Is Dorico ready for Contemporary Music?

Hello everyone,

Frist, pardon my English, I am a french, I will do my best to be understandable…

I bought the first version of Dorico two years ago with a lot of hope, but I do not use it because I can’t write too much thinks (noteheads, for example…). I was quite frustrated, because I really love the spirit of the software, the way it work, and the musical intelligence that I can feel. So I go back to finale, waiting for an improvement.

No, I am considering the possibility of buying the version 2, but I am not sure… So I wonder, Is Dorico ready for contemporary music? Can we engrave music in a Sciarinno or Lachenmann graphic way?

“Contemporary” composer, what is your feeling about this software?
Thanks a lot!

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Hi Leamy !
Absolutely off-topic, you could come and join us on the Francophone Dorico users’ page on FB
You’ll find some resources in French and people eager to answer your questions dans la langue de Molière !

(Also OT)
"…dans la langue de Molière "

In comic rhyming couplets?

I recall discovering Molière in college (in translation), and what a delight it was.

Hello Leamy,

The list of what is required is of course not complete as there are no native “lines” tools or any other graphical tools. Nevertheless, here is some Sciarinno for you. I had to use a workaround for the clusters but the rest is native. Notice however that stems will always should through beams in Dorico (as far as I know anyway), and that you cannot have partial beams on both side of a beamed group so one would have to cheat right before the group of two clusters. But still, it looks really good and did not take me too long.

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That hurts my ears just looking at it. :slight_smile:

One must realise however that even once basic contemporary notation is implemented (Luto boxes, drawing tools, etc …), there are pieces of music which will still require more than music engraving program because the notation can be so arcane and so proprietary. Therefore, doing Lachenmann’s “Pression” or Holliger’s “Studie über Mehrklänge” will be a pain in the a** on any program. However, the fact that engrave mode has a desktop publishing arm to it may mean that Dorico could gain an edge in this department as it adds those kind of features.

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The absence of customised lines is still an issue, although I think some power users have come up with kits to help with that. The inability to create a staff with an arbitrary number/position of lines, or no lines, (as in eg Pression) is also an issue. Stemless notes are only possible with a workaround (ie adjusting the stem length in engrave). Hiding noteheads is not entirely possible, nor is creating custom noteheads (although apparently that’s in a beta version). All of these things are natively possible in Sibelius. Even something like Pression, which is not natively supported in sibelius, can be created with a lot of workarounds (cutaway staves—also not an option in Dorico—hidden instrument changes, custom lines, & using graphics for most of the rest), but most of the workarounds don’t exist in Dorico.

There are some benefits—Dorico does provide native support for unmetered music & its microtonal notation is the best in the industry.

It depends on what you need I guess. Inputting something like Let me die before I wake would be easy if you fake the arrows with text (this is the solution offered by one of the developers), similarly the wavy lines in Canzona di Ringraziamento can be faked with glissando lines; the 6 Capricci harder unless you can similarly find a good text font for faking the ///// lines. Conversely, there are simply not enough workarounds available as of yet to input Gran Torso or most other Lachenmann scores.

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I agree with what you say, but stemless notes have been available since version 2.0 earlier this year.

You’re right, I didn’t notice that. It’s in engrave mode.

What Dorico user hasn’t told that story! :wink:

I do think even more than Pression, Time and Motion Study II comes close to representing what one could consider “conventions” in contemporary classical music notation which have thus far been difficult to reproduce in any software. (Ferneyhough’s score is calligraphed by hand by the composer.) I don’t really know what features are planned for contemporary music writers, but imo this would be a good basis for what should be possible:

Of course, Adobe Illustrator offers the music engraver total freedom from the constraints of traditional forms of notation. :wink:

Joking apart, many engravers do half the job in notation software and then use vector artwork apps to create additional notation on the PDF.

SCORE still seems to be industry standard for publishers, if you enjoy running DOS and positioning everything manually, but Dorico + Inkscape may well be the next generation choice >.>

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Inkscape is amazing. I’ve dabbled a little, and it’s really quite incredible what you can do. And it’s all vectored!

naomi, I’m pretty sure that SCORE has been completely impossible to purchase since the developer died. Bizarrely enough the U.K. distributor lives about half a mile from me…

Some publishers use SCORE, but I wouldn’t say it was the “industry standard”. (In fact, I seem to remember Finale using that term in its marketing.) SCORE is way beyond legacy software and into abandonware. Any company that still uses it without planning or investing in alternatives is foolhardy, IMO, however good the results.

Thanks you very much for your answer ! So, I make my mind and I buy Dorico 2. I am very new at it, but I still love the spirit, all is very musical.

Coming from Finale, sometime I miss some graphic flexibility, “custom line” and “staff style”. But everyday I discover new possibility.

Now I am re-engraving an score, with few graphic thinks, that I may with Finale few years ago. I will see whats go on and what resist !

By the way, I work occasianally as a copyist for the french publisher “Henry Lemoine”, and they use Finale for the moment.

Regarding the Sciarinno example I made above, I should add that since 2.1 now includes a notehead editor, editing a notehead set by using a cluster glyph from Bravura and sizing it appropriately will result in very nice looking note clusters if those notes are stacked a 3rd apart.

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It would be a great thing to add the possibility of edit an electronic notation track, something like a frame linked to the score in which you can add standard and custom vectorial graphics.
An option for cuttaway scores would be necessary too.

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