Note Input / Auditioning question

Does the checkbox at Edit/Preferences/Note Input/Auditioning “Play notes during input and selection” do anything at all? I hear the sound assigned to that staff during input regardless of whether this is checked or not. I would assume unchecking it would then result in the notes then not playing back with the assigned sound during input with a MIDI keyboard, but it always does for me anyway. It doesn’t seem to be file specific either, I always hear the sound assigned to the staff to which I am inputting music regardless of “play notes during input” state.

I still would like to hear the assigned sounds play back when I play the file so I don’t want to shut them off or reassign them to piano. I just don’t want them to play whenever I touch my MIDI keyboard as I only want to hear a piano sound while writing. For composition basically I want to input music, leave the input cursor by pressing Enter in order to compose on the keyboard with a piano sound and not the staff sound, press Enter to return to the input cursor to input more music, etc. I’ve basically accomplished this but I still have the annoying sound of the staff I’m inputting playing back along with the piano sound when I’m trying to write with only a piano sound.

In Finale, I would just set MIDI Thru to whatever channel the Piano sound was loaded and this worked fine. In Dorico, my current solution is just to have an instance of Aria open with a piano sound loaded, and use Voicemeeter to manage multiple ASIO streams. This way whenever I touch the MIDI keyboard I still hear piano. I just don’t want to “play notes during input and selection” and that checkbox doesn’t seem to do anything either way for me. Is there a way to not audition notes during input? Does anyone have a better suggestion for setup and composition workflow?


TLDR version - Does the checkbox by “play notes during input and selection” do anything?

Whenever I touch my MIDI keyboard I only want to hear piano, but I still want all the loaded sounds to play back when I play the file. Possible?

If you input notes via your MIDI keyboard, you will always hear the note that you played echoed back to you. Turning off ‘Play notes during input and selection’ determines whether notes will be auditioned when you input them with the mouse, computer keyboard, or select them outside of note input.

Thanks Daniel. For those of use that use Dorico for composition and not just engraving, I would really love to see some sort of functionality like this included in the future. I would assume for most composers hearing trumpet or flute sound for example while trying to compose or orchestrate a passage for many different instruments is going to be more distracting than helpful, but auditioning a passage back with the correct instrumentation of course is very beneficial.

So in order to only have a piano sound play back whenever I touch the MIDI keyboard, it looks like there are a couple of options, both involving lots of extra clicks:

  1. Scroll to piano (or down arrow however many times) - click a piano staff - ENTER (input cursor, which activates the sound assigned to that staff) - ENTER (leave input cursor, with duration first entry I can’t touch the MIDI keyboard obviously) - compose with piano sound - click whatever staff I want to write in (or up arrow) - ENTER
  2. With an external piano sound running (like I currently have set up) hit Ctrl+4 to go to Play - click to deactivate VST device - Ctrl+2 to go to Input - ENTER to get input cursor where I left off (moving to Play deactivates it). Of course reversing this process to audition a passage will take time too. This has been my current workaround.

Perhaps I missed it, but I don’t think there is a programmable Key Command for Mute All or deactivate VST devices is there? Basically I’m looking for the fewest # of keystrokes to just hear a piano sound. Either 1) or 2) only takes a few seconds, but multiplied times a few hundred (or thousands) of times in the course of writing is a lot of wasted time, especially for something that was just part of setup in Finale. Is there a faster way that I’m not thinking of?

For those of you using Dorico for composition, what is your writing workflow? I’m not a fan of composing into Piano and then using Explode as I prefer to see the individual lines horizontally as I’m inputting them to make sure they have good voice leading, can phrase with a lead line, etc. Just trying to figure out the most efficient way to only hear piano whenever I touch the MIDI keyboard, but still be able to audition passages with the full instrumentation playing back.

I’m afraid this is simply not a supported use case in Dorico at the moment, and it’s not something that I recall being asked for by many (any?) users in the past, which is not to say that it isn’t a good idea, of course, but it’s not something that we have made any effort to support.

