New Dorico User

Hello All,

I am new to Dorico, having only purchased Dorico-3 Pro at the beginning of December 2019. I set myself the task of learning to use Dorico during my two weeks of “stay-cation” over the Christmas to New-Year period.

As an ex-Finale user, I initially found the 11 pages worth of of pop-overs quite intimidating, not realising how few I would actually have to learn by heart in order get to get going with Dorico. I nonetheless purchased a Stream-Deck XL (with Notation Express software/firmware by NYC music services) in an effort to smooth the initial learning curve. I don’t regret it for one minute. If I had my way the two would be sold together as a package deal :slight_smile: . With my Stream-Deck perched on the desk next to my trusty MIDI controller keyboard I am as happy as the proverbial pig in …

That is not to say that my experience with Dorico has been entirely uneventful. I have thus far discovered that I can forcibly cause Dorico to crash when I manually edit the tempo track in Play mode.

Furthermore, the relationship between the instruments assigned to players in Setup mode and the resultant MIDI tracks created in Play mode is hardly 1-to-1 when I use the Note Performer VST instrument. What I mean by this is that, should I change the “instrument” assigned to a “player” under the Setup tab, then my list of Note Performer MIDI tracks/channels under the Play tab grows by 1, rather than removing the old and replacing it with a new. The MIDI channel numbers assigned to them also seems to be somewhat random. No amount of resetting the Note Performer VST instrument or manually reassigning channel numbers seems to prevent this (almost like the old days of “Sys-Ex” commands burried deep in the MIDI event list). After some experimentation I found that reassigning the Note Performer playback template under the “playback template” option caused all redundant instruments to be removed and all used instruments to be reassigned in the same order as the instruments appear on the score. Please note that I am no not blaming Dorico for this. It could as easily be a fault with Note Performer, although it is preferable for an end-user like me that the two play nicely together in future :slight_smile:

I was also rather disappointed to find that the glissando articulation results in a stepped run on trombone, rather than a proper gliss :astonished: But after some research this does genuinely seem to be an issue with Note Performer.

Well, with the above off my chest, I am now happy to share the results of my 2 week intimate get together with Dorico during the two hottest weeks of the year under the hot South African sun:

These first two are arrangements for a local school band comprising basic brass, woodwinds and drums:

And this last one is a full orchestral arrangement:

Not bad for two weeks work I reckon, although, admittedly, the first week was spent mostly getting to grips with Dorico.

Finally: My initial impression of Dorico is that it has a long way to go, but that it is going to get there incredibly fast. As a firm supporter of other Steinberg products (I started out with a Cubasis project pack bought at Manny’s Music in NYC in 2000) I will be sticking with Dorico. I look forward to many happy years of music composition, arranging and engraving using Dorico.

Welcome, Geoff.
IIRC a true slide/portamento (as opposed to a chromatic, white key, or harp gliss) is still on the to-do list for the future.
Those of us who have been using Dorico for a while (or at least most of us) have been truly impressed by the speed at which new features have been added.

Welcome to Dorico :slight_smile:

The “edit tempo crash” should be fixed in the next update, which should be released soon.

Gliss playback is a Dorico limitation. Except for harp (which is fully implemented including taking account of the pedal settings) it plays chromatic scales for every other instrument in the current version. You can mute the gliss playback in the Properties panel if that is too painful to listen to.

If you are using NotePerformer or the bundled Halion sounds for playback, the MIDI channel issue doesn’t really matter. You won’t run out of MIDI channels, Dorico will just launch another copy of NotePerformer or Halion when required. Playing back an 85-staff orchestra score with 6 instances of NotePerformer running isn’t a problem - been there, done that.

On the other hand if you really need manual control over MIDI channels on different VSTs or external sound MIDI modules, you can set that up in Play mode, and you can save and re-use your configurations in new projects. But after you make a manual assignment, Dorico won’t make any more automatic assignments if you add more instruments etc, because it doesn’t know how to avoid conflicts with what you have set up manually.

Geoff, welcome to the forum, and thanks for your lovely email about Notation Express - Philip passed it onto me last night :wink:

Regarding the mapping of instruments to channels - that is by design. The principle is that Dorico will try very hard to not overwrite any changes you may have made inside a VST plugin, since as far as Dorico is concerned, they are black boxes that it can’t see inside, so it doesn’t know if you have made any manual changes to them. So let’s say if you tweaked one of the channels inside NotePerformer (or any other VST) and then you added or removed a player in Dorico, and if Dorico reassigned all the channels so that it matched the order in the score, then it will have overwritten your changes in NotePerformer. If you want to reassign everything then you have to do it explicitly by applying the Playback Template.

In the case of NotePerformer, if you haven’t made any changes inside Noteperformer then you can reapply the playback template quite safely.

Thank you all for your prompt and friendly replies. By the sounds of things I am going to feel right at home here :slight_smile:

Hi Derrek.

