Unmeasured tremolos don't playback as expected in Dorico 5.1

The playback of unmeasured tremolos using NotePerformer is not working as expected in Dorico 5.1. According to an old post, the speed varies with the tempo when using NotePerformer, and the workaround was to lower the default unmeasured tremolo length in the Playback Options. This worked in the previous version of Dorico, but not in Dorico 5.1. It makes no difference whether I change it to 1/5 or 1/16, the following tremolo is always performed as a measured one (i.e. producing 8 notes per measure).


Please cut down your project to the affected passage shown in the picture you’ve posted, and attach it here. We can’t investigate pictures, I’m afraid: we need the project to be able to look into a reported problem.

Hi Daniel, you’re absolutely right. Here it is.

Act I (excerpt).dorico (1.9 MB)

I’d like to add one more thing. The problem only appears when there is a change in tempo, whether immediate or gradual, and is not limited to percussion, of course. Passages with a fixed tempo sound good.

I have found a similar problem in 4.3, so following this thread!

If you’re on 4.3 then you should be able to resolve this by going to Playback Options and reducing the “default unmeasured tremolo length” value to 1/5 (0.2), which worked for me. The minimum possible value is 1/16 (0.0625), but 1/5 was enough for me. The problem in 5.1 is different because it only occurs when there are tempo changes in the passage. Otherwise, the tremolo sounds good whether the tempo is slow or fast.

I hoped this would be resolved in the next update, but I just updated and the problem is still there. Any chance of it being resolved in the near future? It’s frankly very annoying. And I must insist that it was not present in Dorico 5.0. I have that version on my laptop and the tremolos play fine with NotePerformer, with or without tempo changes. I’ve decided not to upgrade that computer until it’s resolved because then at least I can have a way to export audio without this annoying bug.

are you really sure this was working in 5.0? I can’t test this at the moment but NotePerformer since v4 at any rate has had issues with both tremolos and trills under gradual tempo changes – particularly two note tremolos which is admittedly not what you’ve demonstrated here (and I can easily reproduce what you’ve done). I’ve always seen this an an NP issue, not a Dorico one but if it’s really working with 5.0 then obviously there’s something else going on here. And this is not just in native NP but is also an issue with NPPE libraries, despite the fact that they at least actually use a tremolo patch.

At any rate, you can try to work round it by writing out fast repeated notes on a hidden staff in native NP at any rate as it doesn’t have a specific tremolo patch and, unlike with sampled libraries, it’s simply emulated.

Absolutely! Attached is a Dorico file with a snare drum tremolo that has an accelerando on top. I also attach two MP3s, one produced in Dorico 5.0.20 and the other in Dorico 5.1.10; both use NotePerformer 4.0.0. You can see that on Dorico 5.0.20 the tremolo is smooth, while on Dorico 5.1.10 it is not. And just to be sure, I rolled back to version 5.0.20 on my desktop to see if the problem went away, and it did. In fact, I’m going to keep that version. This error is very annoying to me. It affects several projects, so I won’t update or upgrade until it’s fixed.
Regarding the solution you propose, I don’t see how it can be done. First, I don’t think it’s possible to hide an instrument from the score that also needs to be played. But if it can be done, I just don’t want to do that kind of thing. That’s precisely why I switched to Dorico from Sibelius in the first place, so I wouldn’t have to resort to tedious workarounds for problems that developers don’t want to address. I’m not saying that’s the case here. Steinberg is not AVID and I have faith in the Dorico team. Perhaps this bug is difficult to fix at this time. So for now, I’ll use 5.0.20 and wait patiently until it’s fixed.
Tremolo Bug.dorico (491.6 KB)

Yes, manual staff visibility at any System or Frame break.

You’re right. I forgot that’s possible. Still, the solution has several problems.
I know you just jumped into the thread to point out that I was wrong in saying that certain instruments can’t be hidden, so you don’t need to continue reading unless you want to. I simply think it’s good to clarify, for anyone following this thread, why I find that solution to be inadequate (without this being understood as a disparagement of David’s suggestion).
Suppose I have a piece for ten instruments, in which everyone plays an unmeasured tremolo in one bar, and that in that bar there is a tempo change. Then, for that to work in 5.1.10, I would have to duplicate all the instruments, then rename the duplicates (to avoid the numbering system) and hide them.
But the problem doesn’t end there. To replicate the tremolo sound, I’d have to type in values that correspond to 0.1 seconds (because that’s the NotePerformer setting: 1/5 of a quarter note at 120 BMP). Therefore, I would have to calculate the correct duration. Ok, it’s just a bit of math, but I would end up with a bar that takes up half the screen in galley view (horrible, but not impossible to accept) and then, if the tremolo covers more than one bar, I would also have to adjust note velocities to avoid accents at the beginning of the next bar. All this is possible, but frankly it’s very daunting. And now imagine that the piece has several of these tremolos. By the way, this may seem like an extreme example, but in fact, I just transcribed an orchestral piece that has tremolos everywhere and one of them has a tempo change (which I had to hide from playback so as not to frown every time I play the music).
Finally, doing all of the above for something that wasn’t a problem last year doesn’t make any sense. It’s not that Dorico had never been able to play unmeasured tremolos with NotePerformer; it did it until version 5.0.20. For me, it’s much better to just roll back, since I don’t use any of the latest features anyway. They are all very nice, but I just don’t need them (at least for the moment).

Well I hope someone from the team will pick up on this. I wasn’t really aware of this change from earlier versions of Dorico 5 but can certainly confirm and it’s going to be an issue for me as I use NPPE for many orchestral works these days.

Incidentally, my suggestion for a hidden staff was to create an extra staff for playback (right click for context menu–> staff–> add staff below) and use this to write out the notes of the tremolo in full. The visible score staff then has playback disabled and after creating the extra staff, you then choose “remove staff” from the same menu which removes the display of it but not the actual playback. Check the manual if you’re not familiar with this technique. I use this all the time for when notation and playback don’t correspond for whatever reason (trills, tremolos and ornaments are typical examples of where problems can arise)

I’m sure they are already aware, as Daniel was the first to respond to my post. Maybe my report on this bug came too late for it to be included in the recent update.
The technique you mention is very interesting. I think at some point I added a staff to an instrument in a score, wrote something down, and removed it thinking it would go away, only to find that the music was still playing. I thought it was just a nuisance. It never occurred to me that it could be used to do the things you mention. Surely, that solves the problem of having to add more instruments, but the rest of the procedure is still very daunting for me, especially since I use tremolos quite frequently in my music, while mordents and turns almost never appear (in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever used them in my life, except for transcriptions).
Frankly, I’d rather stay on 5.0.20. If this worked before, why couldn’t it work again? Unless the team says they won’t be able to get this functionality back for a long time. Then I would have to consider your proposal. But for now I prefer to wait for what they say and stay on 5.0.20. Thanks anyway for your suggestion. It’s very good indeed.

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