What exactly is a "system"?

I appreciate that being given information you already know often isn’t an enjoyable experience (I know it well too) but as this thread demonstrates, we can never know what others do and don’t know. There possibly are places where explanations can be scaled back (and if that specific place ever comes back to you, do let me know!), but I like the idea that there shouldn’t be a “minimum” knowledge/experience requirement to use Dorico, and that terms used within the manual aren’t restrictive or force people to do too much outside research.

We already have a glossary, which is a useful place to confirm succinctly what terms/things are, and I imagine this will fit well there. That said, when using the online webhelp and navigating using search results, the location of information within the manual structure perhaps is less important than it existing at least “somewhere”.

I used to lead a team in software documentation: it’s an tough job. Doubly so here in that music notation is inherently difficult and ultimately you just have to Walk The Path yourself, while leaning on the docs. We’re lucky to have Lillie and team here to help us fill in the gaps.

And David, I agree I grew up listening and reading Dvorak (and Stravinsky!) but alto clef in the Trombones? Hurts my eyes :smiley:

How do you manage to read viola parts, then? And I dont advise you to even glance at bar 2 in the bassoons – it might detach your retina!


I’m not biased against the clef, just for the trombone, though admittedly it’s one of the designated clefs for the instrument. Old habits from that score reading as a kid, I can’t stand a non transposed score, it just looks wrong :open_mouth:

If you get confused with C clefs, just practice reading a few vocal scores with clefs like these.

(Also, F and G clefs weren’t always on the same line as the modern ones, back in the day.)

RedtideMusic, as a trombone player, I have to comment to this. It seems like you are not used to reading 19th century orchestral scores. It is a long tradition to write for alto, tenor and bass trombone in alto, tenor and bass clef. Even when trombone players started to use a tenor trombone for the first part, composers still wrote in three different clefs. And because scores often condense the 3 trombones into two staves, engravers had to decide, which clefs to use. In scores from Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Dvorak and others, you can find trombone 1+2 on one staff using the alto clef and trombone 3 on another staff using the bass clef. In scores from e.g. Beethoven, Bruckner and Tchaikovsky you can find the first two trombones using the tenor clef and the bass trombone (sometimes combined with the tuba) using the bass clef. In Berlioz “Symphonie fantastique” you can find the first trombone (“Alto”) using a tenor clef and trombones 2 and 3 (“tenors”) on a bass clef staff. But different publishers also made other decisions for the same piece.
Btw., a clef change is not a transposition. In orchestral writing trombones are always written in concert pitch. (Probably someone will now come up with an exception to this rule …) You can find transposing trombone parts e.g. in brass band music.

I remember encountering a work with the following traditional clef structure as a chorister, age nine or ten. It was a very exotic experience.

Slice 1.png
Our choirmaster sight read the piece from the score, although one of our tenors eventually transcribed it into modern clefs with a reduction for any assistant choirmaster less adept.

The post was an attempt to be tongue in cheek and it blew up on me :slight_smile:

Derrek or anybody - what are the clef shortcuts in the popover for the less frequently used ones?

See the first page of the popovers documentation.

RTFM! Perfect, I’ve been looking for exactly this - printing now and I’ll even laminate it …