What ho, people of Dorico!
I am using the trial of Dorico Pro 4 to evaluate whether to make the switch from Finale. I have been using Finale for almost 20 years but stopped upgrading after 2012. It’s now become quite unstable with more and more weird glitches, so I think it’s time for an upgrade. I’m interested in Dorico, but the crossgrade is more than twice the cost of the upgrade to Finale 27, so I need to make sure it’s the right move.
I use Finale primarily to compose and also to produce sheet music. One of the things I appreciate most is the playback quality that makes this possible. So far that has been the biggest downside to Dorico (not a fan of the HALion saxes and timpani for starters). I know there will be tricks to improving that which can be learnt as I go along. I do see great value in the improved handling of parts and engraving, and even some elements of music entry will result in better workflow as I get used to the different shortcuts.
One thing is looking like a dealbreaker though - I tend to write in 6/8 and 3/4 rhythms interchangeably in a significant amount of my music (it’s just the rhythm in my blood).
In Finale, I use the most suitable time signature for the primary pulse of the piece and notate using dotted crotchets or straight crotchets as appropriate to the moment.
Dorico forces technically correct rhythmic notation for the specified time signature. Mostly this is a good thing and will help reduce errors and produce more readable parts. However, there are times when the technically correct thing is more complex and less readable that something technically incorrect. E.g. in 6/8, a bar with three crotchets is easier to read than a bar with one crotchet, two quavers tied, one crotchet. In isolation it would be fine, but when a piece is filled with these moments it starts to get messy.
I opened the notation options and tried setting all the grouping options to preference single note rather than splits at various boundaries, but it didn’t seem to have much effect. I read there is an option to force the duration, but understand it has to be applied individually to each note? I also read you can set an interchangeable time signature (6/8 = 3/4), but Dorico still groups according to the first selection. To use the other grouping, you need to manually change the time signature (it just doesn’t display on the score). I did try this out, and again, it works for longer passages or here and there moments but is a lot of fiddling around if it’s happening everywhere and on different staves at different times. One of the biggest pros of Dorico is supposed to be how much it cuts down on that kind of tweaking (which Finale gets a terrible rap for).
So, is there is there a better solution that I’m missing?