Rhythmic editing of tied notes

There is one feature that is actually related to a very positive core concept of Dorico, but which at the current stage makes for some very inefficient workflows in write mode.
So in the example below, say I want to change the last of the tied C’s (with the whole chord attached to it for this purpose) to a still-tied eighth note or 16th, for instance. Currently if I click it then the whole tied note gets selected. This reflects Dorico’s understanding of this C as a single musical entity, which it is. But then if I input an 8th value then the whole 8*1/8 long note becomes a single 8th. My other option would be to use the new scissor tool to cut the ties, but again, this will cut every tie and not only the final one, so then I’d have to cut, edit the note, and then go back and re-tie the whole thing.
I think there should be two ways of selecting tied notes. Maybe differentiated by single/double click. One for selecting them as a single rhythmic entity and one for selecting sub-elements.

I was suggested using Alt+Shift+Arrows to lengthen/shorten the note, but this is limited by the shortest allowable rhythmic grid value, and also wont allow turning that final tied value into the first note of a tuplet, for instance.
Screenshot 2016-12-04 17.57.33.png

If you position the caret at the position of the notehead in the tie chain whose tie you want to cut and hit U for the scissor tool, then only the tie active at that point will be cut, rather than all of the ties in the tie chain, which I think will help somewhat.

Thanks Daniel, That kind of does the trick. But still, workflow-wise I think there is still room for improvement. I know write mode is supposed to be a distraction free environment where one can concentrate on the creative aspects of composition, but the current workflow is quite a big distraction:

  1. move caret back to cut point
  2. press U to cut specific tie
  3. input new rhythmic value
  4. shift-select backwards to select all to-be-(re)tied notes
  5. exit note input mode (because tying existing notes doesn’t work within input mode)
  6. press T to re-tie

Compare that to Si*****s for the same task:

  1. select final note of tie chain
  2. change value

Sure, I absolutely accept that this specific edit is more cumbersome than it is in Sibelius, but it’s not a zero sum game. You are also losing a lot of the problems that come along with the way that tied notes are handled in other programs, where they are not handled as a single object but rather each notehead and each tie are separate objects. For example, you can accidentally repitch the notes at either end of the tie. Or you can add an accidental to one of the notes in the tie, and introduce an error that way. Or you can copy and paste the music to a different rhythmic position, and it will stay as a tied note, even though it would be more metrically correct to show it as a single note, or at least split up in a different fashion. Or you can add articulations to all of the notes in the tie chain at once if you’re not careful to deselect the ones that you don’t want to have (say) an accent on them.

So yes, Dorico does make some edits involving ties a little trickier than they currently are in Sibelius, but it does so to enforce a more musical way of thinking about tied notes (i.e. that they are a single note), which brings with it many advantages that don’t exist in other software.

Oh, and it’s OK to write “Sibelius” or “Finale” here. Nobody considers those as swear words. (Though, speaking personally, four-letter words that start with A and end with D, on the other hand…)

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haha, ok point taken :wink:

I am aware of the benefits of having a tied note internally represented as a single rhythmic entity. I think this is actually a very strong and musical way of having the app ‘see’ things and I don’t mean to sound as if I want things to revert to the Sibelius/Finale musical-object=graphical-object paradigm. I am a big fan of your underlying concepts!

But still, and excuse me for pushing this a bit more, I think there could be a better way of handling this while still retaining the current internal representation.
There could, for instance, be a different kind of note selection/highlight method - perhaps left click with a certain mod key combination - that would allow highlighting of a single constituent of a tie chain and then enable rhythmic edits to be applied specifically to the highlighted note, while pitch edits would still behave as normal, i.e. they would affect the whole length of the tie chain.
I see no reason why the internal single-rhythmic-value representation couldn’t be preserved throughout this process, and I think it could sidestep all the problems you mentioned while drastically shortening the workflow from six actions to two:

  1. select a single note from a tie-chain via the proposed special selection/highlighting method
  2. enter new value for this note
    And you wouldn’t even need the third step of manually exiting this mode: as it would usually only be used for single-shot edits, a move to another note via the arrow keys could automatically disable this mode and revert to the previous input method.

