Problem with ties

Hey guys… as a long-time Finale user I’m trying to make the switch to Dorico.

I have to admit… it is not easy. I find many things about Dorico incredibly counterintuitive, and it doesn’t help that there still seem to be some bugs. I know there are tutorial videos, etc., but they are inadequate and many are geared toward past versions. I would gently suggest that getting better documentation should be top priority. (It would also help if keyboard shortcuts popped up as tool tips when you mouse over the relevant icon.)

One of the biggest issues is that it’s not clear to me how to edit things once they are entered. Couple this with what appears to be a bug (read on), and you have some very time-consuming frustration.

Look at the screenshots below. There should be no way, in a single layer format, Dorico would think this tie was ever intended behavior. In fact, it shouldn’t even be possible.

Furthermore, there’s no indication in 1 that the tie will be added when I place the next note. (See 2.jpg.)

Furthermore, once the tie is there, how to simply tell Dorico “don’t tie those notes”?

I was prepared for a steep learning curve, but this frustrating.

So: what is going on here? And how to un-tie these notes?

1 Like

I don’t see any ties near your active (orange) notes. Are you sure you aren’t thinking of slurs.

Regarding your overall feeling: as a current Finale user, I can tell you that you cannot expect Dorico to act as Finale does. Dorico is a new program with a new approach, and you need to learn its philosophy, at which point it becomes much more intuitive. For example, learning where to look for a specific function (preferences, layout options, engrave options, edit menu, context menu?) puzzled me a lot when I started to use the program–especially since at that time there was no manual.

I have no idea how long ago you started using Finale, but I expect that learning Finale was no overnight process. If you are willing to give up your Finale-based expectations of Dorico and practice using it while doing production work in Finale while you adapt, I imagine you will be pleased and impressed once you grow more familiar with Dorico. You also have the benefit of Lillie’s excellent manuals and this forum in addition to the videos, many of which center on new features. In addition, John gives an online Discover Dorico once a month (today, in fact) where he takes questions from users.

To split a tie, move the caret (vertical orange cursor) to the hash-mark where you wish to split the tie; then press the “U” key.

That looks like a tie to me. Dorico has tried to connect the ‘C’ with the next instance of the same note. Either use a slur or else follow Dereks advice to cut the tie with the ‘U’ key.

It’s a tie. You pressed T a few notes back, immediately after entering the C. You can see it in the first image because the tie icon on the left is lit up. So the next time Dorico sees that same C, it will tie it.

Tons of Finale refugees here, AHG. It’s completely different but far superior. Soldier on… it will become second nature in no time!! And ask away, if you have questions!

Also, you may find my Beginner’s Guide a useful overview:'s%20Guide%20to%20Dorico.pdf?dl=0

Notation like the attachment should be (and is) possible, without having to waste time faking it as in some other programs.

Pressing T to create a tie when in input mode usually does what you expect, but note carefully what it actually does: it ties the next note that you enter to the nearest preceding note with the same pitch. So there is nothing to see until you enter the next note!

That is not always the same as “it ties the note you entered before pressing T to the next note with the same pitch”.

This sort of behaviour happens with other input in Dorico. For example, if you start a hairpin by pressing <, the hairpin starts at the next note you enter, so you won’t see anything until you enter that note.

These are particular cases of Dorico’s general input method of “duration, and other attributes of a note, and finally pitch”. There have been some long threads debating the alternative “pitch before duration” option, but whatever the future plans might be, that is what the current version does.

I guess you pressed T by mistake while entering notes, or you thought T was a shortcut for something else. The quickest way to fix such mistakes is with “undo” (Ctrl-Z) as soon as you make them.

First, thanks for the supportive comments. I know the learning curve won’t be easy, but I also find some things a bit counterintuitive. Fair point–yes, I know I must give up the idea that Dorico would work like Finale, but I also wonder if there are some design decisions here that might be giving up some good points from Finale while trying to implement a new design philosophy. (For the record, I’m a pretty computer-literate user. I’m comfortable using complex software (InDesign, Photoshop, Excel at a high level, etc… and I also am a fairly proficient programmer), so I’m not new at learning/navigating new software.

I understand in this specific issue I must have hit ‘T’ when entering the first C, and then Dorico tied that C forward when it found the next instance of that pitch. Ok… I understand this behavior, but…

-There should be some way to “untie from previous” note. I don’t see how to do that, and once I figured out the error on the first C, the only way I could delete the tie was by deleting and then reentering the note. This is obviously not ok.

-Similarly (and related)… There really should be a keypress to tie to previous note. Yyes, yes… I understand the Dorico design philosophy, but the way any composer’s brain works is: write a note, write the next note, and then draw the tie. AT LEAST that should be an option, even if it seems to contradict with the current design philosophy… and it obviously goes hand-in-hand with the previous point.

