Feature request: Early music essentials

Dorico is already a fantastic piece of software, but I’ve not been able to use it for any commercial work yet owing to the lack of a few core features (I edit pre-1700 music, mostly choral). I know these things take time and are going to be low priority, and in the meantime Sibelius is perfectly adequate (or at least, I’m used to hacking round its inadequacies!), but I thought I’d put a list up here on the off chance there are things which either haven’t been considered by the development team, are already present but i’m not aware of them, or are being worked on and might appear in the next update.

  1. Batch underlay import from text file: i.e. like Sibelius, mark up all melismas with slurs and press one button to import lyrics).

  2. Musica ficta accidentals above notes: not just an accidental graphic (which can already be achieved obviously), but a transposing symbol that plays back. Sibelius has a plugin for adding a symbol above and hiding the accidental next to the note in one click, but transposing (e.g. sticking high clef music down for low voices - something I do A LOT) means all ficta has to be checked and respelled.

  3. Prefatory staves: currently possible with a bit of faff but would be nice to have an actual feature with a couple of tickboxes and auto-updating ambitae(?) etc.

  4. Custom glyphs for common symbols: I like to include clefs (among other things) traced directly from renaissance prints/manuscripts in the prefatory staves. The symbol editor in Sibelius gives me a lot of freedom in this regard.

  5. Plainchant neumes integration: This is a biggy - other than importing graphics there is no way to achieve this in any software that I’m aware of. At the moment, I use the Gregorio TeX package (far and away the best such tool) for typesetting neumes and then dump the vectors directly into a PDF I’ve exported from Sibelius. It would be amazing to have the ability to edit and compile gabc files directly in Dorico and e,g, include them between passages of polyphony.

I’m sure there are other things I’ve forgotten

I’d also welcome these in due course, please.

Plainsong is a completely different notation system with different rules and spacing algorithms, so a ‘modern’ notation app would have to have an entirely different mode of operation for plainsong staves. Though I can’t speak for Daniel and the team, I would suspect that the amount of work in proportion to the user demand would rule this out or make it very low priority.

You might want to look here.

Number 2 is often required for modern JI work too.

That Medieval plugin does look good - I’ve not really used Finale before though and don’t own the software so not really practical for me. Still, the logic for integrating neumes is clearly out there, so hopefully something similar is not so distant a possibility in Dorico!