Thoughts / ideas after using Dorico for a few weeks.

Hi all. I have been using Dorico for the last few weeks and have some observations, thoughts and ideas. Granted, I’ve read some of the manual, but not all. Please be kind if these issues have already been discussed at length - I’ve not had the time to search the forums. If they’ve already been covered at length, please ignore them. I offer these as someone who enjoys intuitive software. My hopes in expressing these are that Dorico only improves. It is already so fantastic and the way the team interacts with users is outstanding. Ok, here we go.

TEMPO

  • when scrolling to change the tempo, it is way too sensitive. It needs to be finer. I go about 2 centimeters down and have moved from 120bpm to 50. Hard to dial in small adjustments.
  • Double clicking on the tempo in the transport control should allow typing in an exact value.
  • Please add the ability to change the tempo by dragging DURING playback.

MIDDLE MOUSE BUTTON

  • middle mouse pan is not working while in note input mode.
  • middle mouse panning is not working in setup mode.
  • middle mouse pan stops working if user clicks on the system track with middle mouse button thinking they are panning around the score.
  • triple clicking middle mouse while panning puts you into note input mode. I feel the middle mouse button should only be for panning and nothing else.

GUI

  • in the write menu (after File, Edit, View), the menu is off center. It doesn’t begin under the work “write” and looks a little off compared to the rest.
  • Feature Request. Double click on green midi activity light to bring up midi preferences.
  • Request. Follow mode (like in cubase) that allows the music to play but the score doesn’t follow. This allows editing as soon as you hear something but the rest can keep playing. Very helpful.

BUGS

  • I keep losing midi connection. I have not been able to repeat the exact steps to reproduce. It’s something like…open dorico, open other DAW, turn halion off in dorico, go to other daw, play there for about 20 minutes, return to dorico, enter note input mode, midi is no longer responding (no green dot), no midi from keyboard when in note input.

INPUT

  • when inputting txt, it’s common people press enter when they are finished, however, this doesn’t exit the txt entry, it starts a new line. If Dorico could see an empty carriage return line break, perhaps it could not display the extra white space once the user clicks away from text input?
  • can 68 = 6/8, 44 = 4/4 etc when adding meter changes? saves a few seconds here and there.
  • can 5f = 5b = 5 flats. Seems intuitive to me.
  • Selecting 2 bars that each have a different meter, pressing r does not copy the meter changes. Is it assumed the user wants these mater changes copied across? I would say yes. Perhaps if selecting the whole bars, the meter changes are copied across, but if just the notes are selected, then the meter changes are not coped across. If 2 bars of music are selected, perhaps show the barlines and staff as orange to show that the whole bar has been selected and therefore, meter changes / everything will be copied as it is seen.
  • when you select a few bars that has music either side and change clefs, dorico should automatically return the previous clef after the selection, as by selecting only those bars implies a clef change only for those bars.
  • fingering/chord/lyric popup should auto select any text already present to allow fast editing.

PLAY

  • in play section, when expanding an instrument, there is only a tiny area where you have to click to expand. I think the entire division between instruments should be clickable to allow expanding or resizing.
  • the expanding is a little glitchy (graphically).
  • the arrow to expand at the moment seems very sensitive to where you click it. If you’re not quite on the arrow, it wont expand. The entire arrow box with the colour should allow expanding.
  • once expanded, there are tool tips for “enable independent playback…”, “Set for this flow” etc. But there is no tool tip for the keyboard icon (which brings up Halion).

OTHER THOUGHTS

  • Feature request. Ability to highlight certain bars / whole parts (like a highlighter on paper)

SLURS

  • When NOT in note input mode, adding articulations (staccato, marcato, accents etc) and removing them works as expected. However adding slurs works but removing them with the same command does not work. I suggest keeping this consistent.
  • When IN note input mode, turning slur off with shift S isn’t consistent with other arts. I find the current implementation confusing. There’s no way of knowing how many times I’ve pressed S and how many slurs will be added. Could the icon change to show how many slurs will be added on next note input? Or a number appear next to slur icon? It’s confusing.


    If some issues here are not clear, I will happily record a screencast of what I mean. I’m very interested in hearing from others what they think.

Peace,
Luke

I’m not going to reply to most of your comments which seem perfectly reasonable to me (but I don’t work for Steinberg so I don’t get to make the design decisions!) but here are a few remarks:

“in the write menu (after File, Edit, View), the menu is off center.” - so it is. Something must have changed in Dorico 3. it wasn’t off center in Dorico 2 (I just checked).

“- when scrolling to change the tempo, it is way too sensitive.” - try using the scroll bar on the whole panel instead. But the tempo panel could do with a complete rethink IMO, so I’m not disagreeing with you. Personally I never use the panel - I just type what I want in the T popover.

