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Dorico 3.5

Discussion in 'Notation' started by Paul Poole, May 20, 2020.

  1. Announced today (May 20, 2020):

  2. I had had Sibelius for all of three days when I did the printed score for The Race in it. I had to Google things a handful of times, but otherwise it was the fastest most synergistic experience I've had with notation software. Last month I bought Dorico for the first time and I'm so irritated with it I can't bring myself to learn it. The idea that I can't just enter a rest and move on or enter a note and move on is infuriating. I don't need my software to tell me where the beam groups are and how to tie note values. I have very specific desires for those. It sounds like that may be mitigated just slightly in this new update but I'm really not sure.
  3. I gave the trial version a spin a couple years ago and didn't get very far. Opening up a file to see just one bar on it is disconcerting. Shouldn't have to do anything else to get a few pages of empty bars. I still don't know what a "Flow" is, and don't want to be bothered with abstract concepts when concrete ones will work just fine. And having to switch modes for some things is counterintuitive. They unnecessarily complicated some things. I think they might have tried too hard to distinguish it from Sibelius. They should have just kept the parts about Sibelius that were good and discarded everything else.

    I still think they might pummel Sibelius, and I hope that they do. The parts of the program that are better than the alternatives are very good. The 4.0 version, set for about a year from now, might be the one that turns the corner in that regard.
  4. I think they had to for copyright reasons. I spoke (via email) with Daniel a few times, and that was my sense.
  5. In case you missed my 40 minute review on version 3. For electric guitar, I don't think they will ever get there honestly.


    Doing the review sent me so deep into guitar land that I am too exhausted to look at the other features.
    It certainly has an almost "Evangelical" crowd. Those that love it, really seem to love it.

    In case you missed it here is an hour long video that is more like my experience of it. (It actually is watchable, and entertaining)

    Dorico definitely feels "British". We don't have the standardization of music education (AMEB, TRINITY ETC.) they do.
    When you encounter something outside of the manual it feels like HAL, or the "Ministry of Music Notation"

    I share your impression. I worry that Dorico is leaning too far towards homogenization.
  6. I saw that a few months ago. The most entertaining review I've ever seen. And one great point after another.
  7. Is there anyone here who can give me the good news on Dorico.

    As I have mentioned, I have been the reviewer since version 3 for ONLY the guitar features.

    For electric guitar: it's a flop. Years behind, and released way too soon.

    Having to review only the guitar features has left a very bad taste in my mouth.
    However, I see so many composers who I respect making the leap and praising it.

    I have two months left as a beta tester on my free trial. What should I try out?

    I need some motivation here.
  8. I am a player; I need my sequencer to record, and playback. I can notate; I need my notation software to put notes on the page. In this regard, Dorico is just fine. I do not "speak" Dorico naturally, and I suspect it's because the intuitive version of it was Sibelius. That said, I can get notes on the page. I mean... so, yeah. So.... it's fine?
  9. Caveat - I'm certainly not using Dorico or Sibelius on the level that you are Doug. My needs are likely far simplier so YMMV but this has been my experience so far...

    I've been using Dorico 3 successfully after some initial startup issues with eLicenser. After upgrading to a new USB eLicenser and my Hacintosh to OS to Mojave, I've had no real issues so far. I switched from Sibelius to Dorico and can now do just about everything in Dorico that I was doing in Sibelius. For me, its been about "six of one, and half a dozen of the other". I keep Sibelius around for when people send me scores. However, Dorico does have a few advantages that I really appreciate such as score condensing. This is really great for larger scores using several wind players on each instrument. It automatically condenses the score (or not, there is a toggle button) so that you can easily read a larger score. I already have a 4k monitor with 2160 pixel vertical height and I still can't see a full score so condensing is a very nice feature. I would switch alone for that. Other features are less valuable to me.

