Setup mode - add players

Firstly, congratulations to Daniel and the team on getting this far. From what I’ve seen and heard, Dorico may well be as revolutionary as Sibelius was when it was created.

I’m curious about the choice of terminology in “setup mode”. The screenshot I’ve seen says “Start your project by adding some players”. Singers aren’t players, so why does it not say “Start your project by adding some musicians”?

That’s a fair question, Ian. As a singer myself, I must say I don’t find the use of the term “player” exclusionary, but I feel a bit bad that others might find it to be so!

We did kick around various terms early in development, but a long time ago we settled on “player” and at this stage it’s unlikely that we’ll switch to “musician.” Certainly it wouldn’t be trivial to change at this stage, with localisation etc. getting underway.

(I recall that Igor Engraver, which was perhaps the first scoring software to have anything like this kind of concept, did use the term “musician” rather than “player”.)

Thanks Daniel. It’s obviously not a big deal - just something that occurred to me when I saw the screenshot.

Thinking about it a bit more, perhaps player is the best choice after all. A conductor is also a musician, and from what I understand, you won’t have to add a “conductor” in order to have a “conductor’s score”.

Seems like “Add staves” (or maybe “Add staffs”) would be a realistic alternative since neither musicians nor instruments are really part of a score. (And it avoids the “chattiness” of “adding some players”.)

Is the product going to be predefined manuscript templates for standard ensembles? Are we going to be able to define and save our own manuscript templates? (Sorry if this has already been answered somewhere.)

The whole point is that you’re not adding staves, but rather you’re defining the relationships between the human players (musicians) and their instruments, which then gives rise to the appropriate staves in a more dynamic fashion.

We’re consciously trying to move away from the simplistic approach of existing scoring software, where the top-level concept is the stave, which contains bars, which contains notes. The fact that existing software doesn’t truly understand what music belonging to which musician is actually found on a given stave is one of the most fundamental limitations in their model of a musical work. Dorico unpicks all of that – and the concepts of players and instruments as distinct from staves is a crucial aspect of it.

Hm … this is intriguing Daniel, I’m trying to wrap my head around this concept.

Let’s use two hypothetical examples to see if I got this straight:

  1. One of the flute players also doubles on the piccolo.

  2. The percussion section consists of 4 members, aside from a dedicated timpani player the other 3 members have about 7 different percussion instruments; and they have sorted out themselves their personal preferences.

  3. For the flute / piccolo player it automatically creates a part which has cautionary indications as to when to change from flute to piccolo, and vice versa, as well as a red flag whenever there is a conflict (i.e., the player being expected to play both instruments at the same time)

  4. Given the assignment of the 7 percussion instruments between the 3 members, and based on their preferences, the program automatically assigns whatever instrument comes up to any of the 3 players, based on their personal preference, taking into consideration the amount of time it might take to change from one instrument to the next. And similarly there is a red flag whenever the percussion players are supposed to play 7 instruments at the same time. And then after all conflicts are sorted out, it can automatically print out 3 parts which appropriately contain all the instrument changes.

Is this how it works?


You’re basically right, Peter. Certainly you will not need to manually create instrument changes when the flute player switches to piccolo and back again: the program will automatically create the necessary transitions at the point at which the player puts down one instrument and picks up the other.

For the percussion case, you could start with a single percussionist and assign all of the instruments to that player, then later on create additional percussion players and simply drag the existing instruments from the first player to any of the others, which instantly updates their parts (and potentially also how the instruments are shown in the full score).

Very cool Daniel. You’re almost making it too easy! :wink:

While automating this will surely be quite some burden off the user’s shoulder, I wonder: are there still ways to adjust such processes? There are the few odd cases where one wants to have players change instruments at a certain point (or rather: not at the earliest possible moment, for example because that might be during a especially soft and fragile passage).

At the moment we do not plan to make the transitions between instruments selectable or editable. We do anticipate that you will have some general control over when and where they happen, by way of a set of rules that will be adjustable in the Notation Options dialog.

I hope you might reconsider this for some future release. I can picture feeling frustrated spending time trying to devise a set or rules - of use only for this one time - that will place the change right where I want it, knowing that I could simply be dragging or cutting/pasting the change if it were only supported.

You might be able to picture that now, but why not wait until you see what the program actually does before asking for it to do something differently?

I mentioned it before and I’ll say it again - I think this is genius. A completely new model which will address many shortcomings in other programs.

I think that “musician” is a highly problematic term here. What if you wanted to prepare parts for violists or drummers?

“A conductor is also a musician…”

Not according to all the horn-players I’ve talked to.

That’s only because they hate that someone can actually hear that they’re not in tune and is in a position to tell them. :laughing: