A bunch of small things

First, many congratulations on the team for version 1.1. It really demonstrates the talent and foresight of the team, and I believe we can expect even greater things in the future!

Since version 1.1, I have completed an 8 minute ballet number for full orchestra and have spent time re-editing two older scores done in Sibelius (something Dorico does extremely well). While all of the new bells and whistle (especially, for me, the filters, voice tools and write mode edits) have yet sped up my work flow considerably. There are a few issues that I wish to present here, although some may be older than I think. I have consolidated three pages of examples into one pic below, called HC, to circumvent the attachment limit of the forum.

I had to re-edit a short piece for youth string orchestra I composed a few years ago. As it uses harmonics extensively at the beginning, I had to deal with the well known issues of harmonics, but I found my own solutions and will not discuss those issues here. Dealing with this brought other issues to the fore however:

  1. The placement of diamond heads is very strange. As can be seen in some of the circled examples, the diamond heads shift position over whole notes according to the vertical position of the lower note. The fermatas will centre on the lower note, so the whole thing looks askew.
  2. I used lungas to suggest very long pauses under unmetered solos. Diamond heads on lungas engrave in black instead of white. (seen in image)

  3. Fermatas on lungas are displaced to the left when the stems are down. (seen in image)

  4. It may have been suggested before, but although I LOVE the whole idea of these automatic holds, it would be great to have the options of having non-active holds that could be added on the odd individual note using alt-enter or alt-mouse. In my example, the fermata does not appear in the last note of the 1st solo violin because it had to line up with a rest (which is hidden in the example). One can of course use Bravura text (which I did) but since there is a great deal of space above and below the cipher, it can really screw-up the staff spacing. I was lucky enough to choose values that made it so that the extra fermata is only required for the top staff, but I have had to deal with staff spacing issues on other scores when I use a text fermata on an “inside” staff. (seen in image)

  5. Is it normal for Playing Techniques to be put under a fermata? (not seen in image)

I am re-editing a reduced chamber version of Ligeti’s “Mysteries of the Macabre” which I arranged and performed a few years ago as part of a Festival in Calgary. The results in Dorico are outstanding! I had to alter layout staff spacing in order to accommodate all of this text, but using suffixes, prefixes, alternate text, etc… makes layout so much easier. I have included a pdf of the first four pages for anyone to experience Dorico’s magic with this.
Mysteries of the Macabre-Chamber-Pages1-4.zip (156 KB)
Nevertheless, there were some issues, not included in this pdf

  1. For example: grace notes before a meter change AND a system break combined are placed before the beat (and there for at the end of the preceding system) no matter what one does.

  2. Text with more than one line often collides with the staff. Not a biggy to move, but I really noticed it trying to make G.P.'s using system text.

  3. Not a bug, but I used different version of the 7/8 time signature to facilitate the beaming, and the notation of quarter note values, and then hid the time signatures. This works great, but then, of course, the parts show a bunch of single bar rests instead of a multirest. This is an understandable result, and of course, it can allow musicians to notate beat patterns over the those bars if they wish (that piece is wickedly difficult to perform, so every bit helps!). I will renotate using forced durations and beamings to keep this on the same 7/8 pattern so Dorico can notate multirests for those instruments who do not play in this passage, but it would be great to have the option (in layout options) to consolidate all hidden time signatures of the same ratio into multirests.

  4. This is more of an xml issue, but two note tremolos can disappear of note groupings change during import. If I let Dorico take over the notation of note values, two note tremolos requiring two dotted values (which generally need to be notated using “force note values” before adding the tremolo), will notate with, let’s say, one dotted note and one tied note. This will make the tremolo disappear. Even if this can’t be fixed, all should be aware that this happens.

  5. All of this text seems to have created staff spacing collisions in some parts. Some of it was related to the “tempo text on layouts of players who play more than one instrument” bug, but not all of it.

  6. We really should have the option of using bpm tempo display when using relative and reset tempi.

  7. Finally, two comment about editing note spacing. First: it’s a fantastic tool! Second, one cannot alter the individual graphic spacing of any note that is part of a tie-chain, except for the first note. It would be great to have that option.

That’s it for me. Thanks again to the team for creating this software, which is such a great joy to work with!

Thanks, as ever, for these comments, Claude. The placement of diamond noteheads is something of a vexed issue: they are currently positioned as they would be if they were joined by a stem, and we will need to change the way we handle stemless notes to improve this. All of the other issues you raise are on our radar, though I can’t say for sure when we will be able to tackle them. I’m glad that on the whole you’re enjoying Dorico and getting great-looking work done with it.

I’ll add a little comment to Claude’s #8: I recently had a flow ending with a repeating bar and the text “repeat if necessary” (for staging reasons). One of the instruments doesn’t play in the last 30 or something bars of this flow, but in the part, I get a multirest and then a repeating bar with nothing in it and the instruction to repeat if necessary. Slightly unnecessary information. Even non-hidden time signatures, fermatas and so on could also be practical to ignore in multirests (like when there’s no more to do for a player in the flow).
A “Tacet bis” option would also come in handy, ignoring everything going on in the score up to a certain user-definable point. Nobody counts through pages of rests anyway.
You have probably already thought about all of this, and of course it’s not the highest priority, but FWIW, these options would make parts look even cooler (and they already look MUCH cooler than anything I’ve done in other software).

Dear Claude,

It is very nice engraving as always. I do notice some issues which I will mention in case they are relevant to Dorico:

  1. Some of the dynamic signs are too far from the notes in the Soprano part: m. 23, for example, and m. 36-38 Cl. and Tpt., or misplaced as the fff in m. 44 Vc., f in m. 52 Perc., all P in m. 16. If an instrumentalist is vocalizing it would be better to handle the dynamics as in a vocal part. And it is not necessary for all dynamics in a certain area of a staff to line up on a single horizontal if this causes dynamics to be too far from the notes.

  2. The staves are too widely spaced on the first page. It would be better to have more space between the title and the top staff in the interest of visual comprehension.

  3. The tempo and metronome markings seem too small to me, as do the measure numbers.