Inputting notes using MIDI recording

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Dorico SE
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You can input notes by recording what you play on a MIDI device in real time. You can record notes in both concert and transposed pitch.


  • You have connected the MIDI device you want to use.

  • You have set the quantization and recording options on the Play page in Preferences as required for the music you intend to record.

  • You have input enough bars or empty rhythmic space for the amount of music you want to record. Dorico SE does not automatically add extra bars or rhythmic space.

  • If you want to hear a click during your recording, you have input a time signature. There is no click in open meter or when there is no time signature.

  • You have chosen the appropriate input pitch setting.


  1. Select a note or rest on the staff/instrument track into which you want to record notes, at the position from which you want to record. You can do this in Write mode and Play mode.
    • In Play mode you cannot select rests, meaning you can only record into instrument tracks that already contain at least one note.

    • You can also record MIDI during note input, but this prevents Dorico SE from using both staves in grand staff instruments.

  2. Optional: If you want to record notes without overwriting any existing notes on the staff, activate Chord mode in any of the following ways:
    • Press Q.

    • In the Notes toolbox, click Chords .

  3. Optional: If you want to record into a specific voice on the staff, in Write mode, press Shift-N to start note input, then do one of the following:
    • If the voice you want already exists on the staff, press V until the note symbol beside the caret indicates the correct voice.

    • If the voice you want does not exist on the staff yet, press Shift-V until the note symbol beside the caret indicates the correct voice.

  4. Press Ctrl/Cmd-R to start recording.

    During recording, the playhead appears red and moves along in time. By default, there is one bar of count-in before the playhead reaches the rhythmic position of either your original selection or the caret.

  5. Play the notes you want on your MIDI device.

    Notes do not appear until you stop recording.

  6. Press Space or Enter or Ctrl/Cmd-R to stop recording.


The notes you played on the MIDI device are input onto the selected staff.

If you did not specify the voice, notes are recorded into voices according to what you played. For example, if you played notes in rhythmic unison, they are recorded into a single voice. If you played notes with different rhythms, they are recorded into separate voices, up to two voices per staff.

If you activated Chords, the notes you played are merged into the first available voice on the staff without overwriting any existing notes.

The notated duration of the notes follows your quantization options, but their played durations are retained for playback.

After Completing This Task

  • If the notes you played in are not notated as you intended, you can requantize them.

  • If you do not want to retain played durations for playback, you can reset playback overrides.