    Tanticrul and memebers comments here about Dorico being non-intuitive I can understand and agree with. To overcome this, I simply made a little cheat sheet for every function that I need to do. Then when I need to do it again (and invariablly can't remember how), I just refer to my little cheat sheet which refreshes my memory. This works quite well as a rapid learning tool and quickly soaks into my old noggin. One other "feature" I like is the Dorico forum which is very friendly as compared with the Sibelius forum. I was never able to get quick answer to any question on the Sibelius forum without running into snobbery or argumentative trolls. However, on the Dorico forum, everyone seems to be very friendly and helpful (even to silly and seemingly obvious questions) and this is also another feature that I'd pay to switch for.

    Oh, another nice Dorico feature is that you can easily set it up to play any of your samples. It can easily read VE Pro so you can load and store instances and servers of samples if you wish. I prefer NotePerformer just for its rapid setup and reasonably good quality. If the score doesn't sound good with NotePerformer, its likely an orchestration issue rather than a sample issues in my experience. btw, one caveat of using samples is that you can easily set up the wrong dynamics as each sample library responds differently. Noteperformer seems to be a closer "dynamic standard" when compared with real scores by JW, Tchaikovsky, etc. Writing an entire score with the wrong dynamic markings would suck. So, I'd use this sample setup feature with caution.

    And lastly, Dorico seems to more of a living software as compared with Sibelius. I have had several requests that were implemented in later versions (probably already planned though and not due to my requests). So its nice to see it being developed with useful features being added. The dev team seems to listen to users so there is a nice symbiosis there.

    Question - How many electric guitar players read sheets? And is Sibelius really good at that? These days I'm sure some do, but where I grew up, all that was required was a cigarette in your mouth, a whisky bottle on top of the amp (for good showmanship), and lots of chops. In college, some cerebral Jazz guitarist seemed to read charts. And some of my flamenco friends read scores but most seem to learn from recordings. And of course classical guitarists read. Though, I don't see too many guitar parts in the traditional scores although I guess its needed these days for scoring Marvel movies?

    However, this leads to the more important question of how would you notate for things such as Hybrid samples and synths which open up a pandoras box of control parameters that could be notated (but who the hell would bother?). For these types of productions, it seems just writing MIDI piano rolls directly to the DAW has tremendous merits. However, having come from there originally (commercials and soundtracks), that's not my interest now. I'm more interesting in the pointless pursuit of the craft, of traditional scoring for classical instruments as defined by the old masters. But then, I guess I'm just an old toad croaking to myself.
    Paul Poole likes this.
  10. I haven't tried any of the new features in v3.5 so I can only speak to my time poking around in v3. There are some really cool features but not yet enough to get me to switch over from Sibelius. The condensing feature that Gregory mentioned is probably the feature that gets me the most excited. I wish Sibelius had something like that. It would save a lot of time fiddling with instrument changes for WW doublers or percussion.

    From an orchestration standpoint, the default beaming and note grouping feature is actually really useful when importing midi that was exported from a DAW. If I am writing straight into Sibelius then it makes no difference, but when importing midi it can get time consuming fixing all the beams and note groupings that don't look right. Especially if tuplets are involved. I can't think of a time I would ever want sextuplet eighth notes instead of triplet eighths, but that's what you get if you leave Sextuplets set to Simple when importing midi. I mean, come on, Sibelius, really?

    I am also not a fan of note input in Dorico. I wish it were more like Sibelius which is lightning fast for me. One of the huge selling points of Dorico that a lot of people seem to be excited about is integration with Cubase and being able to tweak the midi behind the notation to get a better mockup straight out of Dorico. That would be pretty cool if it could save time producing a mockup, but if inputting notes takes longer then it's not really a selling point for me.

    Simple things like inputting text or changing time signatures are also more complicated than they should be. So Dorico has a lot of nice features that give the program a lot of potential, but there also is the risk that it becomes so complicated to use that the features aren't worth the time they save. I started out on Finale, but once I found Sibelius it was so intuitive I never looked back.
    Paul Poole likes this.
  11. Me too. I need to check it out.

    Hmmm. What is your process for this? Aside from turning off the sextuplet function (only a click), have you tried all three of the following options?

