FR — Another game changer feature : rhythmic compression (micro and macro levels)

Dear fellow Doricians, dear dev Team,

This is an idea I already talked about here quite some time ago, but only on the micro level…
It would be absolutely stunning to have a feature that, a little bit like the condensing feature, would allow automatically to “compress” rhythmically the parts, while leaving the full score intact. What I mean here is :
• micro : when there are repeated notes in a bar, automatically write the equivalent to shift-R, 1 or 2 or 3 (depending on the rhythmic value needed). When there are repeated bars, automatically change them with the % or 2% signs.
• macro : when some region gets repeated in a part (but it does not show in the score because of some instruments not using that repeat — I am (obviously) thinking of singers who do not sing the same things—, automatically Dorico would “recognize” the repeat structure and create it for the accurate parts only (with the 1st and 2nd time bars automatically created…) and the score remains intact.

Of course, these could be tweaked through a “compressing change” just very much like the Condensing change we’re used to, so that it can get very granular and precise.
This would be an amazing way to benefit from the abstraction levels Dorico uses.

Right now, I’ve been thinking how I could achieve those things. My answer would be : duplicate the flows where such compression could be applied, untick all the players not concerned by those, make sure I untick those new flows from the score layout, while unticking the original flows for the “compressed” players layouts. Then tweak the new flows so that the parts show what I want them to show. It’s possible, it keeps everything in the same file (so very useful when you have to correct things) but that’s some extra work, to gain some space on the parts pages and I would lose some dynamic linking (if I correct a part that is no longer in the score, it’s double work.).
Sometimes, that real estate does matter.

I hope you’ll like my little dream here.


This would be very complex to achieve, but of course not impossible (very little is impossible in software given sufficient time and money). It’s not likely to be something we are able to work on in the short to medium term, but I don’t rule it out.


Well… You’ve made condensing a reality… So why not this next step? Of course, I understand it’s complicated :wink:

Not quite following, could you make a few example bars (original and compressed) to show the idea?

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Hi DanMcL.
Here’s a little dummy score with simple examples I hope will speak by themselves. For the record, the work I am working on involves ALL these transformations, so it’s real-world problem.

Notice how the first violins are not shown in the “parts” : since they’re the only ones that play a non repeating tune (on the macro level), that option would not apply to them.


I was actually thinking of the opposite process: subdividing a large note into smaller repeated ones.

Perhaps when the Lua scripting gets some love, this will be something that could be done there.

Dear Ben,
The whole purpose of this request is to take advantage of the incredible ability of Dorico to show semantically identical music bits in very different graphic representation, so that the parts can take so less room in the page, while leaving other layouts intact, just like with condensing. The current workaround is at least as much cumbersome than it was when condensing was not here. I don’t think lua scripting is the way. It’s a major feature I’m suggesting here, one that has never been seen before — just like condensing — that would probably require a lot of work to the team.
Along with text flowing through frames, it’s the major feature that keeps me from engraving easily entire operas (ok, and some little effort on labelling, especially vocal staves).
I thought it would raise some interest among us Doricians :wink:


Marc, the crotchets/quarter notes in the bass part in your example cannot be abbreviated like you do. Notating half notes with a single stroke through the stem denotes a division in (4) quavers, not crotchets. I also don’t think just adding four staccato dots in itself is enough to indicate a quaver subdivision in the viola part, the stem stroke is necessary. The consolidated staccato dots would be correct if the original had them on every single note, but it’s merely the articulation, not the abbreviation itself.
(I guess you did this in a hurry :wink:)

Re: the ‘macro’ abbreviations: I strongly discourage adding repeated sections in parts that are different from the score. It is guaranteed to waste rehearsal time. A conductor might (no: will often) ask the ensemble ‘let’s recap at the double bar’ or ‘da capo but skip the first repeat’ etc.
This is bound to result in chaos, and a strong distrust in the quality of the edition and/or engraving.


I agree that these are important options - and conceptually similar to condensing.

Since Dorico aspires to pre-eminence in engraving, I would have thought they would be high on the team’s list of priorities - but apparently not.

Most important for me would be the ability to toggle the ‘bar repeat’ sign between different layouts.

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OK sure, that would be very useful, also for analysis. Condensing down to block chords for example.

I’m not sure this is really an engraving problem. Traditional condensing is, but that’s just a rearrangement of how the music is displayed. This is actually altering the music, taking arpeggios and writing them as block chords for example.

Yes, I did that in a hurry to answer DanMcL’s request.
I never use those markings on half notes, so my mistake. But I have to disagree on the consolidated dots: this is exactly how it is written on the score I’m working on, and those notes are not staccato notes. This topic has already been raised some time ago and I remember people disagreeing about that notation — I would favour the strokes on the stem over those dots, personally. I’ll update my picture to make it right.
I have to strongly disagree with what you’re writing about those repeats: this is exactly how they are written in the score I’m working on, and I cannot see why this could cause any problem: the structure is very clear. Of course, what would be really amazing would be to have the reahearsal marks updated in the parts version with the repeats, let’s say A is in the middle of first verse, B in the middle of the second, and the part could show A/B at the right spot. Yes, I know, lots of work for the devs :wink:

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The use of ‘repeat bar’ and short forms to abbreviate 4 semis onto a crotchet were invented to help engravers get more notes on a page and so reduce printing costs and/or facilitate page turns!

This is crucial for the efficient layout of parts, but it makes the score much harder to read.


Don’t groan at Yet Another Feature Steinberg! The Dorico team will be gainfully employed for years to come with it’s crowd of users :slight_smile:


I agree. I have seen many ‘parts’ that have repeated sections, where other players do not. This is especially common in 18C string quartet manuscripts!

Absolutely not! This is simply expressing the same music in a different format and hence is an engraving problem.

And anyways, the beauty of this all is that you could tweak any bit of it through options, like the ones we find in Condensing change (that I called compressing change, but hey, these are mere suggestions !)

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Is this horizontal condensing?:slight_smile:

Yes, sort of. And layout based.

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Not quite the same, but here’s an old thread with a related topic and a interesting response by Daniel: New feature request for Repeat structure (DS/DC/Coda/Segno)