Regardless if the solution would be what I proposed or something else, I think that the general workflow would benefit from a streamlining of this sub-workflow. It is, after all, quite common while in composing-to-page mode, to make such minor rhythmical alterations. And if this is possible without breaking Dorico’s understanding of the musical object, why not…?

I will certainly give this some more thought.

I agree with yoyokoko comments. I’m sure Dorico will be a great product and all the thought process involved in the software development is awesome. However, you should avoid to fall into the “Apple syndrome” which consists of “use the software in THE way we thought, otherwise you’re a bad user and you’ll struggle to do what you want”.
By the way, I’m not sure the “total length note” paradigm always is the good way to think about that problem: in a 12/8 metric, when I think to a dotted quarter tied to an 8th, it is highly unlikely I will ever want this “object” to become a minim in a binary metric. The tie, in this case (and in many other) is an inherent part of that object and should be, imho, directly editable, rather than being a simple display convention.

The problem of this is :
A bunch of tied notes may be a musical entity. The point is, in real life you don’t write them down as an entity, you write them down as individual notes, tied together. Until now I don’t find this concept very intuitive. Maybe I get used to it.
btw thanks for the pdf !!!

After some consideration, I’d like to give other thoughts about rhythmical editing/writing.

Dorico understands a rhythmical value as a whole, regardless of display decomposition; that’s the new paradigm. But Dorico’s writing options contradicts this new paradigm: only traditional musical values are available (16th, 8th, quarter…). For instance, in a 12/8 metric, a 5x8th-note long (doted quarter tied to a quarter) can’t be written at once, though Dorico will finally handle it that way. At the other hand, in a 12/8 metric, the best way entering a 4x8th-note long value (doted quarter tied to an 8th) is by entering a minim; however, entering a minim in this case doesn’t really makes sense (musically speaking). Those two examples seem a bit contradictory to me. If Dorico would go to the end of it’s new paradigm, entering values should be something like entering a 3x8th, 4x8th or 5x4th value (instead of traditional values), though it would probably not be the most intuitive way to go.

I think the actual “hybrid” model should be kept but with the possibility to lengthen the value with fewer steps; for instance, a single key that would automatically “add an 8-th note” to the note being just edited (even a 4-note chord), or a variation on the R (repeat) function that would add the rhythmical value selected.

Yes I agree with AlexM. There already is a built-in discrepancy (and this is a good thing) between the editing actions and the internal representation. We wouldn’t want to calculate in advance each and every note length prior to input so we could use only one value to input it. If we were naturally inclined to think this way then there might not have been a problem here (except the addition of a way to input every conceivable rhythmic value in one go).
And I think once you have used two or more tied values to input a single note length, in most cases it would be quite hard, and even unnatural, to reconceptualise the entire length of the note as an undivided entity.
Subdivision is already enabled in note entry mode - it is only natural that direct editing of these same subdivisions should also be enabled in some way… and as I and AlexM proposed, there should be ways of doing so without breaking internal representation.

This is fascinating actually :slight_smile:
The unavoidable discrepancies between the three levels: Underlying application representation - human conceptual representation - surface representation.
You guys at Dorico HQ have your work cut out for you!

Agree with AlexM too.


Knowing what I know so far about Dorico’s design, the first thing I would think to try, to shorten or lengthen this chord by a 16th, is to change the rhythmic grid to a 16th and use Alt-Shift-arrows.

This would be limited by the shortest allowable rhythmic grid value (16th) so I couldn’t lengthen it by anything shorter ising the same method. This also won’t allow turning it into the first note of a tuplet, for instance.

Thanks for letting me know that usefull function! It’s unfortunate that using this function while writing notes doesn’t move the carret further, needing to press the forward arrow to get in the right place.

In Dorico, you currently always have to create a tuplet first, before adding notes to it.

Does that mean that I cannot nest a tuplet at the beginning of another tuplet?

For example, if I have a tuplet of 5:4 eighths and want a tuplet of 3 sixteenths at the start.

No, that’s not what it means. You can create nested tuplets very easily, just create a tuplet at the position of an existing one (insert mode disabled though).

What you can’t yet do, is to make a selection of notes into a tuplet.

I loved the “yet” :slight_smile:

^^^Me too wrt “yet”. The more options i have for rhythmic fluidity, the more I like it.