Horizontal Co-ordinates of Items

Can one view an item’s horizontal position in some form of numerical co-ordinate (in whatever unit, pt/mm/inch) in Dorico? Ie, I’d like to know a note’s position along the x-axis, or that of a clef/barline. More essentially, I’d like to know if one can edit/override said co-ordinates for an individual item?

I’ve been through the manual (v3) quite thoroughly (or as thoroughly as one can with an 1100+ page document(!), searching various terms which I thought might be associated with this*) and checked through this forum and don’t seem to have found anything on this. Apologies if I’ve missed something glaringly obvious!

  • Yes, I checked each of the 590 appearances of the word ‘spacing’ :laughing:

I’d be surprised if this feature existed in Dorico, but you can easily fulfill your request in Adobe Acrobat or Illustrator, and Affinity Publisher or Designer, if you export your score as a PDF.

You can edit the relative position of many items in the properties panel, but of the absolute position of anything in the score may change when you edit another object, because the system is respaced horizontally or the page is respaced vertically.

“Editing the position on the page” goes against the basic design idea of Dorico, which is that the project file defines the semantics of the music, not its appearance on the page. That makes Dorico fundamentally different from any “earlier generation” notation software.

So, essentially what I’m asking is whether there’s a more exact way to re-space and/or re-place notes than through the note spacing feature in Engrave Mode? Specifically, one which doesn’t rely on moving in an incremental value which I can’t see, as is the case using Alt-Right/Left.

I understand Dorico distinguishes itself from other scoring softwares through its understanding(s) of the variable semantics of music. But having the ability to fine-tune/override things is pretty key from an engraving point of view – pretty sure that’s not against Dorico’s principles/design ideals!

Sometimes <variable_item> needs to be placed at <exact_coordinate> regardless of whether a program understands/approves the semantic implications and reasons for doing so…

I know you’re a refugee from Score, and I commend you, but yeah, no, that’s not gonna work 'round these here parts. It might also be that you’re thinking with that kind of precision not because you have to, but because you only had that kind of precision to deal with in Score. What are you trying to do, specifically?

Ha! I wondered if/when the Score comparison would begin… Perhaps it is an overhang from being used to that, but equally I would like to know what provisions Dorico has/hasn’t got in this regard.

I’m away from my Dorico-running computer at the moment but will follow up an example of what I’m doing this evening :wink:

Galambborong, you shouldn’t expect SCORE-levels of fine-tuning from Dorico, it’s just not there. If you want to do it graphically, the best way I found is the one I sketched above. Or you could work in Keith Hamel’s NoteAbility Pro… But you should know that Dorico doesn’t export MusicXML in any meaningful way, so for the score you’re working on, the easiest solution is to export the score as a PDF, and do your fine-tuning in Adobe Acrobat or Affinity Publisher.

Thanks @inthefold. Sorry I didn’t respond to your earlier post. Truth be told, I’m hoping I can avoid manipulating things in a 3rd party graphics editor. As I say in my previous post, I’ll share the details once home. I was hoping to avoid posting pics of this specific case because there’s a danger that the conversation will become more about ways to solve this particular case rather than a broader discussion about Dorico’s provisions. [Catch someone a fish and they’ll eat for the day, teach them to fish they’ll eat for a lifetime, etc…]

Illustrator is the Adobe product best suited to moving and altering notation elements within a PDF. Of the Affinity suite, Designer is the vector drawing app (though there is much overlap); however: Affinity apps cannot be relied upon to import a PDF correctly, unless you outline the fonts first (i.e. turn them into non-font vector objects).

Ben, all mentioned Adobe and Affinity products are perfectly capable of importing, editing, and exporting a PDF file as needed. From your comment, I get the impression that you don’t know Affinity Publisher or you’re confusing it somehow with Affinity Photo.

I agree, for placing at an , and Dorico can usually do that.

For an , no. Just because Score (and Finale) can produce the right result by the wrong method, that doesn’t make the method right.

