Question about free meter input

Hi Daniel et al,

I’m new to the forum, and haven’t yet purchased Dorico, but I’m extremely interested in the program. I have a question about sketching music in Dorico without a meter. At present, I usually sketch on large multi-stave paper first, often leaving out barlines and even stems on notes. More horizontal space could mean a longer duration or more space; notes more closely spaced mean faster durations. After this initial sketch is completed, I’ll input into Sibelius, and figure out actual durations, barlines, and meters later.

In Dorico’s free meter mode, is it possible to sketch in a similar graphical fashion, perhaps using the mouse? Or does everything click on a grid first, and you have to know what the divisions of the grid are as you go along (eighths, triplets, quintuplets, etc.)? I know some composers also sketch this way in a piano roll in a DAW midi editor - if you want a longer note, you simply draw it longer, although the resulting music may or may not conform to the midi editor’s actual meter.

In other words, I’m hoping Dorico offers a compositional feature no current notation software has - a way to sketch loosely at the beginning of the composition process that mimics sketching on paper, and perhaps a way to play things back before deciding exact rhythms, barlines, meters, etc.

I hope this makes sense, and thanks for your input!

Dorico sounds like it would nearly meet your preferred way of working, but not quite. You can set up a flow to have a certain length without a meter, e.g. by simply choosing a long note value and hitting Space (which extends the flow without inputting rests, though you will see the length of the flow reflected in the rests shown at the start of the flow) until you feel you have enough room to work, then you can click notes into the flow with the mouse at any position. However, those notes will have a duration right from the off, though it’s very easy for you to change the rhythm of your music as you go.

When the trial version is available, we expect at the time of the first post-release update before the end of November, I suggest you give it a try to see how comfortable you find it.

Thanks for the quick reply, Daniel. I will indeed give the trial version a try when it’s available. From what I’ve seen and learned thus far, it sounds like a tremendous program, and I’m eager to dive in. I’m still hoping for a holy grail feature that combines the graphic looseness of sketching on paper coupled with playback, but perhaps that’s still an a.i. feature that’s a ways off. :slight_smile: