Non-obvious placement of D.S. al Coda to get playback timing correct

I love the appearance and ease of use of the new D.S. features (other than the segno being way too small as discussed in other threads.) But I am finding it a little strange to get the playback timing right. “DS Placement.png” shows what I consider to be the most obvious placement of the DS marking. It is attached to the last 8th note before the double bar. To me, the obvious thing is to attach it to the double bar. But if I drag the marking, it jumps past the double bar and attaches to the first beat in the coda.

And likewise, the Segno cannot attach to a bar line. It seems obvious enough to attach the segno to the first beat of the measure you are jumping back to. But if you do that while leaving DS al Coda attached to the last note you want played, you will skip a half beat (at least in my case.)

I guess this isn’t a bug, per se. It seems the answer is indeed to attach the D.S. al Coda mark to the first beat of the coda, as in “DS Placement Correct.png” I was afraid this would lead to all sorts of placement problems in ENGRAVE, but it seems this works fine so far.

So I guess this is working as designed. I am just posting this in case others are flummoxed by this behavior.
DS placement correct.PNG
DS plcement.PNG

I, too, would expect the attachment point to be the double bar.

I guess this is just not possible because the repeat marker needs to be attached to a rhythmic position, i.e. a specific time. A barline is just a cosmetic overlay, the correct point in time where the jump happens is the downbeat.

These marks are attached to rhythmic positions, not objects like notes or bar lines

There aren’t two different rhythmic position at “where the barline is” and “where the first note of the bar is”. They both correspond to the same instant in time.

Sibelius had the concept that a barline somehow represented a point in time “after the end of the previous bar” that was different from “the start of the next bar” but that led to has many problems as it solved.

If you attach something like a dynamic mark or a tempo mark to “the last note of the bar”, it applies from the start of that note, not the end. Repeat marks like D.S. are exactly the same.

Yes, it makes sense, but isn’t obvious to the newcomer. That’s why I wanted to add this thread.

I guess the main point is that one needn’t fear the layout issues that might be implied by having a marking intended for the measure before the coda actually attached to the coda measure. It seems that Dorico attends to the layout issues in a sensible way.

I think it depends on the newcomer. If somebody starts with no preconceptions about how a notation program “ought to work”, the fact that Dorico is (almost always!) self-consistent probably isn’t either remarkable or unremarkable.

On the other hand, somebody who has to unlearn the peculiarities of a different program, and might not be coming from a background where thinking things out logically isn’t a big part of their life and work anyway, is in a different position.

I know at least one very gifted musician (sadly, no longer with us) who just didn’t “get” Dorico at all, after a lifetime using Sibelius - despite wanting to understand it, and certainly not as a result of just saying “it’s different, therefore it’s wrong”.


I’m afraid you are not doing this correctly. You need to click on the end barline of your desired D.S. al Fine measure, or the note following this measure in order for Dorico to place this and perform it correctly.

Check out 1:29 of this video which cautions against improper placement, as well as 3:07, which talks specifically about D.S. al Fine:

No, you can’t place it at the barline following the main piece. You have to put it into the Coda, which seems rather irrational because the D.S. marking is associated with the last measure of the main piece, not with the coda. That was the point here.

I understand why it works the way it works in Dorico, and it all works out OK. But I don’t think it is very obvious. I was just trying to help others who might not understand why their playback missed a beat in these situations.

Well, that works fine for me. Select the bar line, Click “DS al Coda” or whatever. Job done.

Of course it is attached to the note after the bar line, but that’s irrelevant to me as a user - all that matters is that the text appeared in the right place.

I think we are getting caught up in sematics. Remember that every measure has 2 barlines, and the ending barline of one measure is the same as the beginning barline of the one that follows. If you click on the ending barline of the measure you would like the jump to happen, invoke the Barline popover, do your typing, all is good. In fact, doing it this way (by clicking on the barline like Anthony showed in the video I linked to in my post above) seems very intuitive because it’s the very point in the music where the jump back to the Segno should occur, and the very point where the Coda will start. Dorico doesn’t restrict the jump location to a barline position, however. If a user desires to click on a note to show the jump, the Dorico way is to click on the note that starts the Coda, not the note that ends the main section. Ouch - getting a little wordy now. I agree with Rob - click the barline and off to the races! :wink: