Engrave Mode

I am looking for more information on Engrave Mode. I have long dreamed of a notation software that has a mode that is strictly graphic in nature to the extent that one could manipulate musical objects in much the same way that Adobe Illustrator works. I do a lot of work creating musical examples for scholarly writing and usually have to export from Finale into Illustrator at some point to make drastic changes less of a headache when creating, for example, Schenkerian voice leading graphs.

So I guess the question is: how flexible will Dorico’s Engrave Mode be?

Engrave mode allows pretty good graphical tweaking of all of the elements that Dorico can notate, in terms of fine positioning and adjusting angles, lengths, positions, and so on. It doesn’t yet allow you to manually change note spacing or change the positions of staves, though both of these capabilities will come soon. It also doesn’t allow the free drawing of non-semantic items like lines and curves, etc. So if you’re expecting Engrave mode in Dorico to basically be Adobe Illustrator, you will be disappointed, I’m afraid. However, it does have a lot of powerful capabilities in terms of showing independent pieces of music in different frames at different sizes, superimposing text and graphics, and other clever tricks like that.

It’s important to remember that we are releasing the first ever version of Dorico, and if you look down the list of threads on this forum you will see dozens of other requests concerning guitar notation and chord symbols and playback and user interface changes and goodness knows what else. We plan to address all of these areas over time, but hopefully you can appreciate that the user base for scoring software is exceptionally broad and therefore the functional areas Dorico will be expected to cover are likewise exceptionally broad, and it will take time to get there in all of these areas.

Thanks for the response Daniel.

That definitely helps to temper my expectations, but I’m still interested in seeing what it can do. i may not be able to eliminate Illustrator from the workflow, but if I could do as much in the notation software as possible before going into Illustrator that would be grand. Looking forward to trying the demo.

Just to give you another example of what I have been looking for, are you aware of an old notation software that was (I believe) called Note Writer? I had a professor who used this and I think he even keeps an old Mac running OS 9 just for this program. Apparently it was completely graphical—no playback or MIDI—and one could move elements around with a level of freedom that all of the modern options these days just don’t have. THAT is the kind of thing that could greatly improve my workflow!

But regarding your last comment, yes, I get that the work I do is a small niche (scholarly musical examples) within what is already a small niche (music notation). I just hope enough engravers are also looking for the same kinds of features I am.

Thanks again!