Dorico/Lilypond/SCORE?

Recommendations concerning notation and publishing software in a non-partisan environment.
canonperpetuus
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Dorico/Lilypond/SCORE?

Post by canonperpetuus » 31 Aug 2019, 16:50

Hello, first post here!

I’m a keyboardist, musicologist, programmer, and hobbyist engraver who used Finale briefly from about 2003 - 2007 and then switched to Lilypond, which I’ve used for quite a few years with the Frescobaldi editor. About 5 years ago I obtained a copy of SCORE (with PDF user guide and manual) from an acquaintance and have used it in DOS-BOX running on both Windows 7 and Windows 10 machines.

I’ve only recently come across Dorico, and I admit that I’m impressed by what I see; in particular, I’m excited by what looks like Dorico’s page layout and templating system—it appears quite similar to Adobe InDesign, which I use for all my design-focused projects. The engraving community, however, seems to give it a cooler reception, yet many of the complaints I’ve read about Dorico thus far seem to center on earlier versions of the software, which leads me to think that at least some of the problems have been addressed in the current release, v. 2.2.x. At a minimum, it does seem like the Dorico team at Steinberg is welcoming of feedback, hardly a common trait of software companies these days, so I view that as a net positive.

I don’t mind investing in Dorico, as good tools often cost money, especially if the current version is a solidly usable product that only promises to get better in future releases. I focus almost exclusively on music from the early 19th century and earlier, so complicated contemporary, extended, and experimental notation is not of much use to my music engraving needs. Broadly speaking, I’m looking to emulate the Henle editions of Bach that I play from; I know some in this forum aren’t keen on Henle but I find reading from their editions to be quite pleasant.

I’ve had a look at the excellent “Ten Music Notation Programs” PDF, which contains samples from SCORE, Lilypond, and an early version of Dorico. Apart from this comparison, how would you rate the engraving quality, in general, of the current version of Dorico (2.2.x) as compared to SCORE and Lilypond?

While Lilypond does produce generally excellent engraving output by default (though sometimes, I find, a bit visually imbalanced), more complicated adjustments require often kludgy coding (in Scheme, a somewhat niche language). Lilypond’s Feta font is serviceable, though some glyphs, like the slightly bent treble clef, really stick out. I know there are other music fonts out there, but I don’t have first-hand experience with how Lilypond handles them.

As much as I do generally like the quality of SCORE’s engraving, I think it’s going to be an ever-harder fight to keep it alive as technology changes and power users’ tolerance for such a high effort-to-result ratio evolves. I’m a programmer and I still find it an incredible pain to use. Leland Smith passed away several years ago; it’s not clear who owns the rights to the source code and/or what they would do with said rights; the distribution company (San Andreas Press) is long defunct; the Windows pseudo-port “Winscore” is basically as orphaned as the DOS version. Even those of us who have copies of the user manuals can’t glean everything we need to know from them—training materials and best practices need to supplement the documentation. I know SCORE has devoted users, but if it can’t acquire new users who can learn to use it proficiently, I don’t see how it has much of a future.

So, what does this community recommend? Is the current version of Dorico adequate for producing high-quality engravings that don’t require SCORE-level amounts of tweaking? Am I better off sticking with Lilypond?

Thanks very much!

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OCTO
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Re: Dorico/Lilypond/SCORE?

Post by OCTO » 31 Aug 2019, 21:07

I have never used SCORE, Lilypond nor Dorico before, but I find it difficult to compare them: working in Dorico is visual and that is a crucial difference to take in account. I know several engravers that don't like gui-approach at all and see superiority in coding.

The main issue is the way you use it (info not provided): if you plan to work with a team then that is very important. If you work alone, than I am sure DOS emulation will be available in decades to come. I believe that SCORE excells over all with numerous available examples.

Among GUI based software I think that Finale has an extremely good reputation for manually edited scores. That is crucial for simulation. Please find some examples by user 'wess-music' on the forum, it is just unbelievable.

I have also used MuseScore v2 for a project and have been astonished with the visual output. Also manual editing is very precise and stable....

