My first real project in Dorico - verbose thoughts from Jeff

It can be found at as the forum does not allow me to post the .pdf directly.

This is ‘Chanson’, the third of the ‘Scènes et Mélodies’ by Martial Caillebotte (1853-1910) and is the first truly complicated project I have done with Dorico. The other nine songs in the cycle will follow this one: either being done in Dorico from scratch or by import via XML from the files in Finale I have already put together.

It was the odd beaming in this particular piece that did me in on doing this project on Finale. Things were going just fine, but when I got to beaming across barlines and rests, Finale said “Uncle!”. I triple-dog-dared it to beam that stuff natively, but to no avail.

I have hacked on this thing for a week (per my many posts to this forum), and I’m sure I will have many more questions to ask Daniel and everyone else. That being said, I am quite proud of myself at this moment, having sent off the .pdf of the final result to my client.

This is the second project I have done on music notation software other than Finale, but if there is such a thing as ‘baptism by fire’ via artsong with music notation software, this is it. And by no means is this the most complicated of these songs!

Times New Roman is horrible, but my client’s dissertation committee seems to like it, alas. My client agrees with me re the font, happily. I would have used either Palatino or the Academico font (which really is beautiful). Such is life.

The one disappointment I’ve had with this project and Dorico is more staff spacing adjusting than I expected. Of course, the software is still in its infancy. I was surprised, however, time and time again at how the system did so much right from the off. So little cosmetic adjustments in relative terms required…

The following are things good and will-be-good I found:

  1. In page layout options, dimensions for ‘letter’-size are not specified while those for concert size, etc. are. This is true for all commonly-used page sizes, but I would love to see specs for all page sizes included in the drop-down menu.

  2. outsideofmargin26July2017.png - How does one make Dorico keep everything within the margins at all times, even if it means systems overflowing to following pages and adding to the document length in terms of pages?

  3. talks about changing font styles in Dorico - very helpful! Here’s hoping there will be a way of using SMuFL glyphs in such a way one does not need to copy-paste from the external SMuFL website. Not a priority, I know…no worries, there.

  4. Antony Hughes’ voice is wonderful in the tutorial videos…

  5. Instead of a Lyrics ‘popover’, a Lyrics ‘popUNDER’ might be more intuitive (at least to this old Finale guy), the input field under the notes instead of over. Good reasons for doing the popover input fields, I know…

  6. Beam-angle adjustments are intuitive with Dorico as they are with Finale. Dorico, though, makes them slightly easier to get to (no need to click the Beam Angle tool button).

  7. So glad Avid sacked the old Sibelius crew… This left Daniel and company free to go back to square-one and make an even-better music notation program!

Just think what might have happened had Avid done better: no SMuFL, no Bravura, no Dorico…

  1. What made me switch this entire project to Dorico? Being able to natively do cross-barline beaming per my MS… (Think of a chorus of angels singing “Aaaah”.)

Being able to beam over rests was (in my case, quaver-rests) was huge as well.

  1. I would like to be able to have windows for everything (Format systems, etc.) separate from the window in which my music is being worked on (a la Finale). I am using a .pdf score and I am constricted by the Dorico window taking up more than half the screen.

  2. Is there a way of saving preferences as Finale-style ‘Libraries’ for use in future projects? I have two clients who have specific requirements, and I would love to have ‘Libraries’ for each.

  3. When in Engrave mode, I find myself needing to switch back and forth between it and Write often. When I switch from one to the other, the system does not always remember where in the score I am, and I end up having to take time in getting back where I was.

I found a workaround: highlighting an element of the score - any element - fixes this issue. The system latches onto the highlighted element, taking me to its location in the mode to which I am switching.

  1. When I adjust slurs, I see five point-handles with which to do that work. What about putting in between each existing point-handle another point-handle, giving us nine to work with? (overkill, perhaps?)

  2. Not too many slur adjustments and so much less cosmetic work than this would have taken with Finale…

  3. I thought with Write and Engrave there would be such segregation of cosmetic functionality and other functionality it would be a bit clunky to go from one mode to the other. I have found this to not be the case.

  4. Properties > Articulations of duration > Placement: When I specify multiple notes with a mix of fixed notehead and stem articulation placements, have the drop-down menu indicate “…”, and press the button for the drop-down menu, nothing happens. I have to turn off the override button and back on again for the system to turn everything to notehead-placement. Once that happens, I can operate the dialog box as normal.

  5. Working with Engrave Mode, it feels as close to working with paper and movable print as I have been able to get with any notation software.

  6. Pedal markings: How can I have the initial pedal marking and the funky asterisk at differing horizontal positions?

  7. I use the ‘T’ key to create ties. I want to be able to use that key to break them back into their former constituent parts.

  8. Is it possible yet to move rests up and down in Engrave Mode? I was just able to move an articulation about.

  9. My layman’s eyes wonder if Dorico should ever need its own graphics editor when perfectly-good editors are out there, open-source and otherwise.

