Inputting the melody on the top staff

First Steps

Document type

In this piece, the melody is on the top, treble staff. For the first few bars of the melody, you need to input individual notes in sequence.


  1. In bar 1, select the rest on the top staff.
  2. Press Shift-N to start note input.
    • You can tell you are in note input when the caret is activated and appears on the staff, lines indicating the rhythmic grid appear above the staff, and Start Note Input is active in the Notes toolbox. (Start Note Input is another way you can start note input without using the keyboard.)

      Caret active on the top staff with rhythmic grid in the first bar

      In the Notes panel on the left of the window, the quarter note button is highlighted. This indicates the note duration that will be used for the next notes you input. Quarter note (crotchet) is the default note duration when you start note input.

      Quarter note button in the Notes panel

      If the Notes panel is not shown, press Ctrl/Cmd-7 or click Show Left Zone in the Notes toolbox to show it.

    • However, the first four notes in the melody in this piece are eighth notes.

  3. Press 5 to select eighth notes (quavers).
    • The key commands for note durations use the numbers at the top of your computer keyboard, although you can also use a number pad. 6 is quarter notes (crotchets), with smaller numbers used for smaller durations and larger numbers used for larger durations.

    • The caret is still at the beginning of the bar, but the first note in the melody is on the second beat. However, you don’t need to input rests to get there.

  4. Press Space twice to advance the caret two eighth notes.
    • During note input, Space advances the caret by the note duration currently selected in the Notes panel.

    Caret advanced two eighth notes in bar 1

  5. Press F, then G, then A, then B to input the corresponding pitches.
    • The four notes are input as eighth notes starting from the caret position. Dorico automatically beams the notes and shows a quarter note rest at the start of the bar.

      Four eighth notes input, with the caret advanced to the start of bar 2

    • Dorico uses the letters A-G on your computer keyboard for note pitches. Notes with accidentals in the key signature automatically follow the key signature unless you specify otherwise. So when you press A and B, an A and B are input.

    • The next note is a dotted half note, not an eighth note.

  6. Press 7 to select half notes (minims), then . (period) to add a rhythm dot, making the duration dotted half notes.
    • You must press . on your computer keyboard, not a numeric keypad.

  7. Press G to input a dotted half note G.

    Notes input in the first two bars on the top staff

    • Dorico automatically selects notes the smallest interval away from the previous note, so here the G is input a third below, rather than a sixth above, the preceding B.

  8. Repeat steps 3 to 7 for bars 3-4.

    Alternatively, you can press Esc to stop note input, select bars 1-2 on the top staff (including the quarter note rest), then press R to repeat the material directly after itself.

  9. Press Esc or Return to stop note input.


You have input all the notes required in the first four bars for the top staff.

Notes in the first four bars on the top staff

You can also input notes by clicking on staves when the caret is active and Select Select button in the Notes toolbox in the Notes toolbox is deactivated, or by playing them on a connected MIDI keyboard.

After Completing This Task

Continue inputting notes on the top staff using what you have learned in this task up until the end of bar eight. To input the low F at the start of bar 7 after the high F at the end of bar 6, press Ctrl-Alt-F (Windows) or Ctrl-F (macOS). If you input a higher F instead, press Ctrl/Cmd-Alt/Opt-Down Arrow to transpose it down an octave.

Changing the beam grouping will be covered in a later task.