Most important feature requests for Dorico 4

I tend to agree with Daniel – nudging in Write mode could easily cause more problems than it solves. The decision to separate Write and Engrave modes was a wise one and stops you accidentally doing things you didn’t actually mean to.

My own priority (other than more options in the Play mode for handling events and further options with conditions in Expression Maps) would actually be something rather simple – more navigation options to add to the “go to” list. Particularly go to timecode, rehearsal mark and page. Bar, I would normally use the least though I’m perfectly aware that many might use it the most. But offering a variety would make a greater range of people happy in this area.

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One more very important thing which I often meet during orchestrating. It would be extremely useful if particular staves could be hidden in Galley View too. I mean something like Focus on Staves in Sibelius. I have a 32 inch monitor which often proved to be too small during working with a bigger orchestra with choir and soloists.

This last request has already been suggested elsewhere on the forum and I agree that something like Staff Sets in Finale would definitely be useful. Until this gets implemented, you can approach this by creating [temporary] layouts with different sets of staves. This also works in Galley View.


Time would be better spent on this, the lag to switch tabs is a workflow drag. What I’d suggest though is to put worker threads on Write, Engrave and Print, whatever the focus happens to be, with all of them continually rendering the active tab. Then a tab switch is simply that, a pure instantaneous GUI operation of changing to pre rendered pane. If performance is a concern then put an option into the program settings.

I’d like to repeat a request from earlier, shared by most of us in the xenharmonic/microtonal community, which is larger than one may think (and enormously so compared to my early days in this field several decades ago).

Once created, custom accidentals are currently easy to use for tempered tunings, where numbers of steps of a certain size define an octave. But it’s not feasible to produce music in pure tunings unless the pitch field is very restricted. For such tunings, “steps in the octave” is the wrong question to ask, because the answer is undefined, there being no enharmonically equivalent pitches. For pure tunings now, one must create a huge number of symbol combinations, even if the number of basic symbols is low. If I want multiple deviations by a harmonic 7th, currently I must have a font symbol for 1 such deviation, 2, 3, etc., both upwards and downwards, and then all the combinations of those with every other symbol.

The solutions to this problem are two, I believe: one hard, the other easy. The hard one is to redefine pitch delta by symbol as change in frequency. The easy one is simply to allow concatenation of individual symbols. The first is more accurate, although with a large enough number of steps in the octave, the second would work well. Concatenation has been used in other notation packages to good effect, although none of those is on the high level of Dorico.

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That’s because you’re trying to think typographically and musically at the same time. Consider the modes as ‘hats’ you put on, where you take on the role of the composer/writer or the engraver. Is it really a burden to enter all or much of your music, then switch over to engrave to enter system breaks and other formatting hints?

As discussed elsewhere Dorico pushes us to think logically and musically most of the time. And it’s got Engrave mode for when you need to override it’s decisions. But just as the engraver gets the score last after the composer/arranger/transcriber, doesn’t it make sense to simply defer those decisions until all the music is entered? It’s a better way to work - Write mode is just that, write mode. You focus on the music, and Dorico fools us into thinking we’re engraving because it gives us such beautiful output immediately. But we’re not - engraving is a whole different mindset, so write your music, then get a cup of tea/coffee and switch to Engrave when your done with that.

FWIW I think Dorico/team made exactly the right choices here and we’d be better off after just learning to look at how we approach this work a little differently.

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I have to agree with RedtideMusic and I think he presents the Write/Engrave argument very well. I almost invariably prefer to enter all the music first and save layout work for later, especially since I often prefer to enter music spacing changes to achieve certain results instead of placing system or frame breaks. The only exception to this is when I’m setting a piece for which I need to copy the layout of the original, generally to make it easier to check my work alongside the original. In this case I enter the system breaks even before I’ve entered the notes. This can be done almost entirely in Write mode: just enter the first system break in Engrave mode, switch to Write mode and then copy this system break to any other spot required.

Slightly OT: while most music programs allow entering non-note events like articulations on the fly, I generally prefer to enter musical elements in separate passes, one for notes, one for articulations, one for slurs, one for lyrics, etc. For me this is a more secure way of avoiding errors. On the other hand, I can imagine this being different for composers, who may conceive of all the elements at once and would prefer to enter them that way.

I’m completely down with the logic of Dorico’s “modal” approach. I’m simply saying that when I’m actually “Writing”, I also typically am also inserting system and page breaks at that stage. Not everyone works the exact same way and this is the way it is done (at least for me) when dealing with jazz-oriented charts that adhere to specific structures where as you compose you also want the layout more defined as you continue to write. So it’s a pain to have to constantly hit command-3 then shift S or Shift F then command-2 just to insert a system or page break as I’m writing. Literally every other division between “Write”-based and “Engrave”-based functionality I’m in total agreement with (plus - due to the absence of Engrave Mode in SE and Elements, you CAN do system and page breaks already in their Write modes). I would suggest allowing for at least option of a key command to work for system and page breaks in both modes. My two cents.

  • D.D.
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I understood what you were saying. I was just pointing out that Dorico is asking you to work a little differently.

Use Vaughan’s trick. Once you’ve input on system break or page break, when you need another one, select it, and alt-click the position you want to add it. Just make it a new habit and you won’t bother any more about this.

That’s brilliant - hadn’t thought of that - thanks (though still wish they’d break their rule in this one instance and add it to Write Mode in some way :slight_smile:)…

  • D.D.

Don’t think this works for the case I most want it…when you have players playing different transpositions (e.g. Horn or Clarinet) in different movements.

More flexible popover input for dynamics would save me a lot of time. For example, if I type something like “sub pp cresc poco a poco”, what comes out is “pp sub. cresc.” I then have to go clicking around in the Properties panel, to enable the “poco a poco” (which it ignored when I typed it), and to move the “sub.” to the beginning.

Does anyone have any advice for this?

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You might find the solutions in this thread helpful:

If I may highlight one more slight annoyance – when switching from Write to Engrave mode when Write is in Galley view, it always seems to shift to an apparently random nearby part of the page and I always get lost. If the item I have selected could always remain in view upon switching, it would save me having to scroll around the page finding my bearings each time I switch.

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My single most important feature request would be to implement string & vocal glissandos on playback.

Next on my list would be a simple way to control the playback length of fermatas in Write mode (150% of written, 200% of written, etc).

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+1 on controlling length of fermatas.

Polyrhythmic meter (4/4 = 12/8 with equal beats) would be a groundbreaking addition, I think.

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I can understand you’re not comfortable with the way it works, but it does already work :wink: