Is Dorico Music Locked to Flows?

In the hope that Daniel will see this.

Is Dorico’s music (in the code) locked to flows or independent of flows?

I presume that providing a feature like merging flows (or providing a feature like regions - see my suggestion in When To Use More than One Flow) would be a great deal harder if it was.

If it is locked to flows I think it would be wonderful if just as Dorico is not locked to metre or bars that that it was also not locked to flows (in the program’s code). And that you therefore fully explored the potential of flows and what I have called “regions” to most assist the user.


Don’t need a reply - I know I’ve said a lot already…

The music has to be “locked to something”. In earlier programs (Finale, Sibelius, MuseScore, etc) it was “locked” to the complete score.

To design a “better” organization for the program, you need to say how you want to use music that is “independent of flows”.

That’s a very fair observation Rob!

I did that in another thread but I’ll list it below here.

In the thread “When To Use More than One Flow” I summarised (with the help of feedback) the way in which Dorico makes use of flows. I observed that unlike the program, a project, a layout, a master page, and a page, flows aren’t the unit to which much formatting is attached. With the exception of flows being a way to generate automatic titling within a project and also that flows by default cause bar numbering to restart at 1 (but this can be overridden). Flows also by default start in a new frame in score layouts but even this can be changed.

I was therefore pointed out that irrespective of Dorico’s intention in creating flows that multiple flows could perhaps be used as an arrangement tool - that smaller sections of music could be easily rearranged using multiple flows. However I soon realised that this would not really work because users don’t want to have to choose what could be a constantly changing number of flows to be used in layouts.

However this led me to another suggestion which enables music to be moved around more flexibly than flows. I repeat the suggestion here. You’ll need to persist to see why I am suggesting my idea - don’t jump to quick conclusions.

Imagine that along with flows Dorico had another concept of adjacent musical sections called “regions”. By default a flow would be one region however just as with flows a region could be split into two or more regions - regions could never cross a flow boundary. And just as with flows all music would be in one and only one region. Just for the purposes of explaining the concept if you exported the piece to Cubase in a special file format the region breaks would become the regions in Arrange view there. To make regions you would be able to go through the piece inserting “region breaks” or by choosing Split Region. Region breaks could either show as signposts or you could use an alternative interface - when you clicked on a music object the system track could light up to show all the parts of the system track that were included in that region (just the system track would light up - not all the musical objects). Then you could choose one of three commands - Move Region Left, or Move Region Right, or Move Region to Playhead. Moving the music to a bar or point located within another region would cause the region being split to become two separated regions (divided by the moved region which would be a third separate region). To merge regions you would chose a note in the leftmost region and rightmost region you wish to merge - all regions within the range would become one region. If you moved the music to a flow boundary (which wasn’t the start or end of a layout) you would be asked if the region’s music should be added to the left or the right flow. You would have the option to “Hide Region from All Layouts” (a temporary hack in a piece without losing content or having to store it in a dead flow. If you moved a region Dorico could remove symbols from the region being moved and the region after the ones being moved such as second time bars etc and warn about any other symbols which may not then mean what they originally did - such as for example bar renumbering or DC al coda. Playback would miss any hidden regions - but you would still be able to see the hidden bars in Galley View (marked in a secondary highlight colour?) although not in Page view (except for a signpost).

Of course doing these things will have consequences for scores where the user had already inserted system and frame breaks but the user will soon enough realise that they shouldn’t be formatting their score except minimally until they have finalised the arrangement of the music.

The user would use flows for the reasons they have up to now - to create points in the music that assist with playback, entry and editing, titles, export, import etc.

The purpose of regions would be quick composition, arranging and for temporary or inbuilt conditional edits. With regions being able to be merged or moved it would mean that you wouldn’t absolutely need a Merge Flows command - instead you could move regions one by one into the neighbouring flow (if you had that capability would a Merge Flows command really be a much bigger change?) and when a flow was emptied of its last region it would be deleted automatically.

Regions could also be a more usable form of navigation - regions could be visible in a list in a side palette like Markers are - and nameable only there. And reorderable there too. Click on a region in the palette and the score jumps to its start (along with two menu commands - Go to Previous Region and Go to Next Region?). Drag a region up and down in the palette and the region changes its spot in the order and music moves in the score. A thicker line between two regions indicates the start and end of a flow. Imagine you are making a worksheet of scales and the scales are all entered in the one flow. And then imagine you decide to change the scales from being in alphabetical order to being according to the cycle of fifths. Regions will help with tasks like that.

I can see a lot of compositional power and real world practicality in this feature. I am sure that a good percentage of those entering music into Dorico are either still composing or still arranging - both of which would benefit from moving optionally named chunks of music around as easily choosable units.

Music in Dorico lives inside flows, yes.

Thanks Daniel.

-Do you see my point that those working in Dorico often don’t have finality in respect of the music they are entering - either because they are composing as they go, arranging as they go, or because there are external factors - like a film with changing content - or a performer who may or may not recover from illness - at play?

-In the light of this do you think that the regions feature - and the ability to hide a region of music - that I explain in this thread would be an effective way of catering to this reality?

Of course we think it’s important that you should be able to make changes at any point in the score preparation process. I’m agnostic about the possible ways in which we might make it possible to work with chunks of music smaller than whole flows in future versions.