-It’s not super clear to me how to edit something without really disrupting my note entry flow. let’s say I enter a bunch of notes and realize I left an accidental out 3 notes ago… it should be easy to scroll back to that note and drop it a half step. Maybe this functionality exists in Dorico, but I don’t see how it works yet.

-Last… I understand that once I hit T Dorico was watching for the next occurance of that same pitch, prepared to obediently draw the tie. But there really should be some visual indication that there’s a “hanging edit” waiting to happen. Because I did not know I made the error of hitting “T”, the cntrl-Z fix didn’t really apply… I might have had to undo 12 keypresses to fix it. It should have been easily zapped with an “untie from previous note” keypress, but this also could have been fixed if I knew Dorico was hanging out ready to draw a tie. (perhaps a short dotted tie extending from the notehead or some other visual cue. I know there are significant UI design issues lurking here, but I think it’s bad philosophy to not communicate this to the user.)

I don’t think I’m being stubbornly stuck in Finale-land with these. These are reasonable elements of functionality that anyone would want!

Thanks for the helpful replies here. Do the Devs comb these forums or should I post this somewhere else too?

Valid point. You’re right.

The devs, including Daniel, read and interact with every thread. Astonishing level of interaction, actually.

There IS a visual indicator of the tie waiting to happen. In note input, press T, and you’ll see the icon on the left light up.

No need to delete a tied note. Select it and press U (untie).

You should be able to navigate a previous note easily, simply by pressing the left arrow.

There are lots of ways Dorico can continue to improve, but I think all the ones you’re referencing here are a matter of familiarity with the existing functionality.

I’d like to add that you’ll notice that, once you get acquainted with Dorico, you won’t use t key (to tie notes) as often as before, because of the brilliant way Dorico handles rhythmic durations (automatic redrawing of values according to meter, lengthen/shorten values using the rhythmic grid…)

This is what the U key command for cUt (or you can think of it as “untie” if you prefer) does.

We’ll think about this, but it’s not easy to accommodate every possible order of operation. Instead, as another poster has already encouraged you, try to think about the sounding duration of the note rather than its written duration and all of the detail of how it should be split up into ties. If you want a note that sounds as long as a half note but that should be written as an eighth tied to a dotted quarter, just trust that Dorico will do that: select the half note duration and input the pitch. It will do the thing you expected 99 times out of 100, because it understands the metrical structure of the music (and you can influence all of these decisions via Notation Options as well).

Hit Return or Shift+N to leave note input mode, left arrow back to the previous note, repitch it (e.g. Shift+Alt+up/down to raise/lower by a half-step/semitone, or just hit the desired accidental shortcut), then arrow back to where you were and hit Return or Shift+N to resume note input. You do have to leave and re-enter note input mode, but it’s a big deal. You can stay in note input mode if you like and move the caret back to the position of the note and reinput it, if you prefer that. Either way you still have to move the insertion point – just like when you’re typing in a text editor or an IDE and you realise you’ve made a typo, you have to move the insertion point to where you want to make the edit, then move it back again to the place you were previously. Once you’re familiar with Dorico, you’ll hopefully come to find that just as automatic and ingrained in your muscle memory as it is when editing text.

Yes, we read every single post on this forum, even if we don’t reply to every single one. (We cannot practically do that and still manage to discharge our other duties.)

I appreciate the engagement and commitment. I know it’s not easy to even read all the threads.

And thank you everyone for your help. I will continue to work with the software and hopefully have some better feedback.

I do think there still is something buggy with the ties. I have reproduced this “error” several times with the following procedure:

-create new doc. start note entry and lock in a duration.
-enter the following keypresses: C, D, T, E, D, C

This produces this output:
no tie.jpg
Now, I tied the D “in error” and nothing happened when the program “saw” the next D. If I control-Z back, I can see the tie icon is still lighted from the second note, so it’s looking the connection (?) but no output.

Now, do the same thing with the following keypresses:
-C, D, T, C

Which produces this output:
Now, the C is tied back to the previous C. Furthermore, it cannot be untied with “U”. Instead, I have to scroll back to the D and untie that note, which is not involved in the tie in any way I can see from the user’s perspective. BUT… If I step out of note entry and into edit mode, I now most go back to the first C to Undo the tie. I cannot undo the tie from the second C, nor can I undo it from the D.

It seems to me that there is an inconsistency here. If this is intended behavior, I am having trouble understanding it from the user’s perspective. I think this is what created my frustration.

If the user doesn’t make a mistake in entry, then there’s no problem. But if the user incorrectly specifies a tie, maybe the program doesn’t handle that very well yet?

