Dorico is here: A review


Note: This post about the first Dorico release, 1.0, is from October 2016. Read about the updates to Dorico since then:

Dorico 2.2.10
Dorico 2.2
Dorico 2.1.10
Dorico 2.1
Dorico 2
Dorico 1.2.10
Dorico 1.2 (part 3)

Dorico 1.2 (part 2)
Dorico 1.2 (part 1)
Dorico 1.1.10
Dorico 1.1

Dorico 1.0.30
Dorico 1.0.20
Dorico 1.0.10

Editor’s note: This review was written by Alexander Plötz; the playback section was written by Andrew Noah Cap. Philip Rothman edited the review and provided additional content.

This post was updated on December 8, 2016 to account for the changes made in the 1.0.10 update, and also for clarity and accuracy.

Today marks the release of Dorico, a new proprietary music notation application from Steinberg. If you have enthusiastically awaited the program for months now and your mind is already made up: Go ahead, skip this review and purchase Dorico right away; feel free to come back here while you wait for the eight gigabytes of the sound library to download.


In most professional fields, the arrival of a new software tool — for a reviewer — is generally an occasion to perform a routine task of measuring up the new against the not-just-as-new-anymore, comparing the product to a number of similar competitors. True innovation is often incremental and limited to only a handful of the many components of a modern software package.

With commercial music notation software, this is a bit different: for more than two decades, the market has been dominated by exactly two products. Both of them, Avid’s Sibelius and MakeMusic’s Finale, are powerful tools with an impressive record of innovative features, but they also cannot hide their age. Rooted in an era when software engineering had just started to find ways out of the Software Crisis, today they are mature to the point of a terminally arrested development, one could say.

So when a new player enters the market — for months now credibly promising not only to match, but to surpass the status quo — it creates an enormous amount of expectation, especially in our narrow and opinionated niche. That is why an in-depth review of Dorico, like the software itself, cannot be approached in quite the usual way. Instead of merely discussing what we can produce with Dorico, we must also explore the philosophy behind its design.

A few notes before we begin:

  • In order to write this detailed review, my fellow contributors to this article and I were allowed to use various pre-release builds of Dorico over the past several months.
  • I have used Dorico on a Microsoft Surface 3 Pro running Windows 8.1, with an additional monitor attached.
  • The examples contained herein have been created for the sole purpose of illustrating this review. They are intended for demonstration purposes only and are not suited for any other use.

We’ll start by recapitulating the four-year journey to today’s release; if you prefer to jump directly to the review: this way, please.

The road to Dorico

It’s worth reviewing how Dorico has come to be.

In July 2012, Avid, the maker of Sibelius, announced a corporate restructuring in which its consumer audio and video product lines were sold to other companies, with the intention of focusing the company on its media enterprise and post & professional customers, and to improve operating performance. At that same time, Avid also announced plans to lay off a number of its employees.

With Sibelius not having been mentioned in the press release, concern in the user community grew about the fate of the Sibelius team and the future of the product itself. It was soon learned that the London-based Sibelius developers were to be terminated. Avid affirmed that it was keeping Sibelius as part of the company with two letters to the user community: one with an initial statement and another acknowledging the deep level of concern that users were expressing.

A pressure group was formed which unsuccessfully tried to influence Avid’s decisions, and the founders of Sibelius, Ben and Jonathan Finn, made twice-rebuffed offers to buy back Sibelius from Avid. Over the summer and fall of 2012, Avid transitioned Sibelius development and began terminating staff, concluding with the closure of the Finsbury Park office in October 2012. (It was at that time that Daniel Spreadbury passed the stewardship of this blog, an independent venture, to Philip Rothman.)

The empty Sibelius office in Finsbury Park, London, October 2012

Prior to their departure, the remaining members of the London-based development team issued Sibelius 7.1.3, which was the last update to Sibelius 7. Shortly after their last days at Avid, most of that team was hired by Steinberg in November 2012 to create a new music notation and scoring program — unnamed at the time.

A few months later, in February 2013, Daniel started a new blog, Making Notes, regularly updating the community about the new software and the team’s progress at Steinberg. An early result of their work was the development in May 2013 of a new open standard for music fonts: Standard Music Font Layout (SMuFL), and the creation of its flagship font, Bravura.