I was clearly under the mistaken impression the Glissando issue was a Note Performer thing (as it was in the NP literature that I found the problem listed). I mistakenly assumed that it was an “admission of guilt” on NP’s part rather than a finger pointed at Dorico.I was hoping to get around this problem by using the brass from the “Broadway Lites” VST instrument. But if this is a Dorico issue then am I right in assuming I will be stuck in the same position? I arrange quite a bit of big-band music and a proper trombone gliss is important when creating tracks for young students to listen to while they attempt to emulate the sound on the recording.

If this is on the the list of Dorico “to to items” then at the rate Dorico is moving I hope to see this sorted very soon. Sooner the better would be nice :wink:

Ah, that is good to hear!

In that case, until Dorico can play a true gliss I think I will turn it off, as you suggest.

When working with large scores I like to group together sections in the same NP instance purely for ease of mixing. A large number of instances doesn’t bother me, but having to hunt through different instances of NP just to find violins in the 3rd instance and the violas in the 5th irritates me.

Full Manual Control is what I would really like. Mid 1990’s I worked with the original “Cakewalk” by 12 Tone Systems (Anyone remember them?). The instrument name entered in the “name” column had absolute ZERO impact on the instrument selected from the instrument list (which had to be selected manually). This is my preferred method of working. IE: Working in “Setup” mode I would like to be able to assign an empty handed solo player to the score and label it “Semi-Chromatic Subterranean Banana” if I really wanted to, and then go into the play mode and assign the banana to some arbitrary instrument on MIDI port 3, channel 7 if I want to, without Dorico attempting to interfere in this process in any way. At the moment, the instant I hit the play button, everything seems seems to default back to the way Dorico thinks it should be, which is often the giant mess that I inadvertently created myself while trying to achieve my Utopian dream of full manual control.

Is there a way to achieve this? That is to say, is there some way that I can stop the “Setup” mode from talking to the “Play” mode and assume total manual control over both?

Thank you Pianoleo. If Philip forwarded my email to you then am I correct in assuming you had something to do with the creation of the Dorico version of Notation Express? I must say, I do enjoy using it.

Yep, I devised the Dorico version. He’s responsible for the concept, the pretty graphics and the marketing…

Hi Paul.

As above in my reply to Rob Tuly, I would prefer that Dorico doesn’t even try to assign instruments or pick MIDI port or channel numbers on my behalf. I appreciate that Dorico is attempting to streamline the process for me, but Dorico can’t possibly realise that I am busy scoring for an obscure “semi-chromatic subterranean banana” that I sampled on some equally obscure 90’s vintage Roland sampler while touring the remote island of Kiribati in the South Pacific. If this is possible, that would be great!

Sorry. Not attempting to be facetious. I just like to use humour to get my point across :wink:

Cool! Well done!

Look up “playback templates” (or more specifically, “manual playback template”) in the documentation, and in the Release Notes PDF which is the most up to date documentation for new features in each update.

Before you dive into that, you might want to experiment a bit with the manual controls in Play Mode.

The general idea is that you set a minimal project manually that that plays your Subterranean Banana, and then tell Dorico to remember how to do it. The final step is to set up a “global” template that says something like “play everything with NotePerformer, except for Subterranean Bananas on my external MIDI sampler, pianos and harpsichords on the Pianoteq VST, and pipe organs on Hauptwerk” or whatever.

You can certainly do this all manually, if you wish, just not with NotePerformer. NP is not like other VST plugins. It is intended as a plugin where you just route everything to it and it will make its own decisions about how to balance all the instruments and render the whole ensemble. If you load it in Sibelius then you don’t even get any UI. If you load it in Cubase then you won’t get any sound out of it at all, because it relies on the host application knowing the precise combination of which CCs are required to load each instrument.

As Rob notes, Dorico will allow you to mix and match between automatic and manual modes using Playback Templates, and it’s done in such a way that effectively to set up an ensemble with the selection of VSTs you want and then you save all or part of that as an Endpoint Configuration so you can reuse it in another project. The idea is that you only have to spend the time setting up the playback in detail once and then you can reuse it many times. Or combine the parts of it with new plugins. So if you have a custom sample you created in HALion, you can absolutely set that as a default that will be loaded in other projects. The bit that’s missing at the moment is that Dorico doesn’t yet allow you to create your own instrument types.

Thank you both, Rob and Paul, for your advice with regards to the use of playback and global templates. This is definitely the method that I will follow after reading up on how to do it.

See the demo video fpr an overview of custom playback templates:

Thanks Paul. This has been a big help. I have watched it twice now and will probably watch it a 3rd time over the weekend as I practice getting the hang of using templates. As I gain more and more experience with Dorico I become more and more impressed with just what it can do. I have read up on most of the Dorico features already, but it’s not until one actually uses them that one realises just how powerful some of these features really are.

I’m also in process of learning to set up my own expression maps in order to use the “Broadway Lites” VST from Fable Sounds. In fact, I would be interested in finding out if there is anyone else here who uses any of the VST’s from Fable Sounds. MOST of my work is arranging for big bands, so I am curious to hear others’ experiences with them.

We will be very interested to hear how you get on with this library.