I’ve been learning Dorico by copying Ravel’s Introduction et Allegro. It’s a piece I admire very much and I thought it would be a rewarding study for musical reasons as well as teaching myself to use the software. Success! I am really pleased with how I was able to get Dorico to handle almost all the tricky notational intricacies of this score. Dorico is a real pleasure to use, even on my 11-year old iMac. I love the way Dorico takes care of so many aspects of making a score look beautiful—I almost don’t have to think about it, whereas in other scoring softwares I’ve used it is massively time-consuming. This score doesn’t need condensing, but WOW! Fantastic job Dorico! As you can probably tell, I’m very happy with the app. So what could be improved?
Some things I couldn’t do in this score:
- French beaming
- French note names for Harp pedalling
- Simultaneous natural and harmonic notes for harp. This is not strictly speaking a Dorico issue, as I don’t have any Harp sample library where this is possible, but it could have been worked around if it was easy or possible to add an extra harp part (for harmonics only) and completely hide it while retaining its playback (see 5 below)
- Staff labels. Ravel writes “1er VIOLON” and “2d VIOLON” on the first system, subsequently “VONS” between the 2 violin staves. I don’t know how to achieve this in Dorico.
Some things that were more difficult than desired:
5. Hiding things—I found that the French tempo indications like “Ralentir”, “Accélérez” etc. are not understood by Dorico in the same way as “Rallentando” or “Accelerando”, so it was necessary to hide the Italian words using the bottom panel and “hide” their dashed lines by custom sizing them to 1%. Is there going to be a “hide item” option?
I now realise I could use the tempo track in Play mode and not worry about having to enter and hide Italian words/lines.
Ravel’s score hides most of its tuplet numbers, and I kept being fooled when copying and pasting passages with hidden tuplets—unless I was showing signposts (which take up a surprising amount of screen space and can obscure other items), tuplets are not selected when selecting an entire measure. Surely this should be changed? Who doesn’t want to copy tuplets as part of a bar?
6. Finding the exact place to click. It’s really hard to select a stem—could we have a slightly larger active zone? Ditto barlines, especially in Engrave mode, I found. In Play mode there seems to be a really tiny active zone for the vertical adjustment of lanes. Also, could we have a way of expanding and contracting all lanes at once, rather than having to do them one by one? This would be great in Setup mode as well.
7. UI inconsistencies. I’ve asked about this before, but I’m including it here for completeness. Usage of the Delete key: in Setup mode I can use it to remove a player, whereas in Play mode I can’t use it to remove a VST instrument. Nor can I press delete for anything in an expression or percussion maps, or a playback template. I would expect that if I’ve made a selection of something, I would be able to delete it with a keystroke.