Pick-up bars in common time

Is there any way to input a pick-up bar in common time using the GUI? In the “Create Time Signature” dialog box, it seems we can create 4/4 and designate a pick-up bar of n beats, but there seems to be no way to do so with the common time C abbreviation.

Update: I finally discovered the popover (https://steinberg.help/dorico/v1/en/dorico/topics/write_mode/write_mode_time_signatures_inputting_popover_t.html) and will surely get used to it. Maybe this would be worth adding to the panel too?

You could create a 4/4 signature using the panel and then change it to display C using the properties panel. They aren’t really “different” time signatures.

But now you discovered the popover, you will probably never use the panel again anyway :slight_smile:

That link takes you to the v1 docs - the time signatures popover reference in the most recent manual is here. It isn’t always obvious that you’ve landed on an older manual from an online search, so we’re looking into ways to make that more apparent.

Thanks, Lillie. I hadn’t noticed that this referred to v1 of the documentation.

On that note, I find that the search function on Steinberg’s help site appears to cause quite a bit of confusion. I don’t know the ranking algorithm used in the backend (Google?), but very often—perhaps most of the time, in my experience—it doesn’t return what I’m looking for, or the relevant help article is way down in the search results.

For example, I was just trying to input “dolce” into a score but didn’t know the keyboard shortcut, or what category this term fell under (staff text? system text? expressive text?). I searched the docs for “expression” and got a page full of results for “expression maps,” which is something entirely different. Then I Googled “dorico input expressive text” and landed here (first Google result):

https://steinberg.help/dorico/v2/en/dorico/topics/notation_reference/notation_reference_dynamics_expressive_text_c.html

I hadn’t noticed that this is for v2. Regardless, it concerns adding “expressive text” to existing dynamics, such as “dolce p,” but not entering expressive text by itself.

I manually went to the manual for v3 and searched for “dolce,” which returned only one result:

https://steinberg.help/dorico_pro/v3/en/dorico/topics/write_mode/write_mode_notations_input/write_mode_dynamics_popover_r.html?hl=dolce

This is the equivalent article to the above link for v2; it still doesn’t show how to enter common expressive text such as “dolce.” As a user trying to figure out how Dorico categorizes common musical text, I’m left in the dark.

Finally, may I suggest linking all possible articles in the Notation Reference section to the corresponding entries in the “how to” section? This is something I encounter more often than not in Dorico’s manual: Searching for a keyword, e.g, “pick-up bar,” lists an entry dedicated to that keyword as the top result or second result. When I click on it, it merely defines the term; it doesn’t show how to create it in Dorico. I’m guessing most users searching for “pick-up bar” and other terms in the Dorico documentation already know what these terms mean, and we’re just trying to create them in our Dorico project. (As an aside, it’s worth noting that the search engine only responds to “pick-up,” not “pickup.”) Most of the time, I still find myself clicking around in frustration trying to find the help entry on how to create what I searched for; I don’t expect a notation software manual to define common musical terms. Linking the Notation Reference entries to all relevant entries on how to create each element in Dorico would be enormously helpful. Thanks for considering this idea.

As ever, I appreciate hearing first-hand accounts of users looking for help in the documentation and finding areas that can be improved.

It’s true that the search function on the steinberg.help website isn’t as sophisticated as something like Google - the manuals team is aware of this. To be fair, the reason a search engine like Google is able to return sophisticated results based on variable inputs is because its primary function is to search, whereas our documentation site is primarily to provide documentation. Now obviously, documentation needs to be findable to be helpful! However, what I mean by that is that with limited resources, the manuals team has to focus on areas of improvement like other dev teams, and there are dedicated search engines available that often do return good results when you search for e.g. “dorico pickup measure”. If you’ve done a search on steinberg.help and can’t see what you’re looking for, try using an external search engine as well (as they’re more forgiving with things like “pickup” vs “pick-up”; I have to add alternatives like this manually, which has to be done carefully with an eye on translation).

For expressive text: that page does in fact tell you how to enter expressive text - it says you have to input it alongside a dynamic, like mf, that you can hide afterwards if you like. Dorico doesn’t have the same “expressive text” used by other notation software, so this page exists to explain that. It’s true it could do with a link to inputting dynamics, in addition to its existing ones for adding dynamic modifiers and hiding immediate dynamics (that it has in the most recent manual, where it’s been adapted into “dynamic modifiers” to match Dorico’s UI terminology).

For pick-up bars: adding a dedicated set of steps for this has been on my to-do list for a while, and it will be included when I next publish an update, which will be the 3.5 manual. Conceptual topics like those exist in the manual to introduce ‘chapters’ and clarify how Dorico approaches the notation and any core functionality (especially where this differs from other software: like expressive text). They also serve as useful places to include any alternative terms, either explicitly in the text (like here: “upbeat” or “anacrusis”) or in embedded metadata, to try to catch users using alternative descriptions. For pick-up bars, the descriptive topic explains that they’re time signatures in Dorico so you add pick-up bars by inputting time signatures with a pick-up. It then currently links to tasks for inputting time signatures.

Of course I endeavour to include lots of useful related links throughout - it’s ongoing of course, but at the very least the introductory topic in a notation’s chapter always links (or at least, should always link) to how to input them in Write mode, and vice versa. Whenever I find myself editing an existing topic, I almost always end up adding more links, keywords, and/or indexterms.

Thanks as always, Lillie. So does this mean that any expressive text in Dorico needs to be considered a “dynamic,” even if it’s not actually a dynamic (such as “dolce”)? And that it needs to be attached to an actual dynamic (such as “p”)… even if that dynamic is then hidden? (Can you see how this might be confusing and counterintuitive to many of us?)

Regarding the pick-up bars example, in another thread I mentioned that a Google search for “pick-up bars” returns pages on how to pick up women in bars! This might not solve my problem in Dorico, but it may leave me, well, upbeat! :slight_smile:

Actually, it’s primary function is to serve advertisements on the results pages.

Searching doesn’t earn money. People clicking on relevant adverts does.

If you’re familiar with another software, yes I can see how Dorico having a different approach might not be immediately obvious. Adding expressive text alongside a dynamic means it’s automatically formatted with italic text, but you can just as well create your own paragraph style with “expressive text” formatting and add staff or system text that uses that style if you prefer.

The functionality behind that is beyond my remit as the manual writer: I simply do my best to convey the information and relevant instructions in as clear and succinct a fashion as possible. The development team is highly experienced though, and an awful lot of careful thought has gone into every corner of it, so you can trust these things are done with good reason. Where reasonable, I include reference in the manual to terms users might know from other software, but I’m sure you understand that I can’t explicitly describe every place where Dorico does things differently: in addition to expanding the manual further (with associated writing and translation time/costs), it risks confusing users for whom Dorico is their first notation software, if they’re shown descriptions of what Dorico “doesn’t do”. Experienced Dorico users familiar with other software are more than capable of writing articles, sharing their own experiences and drawing these sorts of comparisons - the Scoring Notes blog does an excellent job of this.

As to your second point, I would suggest that including “dorico” somewhere in your search string is likely to bring up the most relevant results.

I have always added expressive descriptors like dolce as Playing Techniques (usually without a Playback Technique attached) with the thought that if I ever figure out how I would like the dolce to express itself in my playback, I can then go in and add a Playback Technique to realize it.

I take my cue from the Development Team, who have from time to time added symbols for such items as repeat barlines or fermata before they have associated them with playback functions.