PLAY Tab - Coming Updates, Feature Requests, & General Use

Dorico Dev. Team,

Despite having a limited view of what’s happening with the PLAY tab at the moment, I felt I should share what I’ll essentially be looking for in the coming updates. Striking the right balance in playback editing is critical for composers to buy in. As you’re piecing a puzzle together, I have no hard expectations. I just hope this input can at least be helpful, if anything.

    1. Show a different mouse cursor when hovering over an edge of a note length.
  1. When you click and drag a note to lengthen it, show me what I’m dragging. It’s currently blind.
  2. I desperately want mouse wheel zooming. I’m blind to how small it is by default.
  3. Add Solo/Mute on the Track lane left-side, like Cubase.
  4. For choosing which CC# the editor is editing, I strongly advise tabbed CC editing over a drop-down box.
  5. Multiple Tabs at once. Undock PLAY, then work in both windows simultaneously.
  6. Auto-focus PLAY on the highlighted selection & instruments I’m already working on in WRITE.
  7. Add an “Articulations Lane” to the Piano Roll

Finally, Outside of the ongoing PLAY development and the fact that Dorico can’t cook me breakfast yet (seriously, step up your game guys), all I can really say is well done! It’s a beautiful tool and I’m happy to have bought your handiwork. Having used it now, it’s easy to trust that you guys have created the first iteration of the greatest notation program the Earth will have known. Between a TARDIS and Dorico, I’ll take Dorico.

Keep it up!

Sean Jackson

If it helps…

About #5 (Tabs for CC’s): This brings fast switching between data editing.
Most sample libraries today have multiple mic positions, vibrato control, release, time stretching, and other CC values. As functionality grows, more data will be edited by controllers, mouse, pen, and combinations of them. Getting CC editing right has been the number one priority I’ve watched with concern on since day 1 of Dorico being announced. It’s the big honcho of getting a convincing MIDI performance. I can’t stress enough how much making this something that pleasant and helpful to work with is critical. It can’t just be a “well we’ll add it, but 4 versions later will give it proper care”. The thing is, you couldn’t say that about a clef or a time signature. Well, if you’re going to have a PLAY tab at all, then this is just as significant to the program right now. Sorry to preach, but I absolutely believe that.

About #6-7 (Big Picture UI Navigation): Navigating between write and play is a bit more cumbersome that it may sound. Just click “Play” right? Wrong. You have to re-navigate… constantly. I merely want to add notes then seamlessly, or instantly, edit lengths/cc data. Right now, it’s like trying to perform one surgery in two different operating rooms. And one of the rooms (PLAY) takes some searching to find your way around. Thus the suggestions. My hope is that those eliminate any issue with redundant navigation here.

About #8 (Add an Articulation Lane): Take a look at VSL, Spitfire, Berlin, 8dio, & East West. They’re all offering either 5 types of legato, staccato, or tremolo. I mean, we’ll probably see “Staccato as played by your grandma” at some point. Often times these aren’t proper articulations. But they are indispensable in getting a good mock-up. So would I mark staccatos 5 ways on the page? No. But I will want to control the back-end performance independently, the same way I’ll want to edit note lengths, velocity, and cc data.

I really hope whoever gets this can at least find a bit of common ground here. These are important to me, otherwise I wouldn’t have suggested them. I’m sure you guys won’t disappoint either way.

Thanks for your hard work,

Sean Jackson

One more…

  1. My expectation was that I would open the PLAY tab and would only hear the visible parts.

At very least I would add a mass “solo visible parts” toggle but I also believe that would make much more sense to have solo toggled by default. Where I’ve already used the layout feature to “focus on x tracks” I would think that focus would be both visual and aural.

Thanks again and good luck coding!

-Sean Jackson

One can use the Mixer to mute or solo tracks.

Thanks for your thoughts, Sean. The first 4 items are already items on our list for usability. For items 5-9, we need to have a good model for how the controller and technique data is presented to the user for editing, and this is still under discussion. The situation is a lot more complex than for a regular DAW because an instrument may be routed to multiple devices and multiple channels (this isn’t yet user-controllable but will be at some point. For instance ‘arco’ can be played by one device and ‘pizz’ by another).

Paul, thanks for the reply.

I realize it’s complex, even more so for you guys. When users want modularity, flexibility, but ease of use… It takes intense effort to find good solutions. I just wanted to make sure these things were brought to your attention. Seems like you already get it though. I’m not used to developers being so exactly familiar with user needs. So kudos to you!

An idea, I’m guessing you may have already considered, might be to have an articulation lane… But when a note which is PIZZ is selected… The cc lane switches to that Midi channel. If it’s all on one channel then it would simply show the same thing regardless of what articulation data is being viewed. I realize it’s probably not that simple. Either way, good luck!

As this pertains to me, I’d be happy to test a temporary build regarding this area of Dorico if you’d ever want some user testing done.