Also, I do understand what you’re driving at when you say I shouldn’t even have to think about ties, but I don’t think this is realistic. As a composer, I work on paper first. When I carry to notation software, don’t ask me to convert the half note tied to a whole note to a dotted whole note, knowing the software will take care of the bar line. That’s cool, but it’s not practical. 9 times out of 10, I’m going to enter a whole note and tie. (And what about other possibilities… a whole note tied to an eighth, for instance?)

I’m just reinforcing the point that I believe your user is going to be thinking in terms of ties, even if you are correctly parsing rhythmic values in the background independent of barlines.

And I’m sure there will be times I’ll be grateful for that… I bet Dorico can handle rebarring and shifting time signatures beautifully… but if you are stuck on trying to get me to think of sounding duration rather than written you are creating a significant barrier to adoption. (And that’s a battle the devs are going to lose with users down the road lol…)

There’s nothing preventing you from thinking in terms of individual note values in tie chains if that’s how you like to work - you can prevent Dorico from dividing note values automatically by turning on Force Durarion. I think the point is that there’s potentially a time saving for you, or at least a saving of key presses, if you’ll allow Dorico to do its job. As a composer who starts on a paper I suspect you may be a minority, at least on this forum…

I expect there are plenty of engravers who start from paper (or digital) copies. Fighting with scanning software or MusicXML isn’t always the quickest option.

Basically you have a choice. You can use Dorico the same way as Finale or Sibelius (until you run up against something where that just doesn’t work) or you can use it the way it was designed. Nobody is forcing you to choose one or the other, but I don’t think there is must debate that the second option is quicker once you get up the learning curve.

Oh, sure - I’m one of them - but we were talking about composers :wink:

How is this even a debate?

If I want to enter three tied half notes in 2/4 time, then it’s great that I can enter a dotted whole and Dorico will divide it up correctly. Yes, I see how this could save some keypresses sometimes, and I would be glad to have that option… and even as the default behavior. (Truthfully, one of the more annoying aspects of Finale was the “there are too many notes in this measure…” pop up.)

However ties are going to be common. Even a simple rhythm like dotted eighth followed by sixteenth tied to a quarter requires a tie.Anything even slightly more complex than children’s music will require manual use of ties.

I’m just saying that you need to expect ties will be used constantly in music of any complexity whatsoever, and manual control over those ties is essential.

Is this counter to the design philosophy of Dorico? I’m assuming the intent is to have a platform that can handle everything from recorder music in whole notes for children to full symphonic scores with late 20th century complexity, right?

And the issue here is that there is a bug that needs to be addressed, unless those keypressed I outlined are producing something that is intended in some way I don’t understand. (Which I admit is a possibility, but I can’t see it!)

You already have full manual control over ties. I can’t comment on what may be a bug, as you mentioned further up the thread, because it’s one I’ve never encountered in my Dorico use.

I have to disagree with your general statement that “the way any composer’s brain works is: write a note, write the next note, and then draw the tie.” It’s not the way my brain works: I’m a performer first and an arranger/engraver second, and the way my brain works is the same as the way I suspect many musicians’ brains work: we read from left to right! If I played one note, then played a second note, then realised they were supposed to be tied together, I wouldn’t get booked for the next session…

I have to admit, I’ve never understood this behavior in this situation either. It also contradicts the online documentation which states: “The second note must be the same pitch as the first note. If the second note is a different pitch to the first note, no tie is input.” The linked page does say it doesn’t apply to non-adjacent notes, but then the page on ties between non-adjacent notes states: “1. In Write mode, select the two notes that you want to tie together. 2. Press T.”

In AHG’s example, only a single note is selected and the second note is a different pitch so no tie should be input, but in fact one is created back to a previous note as he points out. As Dorico’s action here contradicts the documentation, either Dorico is not working as designed or the documentation is in error or incomplete. If Dorico is in fact working as designed, it would be very beneficial to have this behavior described in the documentation so the user can understand why a tie is being created here.

There is no problem entering a note and pressing a tie to tie to the next (same-pitch) note. You seem to be trying to make mistakes and then blame the program. Yes, if one tries, one can probably find ways to break the program, and the Development Team will–as these situations are discovered–plan to address them as time allows.

But if one doesn’t want to learn to use the program, one cannot blame the program for the frustration he or she may face. And the longer one waits, the more features will appear, the more pages will be added to the manual, and the longer learning the program from scratch (all at once) will take.

I don’t think it’s helpful to ascribe nefarious motives to AGH’s question. As has been said before, every approach will have its benefits and drawbacks. The benefits of the way Dorico handles tied notes are many, and the drawbacks are real but few.

That’s entirely different than the C-T-D-C behavior, which of course is odd (and I’ve never encountered it before).

AGH is trying Dorico, poking holes in it to learn how it’s different from Finale (which I can empathize with), and dialoging with other users. Sounds like a good situation to me.