Congratulations again on the initial release of Dorico – still can hardly believe it’s finally here! It’s just learning to walk, perhaps, but it’s here. I’m happy to have purchased the application, and to be present for the initial stages of expansion and improvement. Cheers, and, most importantly: T H A N K S.
I can definitely see the immense potential in the software, and its output is already several cuts about the competition in a number of respects. I could go on all day about the many aspects of Dorico which I love so far, but I figure it might be at least marginally more useful to enumerate some of the points that have frustrated/confused me.
In some cases, these may be the result of operator error, representing stuff I simply haven’t figured out yet. Ignore those; I’ll get there eventually. In some cases, I know they refer to features that are planned for implementation. And some of this is stuff I may just have to get used to, although I’ve tried to refrain from senseless griping.
For background, I’m a composer, arranger, and music preparer who is likely to use Dorico for purposes of composition and engraving from the initial working score through the final printed parts, and occasionally for producing the odd mock-up audio demo; I don’t have any plans at present to work in multimedia such that I’d be doing heavy work on the sequencing side of the application.
- The documentation is clear and well-written, but puny; it doesn’t help me much. I’m sure it will be fleshed out in time, no worries, but since Dorico is so different from comparable products in so many respects, I could use more detailed guidance in the docs. I never stop for directions while driving, but you bet your blue booties I will open up those docs and peruse them late at night, after everyone has gone to bed and no one can possibly know my shame.
- The initial project setup menu seems a little unwieldy to me. It could use some refinement, I think; I don’t like having to repetitively dig through menus to call up instruments. Surely there could be a way to make more or less everything (or, at least, more of everything) visible at once. Being able to sort either alphabetically or by score order would help, too. It’s like a super-friendly shaggy puppy that is unconscionably adorable, but has to be told to do something, like, seven to twelve times.
- I need more options for selection and manipulation in the score. Like, many more options. The marquee works great for small-scale selection, but … well, I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. Sometimes you just want to grab things by the bar. Filter them. Smack them around all over the place. Then wonder why on Earth you did that.
- The way screen real estate is handled could be more flexible. Could there be a way to find a compromise in panel/menu sizes? When they’re closed, they’re gone, but when they’re open, my score is pretty much gone. Smaller icons? Slimmer design? More automation in the showing/hiding somehow? Just tinier stuff in general? I can squint; squinting works. I’m a youngish fellow yet.
- I need transposing scores, stat. EDIT: They do exist, they do! Under the Edit menu. Thanks, Rob.
- I’m not at all a fan of ‘chord mode’. I’d much prefer the option to simply click below a B to add a G, rather than having to enter a special sub-mode of note input to prevent the B from becoming a G.
- I like the popovers, and they work well, but I’d be vastly happier with the ability to type my expressions into the score directly. Same thing with titles, instrument names, random text purely for insulting the players, tempos, rehearsal marks, you name it. Point, right-click into a quick menu or something, and then type that mess right there on the lily-white page. So far I haven’t seen a way to do this, and it’s bumming me out something fierce.
- I’ve got to have multiple instruments on a single staff. I understand a snazzy solution for this is in the works, so thank you for that. If it works really well, more efficiently and flexibly than the competition, I’ll likely be loyal forever.
- Functioning expression maps, percussion maps, etc., for playback. Now…where they is, exactly? I know, it’s coming; I trust Steinberg on this one, no doubt.
- Playback transport seems a little clunky. It just does. And soon Dorico will do live playblack upon note entry from the PC keyboard, yeah?
- Tuplet entry confuses me, and I use it incessantly. On The Product Which Shall Nevermore Be Named, I can do the basic stuff just with Ctrl+[number]. What gives? Maybe I haven’t learned how to do this properly yet. I wanna be a Tuplet Racer.
- I can’t seem to figure out how to move staves around in Engrave. Some of the staff spacing decisions Dorico makes are wonky, particularly concerning staves with lots of tempo text, etc. above them. As a player, I’d sometimes have no idea when to ritenuto vs. when to a tempo, ma poco mosso nel modo di we’re going into overtime now, buddy, since I can’t always tell to which staff the expressions belong.
- I need minor little layout changes I make to the score to track seamlessly to the part layouts. Right now, that isn’t happening. I don’t want to move a breath mark twenty-six times, even if I deserve it! The Respiration of Sisyphus, a new one-act chamber opera written in Dorico but engraved largely with a Sharpie marker…
- Sometimes I get stuck in note-entry mode and can’t get out. “The inspiration…it won’t stop!” This seems to have something to do with keyboard shortcuts vs. clicking things in the toolbox.
- Dorico is a little laggy, and the bigger the score gets, the worse it gets. I am sure that will be a focus for developers going forward. Right now it isn’t a major problem for me, but I do have concerns about how things are going to go when I have a 2000-bar score with 30 players, even running a fairly beefy machine (quad-core, SSD, 16GB RAM).
- I’d like to understand how to do temporary divisi for strings, this sort of thing. The more I can senselessly split up completely inaudible tremolos between various desks, the better. Right now I have no idea, and the option for doing so doesn’t seem obvious to me, assuming it’s present at all.
Now stop reading, developers, and get back to work!
(Just kidding…but I know you’re very busy. This is merely meant to be food for thought.)