet in three movements contains four solo players – two violins, one viola,
and one cello – and three flo ws, one for each movement. Such a project might require five
● Four layouts each containing the music from all three flo ws for one of the solo players,
that is, the individual instrumental parts
● One layout containing the music from all three flo ws and all four players, that is, the full
Each layout provides independent control over practically every aspect of the visual appearance
of the music, including independent staff size, note spacing, and system formatting.
Each layout can have independent page layout properties, such as page size, margins, running
headers, and footers. These can be defined as master pages and then be applied freely to left- or
right-hand pages or to specific pages in a layout, for example, the first or last page.
Flow frames define where music appears on each page. One or more flo ws are assigned to each
flo w frame, in a manner analogous to how flo ws of text are assigned to text frames in desktop
publishing applications. Dorico Elements also provides for text frames, which allow the
presentation of blocks of text, such as prefatory material, critical commentary, and block lyrics.
The page layout features of Dorico Elements allow you to have multiple flo w frames and text
frames on the same page. This enables you to combine music from multiple flo ws on the same
Dorico Elements concepts
Key musical concepts
31The user interface of Dorico Elements is designed to be as unobtrusive as possible while keeping
all of the important tools at your fingertips.
You can explore the interface without doing any damage to your project. You can always undo
any inadvertent edits or close your project without saving it.
When you start Dorico Elements, the Hub opens. The Hub keeps you up-to-date with the latest
information and assists you with organizing your projects. It consists of the News section and
the Projects section.
The Hub contains the following:
1 Recent Projects
Allows you quick access to the projects that you worked on last. Selecting Recent Projects
shows them in the list. You can scroll through the list using either a mouse/trackpad or
using the Up Arrow/Down Arrow keys.
2 Project template categories
Allows you quick access to a suitable project template in the available categories. Selecting
a category shows the possible templates in that category in the list.
3 New Empty Project
Starts a new project with no players or flo ws.
4 List
User interface
32Displays options according to your selection on the left of the dialog.
5 Open Other
Allows you to search for and open any other project file in your file system.
6 New from Template (project template selected)
Creates a new project using the selected project template. Only available if you have
selected a project template.
Open Selected Project (recent project selected)
Opens the recent project file that you selected in the list. Alternatively, you can double-click
the file name or select the file and press Return.
7 User Forum
Links you to the user forum on the Steinberg website.
Links you to the download page on the Steinberg website, where you can find relevant
update installers and a link to the documentation.
9 News
Displays recent Steinberg news. Double-clicking a news item, or selecting it and clicking
Read More, opens it in a web browser.
10 Video Tutorials
Displays recent Dorico Elements tutorials. Double-clicking a video tutorial, or selecting it
and clicking Read More, opens it in a web browser.
11 More
Links you directly to the Dorico YouTube channel.
Starting new projects on page 33
Starting new projects from project templates on page 33
Brackets according to project template categories on page 34
Starting new projects
Dorico Elements provides several ways to start new projects.
● Start a new project in any of the following ways:
● Press Ctrl/Cmd-N at any time.
● Choose File > New at any time.
● In the Hub, click New Empty Project.
A new project window opens.
Starting new projects from project templates
Dorico Elements provides multiple project templates that you can use to start a new project, for
example, multiple types of orchestras and vocal ensembles.
1. In the Hub, select one of the following project template categories:
● Orchestral
User interface
33● Band
● Jazz
● Chamber
● Choral and Vocal
● Solo
2. Select a project template from the available templates in the category.
3. Click New from Template.
The project template opens in a new project window.
You can also start a new project from a template at any time by choosing File > New from
Template > [Template category] > [Project template].
You can add additional players/instruments and delete players/instruments that were included in
the template to customize your project.
Brackets according to project template categories on page 34
Adding solo/section players on page 74
Deleting players on page 80
Adding instruments to players on page 83
Deleting instruments on page 87
Brackets according to project template categories
Staves are bracketed differently depending on the category of project template you use to start a
new project, even if you later add or remove players from the project. For example, all staves are
bracketed together when you start a project using one of the chamber templates.
The following categories of templates are available in Dorico Elements, which bracket staves
automatically in different ways.
● Grand staff instruments, such as piano, are always excluded from brackets and split
brackets if they are placed within a bracketed group.
● There must be at least two adjacent instruments for a bracket to be shown.
Large ensembles containing most Western instruments, including strings,
woodwinds, brass, and percussion.
In orchestral templates, staves are bracketed according to their instrument family.
For example, adjacent string instruments are bracketed together separately from
adjacent woodwind instruments.
Large ensembles containing primarily wind instruments, including woodwind and
brass instruments, and optionally percussion and other instruments, such as strings
and guitars.
Different band templates bracket instruments differently, for example, the concert
band template brackets woodwind and brass instruments separately, whereas the
User interface
34brass band template brackets brass instruments according to their instrument type,
except for horns and trumpets, which are bracketed together; any other instruments
in the score are bracketed according to their instrument family, and percussion and
timpani are bracketed separately.
Popular ensembles commonly used to perform jazz.
In jazz templates, no staves are bracketed together. Grand staff instruments are still
shown with braces.
Typically small ensembles containing only a few players.
In chamber templates, all staves in the project are bracketed together with a single
bracket, regardless of their instrument family.
Choral and Vocal
Ensembles containing voices, including popular choir arrangements.
In choral and vocal templates, staves are bracketed according to their instrument
family. For example, adjacent vocal staves are bracketed together separately from
woodwind instruments.
Ensembles containing only a single player/instrument.
In solo templates, no staves are bracketed together. Grand staff instruments are still
shown with braces.
Starting new projects from project templates on page 33
Adding solo/section players on page 74
Adding instruments to players on page 83
Adding ensembles on page 81
Deleting players on page 80
Deleting instruments on page 87
Selecting recent projects
You can open a project on which you recently worked.
● In the Hub, select a recent project in any the following ways:
● In the Recent Projects list, select a file name and press Up Arrow/Down Arrow to
scroll through the list of file names. To open a file, press Return.
● In the Recent Projects list, double-click a project file name.
● In the Recent Projects list, select a project file name and click Open Selected
● Choose File > Open Recent > [Project file name] at any time.
User interface
35Opening other files
You can open other Dorico Elements projects that are not listed in the Recent Projects list, or
you can import MusicXML or MIDI files.
1. Open the File Explorer/macOS Finder in any of the following ways:
● In the Hub, click Open Other.
● Choose File > Open at any time.
2. In the File Explorer/macOS Finder, locate and select the file you want to open.
You can select multiple files to open them at the same time.
3. Click Open.
The selected file is opened.
If you imported a MusicXML or a MIDI file, Dorico Elements creates a new project file from the
MusicXML or MIDI content, which you can save as a default Dorico Elements pro

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