GUI comment and request for note entry

I am a new user of Dorico Elements 5, but a long-time Finale user (over 20 years.) I am able to figure out/watch videos/poke around many of my problems, but I have one MAJOR complaint and request. In note input mode, the carat shows a quarter note, at the bottom of the carat. Without looking at the panel to the right, it isn’t clear what duration I’ve chosen, nor is there any indication of where the note is going to be entered. In Finale Simple Entry, with numberpad and QWERTY input, The carat changes to reflect the chosen duration, and a "ghost"note allows moving up or down before entering to determine the closer interval. A similar view would be most helpful.


Mike, right? Welcome to the Dorico world!

I hope it goes well for you. It was briefly difficult switching from Finale for me, but I acclimated quickly and am very glad I did it. Please don’t hesitate to ask here on the forum, and you’ll find plenty of enthusiastic users ready to assist.

PS: your request isn’t a new one, FWIW.

Welcome to the forum!

This has been brought up several times. The tiny quarter note does not represent the note value, but only the stem direction. See this thread for more explanation of the design.

Mark, so, it doesn’t. But, IMNSHO, it should. Note color should be enough to indicate layer/stem direction (another shortcoming, I feel.) Yes, I can, and have, turned on the note color feature, and changed the colors to mirror Finale.

And thanks for the very prompt replies!

The main reason it doesn’t is that for semibreves/whole notes, there is no stem with which to indicate stem direction, which is quite an important facet of Dorico’s voices.

The thing is, you can have an arbitrary number of up-stemmed / down-stemmed voices, so there is no finite set of voices that you can match colors to.

I should start at the beginning.

My needs are minimal. I don’t compose. I import XML from charts scanned in SmartScore64 Pro. The scores that I’ve scanned fall into two general types: Multi-staff choral scores with no more than two voices per staff , soprano 1 and 2, for example. Or they might be choral or barbershop scores, two staff, with two voices on each: SA/TB, or Tenor/Lead, and Bari/Bass. I export the corrected scans as XML.

Then, I import them into Finale. Once there, for choral, I break them into single line staves, mix, and export them as MP3s for part-predominant learning tracks. For barbershop, I enter them into the Barbershop Harmony Society approved template.

I want to learn how to do what I do in Finale, in Dorico. I’m never going to switch. I’m 75 years old, with over 20 of them using Finale. Unfortunately, Finale has been very disappointing with few recent upgrades, and I fear for their future. Many new notation program users are going with either Dorico, or MuseScore. Since I teach beginning classes in Finale and SmartScore at Barbershop Harmony Society’s annual Harmony College, I feel like I should (at least) be able to answer questions about other apps.

If it’s just a matter of learning a few new shortcut keys, that’s no biggie. But the entirely different philosophy of Dorico’s workflow might be the giant killer.

Sorry for running on like this, but it may explain why I complain about some aspects of the app.

Understood, @wawoodman – the development team (including myself) reads every post here on the forum, and considers requests and feedback. You can trust we will be listening to your experience.

There is also the “pitch before duration” function in Dorico, which you might find more familiar?

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Thanks, Lillie. Coming from using Finale Simple Entry, I’m firmly in the Duration>Pitch>Alteration camp, meaning I choose the duration on the Numberpad, enter the pitch on the QWERTY keyboard, and add alterations: dot, natural, sharp or flat, begin a tie, set up a tuplet, add parenthesized accidental (all done from the numpad or keyboard.) And Finale has set me up to repeat the process on the next note to be entered. No going to other panels or flyouts.

And I’ve programmed keyboard shortcuts to flip to a second layer, or back to first. Stem directions and voice (layer) colors are preset and smart.

I have to say, though, that your forum responses are wonderful!

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Hi, Dan. It’s me, allright!

Mike, I know you are a Finale guru (have seen and interacted with you there under a different guise for many years). My best advice–as much as you are able–is not to assume Dorico works as Finale does. Dorico is very logical once one understands the concepts behind it, but those who learn it fastest are those who enter without preconceptions from earlier programs. (I know that is asking a lot.)

My biggest hurtle starting Dorico years ago was to keep track of where various commands were located: context menu, layout options, engrave options, the Properties panel, the edit menu, etc. (Even that sentence sounds confusing, I admit.) There are descriptions of the scope and function of each screen, and as others have said, be sure to ask question here when you have them rather than struggling too long on your own.

Glad to have you among us, Mike.

Thanks Derrek. You may or may not have me as a convert, but I’ll certainly hang around for a while!