My feeling is that going forward with LilyPond is just fine in your case, you will have a great tool in hands for what you need.
There are several LilyPond users here who have perhaps tested Dorico to confirm this. But they are always subjective. :) ;)

(Finally, some parameters of notation can be unlocked only in a vector editing software - also important for simulation. I just discovered that Affinity Designer, which is de facto InDesign+Illustrator, can do marvellous things.)
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Finale 25 • Sibelius 2018 • MuseScore 2 • Logic Pro X • Ableton Live 9 • Digital Performer 9 /// OS X El Capitan, (side system: Debian 9, Windows 10)

benwiggy
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Joined: 11 Apr 2016, 19:42

Re: Dorico/Lilypond/SCORE?

Post by benwiggy » 01 Sep 2019, 07:41

canonperpetuus wrote:
31 Aug 2019, 16:50
So, what does this community recommend? Is the current version of Dorico adequate for producing high-quality engravings that don’t require SCORE-level amounts of tweaking?
Yes.
In terms of "effort-to-result ratio", I'd say Dorico leads the field. I've used Finale for over 20 years, but I find Dorico's key skill is producing better scores faster. The controls are there so that you can tweak, if you want to; but you don't need to.
For getting attractive, consistent, well-engraved notation on the page without fuss, Dorico is by far the superior of any program I've used.
canonperpetuus wrote:
31 Aug 2019, 16:50
The engraving community, however, seems to give it a cooler reception

I think I'm right in saying that the complaints mainly focus on the things that it could not do, many of which have since been addressed, or which are believed to be 'on the roadmap'. As Dorico grows, I'm sure we'll see more SMuFL-compatible fonts for those who don't like Bravura.

There was some discussion about its slurs, but then you can always change the default settings. (You can say the same about Finale.)

Having configured the settings to my liking, Dorico's engraving is better than the engraving I was getting in Finale, to the extent that I am re-engraving much of my work from Finale in Dorico -- particularly multi-movement works that benefit from its "Flows" feature.

Finally, a new version of Dorico is expected imminently. (A UK music magazine has just run adverts for Dorico 3.) So it might be wise to wait and see what that will bring.

canonperpetuus
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Re: Dorico/Lilypond/SCORE?

Post by canonperpetuus » 02 Sep 2019, 14:42

OCTO wrote:
31 Aug 2019, 21:07
The main issue is the way you use it (info not provided): if you plan to work with a team then that is very important. If you work alone, than I am sure DOS emulation will be available in decades to come. I believe that SCORE excells over all with numerous available examples.
I'm working by myself, mostly for myself at this point. I don't foresee working with a team, so indeed I have my pick of engraving software.

I do like SCORE's engraving, however, I think one needs a lot of additional experience/information beyond what is in the manuals in order to produce polished output from it. (Lilypond at least hast the Snippet Repository (LSR), in addition to the notation reference, although even these are not always enough.) I think between this and the fact that SCORE is no longer distributed, it is not altogether workable as a long-term engraving platform.

It looks like there's just been a post (viewtopic.php?f=7&t=516) about Dorico 3 launch, so perhaps that's coming soon and I can give it a try.

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Schneider
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Re: Dorico/Lilypond/SCORE?

Post by Schneider » 03 Sep 2019, 10:44

Hi canonperpetuus,
canonperpetuus wrote:
31 Aug 2019, 16:50
[...] About 5 years ago I obtained a copy of SCORE (with PDF user guide and manual) from an acquaintance and have used it in DOS-BOX running on both Windows 7 and Windows 10 machines. [...]
Lucky you are, I'd love to try Score ;)
canonperpetuus wrote:
31 Aug 2019, 16:50
[...]
While Lilypond does produce generally excellent engraving output by default (though sometimes, I find, a bit visually imbalanced), [...]
That's interesting. I never had such an impression. Could you show us a short example, e.g. both with Score and LilyPond to see what the problem is?
canonperpetuus wrote:
31 Aug 2019, 16:50
[...] Lilypond’s Feta font is serviceable, though some glyphs, like the slightly bent treble clef, really stick out. I know there are other music fonts out there, but I don’t have first-hand experience with how Lilypond handles them.
[...]
Yep, I agree about the treble clef.
Personally, I use a custom close-to-Score-look treble clef.
Here's my coding:

Code: Select all

\version "2.19.83"

