The Only Unicorn (or the last?)

With every update of Dorico I have more and more the feeling to belong to a very special species (perhaps a unicorn?). Obviously I find myself in a world of musicians where weird lines and basso continuo are much more important than my apparently rather exotic needs. Therefore I will describe my everyday life as a musician and teacher, as exotic as it is.
One field of work is, that I transcribe modern songs and arrange them as choral or band arrangements. I would also like to make these arrangements available to my choirs/bands for viewing and listening (as MP3 files; or as online scores). When I want to do this work in Dorico, I have problems in three areas.
Firstly, the transcription and synchronisation of songs to music notation, for which Dorico still reveals great weaknesses, is still very complicated to use.
Secondly, the layout of songs still requires a lot of additional work in the Engrave window, which in my opinion is far from reaching Dorico’s usual standard.
Thirdly, I won’t even talk about it here, because the Dorico team hasn’t even thought about an online sheet music player (like Scorch for Sibelius), which I can live with. But points 1 and 2 are slowly becoming a problem for me and reduce my joy in this good program.
Point 1)
The integration of audio files is not possible at all, because first I have to convert my audio file to a video and only then I can import the song. Dorico doesn’t seem worthy of this, but I hope that this will be fixed soon. But that such a complicated fiddling with markers has to be done during the synchronization, I don’t understand in the least. Other programs do a better job (Noteflight cf. https://support.noteflight.com/hc/en-us/articles/360020579152-Sync-Scores-with-YouTube-or-Soundcloud, Soundslice cf.https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=133&v=PAN9p6-_AxM&feature=emb_logo). Here Dorico is below average and rubato passages like in the Soundslice video are a nightmare. Now all Dorico believers will scream that I should use these other notation programs after all, but I’m already making this detour by creating a first lead sheet in Logic and importing it via midi into Dorico. This first point is a missed opportunity and scares away all who make transcriptions.
I have already written a thread for it (Audio or Video synchronizing cf. https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=246&t=166657). So I just wait and see.
Point 2)
But at the second point I notice how my patience is getting a bit thin. There are so many little things that make my job as a composer/arranger or transcriber quite difficult and I have to put up with elaborate work-arounds.
The following list is not complete and for me is sorted by urgency. For example, the positioning and alignment of system text or of text in general turns out to be a big labor-intensive job, that has to be done in each and every part separately.

I already hear certain power users saying that all these problems can be solved (by workarounds). But by now I’m used to the high level of Dorico and this unnecessary extra work I have to do to write notations according to more modern standards is just baffling considering the level of Dorico.

I am just commenting, that all the basso continuo people were waiting for Dorico 3.5 to even have the functionality, while for example chord symbols are existing since Dorico 1.X.
(as did the needs of contemporary music composers. Before V3, there were no lines at all)

Not everything can be implemented simultaneously, and the team is listening closely. We all need to be patient sometimes.

This was really not meant as an insult to basso continuo people. But I think that prioritization should also be a little bit in line with the need. Maybe you’ll agree with me that naming sections (verse, chorus, etc.) or the vertical and horizontal alignment of text is more important to the majority of us users than any frizzy lines. But as I say in the title perhaps I am the last and only unicorn…

And besides I waited patiently for this almost four years now … and the patience is wearing out bit for bit …

I didn’t take it as an insult, I just wanted to remind you that there are different use cases for Dorico. I don’t need the naming of sections, I don’t do lead sheets at all. I certainly do contemporary music and the lines are heaven for me!

I am sure, that there are a lot of people with your needs, too. Just not all of them :wink:
It’s also not a majority vote always, as then, all the other people would need until Dorico 8 or so, to even get features like microtonality.
Well, there was a similar thread here about these things (“What’s Dorico’s User Base?”), so I’ll stop it here and don’t take away focus off your issues/requests :slight_smile:

OK, that’s a deal and besides I’m happy for you in terms of lines and basso continuo … perhaps I should change my field of work and my musical focus! :laughing:

You aren’t a unicorn. The things you mention affect me for the same reasons, although I don’t believe I have found the need to do as much editing as you do. I would add to your list:

  • The ability to parenthesize a phrase, not just a single note
  • The ability to parenthesize chords and control whether they play back or not
  • The ability to have multiple chords (alternate optional chords) at any rhythmic position and specify if an alternate chord should take precedence in the playback

I hear you about not being able to have audio tracks (MP3 files). Personally I use Transcribe, and I have recently started using a stenographer’s foot pedal which works dandy with Transcribe. I’m satisfied with that solution, but if I could have that track in Dorico proper, especially if Dorico supported that foot pedal, that would be even better.

Thanks for the feedback, Jürg.

Dorico already has support for tempo equations, though perhaps it’s missing something specific that you need. It is also possible to show a double barline at the end of the system when a start repeat is at the beginning of the following system, though as discussed in another recent thread, currently only on a global basis in Engraving Options.

