Tantacrul Dorico video

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benwiggy
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Tantacrul Dorico video

Post by benwiggy »

Joining Tantacrul's critiques of MuseScore and Sibelius, there's now what some would call a 'takedown' of Dorico.

https://youtu.be/S-3wEC6Fj_8

It's an hour long, so buckle up. However, in summary:

He makes some fair points about problems with Steinberg's installation process, Setup mode and a few other UI awkwardnesses, though some of his other complaints are basically untrue -- he's missed some key aspects of the program.
I suspect he would argue that these capabilities should have been more obvious in the UI, despite his 8-months of use.

He mostly focuses on the experience for new users who are trying to gain familiarity with the app at first go, rather than anyone who's taken the time to surf through some manual pages or watch any of the tutorial videos.

What is most interesting is that Tantacrul has, after his MuseScore critique, been employed by MuseScore as their Head of Design. He's a very talented UX designer, so I'm sure that MS will benefit massively.

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John Ruggero
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Re: Tantacrul Dorico video

Post by John Ruggero »

it was very amusing, Ben, which was nice at a time like this, and very informative. I laughed out loud during the buttons to activate buttons to activate buttons episode; it resonated that strongly with me after my experiences as a first time user. But what really impressed me was his astute comments regarding user interface. I felt like cheering when at the end he something to the effect that we are being asked to learn to use new software at a dizzying pace, and it is up to designers to make this as painless as possible. I hope that Dorico designers will take this to heart.

And when a UX designer with years of music notation software experience misses key elements in a program after 8 months of study and use, one wonders whose fault that really is.
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Florian
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Re: Tantacrul Dorico video

Post by Florian »

John Ruggero wrote:
25 Apr 2020, 19:35
And when a UX designer with years of music notation software experience misses key elements in a program after 8 months of study and use, one wonders whose fault that really is.
He can only have missed these things if he deliberately chose not to read the manuals or ask for help. Seriously, would any smart person do this when they're learning something as complex as music notation software? For eight months?!

No, there's no doubt that he's smart, so I suspect he very much knew all or at least most of these things but decided to go the more entertaining route.

I'm not saying he's wrong with everything, but you should take his videos as what they are: Entertainment. If he was only interested in making the software better he could have saved himself a lot of work by just raising his issues with the developers.

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odod
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Re: Tantacrul Dorico video

Post by odod »

i must agree at some point with tantacrul, although i'd really want it .. but i will kept Sibelius and Finale all the time for my composition needs.
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benwiggy
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Re: Tantacrul Dorico video

Post by benwiggy »

I agree with Florian that his flounderings were somewhat disingenuous, considering he claimed to have followed the Dorico blog, watched videos and read forums. I find his final conclusion that he prefers Sibelius, whose interface he gave a much greater panning, curious, unless perhaps first impressions aren't everything after all.

In any case, the Dorico team have now (3.5) grouped the Note Entry icons by function, and added a dialog to tell you that you need a time sig before you can add bars. So they have listened and heeded as much as they think is valid or possible for now.

But if Finale is your daily driver, then you've forsaken the notion of interface design as a significant concept to your workflow. :lol:

mducharme
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Re: Tantacrul Dorico video

Post by mducharme »

John Ruggero wrote:
25 Apr 2020, 19:35
I laughed out loud during the buttons to activate buttons to activate buttons episode
There is actually a good reason for the "activate buttons to activate buttons". What the first checkbox does is tells Dorico that you wish to override the option vs. using the engraving defaults. If the option is a simple off or on option, there is then a second control which tells Dorico whether you wish the option to be forced off or forced on. If they were to simply remove the first checkbox that tells you if the option is overridden, then you would have no way of knowing, if you changed the default engraving settings in Dorico for beaming, whether that instance was manually overridden or whether it would follow the defaults and use the new defaults if you change them.

Maybe there is a better UI/UX way of showing that that feature is overridden but they still need to show it somehow, and allow removing the override. It is very common for Dorico users that they will first override cases where they do not like what Dorico does, then discover there is a setting that handles such things automatically, and then want to remove the overrides as they are now unnecessary and could get in the way instead.
John Ruggero wrote:
25 Apr 2020, 19:35
And when a UX designer with years of music notation software experience misses key elements in a program after 8 months of study and use, one wonders whose fault that really is.
The big thing with Dorico is that you really have to use the keyboard to use it efficiently and effectively. If he did use the keyboard he would realize there are much better solutions to many of the issues he pointed out. If you only use the mouse and point and click, then you lose a lot of the power of Dorico. Somebody pointed out it would be like trying to use the mouse to write a letter instead of typing the letter on a keyboard, and I agree with that. He seems to be stuck on the mouse and I'm not really clear why. Things that he complained about (like the inability to paste on an offbeat) are easy to do in two seconds on the keyboard, even faster than he can do in Sibelius. However, because he seems to be allergic to the keyboard and uses the mouse instead for everything, he completely misses those options.

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John Ruggero
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Re: Tantacrul Dorico video

Post by John Ruggero »

mducharme wrote:
01 Jun 2020, 01:48
There is actually a good reason for the "activate buttons to activate buttons"
Thank you, mducharme, I think I understand the reason from the designer's point of view, but I think that it should be done in a way that doesn't force the user to use more than one action for a single command.

But I am not yet sure the designer's point of view is aligned with mine. I am three capabilities away from being able to use Dorico for my work. Will I be able to set the program up so that it does exactly what I tell it to do, or will I constantly have to tell the program what I don't want it to do. Who will be the master and who will be the servant? That will decide whether I move to Dorico.
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mducharme
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Re: Tantacrul Dorico video

Post by mducharme »

Right, but it is actually two commands - one is the command to have that setting override the program default, and the next is what you want to override it to. I do not generally find myself having to click those boxes anyway because you usually should set the program defaults to do what you want by default so you don't have to change anything. For instance, if you want all of your slurs to be flat slurs, you wouldn't go through it by selecting each slur individually and choosing the option to make them flat, instead you would go into the default settings and change the default to make them flat slurs automatically.

