Dorico 3 — A Couple of Questions


I’ve seen everyone in rapture over this new incarnation of Dorico, and there is no doubt in my mind that it is fully justified. B…b…b…but, here are a few questions in terms of its development:

  1. With Dorico Pro 3, it can no longer be disputed, Dorico has become the best commercial Music engraving software available, and one of the best tout court. This entails that I would love if it had support of NoteAbility Pro and LilyPond (file formats), which are two Music engraving sotware tools that I, and I’m sure many others, can’t do without. Is it too much to ask or hope for?

  2. After I acknowledged all the Gigas of software greatness which constitute Dorico Pro 3, here is my bit of immediate criticism: what’s with the new Color Scheme, and most of all with that Background gradient? I use Dorico to write Music, not to phase out in Leary-esque electronica and LSD. I loved the previous Color Scheme, it was beautiful and perfect for long evenings of intensive work. It was much better.

All the best,

  1. Based on previous comments by the team, I think it’s very unlikely this will ever happen.

  2. I also prefer the old color scheme, which was more subtle.

  1. I kinda like the gradient as it’s sort of an instant way to judge where I am on the page if I’m zoomed way in. Some user customization options would definitely be welcome here though.

I get your point, Fred, and although I much prefer a flat color background, my point is more about the abrasive tones they chose than anything else. They got it right the first time, but not now.

Any changes to the user interface of a tool that people use all day will obviously arouse high passion in some users, but I urge you to give the new look a bit of time. It was not changed in an indiscriminate way: an enormous amount of thought, care and iterative development has gone into every aspect of the changes.

As for import of LilyPond or NoteAbility Pro files, no, that’s not on the cards.

That’s not it, Daniel, it comes from a long-run lived experience of working in software environments for long stretches of time. You got it right the first time, but not now.

I understand your point of view, but we have no plans to revert back to the original colour scheme.

That’s fine, Daniel, but that doesn’t stop it from being a bad move.

You consider it a bad move, but that does not make it objectively a bad move.

You would be better off trying to persuade Lilypond and NoteAbility to export MusicXML.

I wouldn’t hold your breath over Lilypond. Development seems to have slowed to a crawl and the last “stable” version is about 5 years old. The fact that they embarked on a large-scale effort to rationalize their own file format doesn’t seem like good news for anybody else wanting to read it, until they have finished changing it!

Somebody did start writing an app to convert MusicXML to Lilypond input, but I don’t think it ever got near enough “complete” to be very useful.

I don’t know anything about NoteAbility.

Daniel, as you noticed both our last statements are irremediably true, but you could have also noticed that they rely on the same epistemological stance, which of course we both intend to be applied universally.

On a more serious tone, Dorico as it stands today is a huge achievement at every front. My criticism and pointed irony isn’t meant to detract from that. This said, Dorico does look much, much better in its previous incarnations.

It looks better to you in its previous incarnations.

Rob, you’re quite poorly informed on this issue. NoteAbility Pro supports MusicXML, as does Lilypond in its current (2.19.83) development version and is expected to support it in its upcoming stable 2.20 version.

Daniel, to quote from a film: “la-di-da, la-di-da, la-la.”

The NoteAbility Pro website doesn’t say it supports MusicXML (and as I said, I don’t know anything about the software)

I have followed the Lilypond development list for years, and never saw MusicXML mentioned there. It’s not mentioned at all in the “new features in V2.20 since V2.18” document either.

But if what you say is true, I don’t understand your question at all: if both those apps do support MusicXML, why do you want the Dorico developers to spend time writing a different way to import their input into Dorico?

I really like the new light theme.

Rob, on NoteAbility Pro, yes it does, here (third bullet point from the bottom under “Latest News”):
Here it is on Lilypond’s documentation: LilyPond Application Usage: 4.3.2 Invoking musicxml2ly
And although I only use their latest stable version and only print PDFs from LilyPond (I don’t use Frescobaldi), here is the MusicXML test suite of their 2.19.83 development branch: Unofficial MusicXML test suite

As to your self-induced perplexity, well… MusicXML isn’t a suitable file format for engraving many kinds of musical objects (just think of Electronic music or Spectral music, and the graphic representation of continuous variables across time, etc.), for which other formats like the NAP or LilyPond file formats have something to offer. Besides, more than anything else, this is about insuring that apps communicate to the fullest, with the least amount of loss in translation.

That says that it imports MusicXML, not exports.

…and MusicXML2ly is also an importer, i.e. it imports MusicXML files into .ly format.

Your lilypond link is about importing MusicXML into lilypond, not exporting it. That’s not what you asked about.

Fair enough about NoteAbility. I looked at the “Features” page which doesn’t mention it at all (not even for import)

LOL Paul and Rob, here is a screenshot of the latest version of NoteAbility Pro with its MusicXML import/export menu fully in sight:

This is getting ridiculous.

Enjoy. I’m out.