Dorico 2 Elements - a first look, and some background . .

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Dorico 2 Elements - a first look, and some background . .

Unread post by parametric » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:30 pm

Yes indeed, Saul has asked me to take a look at Dorico Elements.

A little Background . . . . .

Daniel Spreadbury and his team developed Sibelius from the ground up, working for "Sibelius Software"
SIbelius Software was then acquired by AVID, who unceremoniously sacked the entire team - which resulted in huge outrage from the the User base, who were justifiably alarmed at what the future might hold.
It was to everybody's relief, when Steinberg announced that they were employing the WHOLE TEAM to "work on a NEW Notation Package."

After about 2 years, Dorico was announced, and version 1 released in short order. Initially, only the Pro version was offered. The price remains unchanged at £485.

Notation software has always been expensive, and it is really no surprise for a program designed to compete with the likes of Sibelius and Finale.

Now we are at version 2 - with an entry level version available at £85, which include the cut down HALion3 playback Library of 2.54Gb.

I'm NOT an experienced Notation user. In my former employment in a Uni Music Dept, we moved from Nightingale

to Sibelius across the entire department. This was due IIRC to the fact that Mac had moved to Intel Processors and

a new OS, and Nightingale would not be supported . . . .

I provided tech support for Sibelius (and all manner of other Music SW) across the Dept, and have to say that most of the "incidents" I visited were due to "Computery finger trouble" rather than problems with Sibelius.

Eventually, I never really got the time to actually USE Sibelius properly . . . .

When Dorico was announced, I have to say that it was an exciting prospect.

A NEW package, developed by the same team that developed Sibelius (with all that experience already under their belt!).

So I come to Elements as a beginner . . . . though I DO read Music - I am generally more comfortable with vocal scores . . . .

I had it in mind to IMPORT a midi file of one of my compositions, and make an attempt to create a decent-looking "part" for the Sax Solo.

I had played it all in (recorded it) to My Fusion's Sequencer, exported the midi file, and was ready to see what I could do with Dorico Elements.

I would say at this point - Dorico promises to be (and IS) a seriously capable program.

With such capability comes complexity - and there is much to LEARN before you will become efficient with

the program.

Whichever version you look at, I STRONGLY URGE YOU to seek out and view the introductory videos produced by Steinberg.

THESE are NOT Tutorials, (they are mostly only around 3 or 4 minutes long) but will give a brief overview of how things are arranged.

There are set ways of doing various things, and well organised keystrokes for many of them.

These will speed things up if you commit them to memory.

Continuing . . . . .

The midi imported OK. Dorico found 5 tracks and placed them in an orderly fashion.

The piece in question was in Bbm (5 flats), but imported with NO key signature . . . .

(so - festooned with accidentals) :roll:

First task to correct this (I thought).

Went to the RHS and selected Key Sig from the tool bar - set Minor Key, and 5 flats, and clicked . . . .

5 flats appeared in the score on each line (good), but the notes remained the same (not good).

They had NOT "re-spelled" in accordance with the Key Signature . . .

I have asked in the Steinberg.net Forum, and have some solutions to try, including one from

Daniel (Spreadbury) - and these are in process ATM

More Later . . .

Additionally . . . .

I thought to try just inputting some Music into the score, with the Mouse, in <Write> mode . . . .

This proved simpler - and I have a screen shot of what I did.

Dorico score 1.jpg

Unfortunately, The Audio export to wav/mp3 is broken for Win10 (Creates a silent file).

Recorded Audio on my M-Audio MicroTrack 24/96 - from H/P socket . . .

write for strings.mp3
Playback of Dorico Score example
(511.28 KiB) Downloaded 5 times

Hope they fix this soon . . . . Otherwise, making tutorials is going to be difficult . . . . ?


More to follow

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Re: Dorico 2 Elements - a first look, and some background . .