    1. The new midi import: https://www.scoringnotes.com/reviews/advanced-midi-import-arrives-in-sibelius-2019-9/

    2. the renotate function:

    Screen Shot 2020-05-25 at 1.52.45 pm.png

    3. Setting the default beaming to your time signature.

    Screen Shot 2020-05-25 at 1.53.05 pm.png

    This feature will work "by default" as opposed to the feature in appearances. Click on Beams and rests

    Screen Shot 2020-05-25 at 1.53.15 pm.png

    and set the default beaming anyway you want.

    Screen Shot 2020-05-25 at 1.53.23 pm.png

    Time signatures like 5/4 or 7 are of course tricky as there is no way to know automatically for Sibelius which bar is beamed 2+3+2. or 2+2+3 etc.
    Sean Barrett likes this.
  12. Wow. I bet you have used to really super advanced complex visual programs too. That review I linked likened Dorico to Dreamweaver.

    I bet you will run into the same dilemma I found: Dorico is really good at the things in/on the ribbons. When you want further customization it
    is a pain, and further find in the dungeon (my term for "engrave") that a default was set that was causing the bugs. It's very agrivating.

    I've have called the engrave mode both "The ministry of Notation" and now "Shawshank Notation". No more gulog for me please.
  13. Hey Gregory. Nice to hear from you! Thanks for the long reply.

    Simply for archival purposes I'll always have Sibelius. I am trying to motivate myself to learn Dorico as I anticipate in the near future
    people will be asking me to work in it. It really seems to have captured the momentum. I'll always have Sibelius, but I worry about being on
    an island with only Sibelius. People who know Finale and Sibelius inside and out have an advantage, and I assume Dorico is going to be here to stay.

    This is accurate. Very helpful indeed!

    Agreed. I was left off the Christmas card list last year, but there has been a marked change in my emails with Daniel.

    Thanks for lending an ear. Just talking about it makes me feel like exploring Dorico now. I just need to push aside anything guitar.
    Don't look at it, don't think about it. Just think about typesetting some Mozart or something I would want to study in detail.

    Obviously having to publish a review pushed me to really test Dorico's guitar features. I'll make another post to explain some of the buckets of tears, and address your question
  14. The second part is easier to answer. No. It is not great at it. Average at best. It is indeed rusty and behind the times.

    But the thing is: The Dorico team is the old Sibelius team. Which only adds to me pessimism. Why should the team that barely made it across the line be counted on?

    How many electric guitar players read sheets? Millions. The popular world of guitar relies on the old lute system of Tablature. What most electric guitar players do is get the TABS which show where to put their fingers and then practice jamming along with the CD.

    I am sure you have seen TABS. It is very straight forward: a number on the string indicates which fret the note is to be played on. Tabs are not considered professional, due to it's lack of rhythmic information. However, nowadays you often see TABS with rhythms.

    The guitar is a particularly difficult sight-reading instrument as often the same pitch could be played in 3 different (even 4 on electric) positions. Add in the B and G string break the symmetrical tunning and you'll see why it is difficult. Not impossible by any means, but harder than piano.

    (*I am so grateful I had a teacher who made me read and get fluent reading charts. I was able to be in the only guitar player in my high-school big band from freshman year, and that leads to my scholarship at Arizona State back in the day

    . I could read better. Wasn't even close to the best player, but could read almost every chart on site. Except for the asshole who put "the black page" on my stand. Fuck that. No way. I'll just jam on the G then.)

    I guess I get a lot of guitar stuff tossed my way, so it has been a frequent request of me.

    There is a whole world out there. True a lot is after 1900. Segovia turned it into the respected concert instrument. Volume was always a problem too. Still is. It's a topic in and of itself.

    Anyhow: here is my beef with Dorico and electric guitar. You simply cannot (or it's going to be an epic hack-a-thon) create the type of music notation you find commercially available. I say this with confidence as Daniel acknowledges this too. It's not about workflow or if I am stuck on Sibelius. It simply does not have the features.

    Here in Australia it retails for $889 AUD brand new. Yikes. For it to simply lack a lot of functions is.

