Clef changes at repeat bars. Looks weird!

In doing the Goldberg Variations exercise - which I do to practice (I don’t plan to finish it but I have 17 flows done) - I noticed a few little things, but definitely one big thing; at least for me. This is similar to the repeat bars with a meter change, except it’s with clefs. With the meter change, I believe Gould was thrown at me, and it could be the case here as well, but it simply looks wrong and is certainly nothing I’ve ever seen anywhere. I have included a couple of examples.

(notice however, how brilliantly Dorico renders the diagonal centered beam across clefs, just like in the Breitkopf edition. I had to use engrave to get proper angles, but still: that’s a great result!)

This is indeed how Gould recommends this situation should be notated, and it seems to me to be logically correct. The clef change affects the music that follows the start repeat barline, so it wouldn’t be appropriate for it to appear before the preceding end repeat barline, as that is where you would put something that would precede the start of the repeated section when repeating backwards.

That’s all well and good, and I do appreciate the logic of it, but I don’t recall ever seeing it that way in pretty much any publication. There is bound to be occasions, in developing this software - where there will be conflicts between what is logical and what is usual, or indeed expected. I believe this is one of those cases. But it no way dampens my enthusiasm for this software. I’ll live with the new!

Apparently, the engravers of the BGA, Peters, Henle, and the original editions of the Goldberg Variations never read Gould. They all place the clefs either in the measure before the repeat mark or the measure after the repeat mark as appropriate, and as we have all seen it for a very long time.

I myself only welcome the New if it is an improvement. This needless aberration hurts continuity. Hopefully one can turn the behavior off and do it the customary way.

I also agree that it is awful this way. It creates a whole new ‘measure’! This would definitely lead to a stop-for-questions in a rehearsal.

I agree about musician’s reactions to this. It would be good to at least have a choice: old way and new way. Same goes for the time signature/repeat bars situations.

Our notational system has evolved through the collective experience of many musicians over many years. I don’t accept as legitimate a “new way” that arrived overnight because it suddenly seemed “logical” to a few people.

Elaine Gould has written a very fine book that I use often. But there are matters of personal taste and errors in her book. The book is also totally focused on current practice and takes no account of the variations in engraving practice that one encounters historically. If Dorico hardwires in all of Gould’s preferences, it will be unusable by those who take a broader view of music notation.

Fellow forumite Stephen Taylor drew an excellent analogy with the editing of dictionaries, and the issue of prescriptive (i.e. what is “right” and “wrong”) versus descriptive (i.e. what do people actually do) grammar, and Dorico I think has to walk this line as well.

Gould is an excellent starting point, but it is by no means the only text we use as reference when planning how to handle various notational features. My desk is literally buried under all of the standard notation texts and dozens of scores by various publishers. We discuss at great length within the team everything that we tackle, and spend a lot of time researching different possible approaches. I also have a number of expert music engravers based both in Europe and the US that I am fortunate enough to be able to call upon when I need a third or fourth opinion.

And Dorico’s philosophy is not to hardwire things. If the plan was to hardwire everything, then we wouldn’t have bothered with the hundreds of engraving options that are implemented in the very first release of Dorico. The philosophy is to provide excellent, configurable defaults, and the means to override them if need be. I think those users who have actually spent some time with the software (and, with respect, I don’t believe this includes you, John) can see this very clearly.

However, writing software is not a zero-sum game. Adding options takes time not only in development, but also in testing, in localisation, in documentation, and it adds to the cognitive load on the user. We have a huge amount of ground to cover in continuing to make the software useful to as many people as possible. This is a daily balancing act, and I think the biggest challenge we have in front of us is effective prioritisation so that the software develops in the right directions quickly enough that it can continue to build its momentum in its adoption within the global community of musicians.

All of which is a long way to say that I’m sure we can and will provide options for this in future, but I can’t guarantee that it will be tomorrow, or the next day.

It is indeed one of Dorico’s greatest strengths that it can do a great deal of the heavy lifting that engraving requires through customisation, and that the choices can be made on a per-layout or per-flow basis. The choices are already comprehensive. The Force Duration tool seemed an oddity to me at first, but now I find I don’t use it nearly as much as I thought I would. It’s wonderful to simply enter notes, change a few settings and see the score magically notated the way I want it. However, I am glad that we have this forum to point out choices we feel are still important, if only to a few. So thank you once more Daniel for always putting on your “listening ears”. It’s one of the things which will keep making this software special.

The philosophy is to provide excellent, configurable defaults, and the means to override them if need be.

This is all we can ask for. :slight_smile:

I think those users who have actually spent some time with the software … can see this very clearly.

Yes, and your presence (along with other of the developers) in this forum everyday, on just about every post, engenders trust that Dorico will become the tool for anything involving notation.

Thank you for your very thoughtful reply, Daniel.

One would assume that extensive resources would be in place for a project of this kind. Yet with all of this, the result, in this particular case, has been a non-standard default without apparent recourse. I commented only to alert you to this fact, which may have broader implications. And I commented selfishly, because I would like Dorico to be a tool that I could use.

While I am now prevented from using Dorico for technical reasons (OS10.8.5), I look forward to trying it out in the near future.

I encountered a number of things in Elaine Gould’s book - which I deeply appreciate!! - where I had to frown upon. When I wrote to Faber Music, no one reacted (it is 6 weeks since then). What a difference here with Dorico! Thank you!

Some examples where Gould should be regarded critical you can find in my topic “Behind Bars - Elaine Gould”. I will collect more of them over time (surely I will find more). Most disturbing for me is her kind of strict attitude, yet missing many subtleties (probably you would need a bible of several thousand pages for that). She looks so kind in her photograph :wink:

Fellow forumite (I love this expression, sorry for stealing it, Daniel) Derrek pointed out, that her book is a good starting point. My concern is of people who did not read and see thousands of well engraved pages of music and take her book as common law, after hearing it’s praise (what Simon Rattle praises, must be the ultimate, they will think, and if it was not for advertising, they surely would be right - yet also he is a fellow human;-).

Concerning the clef change at repeat bar I just alerted my brother, chief editor with Breitkopf & Härtel, to this point. Of course he has to ask his production manager about this. I am really curious what he answers!

I want to preface my jump on the bandwagon of tradition by saying that I appreciate Dorico’s logical leaning, and given both Gould’s recommendations and the even less satisfactory default behavior of other software (e.g., Finale and Sibelius), I do understand why the Dorico team chose to do it this way.

Although he doesn’t seem to address this particular situation, even Ted Ross advocates for a similar rules of placement with regard to key and time signature changes on the grounds that ‘a repeat bar is not considered a barline although at times it serves the purpose’.

As a Finale user, I’ve lived with similar behavior for time and key signatures without being too bothered by it (although, truth be told, my use of repeat bars have been limited thus far), and I’ve always found it illogical that in Finale, the clef wasn’t being treated as part of the cautionary preamble.

That said, I also find the above example very disruptive, especially because of the huge gaps left between the repeated sections on staves with no clef change.

Evidently, different situations will call for different rules of placement for clef, key and time changes in relation to repeated sections to minimize disruption while maximizing clarity, so I do hope Dorico will provide options for both approaches in due course.

Hm, I am a bit embarassed to admit that the priority of my “big” brother seems quite low to answer my questions regarding this problem. Understandable… Sorry for boasting!

Anything new in this point?

Short answer: no.