We do plan to support transcription workflows directly in Dorico, and we have plans in that area, but they are not currently top of our priority list: as with everything we plan to add to Dorico, we want to take the time to do this properly, and adding tools for transcription would include things like attaching audio, allowing time-stretching, potentially utilising technology from Cubase for beat, tempo and chord detection, and so on. And while I know this would be welcomed by you and many other users, just as many would complain if we were to add this before their own favourite pet features. Such is our lot.

And perhaps it bears saying that although we try to be very open and transparent with our customers, you can’t possibly know what we have and haven’t thought about. Just because we haven’t talked about something publicly certainly doesn’t mean that we haven’t thought about it or have plans in those areas.

We cannot possibly prioritise our development work on Dorico in a way that will please all users. We try our best to address many different kinds of users with each release. In this last release we added major new features for people working in early music, people working with sample libraries, people working with contemporary “art music” notation (for want of a better term), people working in rock/pop/blues idioms for guitar and other fretted instruments, people working in education working on teaching materials, and on, and on, and on. We will try to be similarly broad in our approach for future versions.

All I can say is that we hear your requests, we know there are features needed in all of these areas and hundreds or thousands more besides, and we are doing our best to build Dorico with no half-baked features, with dedication to building features that are superior to the alternative solutions, and in a way that achieves the broadest possible appeal to our target users. Despite the incredible pace of development that the team is able to achieve, there is nevertheless only so much we can do in a single release.

Good morning Daniel
It’s nice to be heard so quickly and for that a big thank you in advance. I am really happy that my field of work, namely transcribing, is on your agenda and will be possible in Dorico on day. The point with the tempo equitations was my mistake, because I copied from an old wishlist, but I need the Swing indication almost daily. I also know that the problem with the double bar and the repeat signs can be solved globally. But since in my kind of music the double bar serves as a sign to indicate sections, this must for sure not be the case with every repetition sign. But these are actually peanuts, that’s why I have prioritized my list. Because especially the section names and the positioning of text create by far the most work in my arrangements. While manually nudging text in Engrave mode, I think back longingly to Sibelius, because the positioning of system text on the left side of the page, for example, was a breeze there. When working with text, I would really like Dorico to support me better. I’m also aware that you’re overwhelmed by wishes and sometimes very specific wishes. But in my opinion, the positioning of (system) text belongs to a very fundamental category that would be important for all users. Unfortunately you don’t say anything about this. But anyhow thanks again.

Off the subject but on the thread… have you tried https://www.decoda.app/ ?
I’ve been playing and it’s pretty useful.

Count me super interested in transcription functionality.

I don’t need (or even want) sophisticated melody / chord / whatever detection. If I could import some audio and set bars / beat markers, scrub through while I enter into the score… that would be amazing

Off the subject but on the thread… have you tried > https://www.decoda.app/ > ?

Thanks Steve for the Decoda tip! I myself have been using Anytune or Amazing Slow Downer for quite some time and don’t need a new tool for transcribing. I think the apps are all quite similar, but Decoda takes a different, exciting approach.
Since my ears have been trained over the years, I am usually faster and more accurate than any given app anyway.

But my wish is similar to pat_'s, I don’t need melody or chord recognition either, but the exact synchronisation to an audio file by fast (even manual) setting of bars and markers would be heaven. These are exactly the strengths of the two notation programs mentioned above (Noteflight & Soundslice). There are very simple videos too, explaining the synchronization.
So if Dorico manages the synchronization at least as well as the programs mentioned above, it would be an absolute favorite for me (and all other users in this workfield). A real game changer :exclamation:

I have been working for many orchestral transcriptions from soundtracks for symphonic orchestra and concert band.

Transcribe is a very great tool for slowing down, looping, transposing or marking music. You can mark music into sections, measures and beats.
I use it with Dorico on a second screen.
It’s possible to set global shortcuts with allow to interract without switching beetween apps.

I strongly recommand this software to anyone working on transcription projets.

https://www.seventhstring.com/xscribe/overview.html

I use it too, but control Transcribe with MIDI foot pedals so I never have to switch programs. I just always leave Dorico in the foreground.

Sounds like a lovely pet project for someone to get stuck in to… :wink: will be looking out for it (in Elements)… :slight_smile:

(my use of Dorico is very low-level - I’m mostly a Cubase kind of guy… :wink: )

After working on a large arrangement with a large amount of transcription in Dorico, I am very pleased with the performance of Dorico as an arranger, but as a transcriber, unfortunately, it took me hours to complete the simplest of tasks.

