Playback Loop, Dear Dorico Team stop Ignoring that feature

Your lack of imagination is endearing. It is really very simple to ‘loop’ with the current options to control the playhead.

Select a note, P to play, Space to pause wherever you have reached, space again to continue, P to play from the start again… no need to create loops!

Want to isolate just a couple of parts? ctrl-click a note on each and press P to play.

(I’m sure others will chime in with all the advantages of the D5 scrub playback … but I’m quite content to ‘loop’ with D4)


I think we all get your point of view about looping but I think you’re outnumbered and as someone mentioned earlier in this thread it is surely inevitable. We all know there is a workaround, but a proper looping function is unquestionably a useful thing to have for composers of all abilities.

unquestionably useful… for composers of all abilities? Clearly not.

Edit: Please explain what advantages there are to have a looping function over the current capability. Beyond the ability to go and make a cup of tea whilst your loop is endlessly repeating.

And if hands are otherwise occupied? Guitar, drumsticks etc…perhaps some more imagination is called for :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

For me it can be a bar of soap also, as I like to vocalise possible counter melodies in a passage while in the shower (speakers are loud enough to hear in there)…it’s about whatever environment gives you inspiration and whatever facilitates the means to get your creative ideas down!

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If Dorico implemented an Arranger track (could be similar to Cubase or any other DAW), it could then quite easily satisfy those composers/musicians who are requesting a dedicated loop/cycle function, as well as those of us keen on the ‘scratch pad’ concept.

I seem to remember very fine film composers scoring films for decades without looping or computer assistance.

I certainly hope Dorico will be able to integrate looping at some point, but until then one can pump the sound from a DAW into one’s shower if that workflow is critical rather than using Dorico.

And how would that be translated into notation? Oh, wait! Dorico already has tools to create repeats, jumps and codas that make sense in notation, and that real musicians will understand.

(Dorico is not a DAW. Its purpose is to create printed notes that real players will play)

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Friends, let’s stop bickering about the utility of this feature. It is clear that many would like to have it while others would have no use for it (de gustibus…), and Daniel has already acknowledged it.


The work flow is quite different, having used both a more linear method like Dorico and those that use an arranger track/window to supplement the linear workflow.

If you use the analogy of how most pro level video editing software operates - it uses a compositing EDL (Edit Decision List), to arrange disparate segments or even whole clips into (usually) final output. Most contemporary DAW’s follow this concept as it may assist those who actually like to work this way - it just seems to allow for great possibilities and experimentation. For how I operate, its a much easier and quicker method to get musical ideas down.

I think the consensus of most video and music/audio DAW users is that it is a desirable method. Certainly it is now for composers working with film.
When the composer is happy with the final mix of elements, all they need do is render all the Arranger track components into a single linear track.

There is no limitations on those who like to work in a more linear fashion using cut and paste, jumps, repeats, codas etc…they should still be able to work that way…I’m just seeking more accommodation for other ways of working.
Sometimes I like to work in a strictly linear way, other times not. Sometimes its just driven by the music and the mood I’m in.

I wouldn’t want any of these additions to in any way diminish Dorico’s direction on its priorities such as bug fixes, further engraving enhancements - I think its clearly marketing its product for that target user. But I think eventually as it evolves, it will out of necessity undertake some sort of Arranger type of workflow similar to other DAWS. It may in the end be just driven to do that by a market and financial imperative.

The reason I like Dorico and other strictly MIDI notation software as opposed to most DAWs out there, is the lack of bloat and unnecessary audio tools and additions. Not keen on paying for things I don’t use - then again that’s probably what you may be thinking about re an Arranger track and/or a loop/cycle addition!

Apologies. I just can’t connect these workflows with notation.

Fair enough. I believe it’s more an issue of composing, rather than notating, per se. Ideating, as it were.

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For me, there is a sort of trap in “looping” however you do it. There’s a limit on how much I can listen before fatigue makes me useless, and excess playback always seems a factor on days when I feel not enough was accomplished. Not disagreeing or saying it’s immoral.

I had this one professor/ director who rarely let us run straight though a piece. He was disciplined and precise in the use of rehearsal time - to our general annoyance. We wanted the emotional hit, he was the focused professional. You might attend 3 rehearsals working short disconnected passages without wasting even a minute to hear the rest of the piece. Kind of scary if he caught you being distracted. But he came with a plan knowing what he wanted, what was key and how it fit, and I think he had mastered the art of working to deadlines.

