Dorico 4.0.30 reinstates the tempo editor, fixes VST issue and more

News

Steinberg has released Dorico 4.0.30, the third revision to Dorico 4 since its release in January 2022 and the subsequent 4.0.10 and 4.0.20 updates.

“Power play” Dorico users will be cheering this update for a few reasons, chief among them the return of the very handy tempo editor and MIDI pitch bend editor in Play mode. If you were accustomed to using these tools in previous versions of Dorico, you will have noticed they were gone in Dorico 4.0, where the interface was significantly reworked to align with the iPad version, and thus these editors went missing for a time. They triumphantly return in Dorico 4.0.30, and are as useful as ever. However, the dynamics editor, semantic pitch bend editor, and the drum editor are not included in this release, and are planned for a future update.

There is also an important fix for users who have many VST plug-ins installed on their system, in that Dorico no longer needlessly rebuilds the lists of plug-ins that appear in the Mixer and in the VST Rack in Play mode after every edit to the score.

A few engraving improvements are in this release as well in the areas of barlines, staff labels, and chord diagrams.

The version history documentation for this release thoroughly documents the improvements as well as the bug fixes.

Dorico for iPad has not been updated with today’s release; the update to that app will come separately, later.

The tempo editor in Dorico 4.0.30

Improvements

Here’s what’s new in Dorico 4.0.30, as provided by Steinberg (images from Scoring Notes):

Play mode

Tempo editor. The tempo editor has been reinstated in Play mode. To edit tempo, select the global Tempo track at the top of the track overview in Play mode, and ensure the Key Editor is shown in the lower zone. In addition, if linked mode is active, selecting a tempo item in Write mode will show the tempo editor in the Key Editor, if it is visible.

Editing tempo is much the same as in Dorico 3.5: you can use the Draw and Line tools to add immediate and gradual tempo changes respectively. Tempo changes that you add in Play mode appear in Write mode as signposts, and can be shown for printing via the Properties panel if need be.

MIDI pitch bend editor. The MIDI pitch bend editor has also been reinstated in Play mode. It can be chosen from the menu in the Expression and CC section of the Key Editor. The semantic pitch bend editor (which shows, for example, the pitch bends produced by guitar bends) is not included in Dorico 4.0.30 but will return in a future update, along with the remaining missing editors (dynamics and percussion).

Hub

List view. The Open Recent page of the Hub now supports a list view in addition to the familiar grid view: simply choose your preferred view type using the buttons on the right-hand side of the window.

Keyboard access. You can now use ↑/↓ to move through the grid or list of recent projects, and hit Return or Enter to open the highlighted project.

Learn updates. When the Hub first appears after starting Dorico, the Learn button will now show a red badge to indicate that new items have been added to the Videos or Dorico blog feeds on the Learn page; when you click the Learn button, the badge will disappear.

Barlines

Start repeat barlines at the start of the system. When you have a start repeat barline that coincides with the start of a system, you may wish the barline at the end of the previous system to be shown either as a normal barline or a double barline; an option to control this has long been found in the Repeats section of the Barlines page of Engraving Options. However, such an option always applies to the whole project, which may or may not be appropriate.

Therefore, a new property Barline at end of system has been added to the Time Signatures group in the Properties panel, which appears only when a start repeat barline is selected; this allows you to specify what kind of barline should appear at the end of the previous system.

The same property can also be used to override the barline shown when a change of key signature and a start repeat barline coincide: by default, Dorico shows a double barline to the left of the key change, then the start repeat barline. If you want to show a different barline instead, activate Barline at end of system and choose the desired barline type.

Chord diagrams

Fingerings at the end of the string. A new Chord diagram fingering font font style has been added, now used to draw the fingering numbers at the ends of strings in chord diagrams, allowing you to specify their font, style and size.

Cues

Properties. When selecting an item as part of a cue in Engrave mode, the Properties panel now hides any global properties so that you cannot inadvertently change the appearance of the source material by setting properties in another layout.