    The good thing about having the pressure of publishing a review of the software meant I really had to read the software, and spend time in the Gulog. Ever see Cool Hand Luke? You know that scene where he finally breaks. That has been me each time.

    Some issues are funny. Where would you find a "fretless instrument"? Why under fretted instruments of course.

    Screen Shot 2019-09-11 at 2.31.03 PM.png

    Demonstrate new guitar bends. Let's bend an "open" (meaning a string your hand does not touch) string. Is that a mind trick? (see last note)

    Screen Shot 2019-10-17 at 11.00.36 PM.png

    See how difficult it is to see where beat 3 is in the measure. You don't need the (a) in the notation.

    It get's serious when encountering things like the following.

    I personally hate the looks of the bend in the notation. See how the first pitch is rising, yet the / \ shows going down visually. This is not happening at all.The grace note (a) to b just before beat two look like a lot is happening. In reality very little is happening. The player simply holds the bent string and releases. All those ups and downs drive me mad.

    If I want something like this: (I wrote the lyrics up top)

    Screen Shot 2019-10-19 at 1.21.30 AM.png

    Impossible. Dorico simple does not do it.

    I took the first measure of Beat it by Michael Jackson. See how there is a different pitch in the tabs, and notation? That's because of the whammy bar.
    That one note took me nearly an hour to hack Dorico.

    Screen Shot 2020-05-18 at 1.10.58 am.png

    Screen Shot 2020-05-19 at 3.01.52 am.png
  15. Good to hear from you too Doug. This Covid situation really makes me value my online relationships more than ever. Besides, its great being connected with people who have like-minded interests. However, I start to worry when I don't hear from people after a while. People can just simply disappear on the net or die like Paul did and nobody notices (rest his soul, we had a lot of unfinished business as he was kind of nudging me to break some new ground and now I gotta tackle it alone.). Its like we're just internet "memes" that can suddenly turn into vaporware. I guess the only take away here is that we just gotta make the most of every moment and value it for being as precious as it is. I wouldn't mind Uncle Bourbon doing a rant about this, I could use some advice as his voice, common sense (generally), and humor, calms my nerves. Anywho....

    I thought the same, and that's why I got on the Dorico bandwagon. The truth is, while I deal with a lot of complicated stuff often (work building circuit boards and computers), I also have some difficulty learning new software that's very deep (3d modeling, CAD, online accounting, etc.). So I thought it would be best to get started with Dorico early on as there are really no good books or "complete" online tutorials other than some scattered YT videos (which is a time-consuming way to learn). So why not learn with everyone else? That's the most compelling reason to get started with Dorico if you believe it will stay around and grow. The cost is relatively small compared with the commitment we have invested in our interest in music.

    And while I know Mike wouldn't fully agree (but who inspired me down this rabbit hole!), this is my way of learning by transcribing as well. So copying a score into Dorico is much more than just copying notes for me. I learn about the orchestration, the harmonic technique, and gazillion other things by analyzing and studying as I go. As I study music history, I realize this is how the old masters learned as well. The amount of scores and they poured over by sight-reading and copying was just astonishing. Both Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky would read through Operas at the piano with their peers in one sitting at night (try that, or even try finding a buddy to do that with these days). I've been doing a deep dive into Prokofiev and Tchaikovsksy and there is also so much great music that is absolutely buried that nobody has really heard of these days. In fact, for some of these great masters, its hard to even get copies of some of their music anymore so transcribing into Dorico opens up an exciting (for me at least) door into history and some great music. For example, Tchaikovsky wrote and rewrote his music over and over. Much of it is lost (Many CDs are just not available anywhere in the world and YT even keeps taking these 150 yr old uploads down due to copyright claims!), but there are some existing score where he did revisions and I find it fascinating to to learn about what changes he made and why. Not a bad teacher to learn from you know? Well, you know all about this so I'm preaching to the choir I guess. And I very much appreciate the contributions you've made as well! Though my point is, Dorico has been a great learning tool for me and I'm glad I got Dorico and am learning it as it progresses. Its a small investment with increasing returns (hard to find these days).
  16. Yeah, that does worry me a bit. Although I think the market will define the needs. Education is the obvious biggest market so that cover a lot of territory. However, if the software does go down a dubious path (such as Sib 7 ribbon), then its hard to step backwards. Still, the biggest problem with Sibelius was the Avid CEO who was milking it for all it was worth, and I think that is what hindered it the most.