Scrub playback in D5 reminds me of Dr. Carnine. Surgical and efficient And feels like a light meal versus playback coma. I do wish there was an option to play back from certain hit points.

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oh, no this again… Rather a lot of people, including the Dorico team, would beg to differ about that being its sole function


There is more to having loop points than the ability to repeat.

We use them constantly in Cubase to set beginning and end points, even if there is no intention to actually ‘loop anything’.

Case in point…
Set start locator, set an end locator. Call up a tool to calculate a new tempo and stretch/shrink all the phrases to hit a specific cue point (time on the time line). One rather pragmatic example of many when it comes to composing music and sounds for video/film/animation.

Using the Cubase example again…a user can store many different location sets, and call them up at will…with the mouse, or via remote control.

A user can do a bunch of things in real time that would be pretty awkward to achieve if you had to ‘stop the score’ and ‘insert repeat dots’, etc.

The ability to ‘loop’ between such ‘locators’ is gravy.

There’s even more, when it comes to cyclical input and such as that. I.E. In Cubase, you can establish record modes that will make a new track/stave/part on each ‘loop’. Quite handy for playing in parts with expression data, easily isolating various aspects of the performance, and later merging it together into the best final take.


I think the ability to overdub expression controller data live in Cubase would be great to have in Dorico as well (not so much for me personally as I don’t currently have a sophisticated MIDI controller with lots of functions but many do). Of course I’ve no idea how difficult this would be to implement in practice.


I completely agree. In Cubase, you set locators, loop them and record multiple takes of (for example) an expression controller. But there’s more - each take is preserved and a “final” version can be comped from them. I use a breath controller all the time and looping between locators would be an amazing feature to have in Dorico.

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I don’t use Cubase, but I’ve been asked to do this reasonably often in a studio. Just blow over a looped vamp in Pro Tools and the producer will cut and paste what they want. Obviously Playlists are used for multiple takes, punches, and corrections all the time. Unless I’ve missed it, I haven’t really seen anyone with a clear proposal of how this could be implemented in a linear notation program like Dorico though.

In Pro Tools it works like this, where each looped pass gets its own playlist:

Would it work similarly in Dorico? In Write, you could click a staff and somehow get a drop-down to allow you to view the notation of other recorded passes? Or would it be a Play mode thing, where you would be selecting the piano roll or something?

In any case, as it would be a major re-imagining of how Dorico works at a base level, I’m not surprised they haven’t tackled it yet.

I believe they are called “Lanes” in Cubase. My strong suspicion is that “Add Staff Above” or “Change Divisi” is based on this functionality (“Track Versions” and/or “Lanes” in Cubase).

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Cyclical recording might come much later. Some kind of play tab ‘loop or locators’ would be a prerequisite to eventually getting such features though.

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Currently this is what it is, but in the future, it could be controlled by web pages, AI bots, and more to compose music on the fly.

Someday a third party could make software to SPEAK in a score. One could create ‘mobile form’ scores that can jump all over the place in near random fashion, and more.

This stuff is about the ‘play tab’ portion of Dorico.

Again, I don’t think reasonable Dorico users expect this stuff overnight. We know it’s going to take time. It will begin ‘small’ and gradually evolve to have more features included in the box. Hopefully, in early stages, it’ll already have enough GUI, scripting, and remote control hooks for third party developers to take it and run with it in creative ways right away.

Give me a set of locators, the ability to loop what is inside those locators, a way to make and call up presets of locator positions via remote control, bulk copy/cut/paste of everything in those locators that isn’t ‘muted’, plus enough info about the lua backend etc, and I can think of dozens of very creative and useful things someone with a moderate scripting/programming background in something like lua could build.

I’m already envisioning ePianos and organ consoles built around Dorico. The things might be found in theory and keyboarding labs all over the world. Every methods book ever written at your fingertips! Users can instantly download sheet music to listen to, display and play (or play along with, choosing layers of optional accompaniment from the score). A very robust composition center. Raw sequencing in play mode. Interactive music lessons. Assessments. Remote jam sessions with people on the other side of the planet, and more.

It’s not going to be overnight. It’s just that…loop/locators is one of the base ingredients towards such visions.

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