Reset Appearance and Reset Position. Similarly, when you have selected an item as part of a cue in Engrave mode, Edit > Reset Appearance and Reset Position will not reset global properties.

Staff labels

Periods after abbreviated instrument names. There are different conventions for whether or not an abbreviated word should be indicated by appending a period (full stop): some publishers always indicate an abbreviation by appending a period, while others only append a period when the last letter of the abbreviation is not the last letter of the full word. Dorico has always followed this latter convention, until now.

A new option Period (full stop) after abbreviated instrument names has been added to the Staff Labels page of Engraving Options, allowing you to specify whether you want to see, for example, “Vln” or “Vln.” for abbreviated instrument names.

What’s next

In his blog post today announcing the update, Steinberg product marketing manager Daniel Spreadbury said, “We had hoped to have another update to Dorico for iPad ready to go today as well, but due to some unforeseen technical difficulties that release has been delayed, though we hope not for long. This release will include support for Open in Place, which means that it will be possible to open Dorico projects directly from iCloud Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, or other cloud storage apps, and save those projects directly back to those locations. It will no longer be necessary to use the Share button on the toolbar to export the project back to that location. This should make it much more convenient to work with projects across multiple devices.”

Future plans include the remaining missing editors in the new Key Editor, together with some further improvements to the user experience of the new tools.

Further, he said, “we also anticipate adding iCloud support to both Dorico for macOS and Dorico for iPad.”

Availability

Dorico 4.0.30 for Windows and Mac desktop is a free update for current registered users of Dorico Pro 4, Dorico Elements 4 and Dorico SE 4 users, and is available now via the Steinberg Download Assistant.

If you are currently running Dorico Pro 3.5 or Dorico Elements 3.5 or earlier, you can buy an update to Dorico Pro 4 or Dorico Elements 4 from the Steinberg online shop.

For full coverage of Dorico 4, please read our comprehensive review, as well as our coverage of the subsequent 4.0.10 and 4.0.20 updates. For the latest information about compatibility for Finale, Sibelius, Dorico, and MuseScore, as well as links to the latest news and reviews about product releases, please see the Scoring Notes Product Guide.

Comments

  1. Waldbaer

    As much as I like Dorico in general and the new features in other areas of the program, I really don’t like to miss functionalities that already had been there. Therefore, I don’t really like the new play mode of Dorico 4, which looks nice, but seems to be unfinished. I became used to build an acceptable playalong of my arrangements after preparing them and the necessary small tweaks now became in some regards impossible. Conversion between Dorico versions 3.5 and 4.x is not a great option, too, since the features exclude each other. I hope they’ll put the remaining features back in soon (it should be self-explaining why I expect this to happen soon and without further cost for me as a customer)!
    …and a little criticism to ScoringNotes is necessary in this place, too: I think you should have pointed out these shortcomings of the new Play Mode in your first big review of Dorico 4. I felt a little cheated by Steinberg when I found out about this (my biggest point is the dynamics editor which is still missing) and maybe I would have waited to update if you stressed these things more (did you mention them at all? I couldn’t find them quickly when I searched for them now).

    1. Philip Rothman

      This is a valid point, and in retrospect, we should have called it out in the 4.0 review. On page 9 of the 4.0 version history, there was a paragraph about this, but it was easy to miss: “Further editors. Dorico 3.5 and earlier versions included a few other editors that are not yet included in Dorico 4, including the dynamics editor and the tempo editor. We are sorry that these editors are not included in the initial release of Dorico 4, but they will return in new and improved form in a future free maintenance update. In the meantime, we apologize for any inconvenience caused by their absence.”

      Sometimes this happens with technology. Apple does it all the time :-)

      1. Waldbaer

        If I were Steinberg, I wouldn’t write this in bold letters on the first page, too. ;-)
        Concerning Apple: Yes, they drop older technology quite often, indeed. But in very most cases, they offer an alternative solution to the problem (or at least what they think is a solution). In Steinberg’s current case, it’s just: “If you want the new notation features, you won’t be able to use all the playback mode features you used before; well, we might bring them back later, but for the time being, you’ll have to live with our incomplete redesign.”