Thanks Daniel. I suppose for those that compose at a piano with pencil and then enter into Dorico it makes no difference whatsoever. For those of us looking to skip the intermediary step and compose directly into notation software using a MIDI controller and VST sounds, some sort of support for this would be a welcome addition. If unchecking “Play notes during input and selection” would result in the notes not playing during MIDI input too (or perhaps a separate checkbox for MIDI) that would be one solution. Another solution could be a fixed MIDI Thru option like Finale has where you can lock MIDI input to be fixed to a certain channel rather than adjusting to the staff currently being used. There are probably other solutions as well. I would think many composers would be happy to be able to just hear a piano sound whenever they touch the MIDI keyboard. Maybe I’m wrong, but it certainly would be very useful to me anyway.

I just use the “nuclear option” of muting sound from the PC if it’s not serving any purpose. My (cheap) Logitech keyboard has a set dedicated keys for a few Windows functions including “mute audio” and “unmute audio” which are the only two I ever use.

It’s only a couple of mouse clicks to do it without those keys in any case.

It doesn’t bother me much to hear the “correct” instrument rather than a neutral sound like piano, At least it’s feedback that the notes are going onto the correct staff in the score.

My MIDI keyboard is just a controller though. I need the VST sounds otherwise I can’t hear anything. I literally have an actual piano less than 10 feet away, but I currently just mostly write on the controller so I can go right into notation software.

I actually just realized a faster workflow though!!! Keep the Garritan piano sound in an external instance of Aria, then simply use F3 to bring up the mixer to mute/unmute the output from Dorico. The big advantage of this is that I don’t even have to leave the input cursor so I can keep writing! Way faster than going to Play to mute the VST Instruments.

I am in the compose with piano sounds camp. I’ve tried a number of methods.

So far the thing I’ve found that works best that doesn’t fight against Dorico, is to use Noteperformer with it’s A/B setting so the A setup uses the real instrument sounds and the B setup uses piano sounds.

If you’re using a keyboard with onboard speakers, you could just turn down your computer monitors while writing, and turn them back up for playback. I’ve done that before, it works pretty well. If you monitor through the computer your interface probably has a software mixer you can use to solo the keyboard.

Another possibility is to create multiple piano instruments in your score, so you’re writing individual parts rather than using multiple voices in a single piano and then exploding them.

Anyway those are just some ideas, things I’ve tried. I don’t necessarily love them - there’s some friction and it feels like it could be smoother - but the important point is that they work today, and support a workflow that really isn’t possible without computers.

I am optimistic that Dorico will receive new composing-oriented functionality down the road, especially in ways that take advantage of the flexible nature of software as opposed to paper. We’ll see what that looks like.

So is mine. What I do amounts to a single button-press (on the computer keyboard) which switches the loudspeakers on or off, independent of what is creating the sound. If doesn’t matter if Dorico is still generating the sound, if I can’t hear it!

I hadn’t noticed that Noteperformer had A/B options, but I wouldn’t want to listen to the NP piano for long anyway, it’s definitely a candidate for the worst sound patch in NP, IMO.

Good ideas all!

I actually purchased Noteperformer during the half off deal, but honestly haven’t even really had time to investigate it much. I’ll definitely check out the A/B switch though. That sounds like a good possibility. I don’t suppose there’s any way to assign a shortcut to that is there?

Pat, I do monitor through the computer so the software mixer idea would definitely work. I’m not sure it’s faster than using Dorico’s own mixer as I can just access it with F3, and then close it the same way without losing my input cursor. There’s no way to mute the output without using the mouse, but I can unmute with Alt+U so that’s pretty fast.

Rob, I’m still not sure I’m correctly understanding your setup. If I mute my loudspeakers, I can’t hear the MIDI keyboard since it is using VST sounds that are playing through the speakers. Do you have the button somehow assigned to just mute Dorico, but not other programs? If so, that sounds perfect, how did you set that up?

I’m not sure, and actually it turns out it’s a Dorico feature rather than NotePerformer. It’s in the upper-left corner when you view a VST’s editor. I don’t see it documented anywhere. Perhaps someone else knows.