%% New treble clef defs:
#(define-markup-command (G_Score layout props thk mlt) (number? number?)
  (interpret-markup layout props
   (markup 
    (#:stencil 
     (make-path-stencil
      '(M  1.117 -2.778 
        C  0.730 -2.782  0.363 -2.364 0.484 -1.981 
        C  0.566 -1.641  1.043 -1.540 1.285 -1.786 
        C  1.504 -1.997  1.418 -2.395 1.141 -2.513 
        C  0.996 -2.567  0.836 -2.583 1.090 -2.614 
        C  1.379 -2.673  1.703 -2.559 1.828 -2.278 
        C  1.969 -1.911  1.820 -1.395 1.766 -1.024 
        C  1.031 -1.169  0.277 -0.903 0.031 -0.196 
        C -0.129  0.323 -0.043  0.917 0.250  1.366 
        C  0.492  1.737  0.832  1.999 1.152  2.300 
        C  1.070  2.886  1.000  3.468 1.203  4.034 
        C  1.297  4.292  1.484  4.503 1.680  4.687 
        C  1.898  4.886  2.117  4.335 2.211  4.062 
        C  2.398  3.601  2.227  2.839 1.934  2.323 
        C  1.816  2.105  1.637  1.929 1.457  1.757 
        C  1.500  1.523  1.539  1.288 1.586  1.054 
        C  2.117  1.077  2.477  0.792 2.602  0.359 
        C  2.766 -0.134  2.516 -0.766 1.953 -0.977 
        C  2.004 -1.423  2.160 -1.927 2.004 -2.313 
        C  1.902 -2.567  1.656 -2.766 1.379 -2.778 
        C  1.293 -2.798  1.203 -2.790 1.117 -2.782 
        M  1.734 -0.919 
        C  1.621 -0.306  1.574  0.026 1.500  0.464 
        C  1.164  0.433  0.973  0.066 1.090 -0.220 
        C  1.141 -0.345  1.223 -0.407 1.359 -0.485 
        C  1.492 -0.563  1.387 -0.657 1.297 -0.618 
        C  1.031 -0.509  0.664 -0.188 0.758  0.269 
        C  0.816  0.569  1.059  0.917 1.398  1.023 
        C  1.359  1.261  1.332  1.378 1.297  1.612 
        C  0.887  1.234  0.332  0.753 0.348  0.155 
        C  0.363 -0.532  0.746 -1.071 1.734 -0.919 
        M  1.688  0.480 
        C  1.762  0.105  1.844 -0.509 1.926 -0.880 
        C  2.656 -0.462  2.438  0.534 1.688  0.480 
        M  2.016  3.776 
        C  1.984  4.378  1.691  4.058 1.500  3.706 
        C  1.313  3.366  1.273  2.894 1.352  2.468 
        C  1.945  3.066  2.031  3.409 2.016  3.776
        Z)
       thk mlt mlt #t)))))

clefGScore = \layout {
        \context {
          \Score 
          \override Clef.stencil = 
            #(lambda (grob) 
               (let* ((sz (ly:grob-property grob 'font-size 0)) 
                      (mlt (magstep sz))
                      (glyph (ly:grob-property grob 'glyph-name))) 
                     (cond
                      ((equal? glyph "clefs.G") 
                       (grob-interpret-markup grob 
                        (markup #:scale(cons mlt mlt)#:G_Score 0 1)))
                      ((equal? glyph "clefs.G_change") 
                       (grob-interpret-markup grob 
                        (markup #:scale(cons mlt mlt)#:G_Score .01 .8)))
                      (else (ly:clef::print grob)))))
           \override ClefModifier.clef-alignments = #'((G 0 . .4))
           % Optional:
           %\override ClefModifier.font-series = #'bold
        }
      }
%% defs end.      
	  
%% Test:
\clefGScore

\new PianoStaff << \new Staff{ c' } \new Staff { \clef F c } >>
{ \clef "G_8" c }
{ \clef "G^8" c'' }
{ \clef "G_15" c, }
{ \clef "G^15" c''' }
Preview here: http://lilybin.com/vxtdv7/1

HTH, Cheers,
Pierre

PS.
canonperpetuus wrote:
31 Aug 2019, 16:50
[...]
So, what does this community recommend? Is the current version of Dorico adequate for producing high-quality engravings that don’t require SCORE-level amounts of tweaking? Am I better off sticking with Lilypond?
[...]
I haven't try Dorico yet, sorry for not answering. ;)
~Pierre

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OCTO
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Re: Dorico/Lilypond/SCORE?

