I have been writing scores on computer for more than 30 years. Back from Steinberg Pro, C-Lab Notator, Cubase, Finale, Sibelius and now Dorico.
I’m now in charge for a musical department in a publishing house and we consider a new master template. Dorico is interesting for us because it allows for several pieces of music - flows - in a common format, graphic and data wise.
In some of our musicals there are more than 50 small pieces of music, and the Dorico concept is really a major progress comparing to “the others”. Furthermore is the staff behind Dorico really competent, support are great and the progress in the development is awesome. But - because there are some “buts” Dorico is lacking some major features that leads us to wonder IF and WHEN they will be implemented. For many of these features there are workarounds, most of them will have great influence on the working hours put into each score though:
This is far from complete, but to me this is of major importance:
- MIDI record - to me and many others it’s MUCH faster to input a drum pattern or a reed part by playing, than using the keyboard. And it lets you kind of “improvise” ex. a piano arrangement.
- Text editor that let’s you edit lyrics really fast, with all the modern facilities known from Word.
- Export/Import of layout templates.
- Extensive keyboard shortcuts, that lets you use ex. Metagrid. Right now there are NO shortcut to toggle the chord symbols property “hidden”!
Then there are the new improvements: Chord symbols and percussion notation, really impressive, but not finished, because chord symbols can only be turned on or off for players, so imagine a musical with 30 flows, a reed player playing 4 instruments, with occasional solos, where chord symbols will be needed. Turn them on for the player, and you will have to select ALL the chord symbols for 4 instruments in 30 flows - also in the bars where they are NOT playing - you don’t need and hide them manually, that takes forever! And who would need chord symbols in passages where you are NOT playing? And if you have a drummer in the band she’s the only one who not knows what the singer are singing, because you can’t create cues in percussion staffs! Was the release a little premature?
But I haven’t mentioned the worse part. If you think that you can have 30 flows in one project, you might want to think twice. Already after 8 flows I experience lagging switching between the different modes Setup, Write, Engrave and this is on a Mac Pro 6.1 3ghz 8 core with 64 gb ram and all SSD.
The time Dorico uses to engage the write mode are significant worse in a project with around 20 flows, like this short video shows. I have tried to time how long time Dorico uses from the return key is pressed to the caret appears, by showing when the keys are pressed.
Watch this: 0 - 12 sec, a project with1 flow, reaction time quite okay.
from 13 sec - out, a project with 24 flow, reaction time almost 1 sec, from the key is pressed to you will be able to input notes.
You can argue that it’s a minor problem, but it’s actually a major problem when you are going to use Dorico professionally.
What I need is an assurance that the above mentioned features WILL be implemented, and the issues when having many flows in one project will be fixed.
And this doesn’t change my admiration for Daniel Spreadbury and the team behind Dorico in general, but I have to consider my responsibilities in my job.