There are still certain things in Dorico that I find frustrating, such as not being able to disable collision avoidance for bar numbers, and the way it handles rehearsal markers which often requires turning off collisions in the staff spacing to make it manageable. Those are definitely some things I want to see fixed, and other things like box notation still requires workarounds that are a bit annoying. It isn't perfect, but it is already saving me a lot of time in other ways.

I don't think Dorico is meant to make you work a certain way. Of course you are the master, Dorico doesn't make you do things you don't want to do. In this regard Tantacrul misunderstood one of the key facets of Dorico. For instance, he thought that Dorico prevented him from splitting a quarter rest into two eighth rests because it thought it was wrong and so it prevented that. That isn't actually the reason - the actual reason is, by and large, rests do not exist in Dorico, they are the absence of notes. He could not split the rest because there is in fact no rest there to split - Dorico finds the empty space and auto-calculates the rests that should be there and dynamically displays them. It is of course possible to "force insert" a rest, in which case there will actually be a rest there, but it is not the norm.

The reason for that is that Dorico's internal representation for notation is very similar to a piano roll in a MIDI sequencer in a DAW. In a piano roll, rectangles on a grid represent notes, there is no such thing as a tie (a note regardless of start or end time is a single rectangle), and there are no "rests" to insert in a piano roll, there are simply places where there are no notes. Obviously in a piano roll, the fact that there are no rests doesn't mean that you can't enter notes wherever you like, you can start a note at any place you want by setting the appropriate grid resolution to snap to and clicking the mouse to add a new note. On a piano roll, if you want to copy and paste notes to a particular point, you have to first select the point on the grid timeline where you want to paste and paste the notes there.

In notation software, this requires a bit of a different type of thinking - you are no longer thinking about "inserting rests" but instead moving forward on the grid to the next point where you have a note entry. Obviously one disadvantage of this is that, for people used to other notation programs, this is a different way of representing the music (ex. in Finale and Sibelius where tied notes are two different things and rests actually exist). The other disadvantage is that it is harder to work with the mouse than with the keyboard - it becomes easy to accidentally shorten an existing note by clicking on a wrong spot on the grid which can end up shortening an earlier note (which you saw a few people doing early in the Tantacrul video) and also the fact that you are not using the grid all the time when you are using the mouse (vs. the keyboard) means that certain tasks that require the grid (like pasting to an off-beat) do not seem as obvious. That being said, I don't know why you would want to do note entry with the mouse anyway, it is such a slow way of working.

The advantages are that operations like automatically correcting the notation to represent the metre or combining rests properly are quite easy and reliable since the program does them on the fly. The other advantage is that it brings the program in striking distance to integrate with DAWs like Cubase or replace them for some users. This becomes the best chance of bringing together the DAW and notation world, which have long been completely separate and for people who work with film music often means entering everything twice, once in piano roll to do demos and then notating it for performance.

In my experience, I see a completely different reaction from people who have never used any notation software previously and encounter Dorico vs. people coming from another program. The people who start with Dorico as their first notation program generally find it much more intuitive vs the people who already have the "baggage" of being used to the way another program does things. And I think it would be a mistake for the Dorico team to redesign their software to make it much less powerful just to make people moving from Sibelius or Finale more comfortable initially. All we would have then is just another Sibelius with a different interface.

Tantacrul misunderstood the intent of the program as forcing you do things in its way because it is correct - the program being the "master" and the arbiter of what is correct. This is not the case at all and he is just missing so many obvious solutions and working in such a slow method with his mouse-driven operation. A lot of the things he was demonstrating were painful to watch because he was doing things in Dorico in the slowest possible way that you can do them. If you want Dorico to be an unpleasant and slow experience where it takes forever to enter and engrave a score, then do them like Tantacrul I guess. His video should be a demonstration for how NOT to use Dorico.

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John Ruggero
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Re: Tantacrul Dorico video

Post by John Ruggero »

Thank you for that explanation, mducharme. I view music engraving more like drawing than typing, so the mouse if perfect for many of the things I do. On the other hand, I use extensive keyboard commands for things best done that way. My main note input is by OCR or playing it in on a MIDI keyboard, because I hate computer keyboard input and, as you said, mouse input is so cumbersome.

I did find Dorico to be intuitive, because it is very logical. But I also found it cumbersome with too many things to tolerate for the sake of things that have no relevance for me. And the things to put up with are inherent to the program and unlikely to change. So the Tantacrul video did resonate.
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DatOrganistTho
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Re: Tantacrul Dorico video

Post by DatOrganistTho »

Dorico wipes the floor with Sibelius and Finale in many regards and he somehow missed most of that.

I'm prone to speculate that he spent very little time with it. I spent the same amount with Dorico and I wrote three enormous pieces all inside the program (sketch, draft, edit, finish). That was all before version 3. There were no tears, no pains, no difficulties. It looked wonderful, too.

In my opinion, he pandered to the senile and disgruntled few who have already voiced their issues with the program (and Steinberg). In effect, however, he spoke to an audience of (now former) potential users who have effectively made Dorico their "plan C" over the other big two. This brings me grief.

I watched an orchestrator spend an hour and a half on a 2 1/2 minute cue in Finale. It was cringy. The amount of hoops that this individual went through just to make sure that Finale behaved correctly and didn't royally screw something up baffled my brain. That same cue could have been done in minutes in Dorico.

Why some subject themselves to this kind of torture is beyond me.
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