Getting back to the original question, I am doing a relatively simple jazz combo chart in Dorico 2 Pro. I think there are two key questions:
- With Dorico, can you somehow do everything you need to do in a typical jazz chart; and
- What is the productivity.
On the first question, Dorico 2 gets pretty close. Certainly the chord support in 1.2 together with slash notation, rhythmic notation, and n-bar repeats makes it possible. Each person will have to decide if the remaining missing pieces are show-stoppers. On this particular project, I can probably live without the jazz articulations. I may draw them by hand, 1980s-style. But I doubt I will do any more jazz projects on Dorico until it is a bit more complete.
The second question, productivity, is a lot more complicated. The underlying architecture of Dorico is more elegant and expansive than the other products. And there is very little development effort on Finale and Sibelius these days. Clearly there will come a time when Dorico passes these other products and any serious notation user will want to position for that. But there are enough missing pieces that we may not be there for another year or two.
There is a huge learning curve on any new product like this. The project I am working on would probably take 3 or 4 days (maybe 10 hours total) with Finale, given the advantage of 15 years practice. I have already spent 25 hours on this project and am only 30% done. But that is because I am also taking the time to compile my own user guide. To be productive with Dorico, you must learn many, many key combinations and keystroke patterns. I am taking the time to document all the functions I will normally use.
Music entry feels extremely uncomfortable to me right now. But there are many features of Dotico’s note entry that will allow me to work faster than ever, once they become second nature. It is clear that Dorico will save loads of time on parts layout. These will be big time savers.
But I also find some missing things that are turning out to be major time wasters. The thing I am missing the most right now is the ability to quickly hear individual notes simply by sweeping the mouse over them. It is common to have a bad note here and there. And as I enter parts, I will typically try several different voicings. I need to be able to hear this to make sure it is what I want. In Finale, if you hear a chord conflict, it only takes an instant to sweep over all the notes to identify where the problem is. With Dorico, the closest thing I have found is to select individual notes, then press “P”. But this may or many not find the problem because to “sweep” over a chord, you may have to do this procedure 15 times. Because of this, I don’t believe I will have the patience to really work out the voicings as carefully as I usually do. I will power though it with this project, which uses mostly simple harmonies. But I don’t think I can take on a more ambitious arrangement until there is a faster, easier way to “zoom in” on the playback.
I would very much like to switch to Dorico for everything, because it is hard to remain proficient at multiple programs. But my guess is it will be another year before that is possible.