"can 68 = 6/8, 44 = 4/4 etc " - Well, some people want to create time signatures like 24/16, etc, so it’s hard to see exactly how this would work in general. Dorico can typeset time signatures with non-standard denominators, so it’s not obvious whether “216” would be supposed to mean “2/16” or “21/6”. You can also do more complicated things in the time signature popover than just entering 4/4 or 6/8, for example setting the default beam groups, defining time signatures that alternate on successive bars, etc - see the documentation!

“can 5f = 5b = 5 flats. Seems intuitive to me.” - it already does, at least in the English version. You don’t say what language and/or keyboard layout you are using - it might not work the same way in a different language.

“when you select a few bars that has music either side and change clefs, Dorico should automatically return the previous clef after the selection, as by selecting only those bars implies a clef change only for those bars.” - I think the problem is, “how long should be selection be before this kicks in?” For example If you select just one note and add a clef, most of the time you don’t want to immediately change it back again.

“fingering/chord/lyric popup should auto select any text already present to allow fast editing” - they already do, for me (and so do dynamics, tempo, time signatures, etc). For most things (but not fingering) don’t press Q, T, D, X, etc to bring up the pop-up, just double-click on what you want to edit. Fingering doesn’t work like that, because fingerings are actually properties of the notes they apply to, not independent items. You have to select the note and then press F.

Note: the midi disconnect bug should be fixed in the next update.

I agree on many of your points! Also a point made in another thread about not using orange for voice colors, since that’s the select color.

My preference would be for Enter to close the text popover, and Shift-Enter to add a line break.

As long as both numerator and denominator of a time signature are single-digit (which is very often), things like 68 or 44 are not ambiguous. I like the proposal.
Many interesting suggestions, Luke.

+1 for Dan’s suggestion.

Can you attach a picture to show me what you mean? I can’t work out whether you mean horizontally, or vertically, or what? Depending on your screen resolution, you may find that the Write menu now opens up to the right of the highlighted menu name and slightly above the menu bar, because it’s just too long to fit below the menu title (and it’s got more items in it than it had in Dorico 2), but aside from that I’m not sure what you could mean. (And yes, I’m looking at Windows.)

Here you go. It’s to the right of the “write” label, and raised slightly as well. Screen resolution 1920 x 1080, Dorico window is the full screen.

You are right Daniel, the menu has to be raised a bit to fit all the items on the screen.

For the other shorter menus, the top left corner of the menu aligns with the bottom left corner of the “title” (file, edit, view, etc).

That’s true, but if 68 is valid, you might be led to expect things like 2+3+28 should also be valid. It is unambiguous by the same rule, but it’s not very intuitive what it means. And if 2+3+28 is valid, what about 24 + 38 and 24+38 (with and without spaces round the +)?

I think there’s an argument for “keep it simple”, since you are only saving one keypress for the /.

I wholeheartedly agree with Rob on this one. I say keep the forward slash to avoid confusion.

–L3B

If I recall correctly, the de facto standard key combination (as in most other programs) is Alt-Enter for line breaks where Enter would otherwise induce an action. And on the other hand, in some programs (such as email) Cmd/Ctrl-Enter is a shortcut to induce an action (e. g. send the email) where a simple press of the Return key would just add a line feed. Either of those could be applicable to the text popover.

This is all as I would expect. Though perhaps we need to think about putting some of these items in a sub-menu or moving them to another menu altogether relatively soon.

No, I’m pretty sure Shift-Enter is the norm.

Yes! I would love to see this too!

I guess it depends what other software you are used to, but I often make the mistake of trying to use ESC to exit from other popovers, where of course it just cancels the operation.

IMO the real issue is the inconsistency between the text popover and the others, not what the “consistent behaviour” should be.

Another user interface thought:

In the bottom properties panel, if you change away from default on a property, first you click the button to turn it on. Then you can change the property. How about if you click on a field it automatically turns on that property?

In the example below, if I click on the field next to “Scale”, then it’d be nice to have Scale turned on. Saves a step.
Properties.png

There have been several long threads about this over the years. The short summary is “this isn’t a fight you are likely to win”.

Here is one of the old threads with Daniel’s explanation for the way it is: https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=246&t=121736#p814083 (read the whole thread, not just the post I selected).

Is it possible to give more details on the current status of this issue and the fix? For the first time today after using Dorico around 6 weeks, the MIDI input stopped twice while working using my Yamaha digital piano. That is that I can play notes which are echoed correctly but there’s no response when trying to input notes through step input and no green light. Restarting Dorico fixed on both occasions.

The bug has been found and fixed in advance of the next release.

I believe Daniel (or was it Paul?) has said the fix for this issue is in the next update, due around the end of December.