Notation Express for Dorico 4 released [updated]


Listen to the podcast episode

On the Scoring Notes podcast, Philip Rothman and David MacDonald talk about how they developed this new version of Notation Express and the immediate benefits of the new system. We also discuss how this new API opens up even more possibilities, not only for the future of Notation Express, but also for other tools. Listen now:

Scoring Notes
Scoring Notes
Pressing all the right buttons


If you stop by Scoring Notes from time to time, you may have seen the exciting news that Dorico 4 was released recently. If you haven’t heard about it yet, please read our extensive review.

A feature that was introduced in Dorico 4 was this nugget, buried deep in the version history:

“Dorico 4 introduces a new remote control API that allows richer control from external applications such as the Elgato Stream Deck or Metasystem’s Metagrid apps for iOS and Android. This API allows software to connect to Dorico using WebSockets, then to send commands, update properties, read the state of the application, and so on.”

Well, that nugget is a golden one, because here at NYC Music Services, we are very excited to announce the immediate release of Notation Express and Notation Express XL for Dorico 4!

Completely rebuilt for Dorico 4

Notation Express for Dorico 4 has been completely rebuilt. Every button has been re-programmed to take advantage of Dorico 4’s ability to receive commands directly from Stream Deck, instead of relying upon a custom key command profile as the intermediary.

What does this mean?

You may have noticed that earlier versions of Notation Express installed a custom key command (shortcut) profile. In Dorico 4 it is no longer necessary to rely on these commands.

This is a major change for the following reasons:

  • Reclaim your shortcuts – You can now reclaim all of the keyboard shortcuts for your own use, as you like, without them being reserved by Notation Express
  • Cross-platform support – One Notation Express profile works for both Mac and Windows, so you can use the same profile on both operating systems (no need to purchase separate versions)
  • Multi-language support – Notation Express is now supported in all languages, so you don’t need to switch to English to use it in Dorico (the icon labels will still only be in English, for now)
  • Faster – The direct connection to Dorico makes Notation Express significantly more responsive, because it passes commands directly to Dorico instead of invoking a series of macros that may involve opening and typing into a popover, for example
  • Control Dorico in the background – The direct connection to Dorico means that you can use your Stream Deck to control Dorico even when another application is running in the foreground

I’ve especially enjoyed this last benefit; it’s surprisingly convenient, for example, to use the playback and navigation controls on Stream Deck and have it automatically control Dorico in the background, while working in another application (like Logic, Cubase, or a PDF reader like Acrobat or Preview) in the foreground.

And, if you have multiple Stream Decks, well, more power to you:

Update path

Because of the amount of work involved in transitioning to this new protocol, and the benefits it will bring for the future, Notation Express for Dorico 4 is a paid update for existing users, as follows:

If you purchased the Notation Express/Notation Express XL bundle, you are eligible for the same update pricing as above; there is no further discount, but you are not obligated to purchase both updated products (you may update separately if you like).

Although we are not directly affiliated with Steinberg, we have decided to follow their example, so that anyone who purchased Notation Express or Notation Express XL for Dorico on or after August 25, 2021 will receive a free update to the product that they purchased for Dorico 4.

Get the update

  1. Simply go to the Notation Express for Dorico or Notation Express XL for Dorico product page, and add the product to your cart.
  2. Ensure that you are logged into your Notation Central account, so that the correct discounted pricing is applied. (Please be aware that when you add the product to your cart, the discount will not be immediately reflected, but will appear once you begin the checkout process.)
  3. Purchase Notation Express, read the documentation or watch the installation video for the quick and easy setup instructions.
  4. Enjoy Notation Express!


Known issues

Update: On initial release, there was an issue where the user needed to quit the Stream Deck desktop app and then relaunch it, each time Dorico was relaunched. This was patched in an update on February 6, 2022.

Further steps

Before we start adding support for the new music features in Dorico 4, we wanted to make sure that the existing commands worked as expected using this new protocol. Therefore, the first release of Notation Express for Dorico 4 supports the same features as Notation Express for Dorico 3.5.

In the future, we will introduce support for additional features exclusive to Dorico 4.

We did let one small new feature slip into Notation Express XL; this is not new to the Dorico 4 application, but users might notice new Previous Page and Next Page buttons on the Stream Deck XL. Again, these, and all the navigation buttons, now work even if Dorico is in the background:

Thank you

First of all, thank you to the amazing user community for using Notation Express and supporting this project!

Thanks to Steinberg for including the tools to control Dorico 4 in this way, and for making their API available to us so that we could make this new update possible.

Huge thanks to the Notation Express for Dorico team:

  • David MacDonald, who programmed the Notation Express for Dorico plugin and contributed to the development of Notation Express (He may have a thing or two to say about it on an upcoming podcast episode); and
  • Leo Nicholson, who devised the Notation Express and Notation Express XL Dorico layout and key commands, programmed the original Notation Express and Notation Express XL Stream Deck profiles for Dorico, and contributed to the development of Notation Express
  • Our beta testers; you know who you are! Especially Tim Pietzcker and Marc Larcher, who respectively developed German and French versions of the earlier profiles that are now no longer needed because Notation Express for Dorico supports all languages with a single profile. (I am sad, but glad, that their user-developed creations are no longer necessary, and I think they are as well!)

The outstanding team made it easy for me to finish up the work. This looks daunting, but it could have been a lot harder if it weren’t for them:


  1. Bill

    Any plans to support the foot pedal?

    1. Philip Rothman


    2. DingYulun

      Can I use both the Stream Deck XL at the same time?

      1. Philip Rothman

        Yes, you can use multiple Stream Decks at the same time, including the Stream Deck and Stream Deck XL. That’s what I have on my desk, as you can see in the photo.

  2. Michael Philcox

    I am considering the purchase of a Stream Deck XL but am concerned about costs and wonder if there is a reduced upgrade price to go from Notation Express to Notation Express XL.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Michael. Yes. Please send a message when you would like to purchase Notation Express XL and you’ll get a discount code that effectively gives you the “bundle” price.

  3. Bill

    It looks like Dorico 4 needs to be re-selected in the profile after installing the 4. 0.1 update

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