Some thoughts after making orchestral parts

Just finished making orchestral parts for a early 20th century late romantic work,
950 bars, 24 parts in all, a cleaned up XML import. Usually I work with 18th century music, this obviously demanded much more manual intervention.

As usual Dorico performs well but there are somethings that have been disturbing that I would like to address here.

  1. I have been keeping a log of my work in the Project Info → Other information field: maybe I shouldn’t – Apply+close takes as long as 10-12 seconds. Could the program keep track of what has been changed and what has not, so that no big time consuming recalculations has to be made everytime something is added in this field? Good to keep the log within the file.

  2. Dynamics. Slowly learning to always ungroup and unlink any dynamic that I want to edit not to mess things up. a) But what drives me nuts is when an edited dynamic sometimes is replaced with the edit, sometimes duplicated. b) Same phenomenon goes for duplicating to stave below/above, and not very seldom other dynamics are deleted on the destination staff with no apparent resaon. c) And what about the grouping of dynamics to align them? Many times I have to hit the shortcut repeatedly, many times I have to ungroup/group to make it work. Please explain.

  3. Aligning tempo marks has been discussed before. This steals lots of time. Especially needed in sections with lots of markings in parts with lots of rest, which means that you often have 4-5 markings on a row, coexisting with rehearsal marks. I know that there is no formal law that asks you to align them, but it really is necessary very often to make the part look good. Quite often it is not enough to nudge the marking with the keyboard shortcuts (the right position is “between” keypresses so to speak), but you have to either a) zoom in and align with the mouse b) typing in by trial and error in the properties panel. A grid to snap to would be helpful to start with, but of course a similar method of grouping like with dynamics would be ideal.

  4. Nudging keys in Engrave mode – alt+arrow with ctrl or shift is very useful, but please make the shift-variant work in all modes. Right now it only works with graphic editing.

  5. Undo history would be very useful.

  6. Printing of the parts take very long time. 10th gen i7, 16 GB ram, but nevertheless around 90 seconds. Is that normal?

  7. Beamed rest positions need work. Top line is Dorico’s default, second line is my attempt of adjusting.

My last 8-9 topics also came up during this work but I won’t repeat them here.
Thanks for listening, looking forward to your comments.

Thanks for the feedback. With regard to printing, 90 seconds sounds like a bit longer than I would expect to print 24 parts, unless they’re particularly long, but Dorico does have to effectively re-calculate (re-open, re-notate, re-layout, re-space etc.) each layout in turn. It does this using multiple CPU cores, but it can’t do all 24 parts at the same time. So it doesn’t sound out of the way to me.

I’m a bit surprised that just changing one of the fields in Project Info and making no other changes would take 10-12 seconds to be applied. In general operations that modify flows, players and instruments tend to be slower ones, but setting new values in Project Info should be pretty quick. There are definitely no other edits being made in that session of the dialog?

Thanks for responding.
No, no other edits in Project Info.

Re rest positions, Dorico puts rests - correctly - at the actual temporal start of the rest. I totally agree. But many people prefer not, and center rests, or visually offset them. I feel Dorico is doing the right thing here. Since this comes down to a personal preference it is difficult to see how you could provide a setting to do as you have. An interesting problem.

Just to clarify: I am only talking about the vertical positioning of rest here, not horizontal.

I agree. I sometimes have to rectify the vertical position of rests that collide with the beam. It looks as though a little bit of work is still required in this particular field.

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  1. If you use all the modifier keys plus arrows you should get really tiny increments - 1/16th of spaces I believe. This should circumvent the need to type into the offset properties. (But yes, I’m totally with you on wanting to be able to align tempo markings)

  2. What are you hoping for “the Shift variant” to do in other modes?

Ah, I’ll try that!

What I mean is:
Alt arrow small step
Shift alt arrow medium step
Ctrl alt arrow large step

As far as I can tell the shift alt arrow shortcut does not work in all engrave modes, only for graphical editing (not for staff or note spacing).

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1/32 it is, in my experience :wink:
Count me in for alignments

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