Hidden property small issues and thoughts

Dorico has the Hidden property, available on Playing techniques and Chord symbols (any others?) I think there are a couple improvements that could be made to this

  • The placement of it in the props is different, top of list on one and bottom on other, really it should be at the same place for muscle memory
  • There’s an internal linkage between the part and the score, that if it is hidden in one it can’t be hidden in the other. However, if you hide it in the score, then are working in the part and decide you want to change it there, it’s enabled but frozen which is a confusing message. The logic should be
  • If it’s visible in both, allow the hidden toggle in either one
    • If it’s visible in only one, then both hidden toggles work, and what they do is flip the other toggle in addition to the one shown
    • There’s also a “Hide” property for text, and it’s in the middle of the properties. Should it be called “Hidden” and act the same, and also be in the same place?

But looking at this property I wonder if it shouldn’t be expanded?

  • Breath marks - does the conductor really need to see those?
  • Playback techniques (see below)

Another consumer of playing techniques is the expression engine. I thought I had discovered a brilliant hack which was hidden playing techniques just used to tweak the playback, but found that Dorico wants them to be shown in at least one part. But why can’t a technique only be visible to playback? It would make sense that a machine player should have it’s own instructions at time that you don’t want to go to the human player. To enable this feature, and fix the toggling issue above, it allow playing techniques to be invisible in the scores (just a signpost in the score ideally) but it still propagates to the MIDI output via expression maps.

If this small feature were enabled I’d add a bunch of custom playing techniques, e.g. “pb my special” (pb = playback) just to give hints to playback. Because the problem is that in the Playback screen you can’t change the playing techniques. So while legato might be fine for a human, a sample library might do better with another one to override (but you still want legato as an option too!)

The only issue I see is the possibility of conflicting playback techniques, but I think that’s already something that can occur.

You don’t seem to have considered the impact of the Set local properties: Locally/Globally switch.
If you turn a local property on Globally, you can’t turn it off Locally. On the other hand, if you turn the prroperty on Locally, you can then turn it on (or off) Locally in any other layout.

I’ve not explained this very well at all, but it makes for a good plug for Claude Lapalme’s recent tip at Scoring Notes.

It sounds like there might be a specific issue you’re encountering, because I don’t find that “Hidden” properties get frozen nor that they limit you to having the item shown in at least one layout. If it’s happening in a project consistently, zip it up and share it here so someone can investigate.

“Hidden” properties are generally (if not all) local properties, meaning that by default they only apply in the current layout and frame chain. If you set your property scope (at the top right of the Properties panel) to “Globally”, hiding an item will apply in all layouts simultaneously. You can also propagate properties to other layouts after the fact.

Hidden playing techniques do indeed have signposts that you can hide/show from the View menu.

It was a deliberate design decision to limit hiding to specific items, it’s been discussed a bit e.g. here (I’m sure there are longer discussions out there too)

Brilliant, thank you. Yes I knew about global/local but it wasn’t in my ‘working memory’ - now it is. Indeed folks here’s a great hack (I would be impressed indeed if the developers planned this) - you can set playing techniques that are just meant for playback to be (Globally) Hidden. Players don’t see it but the engine still gets them all, genius. Really love this feature, I found myself putting in all sorts of playing technique instructions that I feel is being too chatty to the humans, but they were just for the expression engine.

Lillie - agree it shouldn’t be everywhere, but speaking as a wind player and conductor, breath marks really are player only I think. And further, this should be used by the expression engine for phrasing. I’m having to manually go in and shorten notes on my wind players to give them realistic breath breaks - doing it in the score would be neat. Having a Playback settings for it (e.g. shorten durations by X% for breath marks) would be bonus.

Otherwise the small points about placement are worth considering.

Except that breath marks do not always mean to shorten the preceding note; they can also mean for the entire ensemble to very slightly pause/relax (less than a caesura) before continuing, in which case the conductor would need to see them (as well as all the players). As with many music symbols, breath marks can mean different but related things in different contexts.

Fair point Derrek, but if it’s a Hidden property then the choice is left up to the composer/engraver.