Unread post by Saul » Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:24 pm

Thanks Chris. As you said, these are complex pieces of software and people should expect a learning curve to some degree. I guess from my perspective as someone who doesn't read music notation, how easy would it be to play something into the software from say a controller keyboard and get an accurate output of that in notation? Can software like this HIDE the complexities of notation from a novice user and still output correct notation that can be passed to other musicians?

I probably would not use Dorico myself until it is able to transcribe guitar, which I think is quite a way off yet. I do understand how complex that function would be in terms of software development.

Anyway will be interesting to hear how you solved the issues you mentioned...if indeed they were solved?
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Re: Dorico 2 Elements - a first look, and some background . .

Unread post by parametric » Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:26 am

Stop Press . . . . I've added an audio to my opening post . . . .
Saul wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:24 pm
how easy would it be to play something into the software from say a controller keyboard and get an accurate output of that in notation? Can software like this HIDE the complexities of notation from a novice user and still output correct notation that can be passed to other musicians?
This would indeed constitute a "holy grail" for many keyboard players.

I generally consider that I am quite good at playing in strict tempo - and once I have a tempo fixed

in my brain, I can keep on for long periods without wandering off-tempo . . . .

However, midi is incredibly high-resolution, and with a 1/4 note split to 960 clicks, there is really no way

a human can be that precise.

The outcome is that simply playing some quavers or semi-quavers (quite reasonable in a 4/4 time)

is usually interpreted by the SW to such precision, that the visual result in notation will have double

(or triple) dotted notes and matching rests produced which although "correct", are a PAIN to read back -

and quite unnecessary in the finished result . . . .

It's rather like doing a calculation on a calculator - and getting back the answer to 8-places of decimals, IYSWIM

PROBABLY, what is necessary is to look CAREFULLY at what is being played and to INTELLIGENTLY

apply quantisation on the way IN . . . . ?

The trick here, is to choose the DEGREE of quantisation, such that the ludicrous precision is lost,

but the intended rhythm is NOT MESSED WITH - and is exactly what you meant to play . . . .

My experiences with Quantisation have not been particularly good, and I tend to avoid it like the plague -

as in my experience, it messes TOO MUCH with what you INTENDED . . . .

Perhaps I'm not using it intelligently enough?

I have to confess, I've been a lazy-arse following this up :oops:
I would be MOST INTERESTED - if anyone out there has been able to crack this particular nut -

and can give me any guidance as to how to achieve a good result . . . .
Saul wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:24 pm
I probably would not use Dorico myself until it is able to transcribe guitar, which I think is quite a way off yet. I do understand how complex that function would be in terms of software development.
I believe tablature is in the works for a later release. I think most of the competition can already do this.

Dorico can insert chord names though (Am7 etc.).
Saul wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:24 pm
Anyway will be interesting to hear how you solved the issues you mentioned...if indeed they were solved?
I'll let you know as I go along . . . . 8)

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Re: Dorico 2 Elements - a first look, and some background . .

Unread post by SysExJohn » Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:55 am

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the introduction, interesting.

Regarding played in input to a notation program, the issue is always how to display what is played.

Here's an example of something I was doing earlier in the week:
Staccato.jpg
Soprano aria from BWV127.

You'll see two lines of input for flutes one and two. Both entered the same way and with identical value of MIDI note lengths.
The top line shows what was played in (heavily quantised).
But the bottom line shows what is intended, i.e. played staccato.
This is just one issue of interpretation of human input.

BTW the display is from the ancient Yamaha SOL2 sequencing software.

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Re: Dorico 2 Elements - a first look, and some background . .

Unread post by Saul » Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:59 am

I was kind of hoping by now that these notation packages would be able to exactly notate what was played in. However taking on board what you both have said I can see this is an incredibly difficult task to perform and therefore some knowledge of notation IS required before you can effectively use these programs.

Seems like notation software is not for me then :(
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Re: Dorico 2 Elements - a first look, and some background . .