    I guess you could logically argue that you need frets before you can have a "fretless" ;), but the irony doesn't pass over me, I see your point.
    I used to watch Eddie Van Halen play at local parties (grew up in Pasadena) and he could do amazing things!
    I seriously doubt Eddie Van Halen could read that notation himself. For him, it was all about improv and he played that part in just a few takes. He used to play in back yard parties and we went to the same school. I learned electric guitar from the guitarist of the competing band in the area, Mark Poynter of Headwinds. I'd ride my bike over when I was about 12 with my electric guitar on my handle bars and he'd teach me after school. Just like my flamenco lessons (played since I was about 7), they were all just watch, listen and memorize (we did have some cryptic notation in flamenco showing only notes and frets but nothing like classical notation). If there was notation in those days, I never saw it until much later when a band member brought a copy of Guitar Magazine over and we'd read it cover to cover, but still I don't remember much if any notation in the early mags. Mark was also quite a good classical pianist (close to concert level) and possibly the better musician than Eddie. But their band broke apart in the 70s I heard later he ended up driving a bus (so sad). I started studying piano so I could read music and study it in college and ended up learning from Tomita and doing commericals in Japan with Ryuichi Sakamoto's producer. But Mark was the far better musician. Life isn't always fair.

  17. I normally leave sextuplets set to "None", but I set it to "Simple" if a cue has a lot of sextuplet 16ths, for example. To give you a better example of what I am talking about, here are some screenshots. I took the same midi file and imported it into Sibelius and Dorico to compare results.

    Imported in Sibelius with sextuplets set to Simple:

    Screen Shot 2020-05-25 at 10.24.54 AM.png

    Imported in Sibelius with sextuplets set to None:

    Screen Shot 2020-05-25 at 10.24.46 AM.png

    Imported in Dorico:

    Screen Shot 2020-05-25 at 10.24.32 AM.png

    You can see that Dorico provides much more desirable results. In Dorico I would still want to change the repeating triplet 16ths into sextuplets, but all the other issues in the Sibelius import look much nicer in Dorico by default. The syncopated triplet eighths import nicely, the beams over rests in the 16th notes, the dotted eighth rest, and the secondary beaming between the eighth-16th triplets all look exactly how I want them. The Renotate Perfomance function in Sibelius will change the first measure of sextuplet eighths in the first screenshot into triplet eighths, but it won't fix any of the other issues, unless there is something I am missing.

    I use the Beam and Rest Groups dialogue all the time for 5/X, 7/X, etc. measures, and I have a Stream Deck and Keyboard Maestro macros set up to automate the process, so changing beam grouping for 2+3+2, 3+2+2, etc. is actually really quick and easy for me in Sibelius. It's more so dealing with tuplets and 16th beaming that can be time consuming in Sibelius compared to Dorico, as you can see.

    Regarding the relatively new Midi Import feature in Sibelius, I was very excited when it first came out, but it's not ready for prime time. It has a lot of potential, but there are some issues that make it unusable for me. One of the biggest issues is that the score preview updates every time you make a change, which is probably not a problem for most users but when you have a large cue that takes 20-30 pages with full orchestra each preview update takes 20-30 seconds so importing midi takes, like, 100 times longer than it should. There are a few other issues which I already posted in the comments on the Scoring Notes post you linked. I even got in contact with the development team to discuss those issues and some other suggestions that I had and they seemed interested in improving the feature, but so far I think they have only fixed one of the very minor issues I spotted and I don't think it is a huge priority for them. I do hope they continue to develop the feature because it has a lot of potential.
    Doug Gibson likes this.
  18. Sean Barrett likes this.
  19. Thanks for yours as well!

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