Force Duration as standard practice

I’m sure someone will have asked this before, so apologies in advance for any duplication, but the reason I’m starting a new topic is that I can’t get results for a phrase such as “forced duration” (or indeed “input rests”, “tempo markings” etc.) - the results come up for the individual words. What’s the correct way of inputting my search terms?

My specific question (I’m a beginner, with Sibelius experience) is this: after many false starts based on my misunderstanding of how Dorico works, I found that having ‘Force Duration’ selected permanently makes inputting much easier for me - for example when starting a bar with a rest (having Force Duration selected means that the rest, rather than a gap, is displayed after input). Do experienced users of Dorico make extensive use of Force Duration? Indeed, is there a disadvantage to having it switched on throughout?

(I do have a supplementary question related to the above, which I’ll just sneak in here - I wanted to delete a whole bar, and noticed that selecting it also selected the (mid-system) clef immediately preceding it, but if I moved the clef leftwards (I used the mouse before reading the help page regarding the keyboard way) then the clef wasn’t included in the selection. Is this purely because of how near or far it is to the barline?)

Hi Gareth, in the unlikely event that you haven’t yet played around with inputting a bunch of randomly-pitched crotchets and quavers and then changed the time signature at the start to any random one you can think of, and watched Dorico automatically re-notate and re-beam the notes to match the current meter, I’d recommend giving that a go for a few minutes to see the main benefit to not using Force Duration!

Time signatures (including with the beat grouping specified, such as [3+2+3]/8 for a 7/8 signature beamed in 3-2-3) in combination with Notation Options for Note Grouping/Beam Grouping should produce the correct results in the end 99%* of the time (*results may not be scientifically tested). One aspect that can surprise you (myself included) is when e.g. in 4/4 a dotted crotchet is notated as a crotchet tied to a quaver, until you input a quaver after it, at which point it’s recalibrated into a dotted crotchet. This is because Dorico’s rhythmic notation responds to the context. I can also understand why you might prefer to see the rests as you go along, but speaking for myself at least, it’s something it didn’t take long to acclimatise to. Skipping over rests by pressing Space or using the arrow keys quickly becomes second-nature. My recommendation would be to give yourself more time to settle in and then see how it’s going.

Clef: I imagine this is because “technically” the clef exists at the first rhythmic position in the bar, it’s just displayed in the correct position visually, which is before the barline. Either moving the clef to the start of the next bar, or setting the filter to Deselect and then filtering for clefs after selecting the bar you want to delete, should avoid that.

There are two issues I can think of. Firstly, by ‘not entering rests’, you cut down the work dramatically. The amount of time that I need to see the first rest of a bar before I get round to adding the first note is … seconds, if I’m being thoughtful. So just move the caret, enter the first note, and hey presto, Dorico has entered the rest for you.

Secondly is that Dorico has, perhaps more than most, a very specific philosophy which you need to follow, rather than fight, to get it to help you most. Set the Layout, Notation and Engraving Options to create the document as you want it. Then make a few manual adjustments where the results aren’t quite what you want. If you make everything a manual adjustment, then that can bite you if you want to make global changes, as you’ll have to do it all manually again.

Once again, many thanks. Among the several things that hadn’t occurred to me until I read your replies was that once a duration is forced it stays forced! As for rests, decades of Sib and previously SCORE have made me think of them as objects which need to be input. But here’s the biggie - even after reading up on rest input I hadn’t clocked that they can be created by the space bar! I’ve just tried it, and major scales have fallen from my eyes! I feel as if I’d been struggling to use a chainsaw until someone pointed out that I needed to start it up first…

The other biggie, in case you hadn’t spotted it, is that it’s much quicker not to bother entering ties at all. If you want a note that’s three beats long, tell Dorico to put in a note that’s three beats long. As long as Notation Options > Note Grouping and Notation Options > Beam Grouping are aligned with your personal preferences, you’ll mostly get the notes and ties you were expecting. If you then decide that that note needs to be three and a half beats long, make sure your grid value (bottom left corner, adjustable quickly using Alt-[ and Alt-]) is set to half a beat and then use Shift-Alt-Right arrow to extend the note by the grid value.

The truth is that however many decades of Sibelius experience are often a hindrance rather than a help in Dorico. Depending on Force Duration is one way for a Sibelius user to feel more comfortable with Dorico’s note input, but in the long term it can really slow you down.

If you haven’t already, it’s well worth getting a cup of tea (and a biscuit) and spending some time watching the videos on the Dorico YouTube channel. There’s so much there that will show you what you can do, and how to get the best out of it.

Again, many thanks. Regarding the videos, I have indeed watched quite a few of them (and excellent they are too), but at the moment I find it difficult to navigate amongst them, in that they don’t seem to be arranged in a tutorial-style order, i.e. one needs to think of a topic and hope that a video suits it. Incidentally, I don’t know who Anthony Hughes is, but he’s brilliant.

My experience navigating the videos and trying to put them into a pedagogical order has been similar to yours. Wish there were some sort of ordered playlist; if such exists, I did not find it when I looked (some time ago).

Fortunately I have reached a point where I am past the initial concept and can attack new material in an order I find most helpful via this forum and the Release Notes with the manual and videos (and Discover Dorico each month) as supplements.

Discover Dorico looks like a good idea. I shall look out for it.

Gareth, you might find this useful as well: https://www.dropbox.com/s/rhq2udlfq985m7b/A%20Beginner's%20Guide%20to%20Dorico.pdf?dl=0

If it’s not presumptuous, may I enter a hearty endorsement for Dan Kreider’s Beginner’s Guide, to which he just provided a link. It’s wonderful at easing a newcomer into the right frame of mind, pointing out the ways in which Dorico is new, and encouraging one to understand and enjoy them rather than fighting their novelty. It reminds me in an odd way of Julia Child’s cookbooks, in which she would periodically say things like “It will look an awful mess at this point, but that’s expected, you’re on the right track, and it will clear up in a moment.” Reassurances and clarifications are so valuable.

Thanks, all.