Thoughts on a big project

I’ve just finished one of the projects that drew me to Dorico in the first place. ‘Art’ work is no problem to accomplish in any program. Where Dorico shines on paper (for me) is the workflow to complete commercial stuff fast.
So…flows have been great and have cut a lot of the repetitive setup work needed in Finale, where I would never have considered doing this all in one file. Flow titles and tacets arrived at just the right time and have also been a big timesaver (and also bring the page count down by avoiding file breaks).
However, the project has ended up taking longer that it would have in Finale due to workflow issues making quick drum parts. Rhythmic notation and slashes are key for this and usually the rhythmic notation exists in another part for pasting. This is quick to make nice in F. but painful in Dorico.
Another problem has been that Dorico slowed to a crawl with so many flows - five seconds before each note appears, twenty minutes or more to add or remove a player from a flow or layout. I probably need a newer MacBook, but sixty tracks of 24/48 audio plus effects don’t slow Logic or DP up at all.
The last problem is that, compared to Finale, moving bars between systems, and selecting bars to cast in a particular way, is very slow.

If I had to do this project again tomorrow, it would be grudgingly done in Finale. I’m hoping there is more optimisation to come, and I probably should be in the market for a new laptop. Dorico’s flows, great copy/paste features (other than to drums), tacets, brilliantly easy ways to clean up rhythms, cool and quick ways to enter piano parts… all these easily make buying a new laptop worthwhile!

What are your laptop specs? Specifically processor cores…

Oh it’s old… Core 2 Duo 2.4ghz, 8gb RAM. I don’t have trouble running anything else, although I can’t really compare Dorico to F. or S. because I’m asking it to do way more in one file. Not sure why Dorico is slower than video or audio stuff. I use EWQLSO Gold live with MainStage…

Also, I’m not using Dorico for playback of scores.

I’m currently working on a project with about 20 flows and 150 pages of score.

The “5 seconds before each note appears” is about what I get if the system track is visible, but if not the response time is mostly (but not always) in the “why would you want it to be any quicker?” speed range. I found switching the system track on and off when required (Alt-T) is much quicker than leaving it on all the time.

View / Bar numbers in Page view slows it down a lot, as well.

I agree changing the flow structure is very slow - and Daniel has agreed, in several forum threads.

This is on a Windows desktop PC, I7 6-core processor, (or 12 virtual cores if you work in the marketing department!), 32 Gb memory - but only using 7 or 8 Gb when working on this project.

Thats a way better laptop than mine! I’ll investigate your suggestions. I use the system track a lot so have never switched it off. Same with bar numbers, although I’ve been mostly in galley view due to doublers.

Steve, certainly go quad-core with your next laptop. In my experience Dorico gets real bottlenecks on larger projects with a dual-core machine (my MacBook Pro specs are similar to yours). Believe it or not, Finale still only utilises ONE processor, regardless of what you’ve got available to it. As you’ve said, you wouldn’t try to throw multi-flow projects at Finale in quite the same way as many of us seem to in Dorico, and my understanding is that Dorico tries to calculate a lot more on the fly than Finale or Sibelius.

In addition to what Rob’s suggested, there’s also the possibility of a speed-increase by ensuring that only one layout is open (preferably a part layout containing one instrument), then saving the file, closing it and reopening it, before adding or removing flows/layouts/players.

The other thing is setting flows to start on new pages: if you have layouts where flows can start mid-way down a page then adding/deleting flows/instruments/players gives Dorico a lot to recalculate. Safer to worry about that layout side of things once you’ve finalised the actual music, though I occasionally find myself in situations where that simply isn’t possible.

If you’re already doing that then I apologise for repeating!

I just did a quick test on my project - enter 10 bars of quarter notes, then hit the R key 10 times as fast as possible and measure how long Dorico takes to catch up.

With the system track on, it was between 3 and 4 times slower than with it off. Not the most sophisticated benchmark, but it shows how much difference it makes!

We have done a lot of work to optimise the system track since its introduction in Dorico 2.0, but there is definitely more we can do.

Steve, could you elaborate on the issues you have with copy/paste of drums?

Stefan, he already has, in this thread.

Thanks for all your suggestions. I’ll try them all! I’m aware that in Finale (and other available apps…) I know the horrors back to front, so work around them without being aware that I’m using a workaround.

There is “exploit-a-bug” fast workaround for cues in drums. Here is how the “discoverer” explains it:

“I’m new to Dorico and to this forum, so I’m not sure if this has come up or could be helpful. The workaround I came up with for adding instrument cues to drum drum and percussion parts was to create a cue in a different instrumental part, cut it and then paste it into the drum part. I then selected rhythmic cue from the properties window and the cue appeared above the drum slashes. So, If I wanted a trumpet rhythm cue above my drum slash notation, I would create a temporary cue in the bass part, cut it (Cmd+X) and then paste it into the drums. It seems to work for getting instrumental cues into drum/percussion parts. Any changes to the source material also automatically updates in the cue as you’d expect. Seems like it’s a good solution for the OPs first problem.”

Dorico’s Note Entry can get sluggish in big projects: but you can just plough on regardless and wait for it to catch up. Product B also slows down in Simple Entry for large files (and don’t forget the 32,767 active frames limit). To say nothing of document scrolling, etc, etc.