  10. When I first heard of the five modes, again I thought we were in for a clunky time. But what we get in return for the separate modes is really remarkable. I’m going through my project and making cosmetic adjustments, but I feel the adjustments I’m having to make (not as many as one might think) are because of the complexity of the music and not the software getting in the way.

There are projects in Finale I take more time with cosmetic work than I do with data-entry and proofing, sometimes.

  1. I greatly miss being able to move measures from one system or another with ctrl+up/down (Finale). Negotiating putting down system breaks is still clumsy for me, though I’m sure easier ways of getting this done will come up down the road in future versions.

  2. Dealing with staff spacing is tricky like it is with Finale, but not nearly as tricky as far as I can tell.

I find for having staff names display in only the first staff, it is not enough to leave the ‘abbreviated’, etc. lines blank in Setup Mode > Players > [edit name] > Edit Instrument Names. I have to put a solitary space in each of the Sing. St. Name, Pl. FName, and PSName input fields.

Many thanks, Daniel and anyone else who wants to give their thoughts on all this…

Just because it’s the last thing I read:

You don’t need to abbreviate staff labels to nothing. Leave them full and then tell it (Layout Options) you want full names on the first system and nothing after that.

Well, they’re not listed for other standard page sizes like A4 or A3 either, and I don’t expect we’ll list them soon.

You didn’t include a picture here, but it’s your responsibility to make sure that stuff doesn’t go outside of the music frame margins, not Dorico’s: braces and brackets are correctly drawn outside the frame, so that means we have to allow other things you position outside the frame to draw as well. Text frames, on the other hand, don’t draw beyond their borders.

Not really – you can do File > Save As, then delete the flows and players from your project and use the newly-emptied project as a template for the next project that way.

This should be more predictable if you work in page view in both Write mode and Engrave mode, rather than using galley view in Write mode, and, as you’ve found, ensuring you have a selection before you switch modes.

I presume you actually mean different vertical positions, in which case the answer is that you cannot: they will always be aligned to each other.

Use the U key for cUt, not the T key for tie.

Yes: select the rest and adjust the Y Offset property in the Common group of Properties.

To use the T key for both operations would be indeed nice (a toggle option).


I’m surprised that it is still a chore to do cross-bar beaming in Finale - not that I care about that function in Finale, but that it is still difficult. I recall in 2000 - yes, 17 years ago, that I needed to do this in Finale, only to have the most awkward workaround. When I posted a question about this, the response was “why would anyone do that?” I’m amazed that it’s still a challenge. Good to know/see that it isn’t for Dorico.

Nice work, by the way!

It might be worth trying the ‘Rest pos.’ property as well.

Thanks. Some of the other songs in this cycle downright look like modern avant-garde scores.

Very cool. Hearty congratulations. Martial Caillebotte is almost never performed, his fame as a photographer having eclipsed his musical talents. It is lovely to see this here.

This has nothing to do with with Dorico, but I feel I would be remiss if I did not mention that “Ayant le dos au feu & le ventre à la table”, despite its pre-Rabelaisien truculence, is likely not by Olivier Basselin, but by Jean Le Houx, who published some of his own “Vaux-de-Vire” in 1610 alongside others he attributed to Basselin but were actually written by him as well (including this one). The question of Basselin attribution has a long history of scholarship which started with Armand Gasté in the late 19th century (who demonstrated that the Basselin poems in the Le Houx tome were in fact authored by Le Houx), and continued for many years with the help of Gaston Paris and other medievalists. For a while, they were even some who doubted the very existence of Basselin, but we now know there can be no doubt that he existed, and wrote many popular poems in the course of his life. There is one manuscript in particular which Gasté appraised as being an undoubted collection of real Vaux-de-Vire by Basselin himself.

Dear Umahnken and jeffrags,

Your idea of toggle with t does not work, and this is why Dorico’s team has created the cUt function. If you want to tie two notes, you press t. Then, for Dorico, those two notes have become one note. If you press t again, you tie that longer note to the next one, and it works. How would you tie three notes with your toggling t ?
One thing I have learned here, is that when Daniel says he has the best team in the world, he might be right :wink:


MarcLarcher, you are completely right!


For the record, there is a plug-in that does it instantly in Finale, on one staff or broken between staves.


Some comments that you may reject, though they are intended constructively:

I do not find this a particularly complicated project, though from what you say the beams across barlines are a challenge.

As a keyboard player, I would find it more legible with more bars per system, particularly in the case of the repeated rhythmic motifs and in the case of (e.g.) b.48-53.

What happened to the word spacing in bar 46?

Why are the beams not parallel on octave semiquavers? Those in bars 44 and 60 look odd.

I presume that your client requested the crotchet rests as “reversed quaver” rests. I havent encountered these in printed music for years: I always find them quite confusing and would advise against them.


Thank you! I’ll take a look at these this week. As it turns out, I will need to do some more tweaks to the thing, anyway, and your comments are more-than-welcome and appreciated.