This post, originally published on December 29, 2016 on the occasion of the publication of the first version of the Dorico reference, has been updated to reflect the publication of the new reference, encompassing improvements to the software up to Dorico 1.2.
If you’ve been looking to catch up on reading material over the holiday season and new year, no doubt you’ve thumbed through our recent 2017 year-in-review.
But if notation software reference manuals are your thing, here’s a present you’ll enjoy: the latest version of the Dorico guide is now available to download as a PDF, and the online reference has been updated to match, encompassing improvements to the software up to Dorico 1.2.
If you are a fan of the whimsy and occasionally irreverent style of the Sibelius Reference, the Dorico guide will strike you as dull by comparison. Don’t misunderstand — it is easy to follow and logically structured, following strict conventions that align with the references for Steinberg’s other products. Many topics clearly label a prerequisite, procedure, and result to get you easily on your way to sorting out a problem or learning about a feature. But apart from a discussion on Dorico’s conceptual design or a brief etymological digression about the meaning of the word “caret” (p. 98), if amusement is what you’re looking for, you’ll have to search for it elsewhere — though careful readers will be rewarded with a bit of the old-style humor (humour?) in the section on changing the size of clef changes.
The manual is much more exhaustive than where it stood a year ago — at 732 pages it compares to the 855-page Sibelius Reference or the 1,344-page Cubase tome. Still, product marketing manager Daniel Spreadbury says:
This Operation Manual is not yet complete: Play mode is not yet documented, some parts of Engrave mode are not yet documented, and we also plan to go back over Setup and Write modes, as well as provide some more introductory/tutorial material. However, this update does add hundreds of pages of documentation in the section we call ‘Notation Reference’, which details how you create, edit and work with all of the different notations within Dorico.
The Dorico guide is a comprehensive, well-organized resource that, when read together with viewing the growing cache of tutorial videos on the official Dorico YouTube channel, will leave you in a strong position to make the most of the new software. Daniel said that this updated documentation is available in PDF format and in English only for the moment. They anticipate that the remaining material will be complete early in 2018, at which point updated, complete localized versions in German, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, and Russian will be produced.
I’ve written here how the Sibelius Reference is an important resource, and that reading a manual on a tablet is a fine way to have such useful information at your fingertips. The Dorico manual follows in that tradition; its bookmarks, index and internal links make it easy to navigate, and it is well on its way to being an exhaustive, authoritative resource for the burgeoning software. I’m glad that Steinberg is fully supporting the concept of an offline manual for Dorico.