Unread post by SysExJohn » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:12 am

Hi Saul,

When I took up doing notation, some years ago now, I didn't really have a clue, but as with everything, the more I played around the more proficient I became.
I also spent some time working through the ABRSM music theory books. (But that's just me, I'm sure it's not for everyone.) ;-)

In the above example with the two flutes, I found the answer was to play the piece in with full note lengths (this I did with flute II), and then use one of the 'expression utilities' to mark the notes up as being played staccato.
The result was that the software then, as well as inserting a staccato 'dot' above the note, reduced the MIDI note length to slightly less than half its original value.

In this case I was using SOL2, as the played result was what mattered to me.
If I'd wanted notation, I would have gone to Finale which is capable of excellent results.
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Re: Dorico 2 Elements - a first look, and some background . .

Unread post by parametric » Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:25 pm

SysExJohn wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:55 am
Regarding played in input to a notation program, the issue is always how to display what is played.
This is EXACTLY the problem John . . .

Flute 1 can be admired for it's MANIC accuracy - EVERYTHING is "correct", but the SEA of rests, make it a nightmare to read back, and the performer reading that score will be cursing you to hell . . . :lol:

As you have said, Flute 2 is presented in a warm and friendly manner, "begging you to read it" and utter those notes.

Familiar as I am with reading vocal scores - ALL the info you need to perform that passage is there.

The staccato marking "implies" the rests. (so they DON'T need to be shown).

The degree of control available in Quantisation is huge, with respect to note position (either side of "the beat"), add to that the same again with degree of "Swing".

All these parameters are adjustable from NONE to EXTREME - so it's tempting to think that the "Right Setting" is in there somewhere for YOUR playing style???

As I've said before, MY compositional style tends to be lyrical, rather than four-square, so the actual rhythm of the melodies I write are crucial to the Music - which is probably why I've found quantisation to be more of a spoiler than a help . . .

To be fair, I think that most notation programs have given up on getting the Audio playback and the score to visually agree, simultaneously and have resigned themselves to keeping those entities "Separate" - such that a usable score CAN be realistically created.

Midi is too useful to be ignored, but it would be nice if bending it to your WILL was a bit easier.

BTW - there is NO DISGRACE in the ABRSM Theory Study.

Music is a language and has it's rules, that are really not that difficult to learn - and many questions are answered when you see "How it is done". You'll be less-bamboozled when it comes to putting dots on a stave.

It really is fairly crucial if you think about it, as pretty much ALL recorded Music we listen to, arrived there via a score - with a human performing it in a studio. . . . 8)

So the system largely WORKS (IMO) :lol:

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Re: Dorico 2 Elements - a first look, and some background . .

Unread post by Saul » Sun Jun 17, 2018 1:40 pm

Most guitarists I know, can't read a note of music and in most cases have no need to, mainly because they write original songs, sung and played by themselves. All of what I do is audio based and recorded live so no need for any sort of notation or score to be created. Many guitarists tend to learn by ear so again no need for a score. Tab can help as can chords but many don't even need that.

My own interest in notation software was to see if it was advanced enough to work out the chords and notes I was playing but obviously that is not going to happen any time soon or at least not in a way that would be useful for me. Will just stick to recording audio for now.

I do though want to know where Dorico sits in terms of the competition. Is it better or worse? What would make it easier to use? Suggestions for future features, that sort of thing.
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Re: Dorico 2 Elements - a first look, and some background . .

Unread post by parametric » Tue Jun 19, 2018 4:21 am

I think the Guitar lends itself well - to playing by ear - perhaps more immediately than the Piano,

although I can and do play by ear . . .

If I KNOW a song, I can usually work out the chords in fairly short order - in one or other of my "favourite" keys.

I used to do similar on the guitar - way back. It's often how you actually LEARN Songs . . . after all . . .

Using score becomes more essential, if you want others to play WITH you.

If they are playing YOUR STUFF, they need something to look at generally . . . .

OK, you can show them the moves and they can imitate . . . . . is another way . . .

Better, is a basic horizontal LINE drawn, with a verticals to mark each bar . . THEN you can write the chords

on the appropriate beats of those bars, to show the changes . . .

This is a good way of mapping out songs in a basic form . . .

