shortcuts and longcuts

Hi there,

This is a philosophical question – have you ever considered that there should be a universal popover for all techniques except text, lyrics and dynamics?

What do I mean by this?
For example, I have to press Shift-P to enter the word “downbow”, but Shift-O to enter “gliss”.

I understand it matters in terms of visual menu organisation, but it’s completely meaningless (in my view) to remember this since both are techniques and a popover is a popover is a popover.

Why shouldn’t “downbow” work if I press Shift-O or “gliss” work if I press Shift-P? Or for that matter why shouldn’t “verylongfermata” (which is a verylongshortcut) work while pressing Shift-P, Shift-O or Shift-H or even Shift-B? Thinking about which popover triggers which menu is useful if the shortcut space is somehow limited by the keyboard (for example, you can’t use Command-Q to enter a quaver :laughing: ), but where you are dealing with shortcuts that are rather verbose, comprised of a longwords like firstending, why are we dealing with this?

The popover space is a lot like the command prompt of the DOS / LINUX world. It should be able to do anything.
Would Dorico really get confused if I put “3/4” into any other popover except for Shift-M?
It should be smarter.

I propose some sort of magic popover with a single shortcut for everything except text, lyrics and dynamics.

Somebody please tell me I’m wrong. :ugeek:

thanks, Derrek… that thread seemed to end somewhat inconclusively…
but to recap, the exceptions really come from these issues:

  1. Dynamics (Shift-D)
  2. Tempo markings (Shift-T)
  3. Lyrics (Shift-L)

Aside from that, Shift-B, Shift-H, Shift-O, Shift-P and Shift-R popover menus could be unified. Disagree?
I would even argue that Shift-M popovers could also be blended in as well.

of course key signatures could also be unified perhaps by using “keyofd” or “keyofD” etc…
once you have popovers where the instructions can be veryverylong you’re dealing with a command prompt-style interaction.

However I’m not sure how localisations of Dorico work, e.g. if you enter “re” or “Re” to get d minor vs D major in Italian or Spanish etc.

The exceptions also come down to Key Signatures and Chord Symbols, as stated further on the thread that Derrek linked to, and of course Figured Bass, not to mention Fingering, Cues, Clefs or Comments.

Within Shifts-B, H, O, M, P and R there is still overlap, sufficient that you’d need to at least delete a load of syntax that many people are already happy with.
For instance:
2/4 - Shift-B or Shift-M?
, - Shift-B or Shift-H?
2 - Shift-B or Shift-R (or Shift-F)?
fin - Shift-B or Shift-R?

I’m not going to start on Playing Techniques. I’ve defined a load that have popover text that is also used in other popovers, and I’d rather not have the restriction of having to find popover text for custom playing techniques that wasn’t used in any of the other popovers.

Would it not be just as helpful to loosen some of the restrictions further on syntax, and document them? For instance, you don’t actually need to type veryshortfermata to get a VeryShortFermata; veryshortfer will do the job. If that could be slimmed down further…

That’s great, Leo, I didn’t know about some of these shorter versions - for instance I always used +2 and -2 in Shift-B to add bars, and I didn’t know that you could add time by adding a time signature in bars- that’s insane.

Sure, it would be nice if the shortcuts got shorter – like instead of “veryshortfermata” it could be “vsf”… but i wonder how that would work in localisations (skf=sehrkurzfermata?)

My understanding is that the popovers largely aren’t localised, so that’s not quite so much of an issue. The popovers documents aren’t exactly complete - whatever engine parses popover entry is more intelligent than one might imagine - so quite a few abbreviations are available if you experiment.

or – for that matter – perhaps those localisations are an issue, imagine for instance working in Dorico in Russian but using the popovers in English…

if the popover engine is so smart then it should be possible to have one popover shortcut for most commands.

One big reason for not consolidating popovers is that it will severely limit the possibilities left for additional popovers as Dorico expands or sees opportunities for more convenient abbreviations in the Team’s efforts to make Dorico more efficient.

but don’t you think it’ll only lead to more confusion?

it’s like the English language – how many meanings does the word “sandwich” really need?
we already have … “sandwiches” for plural and “sandwiched” for things that get stuck between… but we didn’t switch to another language just to make that happen.

there are 26 letters in the English alphabet and most words are shorter than verylongfermata…
if we’re already dealing with verylongshortcuts then we have should have enough possibilities just from the letters themselves.

Do we really need “dminor” to mean more than one thing? what about “verylongfermata” or “pizzicato”? These things are meant to be clear not confusing, hence giving them double meanings will only lead to misunderstandings… and even longer threads of tech support and need for updating manuals.

Dminor already does mean two things - it’s a key signature and a chord symbol. It’s also valid input for figured bass (or at least something very close to it is).

