I was excited to hear about Dorico’s new workspace for iPad earlier this year. This isn’t a companion app to the desktop version of Dorico but a standalone, mobile version with all the amazing features of Dorico designed for your iPad. In this time where people are always on the move and less reliant on paper, you can now use Dorico at the touch of your screen anytime, anywhere. As Dorico say, this gives you “more time for music,” which is only a good thing for any musician looking to get their creative juices flowing.
I had not used Dorico before but we already had some glowing reviews from customers about using it with PlayScore 2, so I was intrigued to try Dorico for myself.
Import MusicXML to Dorico
Having downloaded Dorico from the App Store, I couldn’t wait to try importing a score already uploaded to PlayScore 2. All I needed to do was tap the share icon at the top of the screen in PlayScore 2 and then the button to import into Dorico. Hey presto, PlayScore 2 imports your score into Dorico in a matter of seconds!
Now that seriously impressed me as I would have to start from scratch and manually typeset all the music and SfML if I didn’t have PlayScore 2. The PlayScore 2 app’s “Save as MusicXML” option is a massive time saver particularly if you’re working on multiple arrangements, complex scores, or if you’re new to score editing software as Dorico simply implants your score into its workspace.
When you open up your score in Dorico, it gives users four editing modes which are fairly self-explanatory: Setup, Write, Engrave and Play. You can tap each of these to play around with various features as I’ll explain below.
I found it easy to move the staves and different voicings around. For instance, in my arrangement of the Debussy sonata, I often felt that the violin had more importance in the main melodies over the principal flute’s countermelodies. So you simply just tap the part you want to move and swipe up or down below whichever parts you want.
What’s useful is that you can easily toggle between working on a full score or individual parts, if you want to simplify your work, and focus on writing and setting up the details for a particular instrument or part.
I also found the layout intuitive. The different tabs on the sides had relevant SfMl icons included to show you what each tab represents (e.g., dynamics, time signatures, articulation). I could simply tap these and each one gives you a plethora of options to include in your score.
It’s also easy to enter in notes in your score as you open up the virtual piano keyboard that comes with Dorico and press the key that corresponds to the note you want. In comparison to other score editors, you would have to click on the stave and manually input the notes.
I noticed that there was a weird engraving error in one of the rhythms from the arrangement on IMSLP so I was able to easily change it by dragging my finger over the grouping to change it. On that note, you can also set different groupings for rhythms, beamings and phrasing (under the “Notation Options.”) This is a useful feature if you are arranging a pre-existing piece and need to rearrange the rhythms in a way for your students to understand it more easily (e.g., if your score has syncopation, cross-rhythms or cross-phrasing).
Dorico also gives you the option under the Engrave tab to group different parts as one system or frame. This is a useful feature if you’re arranging for different groups of instruments or chamber ensembles within a work). Or if you have a treble and bass part that you want to reorchestrate as a piano part.
I wanted to create a neo-Baroque arrangement of a movement from Debussy’s Sonata for flute, viola and harp (taken from an existing arrangement of the same work from IMSLP). I wanted to orchestrate my score using various instruments (simply tap the Play option under the arrow menu in the top left corner to do this), so I reorchestrated the first movement for flute, viola and continuo.
I was really pleased with the end result on playback as usually the instrument sounds on score editors can sound a bit artificial. I also wanted to hear some different sounds so I was able to set the flute part to sound as a clarinet and an oboe. You can even set the sound levels for each part so you can create a good blend between instruments.
What’s more, Dorico automatically saves your edits so you can simply open up your score and carry on from where you left off.
Dorico also gives you the option to export your score as an audio file or a PDF so there’s the potential for music directors to send their scores to other musicians so they can hear how their parts should sound and they can also follow along with the score. Moreover, Dorico has created software for cloud computing and collaboration. You can import your scores as Dorico projects which means that you can share your work with other musicians so they can contribute to the score.
Dorico has a user-friendly and logical layout, not to mention an attractive, slick design. This makes the app accessible for musicians and arrangers of all levels whether you’re a novice to score editing or a professional engraver.
What’s more, the ability to transfer scores from one musical software system to another is a particularly efficient feature on an iPad. For instance, take a score that you want to learn from a free sheet music site like IMSLP and then play it back in PlayScore 2. Now, simply import the music to Dorico and you can get into the creativity of arranging your scores sooner.
The music industry has needed an iPad app like Dorico’s. Dorico for iPad has amazing potential to improve the way we compose, arrange and disseminate music scores. Why not give it a go with PlayScore 2 today?