This may well be sufficient if you join a band - and need to play THEIR repertoire - if it's stuff you don't know.

If you are going to take it further, and become a session player, then you are liable to get score with

dots on, to read.

Coming dry to a session, you will be expected to "get it together" in a few takes.

There is no time for rehearsal in a real sense.

Sessions are typically 3hrs, with a 15 minute break halfway through . . . .

So you need to be able to read quite well . . . .

Ray Davies got the sentiment about right with this Kinks number - "Session Man" off the "Face to Face" Album



Nicky Hopkins playing Harpsichord on the intro was a regular session man for the Kinks . . .

The lines . . . .
He reads his dots and plays each line
and always finishes on time . .
No Overtime or favours done . . . .
He's a Session Man . . . . .
A chord Progressian
A top Musician
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Re: Dorico 2 Elements - a first look, and some background . .

Unread post by SysExJohn » Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:16 am

Talking of session players, did onyone catch the brief interview with Carole Kaye on the box the other night?

Now there's someone who really was a legend.
I imagine she played from the dots as well as improvising on so many sessions.
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Re: Dorico 2 Elements - a first look, and some background . .

Unread post by Saul » Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:51 pm

I didn't catch the Carol Kaye interview but I did watch it via the link you gave John. That was extremely interesting. A very talented guitar and bass player and has done so many things over the years. Things like that sometimes make me wonder where my life went and what did I do?
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Re: Dorico 2 Elements - a first look, and some background . .

Unread post by SysExJohn » Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:03 pm

Ah! Yes, I know what you mean.
But isn't it always a case of being lucky enough to be in the right place at the the right time?

Nowhere near the same thing, I know, not even in the same league, but I was lucky enough in the mid-nineties to be the only person ICL could find who knew anything about ISDN when they were looking for someone to lecture to BT salespeople.
It led to a four and a half year, pretty well full time contract.
I just happened to have finished another contract at the right time.
All a matter of luck, and the right skill set of course.

As I understand it Carole didn't play the bass, but having jazz skills just had a go and happened to strike the right chord! (Sorry) ;-)
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Re: Dorico 2 Elements - a first look, and some background . .

Unread post by parametric » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:50 am

Is THIS the Interview?



Just watched it.

VERY interesting Lady - and LOADS of riffs as examples.

She has an incredible MEMORY too . . . The "As written" - AND her "improvements" . . . . often from YEARS ago . . . 8O

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Re: Dorico 2 Elements - a first look, and some background . .

Unread post by Saul » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:40 am

I think that is the thing that kept me watching. She has such a rich past and remembers it all in detail.

I absolutely love the fact that there are so many talented people out there that we often never hear of unless someone on this forum brings it to our attention. What a great place to be, even if I do say so myself ;)
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SysExJohn
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Re: Dorico 2 Elements - a first look, and some background . .

Unread post by SysExJohn » Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:09 am

No Chris, it was a different interview quite a short one.
That's a new one, I hadn't seen before, thanks.

Yes, what a great lady!
I can't remember now exactly how I heard about her part in so many hit songs of the day.
My recollection is that it was an interview with Brian Wilson about the making of Pet Sounds.
He talked, as I recall, about The Wrecking Crew being used to create the album in the studio.
I looked it up to find out a bit more about them.
It was then that I discovered Carole.
Must have been around ten years ago ... I think.

In one part of the interview she talks about one of the greatest songs ever written Hoagy Carmichael and Stardust.
Nat King Cole did one of the greatest versions of that IMHO. It still moves me ...

"And now the purple dusk of twilight time
Steals across the meadows of my heart,
High up in the sky the little stars climb
Always reminding me that we're apart.
You wander down the lane and far away
Leaving me a song that will not die
Love is now the stardust of yesterday
The music of the years gone by.

Sometimes I wonder, how I spend
The lonely nights
Dreaming of a song
The melody
Haunts my reverie
And I am once again with you
When our love was new
And each kiss an inspiration
But that was long ago
And now my consolation is in the stardust of a song."
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