FWIW, I’m not interested in what SCORE/Finale/Sibelius can do nor what method one uses in each, and am not really fussed about engaging in that conversation (especially not here).

I’m interested in establishing a fairly useful bit of information on how Dorico works so I can establish how best to approach notational challenges which arise.

I’m sure! I also assume that’s what Rob meant, but he didn’t feel the need to reiterate what had already been stated earlier in the thread. (Feel free to correct me if I overstepped on my interpretation, Rob.) So, check back later with the specific challenge and let’s get the ball rolling.

The answer to galambborong’s original question “Can one view an item’s horizontal position in some form of numerical co-ordinate (in whatever unit, pt/mm/inch) in Dorico?” is one word: “No”.

But it seems to me an longer answer starting “No, but…” is probably more interesting and useful. Even if the longer answer isn’t useful to galambborong, this is a public forum and anyone can read it.

I do apologise if that’s how my last post came across. Of course I don’t want to stifle debate! On the contrary, as said earlier:

It’s clear that there is no apparent finer control over the horizontal placement of items in the sense that I was asking about. Thank you all for the responses on this thus far.

What I was meaning earlier was that straying into the pros and cons of other music typography programs doesn’t really get us anywhere. I could talk 'til the cows come home about how excellent SCORE is. I could also talk 'til I’m blue in the face about the things I wish SCORE did better. I’m sure each of us could do the same with our respective programs! But I’m here to problem-solve Dorico-specific issues.

I’m approaching learning Dorico with end results in mind, looking for solutions to achieve those results. As with everything, a bit of time and effort is the best way to learn. I’ll post my sample later and look forward to everyone’s input. But the basic scenario is:

We have ITEM_A in one location (a chord), I want to overlap ITEM_B (the first in a group of grace notes) across it, which would typically come before ITEM_A. I used the note spacing facility in Engrave Mode and the result looks pretty good. But beyond doing this visually, using Alt+Right/Left, I wanted to know if there’s a way to see/control whether ITEM_A and ITEM_B do indeed line up exactly (as opposed to just visually). As @Rob Tuley says, it’s seemingly a simple “No”.

Anyways. Thanks all again for your help so far!

Illustrator is clearly the more apposite tool for specifying the x and Y co-ordinates of a note. It’s hardly a controversial statement.

There is, as I said, considerable overlap in the functionality between the Affinity apps, but NONE of them can import a PDF for editing correctly if it contains font characters. It has been acknowledged on their forums (frequently) as a major shortcoming. PDFs from Dorico appear with the wrong glyphs and with items in the wrong place.

I’m running Acrobat Pro XI, and I can edit the position of vectored elements. Unless you mean fine-grain control of every single element?

It’s a little clumsy, but perhaps more is possible if I knew what I was doing.

Fair play:I think that’s new to XI. But What you’re doing there is editing the text boxes. It is very rudimentary: you can’t group or ungroup, and there’s no info on X and Y co-ordinates. Try moving a Staff Line!
I stand by my recommendation that Illustrator is the better tool for the job.

I don’t disagree. The few times I’ve needed to do this, it was… as you blokes would say… a faff.

EDIT: I just tried zooming to 2400% and moving a staff line. It actually wasn’t too bad. But it’s clearly not the tool for the job.

Ben, in Adobe Acrobat (Pro DC), “out of the box” you just have to choose Edit-mode, toggle “Snap to Grid” Off (if it’s On), toggle “Show bounding boxes” On (if it’s Off), point, select, and you’re set. And you’re right, of course, about Illustrator being expertly capable of doing it too.

Concerning the Affinity apps I mentioned, Affinity Designer (1.7.1) and Affinity Publisher (1.7.1), I never had any problem with either of them… After importing, I just do a “select all”, in the right-click Mouse menu choose “separate curves”, do a “select all” again, I ink it all black, and I’m ready to go. If I need to introduce or replace any glyph, it’s easy enough. That’s all there is to it.