In all the focus I’ve been putting into learning Dorico, figuring out how to use its various features, and digesting the assorted (but relatively few compared to the early days of the competition) workarounds needed to get past bugs or as-yet-missing or incomplete functionality, I really hadn’t noticed one of the most compelling reasons to use it—the output is simply gorgeous.
In trying to “fix” a decades-old concert band transcription of a popular symphony movement that I’m currently conducting, I ended up starting over and rewriting it from scratch. In nearing the end of the project (deadlines are deadlines in any language), I printed out the full score on tabloid paper for proofing. I took it upstairs from my office in the basement to spread it out on the kitchen table to mark up the last needed changes, and as I set it down, I was suddenly stunned by how beautiful it was.
Absolutely untouched in Engrave Mode, it’s already more perfectly lined up and beautifully spaced than any fully edited score I have ever been able to produce in Finale or Sibelius. I really can’t get over it.
And this matters for more than just aesthetic reasons. We all know that players take our music more seriously if it looks professional, so they put more effort into bringing it to life. And in the editing effort itself, I find that it’s SO much easier to deal with a score that looks perfectly symmetrical; it’s just easier to “get around” in it. I also took a glance at the parts in the computer, and again, I found very little to do in the engraving mode; the two primary things are creating workable page turns and retrieving errant rehearsal marks, which still overreact a bit in trying to avoid collisions.
So for any other new users out there (which, by definition, includes all of us) who are caught up in the details of learning how to use it and are dealing with the occasional and inevitable frustration of learning a new, complex (but highly capable) application, my advice to all of us is to “keep our eyes on the ball” — Dorico’s output is already superb, and it’s only going to get stronger.
It is in fact flat-out elegant.