Inputting chords

You can input chords during note input when both note input and Chords are activated. You can input notes with a computer keyboard, with the mouse, or by playing notes with a MIDI keyboard.

  • 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 chords using pitch before duration, you must use your computer keyboard or a MIDI keyboard and complete step 6 before step 5.

  • You can only input chords in Insert mode when using a MIDI keyboard.


  1. Select an item on the staff and at the rhythmic position where you want to input chords.
  2. Start note input in any of the following ways:
    • Select a note or rest on the staff where you want to input notes and press Shift-N.


      If you select a notation, such as a dynamic, pressing Return opens the corresponding popover instead of starting note input.

    • Double-click the staff where you want to input notes.

  3. Start chord input in any of the following ways:
    • Press Q.

    • In the Notes toolbox, click Chords .

    In chord input, a + sign appears at the top of the caret. This allows you to input multiple notes at the caret position.

  4. Optional: If you want to input chords onto multiple staves at once, extend the caret to those staves.
  5. Select a note duration in any of the following ways:
    • Press the number on your computer keyboard that corresponds to the duration you want.

      For example, press 6 for quarter notes (crotchets). Press smaller numbers for smaller durations, such as 5 for eighth notes (quavers) and 4 for 16th notes (semiquavers). Press larger numbers for larger durations, such as 7 for half notes (minims).

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

  6. Input the pitches you want in any of the following ways:
    • Press the corresponding letters on your keyboard.


      Dorico Pro automatically inputs notes above the highest note at the caret position when Chords is activated.

      You can input notes below the lowest note at the caret position instead by pressing Ctrl-Alt (Windows) or Ctrl (macOS) as well as the letter for the note name, for example, Ctrl-Alt-A (Windows) or Ctrl-A (macOS).

    • Click the staff at the rhythmic positions where you want to input notes.

      A shadow notehead appears when inputting with the mouse to indicate where the note will be input.

    • Play the notes on a MIDI keyboard.

  7. Optional: Advance the caret to input chords at other rhythmic positions.

    During chord input, notes are input at the same rhythmic position and above the previous note until you advance the caret manually.

  8. Press Q or click Chords again to stop chord input.


Multiple notes are input at the caret position.

  • If entering pitches by clicking with the mouse, you can put the same pitch into the chord twice by clicking again on the same line.

  • If entering pitches with the keyboard, repeated notes are automatically input an octave above. You can change the register of notes by forcing the register selection during note input, or by transposing them after they have been input.

  • You can stop chord input and immediately continue inputting notes as before, with a single note at each rhythmic position and the caret advancing automatically to the next rhythmic position.

  • When chords contain two pitches in the same register but with different accidentals, that is known as an altered unison. Altered unisons are shown with either single stems or with split stems, depending on your settings on the Accidentals page in Write > Notation Options.

  • 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. In such cases, the notes are shown next to each other on tablature and are colored green. You can then select them individually and make your own string allocation.