Post by OCTO » 03 Sep 2019, 16:22

Schneider wrote:
03 Sep 2019, 10:44
Yep, I agree about the treble clef.
Personally, I use a custom close-to-Score-look treble clef.
Here's my coding:
Are you coding the clef directly in the code, without the font?!?
Freelance Composer. Self-Publisher.
Finale 25 • Sibelius 2018 • MuseScore 2 • Logic Pro X • Ableton Live 9 • Digital Performer 9 /// OS X El Capitan, (side system: Debian 9, Windows 10)

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tisimst
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Re: Dorico/Lilypond/SCORE?

Post by tisimst » 03 Sep 2019, 16:47

OCTO wrote:
03 Sep 2019, 16:22
Schneider wrote:
03 Sep 2019, 10:44
Yep, I agree about the treble clef.
Personally, I use a custom close-to-Score-look treble clef.
Here's my coding:
Are you coding the clef directly in the code, without the font?!?
Witness the power and flexibility of LilyPond...

... and the incredible patience of @Schneider lol.
Music Typeface Designer & Engraver - LilyPond | Sibelius | Finale | MuseScore | Dorico | SMuFL | Inkscape | FontForge
http://www.musictypefoundry.com

canonperpetuus
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Location: Massachusetts, USA

Re: Dorico/Lilypond/SCORE?

Post by canonperpetuus » 04 Sep 2019, 02:08

OCTO wrote:
03 Sep 2019, 16:22
Are you coding the clef directly in the code, without the font?!?
SCORE works entirely like this; there are no fonts, and all symbols are drawn using vector graphics. Honestly, I'd probably use SCORE if there were a robust community and expert training available. Jürgen Selk has a playlist on YouTube showing complex full score layout with SCORE and it's pretty mind-blowing how expertly he uses the SCORE suite of programs, which are very much built with a UNIX philosophy, with lots of automation through Windows batch scripting (and probably other tools as well).

While I *very* much like Lilypond for its modular handling of music data (building from parts and variables rather than extracting parts from full scores), I'm quite intrigued by Dorico's publishing tools, with text frames, flows, master pages, and other things familiar to InDesign users and those who have worked with larger-format projects destined for a professional print shop. I'll be watching their announcement of version 3 on Thursday with great interest. :)

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OCTO
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Re: Dorico/Lilypond/SCORE?

Post by OCTO » 04 Sep 2019, 04:53

tisimst wrote:
03 Sep 2019, 16:47
Witness the power and flexibility of LilyPond...
Unbelievable...!
tisimst wrote:
03 Sep 2019, 16:47
... and the incredible patience of @Schneider lol.
Hats off!

If I were 19, and still student, no kids etc... than I would perhaps learn coding/Lilypond. I feel it is to late now. :(

canonperpetuus, if I were you I would choose Lilypond over all others. Maybe you can build a large community yourself or whatever just for Lilypond-support. We can maybe open a separate subforum "Lilypond" if users want here at notatio and call all LP users.
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Finale 25 • Sibelius 2018 • MuseScore 2 • Logic Pro X • Ableton Live 9 • Digital Performer 9 /// OS X El Capitan, (side system: Debian 9, Windows 10)

Florian
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Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 15:34

Re: Dorico/Lilypond/SCORE?

Post by Florian » 05 Sep 2019, 16:39

OCTO wrote:
04 Sep 2019, 04:53
canonperpetuus, if I were you I would choose Lilypond over all others.
For music from the early 19th century? I disagree.

Get Dorico, get a MIDI keyboard and you’ll be producing (reasonably) high quality material in what feels like no time at all, once you have learned the ropes. I have never used Lilypond seriously, but I do have some coding experience and I can’t imagine that you can 'code' a page of music as quickly as you can input and tweak it in Dorico.

Also — pardon the platitudinous phrase — I think the future lies with Dorico. Today's 3.0 release is a very impressive statement and a demonstration of what its supreme architecture allows it to achieve.

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