Does Dorico support drag and drop to move music around?

I have a license for Sibelius but there were two things I could never get past: lack of scroll mode and lack of drag-drop support – features found in Finale for decades. Eventually Sibelius added scroll view, but I felt my productivity was way too low on Sibelius without drag-drop.

Where does Dorico stand on both scroll mode and drag-drop operations?

Can you elaborate further on what kind of drag and drop functionality you refer to? Both Finale and Sibelius have their variants of filtered copy and paste, including “option-copy” which is where you make a selection, hold down a modifier (option or alt) and then click in another location to copy whatever is selected or filtered. Is this what you are referring to?

Finale supports drag and drop that works like drag and drop in just about every GUI app ever created. You select a range of music and then you can drag it. You can drag it anywhere, including different measures in the same part, a different part in the same score, or you can even drag to a different score. In all cases, the material can be copied starting on a different beat in the target measures than where the material existed in the donor measures. And very importantly, you can see WHERE the material will be dropped in the new measure before you release the mouse button to complete the operation. If there is anything remotely equivalent to this in Sibelius, I have not discovered it. What you describe sounds like a glorified cut-and-paste, which is not nearly as productive.

About the only “deficiency” I find with the Finale drag-and-drop is that it does not allow me to drag an external MIDI file into an existing staff. I can drag a MIDI into the Finale window, creating a new score, and then drag and drop to my active score, but that’s a pain especially with drum parts.

With most of the DAWs, you can freely drag audio or MIDI material onto existing tracks. This is how notation programs should work IMHO.

Thank you for clarifying. I’ll agree that it’s an interesting situation. In the Finder, you can hold down option / alt to make a copy or just drag without the modifier to move whole files.

But in the case of a notation program, while sometimes you want to copy or move everything wholesale, this is actually only desired part of the time. And so, Finale and Sibelius have addressed this in similar but different ways with “filtering”.

In Finale and Sibelius, there is no actual “move” operation of notes; not the way this functions in the Finder, anyway. (Finale has a “delete after copy” which I guess you could call an implementation of a drag and drop type feature in Note Mover, but it is limited to a single bar and requires that each individual note be manually selected).

In Finale, dragging and dropping is the equivalent of copying to the clipboard, then pasting into the destination staff. But here, using the program’s default settings, “everything” is copied. Most of the time, the typical desired choice would be to copy a subset of the notation information. For instance, just the notes and dynamics without chord symbols or the music without system text like tempo marks. Or maybe the notes and other markings except dynamics if the same motif is to be restated at a different dynamic.

So the workflow in Finale is, go into the Edit Filter, choose what is going to be filtered / copied, then drag and drop. The other mechanism provided, as stated above, is to use Option / Alt Click - this provides the same functionality. Both of these require the Edit Filter to be set (an additional step) unless you are copying everything wholesale. Of course, if you are doing a series of similar edits, you don’t need to keep going back to the Edit Filter settings each time.

Additional Edit Filter moves to get there aside, I don’t personally use drag and drop in Finale; I use Option / Alt Click. I’ll explain in a moment.

In Sibelius, the filter works a little differently. Here, any object selected is already included in the filter. So, if you select a subset of notes in a bar along with dynamics, and phrase marks, but NOT, say, chord symbols or techniques, you can either copy to the clipboard and paste what is filtered to a new location, or do this in one step, using Option / Alt click.

In Sibelius, as in Finale, the Option / Alt. Click action is somewhat analogous to Option / Alt drag in the Finder, as it makes a copy of whatever is selected. (In Sibelius, if you select several different types of note attached text or line objects, hold down the option / alt key and press down the mouse button, it makes a copy of the selected objects in place.)

While one can’t move notes by dragging, one can select and move around text and line attached objects in either program. Of course moving text or lines already associated with a specified set of notes too far away from their parent music doesn’t really provide much practical use. Mostly the reason this “drag and drop” functionality exists in both of these programs is to allow finite placement adjustment of these ancillary objects in the score.

But I believe there is another possible reason why both Finale and Sibelius have implemented an Option / Alt click one step copy / paste model rather than drag and drop (other than a practical consideration of how different object types are handled in these two programs), which for me provides a good explanation of why I don’t miss it in either program using my (current) workflow.

At issue is the nature of how music notation lays out. For instance, in an orchestral score with 30 staves, the vertical screen real estate required to display staves of music notation properly is enormous compared to showing the little rows of data chiclets in a track overview of a sequencer.

Horizontal real estate is quite different, too. While you might be able to drag and drop across 50 bars or more in a sequencer, the notation program is displaying information really spread out by comparison (e.g. both vertically and horizontally, even in Scroll View).

Because you can’t always see the destination bars on screen for come sopra bars or whatever, you frequently lose that advantage the sequencer provides of being able to see where the material will be dropped in the new measure before you release the mouse button to complete the operation. In Finale’s defense, you can move the mouse left or right in either page view or scroll view as part of the drag operation, and pages or bars will scroll so you can get to the drop point. Works pretty well if the destination bar is on the next page. If it’s 100 bars downstream, this type of navigation is glacial.

Thanks for bringing up an interesting topic.

I do use the alt-click operation sometimes in Finale, but I vastly prefer true drag-drop because that way I know in advance exactly on what beat the material will land. It is no problem if I need to copy something bigger than the screen. I can scroll to extend the selection and then finish with a normal drag-drop operation, just as with a word processor. This is analogous to selecting a sentence or paragraph before performing the drag operation.

As far as the delete of source material – I rarely actually want to do that, but if I do, it remains selected after the drop and so I simply hit back-space.

I suppose I could get used to Sibelius’ operation, but I see a clear advantage in using the drag-drop metaphor that virtually all other GUI apps support.

So back to my question … does Dorico support drag-drop and scroll mode?

Dorico does support scroll view, but as yet it does not support drag and drop for copying and pasting. We do plan to add it, but I’m not sure at this stage whether it will be included in the first release or will come shortly thereafter.

Thanks. I know you are trying to balance the needs of many different people. For me, speed of entry/editing is very important.

I really really really really really really miss drag & drop functionality.

But I guess I don’t need to ask if they plan to do it

Any new time estimate on this function.

I don’t think I saw any commitment to do that. I think the answer was more like, “You will learn to appreciate the beauty of what we are doing instead.”

I saw this in spades with Sibelius for years when they refused to acknowledge that a scroll view was vitally important. I owned a Sibelius license practically from the beginning, but I just found the system completely impossible to use without scroll mode. The screen was continuously bouncing around and my eyes could never keep track of where my measures went. Annoying as heck, but I guess some people were better able to adapt to that. I see some good things in Dorico, but there are still too many giant steps backward for me to be very interested.

I realize that drag and drop in the Dorico paradigm could be a bit more challenging than Finale because notes aren’t locked to measures and the actual notation can change dramatically as notes are shifted in time left or right. And it is brilliant that Dorico has the ability to ensure “correct” notation regardless of how music moves around in time. But it seems this should not be incompatible with drag-and-drop operation. I’d think an implementation would show the boundary box as you move it around – then once the mouse pauses, render the notes as they would appear in that time slot.

You can in fact already drag and drop music in Play mode in the piano roll editor (make sure you’re in ‘Notated Durations’ mode, otherwise you’ll leave the notation where it is but move only where the notes play back). We would like to be able to support this in Write mode, too, but ideally it would provide you with real-time feedback of how the notation will look at every step along the way. I certainly wouldn’t rule this out for the future, though.

For the time being, perhaps keeping one window open in Write mode so you can see the effect on the notation and another in Play mode to allow you to perform the drag-and-drop operation would be something worth trying?