Dorico Saves You Time and Work

If you are interested in music notation subscribe to the Dorico Newsletter here.


My last post on Dorico praised it as a new paradigm in software programming, so today I’ll tell you a true story of how it could have saved me and my graphic designer hours of frustrating work on what should have been a trivial detail.

I composed a piano sonata which was accepted by internationally-acclaimed piano virtuoso Valerie Tryon. For various reasons which you already know if you use Sibelius (as I did) or Finale to notate a multi-movement work, I created each movement as a separate file. I enlisted the help of a graphic designer to make a presentation copy of the piece for Ms. Tryon, to whom the work is dedicated, but turning the separate files into a single work with proper page-numbering turned into a nightmare. The new complete file had to be printed double-sided, and each movement had to be continuously numbered from the previous ones, with the page number suppressed on the first page of each movement, which began at the top of a page (it actually worked out that way). This sounds so much easier than it actually was due to bugs in both Sibelius and Preview on the Mac, as well as my own lack of diligence.

I had not been careful enough to ensure that every detail of formatting was the same in each movement’s file, so I had to correct each file before joining them. Renumbering stretched (and possibly broke) the limit of sanity for me. It took several attempts before I got the numbering correct in Sibelius, but when I saved it as a PDF, Preview renumbered the score itself, creating numbers on pages that were not meant to have numbers, and even giving incorrect numbers in the later movements. We spent far too much time on this before the designer finally imported the PDF score into a design program, erased the numbers, and entered them manually. Only then did we have a finished score that could be printed on fine paper and bound for presentation to the artist.

Reading the Dorico newsletter, I learned that I could compose all of the movements of the sonata in the same file, and creating the presentation file would have consisted of simply printing it out. Right out of the box it works just as the composers needs it to (and not just in this situation).

This is just one example of how the Dorico team is re-imagining notation software to adapt to the way that composers work, and I’m really excited to discover more. While I admire the programming brilliance that is apparent from Daniel Spreadbury’s blog Making Notes, I appreciate just as much that they are keeping the composer and copyist at the centre of Dorico’s development.

There is a lot more exciting information in the Dorico newsletter, with greater detail in Daniel Spreadbury’s Making Notes. All composers, copyists, and others interested in notation will find both not just required reading, but fascinating as well. Sign up for BOTH … now!



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