Feature Requests for Extended Notation

Dear Daniel and the Dorico team,

I am beyond excited for this product and so thankful that the team is so dedicated to making our lives so much easier.

I fully intend to switch from Sibelius to Dorico upon its release. After hours of manual work and countless, frustrating workarounds in Sibelius, I’d be thrilled if the team considered a few things to facilitate the work of composers/engravers especially involved in more extended notation. Apologies if these points have already been brought to your attention.

  1. Would automatic rhythmic spacing of feather-beamed groupings – i.e. gradually increasing/decreasing distances – be easy to implement?


  1. Speaking of rhythmic spacing, built-in considerations for proportional/spatial notation would be amazing. My dream would be the ability to disable or override the metric grid in any length of music to visually input rhythms proportionally (proportions that ideally would scale properly as systems are adjusted and justified) but I’d at least love to see some easier workarounds for our purposes.

The inspector in Sibelius allows adjustment of the horizontal position of a note without messing with the system’s spacing by changing a note’s X value. However, the ability to just drag the note one way or another without messing with the spacing of its context and without having to fiddle with numeric values would be quite a time-saver and much appreciated.

Additionally, as many probably know, there seem to be two Elaine-Gould-approved systems people employ for proportional rhythmic notation. One involves stem-less noteheads, often including “extenders” attached to notes to clarify how long they’re sustained. Another – my (and I think Berio’s) preferred method – involves straight/oblique flags for unsustained durations and beams for sustained durations. In Sibelius, faking the hanging beams (pictured in a later image of this post) is doable but it’s very difficult to manage a score that includes both straight/oblique flags and the traditional, curlier flags of 8th-notes and smaller. I’ve had do a destructive edit that replaced the 32nd-note flag (because I knew I’d never use a 32nd note flag) with an oblique flag and manually shorten the stem lengths that are extended for 32nd notes by default (and then hide the ensuing mess of rests around the notes). I wish proportional notation was easier to pull off in general, but I particularly wish there was a way to employ custom flags without making destructive edits!


  1. It would also be great if there was a way to make custom, extendable lines (I suppose that’d involve repeating symbols). The only way I know how to do this in Sibelius currently by destructively editing the existing trill/vibrato lines, replacing a trill line segment with an imported SVG. It would be great if we could do this nondestructively (because sometimes we wanna use a normal vibrato line in the same score…).

  1. Addressing another issue that arises from destructive edits: Sprechstimme notation! Or any notation that involves a symbol overlapping a stem. We can replace the buzz roll “z” with whatever we want in Sibelius but then we can’t use a buzz roll in the same score. I’d love to see Dorico allow us to freely customize our stems for sprechstimme, behind-the-bridge techniques, ingressive singing (pictured below), etc.


  1. Based on the last blog post, it seems the Dorico team is aware how tired we are of having to export scores to Adobe InDesign or Illustrator. Would the team consider implementing a Adobe-ish “pen tool” or polygon tool for curvy glissandi (pictured below), or for Saariaho’s commonly-used overpressure notation? More basic InDesign/Illustrator-like functionality would save many of us a LOT of headache!


  1. Lastly, a minor point… I do hope the software will automatically position slurs/ties/articulations correctly on notes with noteheads that are centered on the stem, unlike Sibelius.

e.g. (Sibelius’ default positioning)

Thanks so much! :smiley:

Why has there not been any respons to this questions? I think this very relevant for many contemporary composers and should hopefully be a matter to address for a serious new notation software wanting to compete with and be compared with long time runners as Finale and Sibelius. I hope someone at Doric will take this issues seriously !?

Great questions, but please give the guys time to reply. Patience. :slight_smile:

Because they have been a LITTLE BUSY with product release, given the announcement was made today the date would be in one week?

The Dorico team has been most responsive on these forums, more than we might have expected.

Daniel and his team are pretty swamped at this point, in anticipation of next week’s release.

But if you look at the product description, even the first release will have features for advances notation (scroll down to middle of page). Also check out the detailed specifications about what’s in the first release, and how it stacks up against both Sibelius and Finale in many ways.



The specific notations shown in the images in dbayot’s original post are somewhat beyond Dorico’s capabilities for highly graphical notations in its first release. I hope everybody will remember that Dorico is the product of a small team working for not quite four years (in fact more like three and a half by the time we actually started coding on Dorico in anger in early 2013, after spending a good few months planning and designing architecture before starting programming) and that the world of music notation is infinite in its complexity, so it will take us some time to catch up with everything that can be done in other more mature applications.

What I hope the first release of Dorico does is demonstrate that when we come to tackle these things, we will tackle them thoroughly and come up with good solutions that marry semantic meaning with flexible graphical representations.

Coding in anger? :open_mouth:


Looking forward to next week!

Anger - bullshit! We are all looking forward to the realese of Dorico, but at last there has been a response to this questions and I hope they will be addressed in a upgrade soon. As stated earlier to implement features like Extended Notation is a benchmark for a new serious notation software. And I really hope Dorico will be one!

Thanks, Daniel! I really appreciate your receptivity and responsiveness to the probably overwhelming barrage of questions/opinions/requests coming your way. It’s great to know that the needs of music-makers from all corners of the field are being considered. Thank you for your service to the larger music community and I’m really looking forward to this great project’s release and evolution. :smiley:

Has there been any motion on any of these issues? Specifically related to alter-stem notations? Obviously the Adobe work-around is fine, but we all know how much we’d love to save that time/money…

Nope, I’m afraid not.

Any update on some of these feature requests? I’m particularly feeling a major lack of the Saariaho overpressure marking.

Here’s the Dorico 2 Version History, which clearly details all new features and improvements: http://download.steinberg.net/automated_updates/sda_downloads/Dorico-2-2.0.0-44b04f1e-3f76-4fad-a938-d35e5f7dbd19/Dorico_2.0_Version_History.pdf