I’ve been following Daniel’s blog and any other Dorico-related news with great interest. I recently heard a podcast where he mentioned that Finale and Sibelius bear the imprint of the times in which they were created, and I very much agree.
I’m a long time Finale user, and I find it to be exasperatingly dated in many ways. One thing I specifically don’t like about it is how often it takes you out of your creative musician mindset and forces you to think like a piece of software.
As an example, if you enter any chromatic pitch in Finale, it will guess what the spelling of that note should be. So in C major if you enter the note Ab and Finale guesses it’s G# you have to change the spelling. So far, no big problem. The problem is that if that is the first of 16 Abs in that bar, it’s going to call it G# 15 more times. It’s true that you can enter a whole measure of wrong spellings and then correct them all at once, but it forces you to look a whole bars of crazy spelling while trying to think about the harmony therein. It’s extremely un-musicianly, disconcerting and tedious.
One thing Finale does well is to let the user decide if they’re going to use a mouse and typing keyboard, or a musical keyboard, or a combination thereof for input. Reading in this thread that Dorico will only work with a typing keyboard is a deal breaker for me, 100%, I’m sorry to say. Removing the primary stock-in-trade tool of most composers - the musical keyboard - as well as removing the ability to quickly and easily audition and enter choices about chord voicings, makes this a tool I would never buy or use. I can imagine no scenario where I would trade my lifetime of musical keyboard skills for my poor hunt-and-peck typing. And being unable to enter whole chords in one go makes it an order of magnitude worse.
One more thing: using the keypad along with a MIDI keyboard in Speedy Entry in Finale means that I can enter music almost as fast as I can hear it, and I never have to look at my hands. Typing on the number keys across the top is, at least for me, a much less sure handed operation.
It would be amazing if someone developed software for novelists or screenwriters so that in a pinch they could even capture their ideas even without access to a typing keyboard. But to write such a program and specifically forbid the use of a typing keyboard would be utterly lacking in common sense. Most people in those professions are so accustomed to using that tool that they hardly know it’s there. Diverting their attention from being creative to learning some bizarre system of word entry invented for a piece of software would be as counter-productive as possible. For me, doing any kind of musical input without access to a musical keyboard is just as useless.
I would think that the best solution with respect to note input is to make it possible to use just a typing keyboard, or a typing keyboard with a MIDI keyboard, and let the use decide what works best for them. Also, a simple Key Commands feature such as in Logic and other software would let the user map note values and other commands to whatever keys they prefer.
My overlong 2 cents…