As promised, today Steinberg released the first maintenance update to Dorico. Don’t let the deceptively incremental version number (1.0.10) fool you; it includes a robust helping of new features and plenty of bug fixes to the initial 1.0 version, which itself is barely a month old.
Accordingly, some of the deficiencies raised in our initial review of Dorico are now happily rectified, so we’ll start with those and then move on to some of the other improvements in 1.0.10.
You’ll also want to read product marketing manager Daniel Spreadbury’s detailed blog post which describes the update’s new features, and in which he said that Steinberg expects to “release a further small update before the end of 2016.”
Additionally, Daniel announced today that the 30-day trial version of Dorico will become available for download on November 30.
Many operations are much faster in this latest update, in particular the speed of changing the pitch of a selection of notes using Alt+Up/Down Arrow. Before, you could see each note move in sequence; now the operation is instantaneous.
Other performance improvements:
- Note input
- Adding and removing players in Setup mode
- Eliminating unnecessary screen redraws during editing
- Creating a new project from a template
- Working in Print mode
You can also now hear notes auditioned as you input them or edit them. This is optionally enabled or disabled in Dorico > Preferences > General > Play notes during note input and selection.
Thankfully, a Transpose dialog has been added (Write > Transpose). You can specify the transposition by either the quality of the interval or by the number of divisions of the octave.
A nice touch is a Calculate interval feature embedded in the dialog: if your music theory’s rusty, you can just tell Dorico that you’d like to transpose, e.g., from C sharp to a G natural, click Apply, and Dorico will apply the appropriate transposition (in this example, a diminished fifth.
There is also a new Write > Add Notes Above or Below dialog, which works much the same way as the Transpose dialog, except that the existing notes are preserved.
A new Staff Spacing option has been added to the left-hand panel in Engrave mode, allowing for manual adjustments to Dorico’s default vertical staff spacing, should you so choose.
When switched on, the score gains a number of rulers, handles, and stripes:
To move a staff up or down, drag anywhere within the staff, or hold Alt and drag a staff to move that staff and all of the others below. The entire system can be moved by dragging the thick blue stripe at the top of the system.
Full keyboard control is possible, too:
- Tab cycles between selecting a system (larger handle) and selecting a staff (smaller handle);
- Up/Down Arrow selects a handle;
- Holding down Shift extends the selection to the previous/next handle;
- Holding down Alt with Up/Down Arrow nudges the selected staff(s) or system(s);
- Holding down Alt with J or K nudges the selected staff(s) or system(s) and all of the others below.
You can alternatively click in the numeric read-out in the left-hand margin and specify an exact measurement by typing or using the spin control.
If the default position of a staff has been adjusted, it turns red:
To restore it to its default position, select the handle and press Delete. To clear all manual overrides, choose Engrave > Reset Staff Position.
Finally, a Copy Staff Spacing option is available, from which you can choose the source page and destination page(s).
Selecting music is much improved in this update. Now, you can click within a staff and select all the music in that bar, similar to Finale and Sibelius (although there is no box drawn around the bar in Dorico). You can extend the selection by holding down Shift and clicking on another bar or by using the arrow keys, which also feels familiar.
You can initiate a selection in Write mode by simply pressing any arrow key, which will select the first item closest to the top left corner of the view.
Once a selection is initiated, you’ll notice new Edit > Select to End of System and Edit > Select to End of Flow menu items, which is helpful (although I miss the ability to double-click and triple-click to accomplish these same tasks, as one does in Sibelius).
Marquee selections can be extended by holding down Command (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) and dragging; Command-Option (Mac) or Ctrl+Alt (PC) and dragging will subtract from a selection.
Other writing and engraving improvements
- There are finer controls for the positioning of articulations;
- Beams containing repeated patterns of pitches can be optionally allowed to be horizontal or have slants;
- Groups containing a single staff can optionally show a bracket or not;
- British brass band and Big band have been added to the Engrave > Engraving Options > Brackets and Braces > Ensemble type;
- Instruments such as french horn and timpani with (no key) in their names are now created without key signatures;
- An open (atonal) key can now be created in the Shift+K popover by typing open or atonal;
- Enharmonic spelling in part layouts can be changed independently of the full score layout;
- Lyrics can now be set to have a minimum distance from items protruding outside the staff;
- It is now possible to choose between inputting in written pitch or sounding pitch via Write > Input Pitch;
- Various page layout options concerning system and frame breaks have been added;
- A new scissors tool (shortcut U) will, during note input, cut any sounding notes in the voice indicated on the caret; outside of note input, the tool will remove any ties in selected notes and chords;
- Hidden time signatures can be manipulated if View > Signposts > Time Signatures is selected;
- Likewise, there is a similar option for tuplets in View > Signposts > Tuplets;
- A gap between adjacent noteheads in different voices can have a negative value, allowing notes a second apart in opposing voices to be positioned more closely together;
- There is a new Edit > Voice submenu to change the default stem direction of the voice of the selected note.
- There is now an option to release the audio device if Dorico loses focus;
- Basic playback of changes in playing techniques has now been implemented for HALion Symphonic Orchestra, allowing playback of e.g. pizz. and arco instructions;
- The Mixer window now labels each fader with the plug-in output channel and the short instrument nam;
- The playhead now shows in Play mode and moves during playback;
- A new dialog Play > VST Expression Maps has been added, allowing for the creation and editing of expression maps;
- VST Expression Maps for Cubase can be imported into your project via Play > VST Expression Maps;
- A new Endpoint Setup dialog has been added, accessed via each entry in the VST Instruments panel in Play mode.
Bug fixes, version history and downloading
Approximately 100 identified bugs have been fixed, in addition to all the items classified as new features. A full list of those fixes, a version history and application updaters are available from the Dorico download page on Steinberg’s web site.
In addition to his blog post, Daniel Spreadbury created a 13-minute video summarizing the main improvements in Dorico 1.0.10, specifically performance improvements, the new dialog for VST Expression Maps, the new transpose dialog, and vertical staff spacing.