There are more popovers that couldn’t be included in this one-size-fits-all popover than popovers that could, so - in a world where there are more exceptions than rules - it’s a non-starter, in my opinion.

I have to agree with Leo. I can see benefit in the syntactical possibilities being extended (for example, the other day I accidentally typed “finale” into the Bars popover… perhaps a resurgent case of Stockholm Syndrome… and got the intended “final” barline). Sehr klug, Dorico.

But a single popover is simply not practical. At least, this Bear of Very Little Brain can’t see a way forward with it.

perhaps we can agree that the popover system can be improved, and that two things shouldn’t mean the same thing, such as in Leo’s situation with “dminor”.

perhaps, alternatively, there should be multi-word modifiers – just like in any command-line system…
we already have that for the trills – for example you can type in “tr M2” with a space bar…

we could expand that kind of usage with figured bass, for example:
fb dm
(fb = figured bass; dm = d minor)

or even fb d
fb being figured bass, d being d minor

and then we can have modifiers like
fer vl
(fermata very long)

and so on…

as I said at the start of this, dynamics, lyrics and tempi could/should be exempt.
It’s enough that I can’t just simply type in mf espressivo, con passione directly, without the comma being deleted… but that’s for another day.

Ultimately you have to think of the marketing, too. Dorico has already become an immensely powerful but also rather bloated programme. Adding this kind of “you can do anything from this command prompt” mentality would appeal to the UNIXers, and also to the old users of SCORE.
And it would prevent all of us for giving double meanings to words like “sandwich”.


  1. You’re saying there would be additional modifiers to learn. Lots of them.
  2. These modifiers would need to be typed every time. At present, once you’re in a popover, you stay there.

Sorry, I don’t think it’s better. As to Dorico being bloated… I don’t see that. What possible way would there be to have added additional functionality without a way to access it?


You seem to want to make users memorize more specific abbreviations instead of having more flexibility with popover text by using context to help interpret what is needed. Doing so will just generate more complaints that Dorico is not intuitive enough. :unamused:

I would rather use SHIFT-codes to bring up specific, contextual popover boxes than have to type in long strings of popover text to compensate.

(Perhaps you should buy a Stream Deck–that’s a joke, sort of.)

[As usual, Dan got there first. :smiley: ]

yes, we all memorise shortcuts in dorico and elsewhere in life, too.

“fer vl” is 6 characters (including the space bar); “verylongfer” is 12 - so twice as long
dminor is 6 characters, fb d is 4

all I’m saying is if we use verylongshortcuts (which we already do, a lot) then there’s no reason that we can’t come up with enoughuniqueshortcuts to use a singlepopover for mostfunctions.

i guess wellhavetodisagree

thankyou! :slight_smile:

The thing that maybe you’ve not considered is that different popovers are used in different ways. Most of the time, if I’m invoking the Chord Symbols, Figured Bass, Fingering or Lyrics popovers I’m going to use Space after the first popover entry and then I’m going to keep using the same popover. If I’m entering a stream of any of these things, there is absolutely no way I’m going to type a modifier at the start of each entry to clarify that I still want whatever type of entry I was just typing.

On the other hand, if I’m using pretty much any other popover, it’s a one-off thing, with the exceptions of Playing Techniques (for which I can define my own popover text or use single-key macros) and occasionally time signatures. If that means that Time Signatures or Key Signatures need a typed modifier/clarifier, you just lost Dorico a bunch of users in the first five minutes of their trials.
(side note: if trying to attract Sibelius power-users, this is entirely non-negotiable. In Sibelius the quickest way to get a time signature is to type (e.g.) T9/8. It concerns me that it took me to flag when they broke that method, long after I’d mostly switched to Dorico, but that’s another story…)

I can’t remember ever using any of the holds and pauses text aside from , (comma), // and fer. If I need a verylongerhenze it’s quicker to grab the mouse and click on it. Sure, I know that there’s loads of syntax available there but I use it so infrequently I can’t be bothered to memorise it.

None of this is to say that my behaviour is typical, nor to deny that I’ve typed something into one popover when I meant to type it into another popover, but I still don’t really see how having a one-size-fits-four?’s pros outweigh its cons.

As to appealing to the unixers or the SCORE users, a) they’re a relatively small proportion of the potential market and b) who’s to say that many of them aren’t already here? I know at least a few…

It’s not a question of “needing” it to mean more than one thing. It already means several different things in general music notation, independent of Dorico or any other computer software.

Language isn’t logical. It is just what it is. In the (full) Oxford English Dictionary, the word “set” has 464 different meanings listed. But people seem to communicate OK using English despite that level of ambiguity!

well thank you for exploring this with me, gents.