  • The first step, as you know, is to convert audio files into a readable video file.
  • Setting pinpoint markers is doable but still very cumbersome, and it all has to be done by ear. With 27 markers in my arrangement, this easily takes half an hour.
  • Even more time-consuming is the synchronization of the tempo by adjustment in the play mode and the “find tempo” works with hardly any recording (https://youtu.be/ZzehGY6AsYM?t=596) Until an audio file runs more or less synchronized I work about 2 hours. The tools offered by Dorico are not really helpful. At the moment everything is feasible, but on a very rudimentary level. Since in this topic at the end there was only talk about usable transcription tools, I would like to show here again, how the same task can be done with Soundslice in 10 minutes at the most. This software is so elegantly programmed, that it almost brings tears to my eyes. How it works can be seen very well in this YouTube video. Of course, many will now say that I can do this task right away with Soundslice, but my wish is that in the long run, I could only work with one program namely Dorico. I have read that Dorico will offer transcription tools in the future. But it is also about the mindset. So hopefully the Dorico programmers do have such nice solutions like Soundslice in mind, because the current functionality is rather embarrassing in comparison and needs at least 10 times more time.

Jurg. Your posts worry me. “Transcription” of online materials almost always infringes someone’s copyright. This is NOT something to be encouraged.

Noteflight (like Sheet Music Direct) shelters under the Hal Leonard corporate umbrella, since it owns the rights to so much content, and Noteflight is just another mechanism for them to monetise their catalogue.

I don’t think the Dorico team should be expending effort on tools likely to promote illegal activities - however technically ‘clever’, or convenient for you, they may be.

Aside from Janus’s point, Jurg, you seem to be grumbling about functionality that’s really not intended for your use case. The video side of Dorico is there for scoring to video, not for transcribing what’s in that video.

I’m not quite sure why you’ve changed your tune from last June, where you listed a load of transcription tools that you already have and are already happy with.

This would be like me moaning about SoundSlice’s sheet music output on the printed page. I hate the fact that work that I’ve lovingly constructed in Dorico gets XMLd to SoundSlice in order that it can be viewed on students’ iPhones (or whatever), because relative to Dorico’s output it looks amateurish. That’s not the point of SoundSlice’s functionality, which (in this case) is to produce sheet music that can be played back on a phone, both via MIDI and as sheet music that scales and casts off according to the size of the screen. This, of course, is not Dorico’s priority (at least not at the moment), and even if I were to prepare various different layouts of the same music at different sizes, there’s other functionality from SoundSlice that I wouldn’t be able to replicate. If I want printed dots, I’ll take the output straight from Dorico.

Dorico isn’t yet the right tool for this job. You’ve already said what you’d like from it in future, and the development team has already said they have plans in this area. In the meantime, use the right tools for the job.

1 Like

Apparently I can not be clear enough, because I did not write about YouTube videos. I have transcribed and arranged an order of a musician friend nota bene against payment and under protection of all rights. I don’t want to break copyright rights with Dorico either, but it should be possible to simply sync videos or audio files and that was my request. Soundslice can also handle your own videos or audios, they don’t have to be online. Somehow my wishes are often led to some side track.

My point is quite simple, as I just wrote to Janus. I work in a wide musical field, ranging from arrangements to compositions to transcriptions but the goal always remains high quality notation. For this I currently have to use and unfortunately pay for at least 6 different programs (Dorico, Sibelius, Guitar Pro, Soundslice, Logic, Anytune and others). But it is not only about the financial aspect, but about the export and import from all these programs. For me it would be a dream if I could do the work in only one program (and Dorico is making big steps). And I still claim the synchronizing of video or audio is a big weakness of Dorico and can be done much better by an amateur program (not quite correctly quoted, sorry) like Soundslice obviously. I just wanted to give the team a hint in which direction they could think in terms of simplicity and ease of use and since this video from Soundslice is brand new, I wanted to bring it to the attention of the Dorico team so that my wish becomes clear and possible ways are pointed out.
And by the way, the transcription of music is such a big, professional field of work in the music business that it would be a pity if Dorico were not involved in it, as long as the copyright is guaranteed, which is entirely in my interest as a composer.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting that SoundSlice is amateurish, only that it (along with each other program on your list) has strengths and weaknesses. Its primary focus isn’t beautiful notation, though it aims at clear notation (and does that pretty well).

I guess I disagree with your assertion that Dorico’s “weak” for transcription. That functionality is non-existent.
If you’ll permit another analogy: my friend’s Tesla has AutoPilot. My Volkswagen has adaptive cruise control, but nothing fancier. If I get on the road and set the cruise, the car will keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead. If the road bends and I don’t steer, the car will drive into a wall/bank/central reservation. It’s not that my car’s Autopilot functionality is weak, it’s that that functionality doesn’t exist.

At some point, Volkswagen will surely roll out self-driving capabilities (though not to my shabby Golf). In the meantime, I either have to save for a Tesla or keep my hands on the wheel and my eyes on the road.