Playback during Composition

So I recently tried out Finale and was annoyed to discover that there is no easy way to make it play notes as they are entered. I notice that Dorico has a separate play tab and so I have become rather paranoid that it might behave like Finale in this regard, as this would make it unusable for me. Please ease my fears and tell me that is not the case? Also, what is the point of the separate play tab?

I’m pretty sure that Finale does have a way of playing the notes back to you as you input and edit them – pretty much all of the GUI-based scorewriters have this kind of functionality.

Dorico will play notes back as you input, edit, or select them (though it doesn’t do it today, as playback is still in a very embryonic state at the time of writing), and you will also be able to hit Space to start playback at any time, regardless of which mode you’re in; Play mode is for working with virtual instruments and tweaking playback, but you can play back in any of the modes (except perhaps Print mode – we’ll see).

Finale has the irritating feature that when you are enter notes into a transposing score it plays them at the written pitch (i.e. in the wrong key, and sometimes outside of the range of the instrument) but it definitely plays back as you enter. (I would expect a choir director like Daniel to notice somebody playing in the wrong key, though!)

At a guess, either you didn’t configure the audio setup properly in Finale (and so you got no playback at all) or else you didn’t set up the sounds correctly using the Score Manager.

Daniel,

I have a question regarding playback as well, and thought I’d put it here rather than in a new topic.

Currently in Sibelius, it has a “human” playback capability that adds a level of realism to the playback. From what I understand, this is in the works for Dorico, but might not be included in the first release (totally cool). Do you believe however, that some technique items will be played, such as pizz. for string instruments, in the first release?

Also, as someone who does a lot of percussion arranging (when I do arranging), Sibelius was incredibly good at playing pretty accurate rhythms when things were notated. In the example below, Sibelius plays the rhythm as a percussionist would play it. Finale, because of its not so great human playback would “sometimes” play it correctly, most of the time not. (I think some of that has to do with both how Sibelius and Finale handled tremolos). The question I have: Will Dorico play the rhythm accurately as well? Or is this part of the human playback that we need to wait for?
example of triplet rolls.png
Thanks for your time and efforts!

Robby

@Rob - That note entry playback issue in Finale has been one of my long standing pet peeves, too. However, I recently read on the Finale Blog that this particular issue has been addressed for the next version of Finale:

http://www.finalemusic.com/blog/transposed-instrument-entry-next-version-finale/

@NapoleonIV - In terms of not hearing notes as you play them in Finale via the MIDI keyboard, Daniel is right; it should work without a lot of fussing or setup. If you are in Finale and just not hearing notes as you enter them, I’d first check to make sure that MIDI thru is checked in the MIDI / Audio > Device Setup menu. When in doubt, switch from Play Finale Through Audio Units to Play Finale through MIDI - that will tell you if the Aria or SmartMusic Softsynth soundset configuration is the culprit.

if no playback or midi thru, e.g. if you are not hearing audio playback at all, then see Rob’s comments above; you would want to make sure that your OS is configured to route midi appropriately. Hope that helps.

@Robby - AFAIK, Finale’s “Human Playback” feature does not accurately play measured tremolo rhythms as in your example. All trems under Human Playback are played back unmeasured. if you drill down into “Human Playback Preferences” you will note that there are only controls for “Tremolo Minimum Speed” and “Humanize Rolls and Trills”. There may be a way to categorize a single trem. slash, double slash and triple slash differently, but it’s not anywhere near the top level of the program.

Of course, discussing how to get Finale (or Sibelius) working correctly while we wait for Dorico is a bit of thumb-twiddling, isn’t it? ;^)

Another question regarding playback:

Currently I am working on a score in Sibelius that has many parts (26 staves all together). For some reason Sibelius is not playing all of the staves. The good news is, the wind arranger did a lot of doubling of parts between brass and winds so I hear what I need to, and my virtual drumline instruments work well.

As sound libraries are becoming more popular and people are trying to achieve the most realistic sound to get a feel for their work, CPUs are being overloaded with getting the sounds to play. Is this something Dorico will handle well? Or is playing back multiple sound libraries something Dorico will be limited in handling?

Robby

Dorico should be as efficient in playback as Cubase, and to the best of my knowledge Cubase’s audio engine is among the most resource-efficient of all of the professional level DAWs. You should be able to achieve comparable playback in Dorico as you would achieve in Cubase on a system of the same specification.

With Finale on my desktop, I open a free standing version of Aria with the “Steinway Piano” sound loaded before opening Finale, then open Finale with MIDI Thru turned off. This way whenever I play anything on my MIDI keyboard it will sound like a piano sound regardless of what instrument or staff I’m inputting. Unfortunately, apparently due to memory issues, I cannot get this to work on my laptop, but on my desktop I much prefer this setup for composition.

As a feature request, I would love for something similar to work within Dorico. When composing, I always want to hear the piano sound whenever I touch my MIDI keyboard, but obviously when playing back I want the audio to include all the appropriate instruments. If there is a way to assign some sort of master MIDI input sound, instead of switching the sound to whatever staff I’m inputting, that would be a highly desirable feature for composition IMO.

Any chance that there will be string sounds without default vibrato in Dorico? That has annoyed me in every other programme I have used.