User-friendly requests

Thanks for the update. Many things in my previous post were taken care of!

There are a few things I’d like to see to make Dorico more user friendly. These are in no particular order…

Allow us to change the option-key commands for moving note up/down - The alt key is very easy to reach on a windows keyboard as it’s right next to the space bar, but it’s very uncomfortable for a mac user, especially if you’re not using the full-size apple keyboard. Please allow us to change this key command to just plain up or down without pressing the alt key. This will also bring Dorico in line with all those Sibelius converts you’re going to get. (if there is an option to do this please tell me, I couldn’t find it in the key commands.)

Deleting a bar - I’m glad you can select all the notes in a bar now by clicking in the bar, but you still can’t select the actual bar and thus deleting a bar is confusing and counter-intuitive. In my last post Daniel commented that they are working on a tool to delete bars, but adding another tool doesn’t seem necessary. Just allow us to click on a bar and press delete (or command+delete) like all of the other notation programs.

Instrument Switching - As far as I can tell, the only way to have a player switch instruments mid-song is through the gallery view. I arrange for a lot of marching bands and this is going to be very problematic with 5 players in the front ensemble and each one playing 10 instruments throughout a song. That’s going to be 50 staves for just the front ensemble plus the drumline and band… Please implement a way to do this in page view.

Printing Scores - I can set a default page size and orientation in Setup mode for each part, but those don’t carry over to print mode and I can’t set a default in print mode either. So every time I make a new score, I have to manually change all the instruments in print mode to get them to the right paper size. At least I can shift click and change them all at the same time, but it’s still a waste of time to have to do this every single time I make a score. Either having setup mode “talk” to print mode or allowing us to set a default print mode would save time.

The Mixer - Thanks for adding instrument names to the mixer! However the Inserts, EQ, and sends is an absolute confusing mess. This could use a redesign.

The Rhythm Panel - We talked about this briefly before, I don’t think having two vertical columns makes sense when you’re selecting notes with the horizontal number keys. Daniel mentioned that the keys are easy to memorize, while that may be true if someone uses them everyday the weekly user isn’t going to memorize that very easily. Besides that, these keys are massively uncomfortable to reach. The most inputted note values are whole, half, quarter, eighth, and 16th notes. These are numbers 4-8 on the number keys. In this position, your right hand needs to be ON TOP of your left hand which is operating notes A-G. This is very uncomfortable and 99% of people will use a mouse instead of doing this.

There are a couple options to make rhythm selection more user-friendly…

  1. Put the rhythm panel to be on the right since the mouse is on the right. This will help mouse users
  2. Change the keyboard shortcuts to H,J,K,L,: for 16th through whole note values. The right hand sits there anyways and it makes sense when you think about it because most of what we do in notation is input pitch and rhythm. Being able to do both of these things without your hands leaving their natural position on the keyboard makes sense. The hands will be able to sit on the desk instead of hovering in the air the whole time.
  3. Change the rhythm panel to be horizontal instead of vertical. Then it would match the number keys.
  4. Show a small badge next to each icon of rhythm with the hotkey so the casual user knows which number to press on the keyboard to get the right division.
  5. Have the option of the sibelius keypad layout. Many people are used to this and have bought usb/bluetooth num-pads to input rhythm this way. I realize that you can use the numpad now, however it’s always more user friendly if the layout of the keys match what you’re seeing visually on the screen.

Thanks for your suggestions. We do plan to make it possible to edit all of the key commands in due course, but some of them are trickier than others due to the way our internal command system works; we had hoped to get the pitch up/down commands handled by the time of the 1.0.10 release, but we didn’t manage to. We’ll try again for the next update.

Selecting “the bar” and hitting Delete to delete the whole bar isn’t really meaningful in Dorico, firstly because the program doesn’t really think in bars, and secondly because you can already click in a bar to select everything in it, so we need a means of differentiating between deleting the contents of the bar and deleting the bar itself. We have a plan for this, it’s just a matter of having the time to implement it.

I don’t know what in particular you find confusing about the inserts, EQ, and sends in the Mixer. They may not be as beautiful as they are in e.g. Cubase but the basic setup is the same, so perhaps you could provide slightly more feedback about what you specifically find confusing.

I have two Macs, one with a full-sized keyboard (with numberpad) and the other on a laptop (without the numberpad). Both of these keyboards have two Command keys and two Alt keys, so I can reach the Alt-arrow key combination easily with one hand, as well as all commands requiring the Cmd key. Is this different for you?

One quibble about your rhythm panel suggestion: left-handed people often keep the mouse on the left side of the keyboard, so moving the rhythm panel wouldn’t necessarily help them. But your rhythm keyboard shortcut suggestions are neat - have you changed them for yourself under Preferences? If you could let us know how they work for you, I’d be interested. For me it’s not a problem to use 4-8 for rhythms - I’m mostly using keyboard shortcuts for the left panel, and mousing over for the right panel. I get the feeling the developers thought hard about these default keyboard shortcuts, and I’m inclined to try it their way, at least for awhile, even though unlearning the old way does hurt my brain occasionally.

I like the number keys for rhythm input and I got used to Dorico’s commands fairly quickly, although I discovered that when I changed them to the Finale defaults, my input speed increased significantly. I would definitely not like regular keys for this, as I always have one hand on a MIDI keyboard entering notes and never have both hands on the computer keyboard until note entry is finished. I’d suggested this in another thread, but it would be handy for us to be able to save different defaults, also for things like staff size, options and layout, which we could call up when needed.