        Thanks for quoting the version history… I assume from now on we’ll both have a much closer look at that before buying any future upgrades! ;-)

        1. Philip Rothman

          Yes, it was quite lengthy! To be fair to Steinberg, they did not say they “might” bring it back; they said that the features “will return in new and improved form in a future free maintenance update”. They do have a solid track record of eventually delivering on promises, even though stated timelines have sometimes slipped.

  2. Pierre

    It feels like Dorico’s biggest enemy is the Dorico team itself. Nobody forces them to release these beta quality softwares, yet they do it regularly. There are still 3.5 features that are missing from version 4. It just shows that they are more like enthusiastic amateur programmers rather then professional software developers.

    1. Daniel Spreadbury

      That’s quite the hot take you have there, PIerre! The developers in the Dorico team have over one hundred man years’ combined professional experience between them.

      Even the most experienced software developers will tell you that it can be close to impossible to predict with a high degree of certainty how long a software project will take (that’s why there are dozens, if not hundreds, of books about that very topic, and almost as many methodologies proposed).

      We have to balance the overall needs of the business – which in this case specifically included helping to iron out the kinks in the Steinberg Licensing system ahead of the release of Cubase 12, which has many more users than Dorico does – against the capabilities of the team, the relative prioritisation of different areas of the software, and so on. Yes, there were some parts of Play mode that were not included in Dorico 4.0, and a couple of them still remain to be added. But we have delivered an enormous amount of useful new functionality across the whole breadth of the application, and even if we could have chosen to delay the release further, we may well not have done: Dorico users had been waiting since February 2021 for a new update, and many users of the software have little to no interest in Play mode (just as some users who are very focused on Play mode might have, say, little interest in support for tablature, or features for jazz).

      It would of course have been preferable for all of the Play mode functionality to be in place before Dorico 4.0 was released, but that was not possible, for a variety of reasons. We have been completely transparent about it throughout. And if those features are the difference between Dorico 4 being useful for you or not, please vote with your hard-earned cash and don’t buy the update until those features are present and correct.

      We continue to work hard on restoring the remaining Play mode features and improving their user experience and utility beyond what was included in Dorico 3.5, in our enthusiastically amateurish way…

      1. Waldbaer

        Thank you very much for your work! I think Pierre‘s position is really too harsh here as it‘s obvious that you added very much useful functionality to the software that now seems difficult to live without (e.g. the library manager as a central hub – just love it).
        I want to stress that your reasons to release the not-yet-perfectly-finished upgrade are indeed the *professional* ones: You are part of a bigger company and have to somehow fit into its road map. These are things „enthusiastic amateur programmers“ don‘t even have to think about…
        So my bottom line is: Keep up your good work, I‘m looking forward to the remaining reimplementations!

  3. Paul

    Is there a way to drag the score around like you can in Sibelius by just putting the cursor between the bars clicking and dragging whichever way you like or do you have to stick to the horizontal and vertical sliders?

    1. Daniel Spreadbury

      Yes, you can: use H to toggle between the hand tool (which allows you to drag the paper around) and the marquee tool (which allows you to drag out a selection rectangle).

      1. Paul

        Thank you Daniel

        1. Philip Rothman

          You can also use the Shift key to temporarily reverse this behavior, and set your preferred tool on the Note Input and Editing page in Preferences.

  4. Henry

    Just to say that like most Dorico users, I am extremely grateful to such a committed and professional development team that is very much in touch with and responsive to the needs of its users. I find it very exciting to be involved in and benefitting from the evolution of this incredible and elegant piece of software, which sets a new standard of excellence. Grateful, too , for the very thorough coverage that Scoring Notes gives freely to this and other products. Thank you, all.

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