Fast-forward three years and many development diaries along the way, and we arrived in May 2016 at the Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association annual conference in Helsinki, Finland, where, in the first public presentation of the software, the Dorico name was officially announced, along with the news that the software would become available for purchase in the fourth quarter of 2016.


In short order, we were invited behind the scenes to learn more about the scoring team’s efforts and plans, as the inevitable release date approached.

And so, in time, the heartbreaking scene of the vacant Sibelius office has given way to a thriving, bustling environment from which Dorico has finally emerged.

Dorico’s modes

Dorico is organized around five modes, which Daniel described last year: Setup, Write, Engrave, Play, and Print, which he says are “roughly divided up according to the different phases of working on a given project. In each mode, collapsible panels down the left- and right-hand sides of the screen, and in most cases also along the bottom too, show the main interface elements for creating and editing your music.”

The modes have been covered before, but a summary is in order.

Setup mode

Setup mode is the first thing you’ll encounter in Dorico, but it’s also accessible at any time by clicking the top part of the display (as are the other modes) or by keyboard shortcut (in this case, Command-1 on Mac or Ctrl+1 on PC).

In Setup mode, you first create the player and then add to it, for example, a Flute and a Piccolo. A player can be a single person or a section (e.g. for a violin or choir section).


The key concepts of Setup mode are:

  • Players: humans holding one or more instruments
  • Instruments: flute, oboe, guitar, piano, etc.
  • Flows: self-contained spans of music, such as a song, movement, piece, act or number
  • Layouts: contain the music for one or more players, from one or more flows

More on Setup mode, Flows, and Layouts in a bit.

Write mode

Inputting music in Dorico is done via the mouse, computer keyboard, or MIDI input. It relies only on keys found on laptop keyboards, without a need for a numeric keypad.


Shortcuts are a mix of ergonomic and mnemonic shortcuts. The idea is that the items are organized in distinct groups on the computer keyboard. These elements are also contained in the Write mode (Command-2 on Mac or Ctrl+2 on PC) on the left side of the window:

  • The letters A through G input notes
  • The numbers 1 through 9 specify note duration (e.g., 5 is an eighth note, 6 is a quarter note, 7 is a half note)
  • 0 represents a natural; is a flat; = is a sharp
  • The most common articulations are placed using the keys [ ] \ ‘
  • Tuplets are placed using the semi-colon
  • Grace notes use the slash key
  • Augmentation dots use the period
  • Rests use the comma
  • Q is for chords
  • I is for insert
  • T is for ties
  • etc.


Clefs, key and time signatures, tempo markings, dynamics, ornaments, tremolos, barlines, fermatas, playing techniques, rehearsal marks, text, and lyrics are found at the right side of the window in Write mode.

While in Write mode, you can switch between Page View and Galley View via a toggle at the bottom right of the display. Zoom controls are found there as well, as are options for viewing your music in spreads or single pages, both vertically and horizontally. Also here: you can switch between a marquee and a hand-grabbing tool; holding down Shift and dragging the background will temporarily put you in hand-grabbing mode.

Engrave mode

This is quite possibly Dorico’s raîson d’etre. Engrave mode (Command-3 on Mac or Ctrl+3 on PC) is devoted to refining the look of your score. Nothing can be created in this mode. The idea behind separating the phases of work is that it can be too easy to make an unintended musical edit while changing the finer visual details of a score.


Details of the score’s components can be selected independently in Engrave mode. When pressed with the Alt modifier, the arrow keys move the elements at a micro level. With further addition of Ctrl (PC) or Command (Mac) the arrow keys will move by a greater (but still relatively small) amount.

From the Pages panel on the right-hand side, you control the layout of your music. Here you can insert pages, change the page numbering, swap pages, and more.

Immediately below that are the Master Pages options, powerful tools for organizing a template of sorts for your document. You can have different master pages, for instance, for the first page of a score and subsequent pages; these can then be organized into Master Page Sets.


To the left are options for creating Frames. Music, text, and graphics are all part of frames, and the frames can be created or organized in any way, on any page. For conventional music layouts, it will be rather obvious where frames for common items like the title, composer, and music go.

The power behind frames begins to become evident when they are paired with flows. Because a flow can be any length of music — even a short snippet — it can be placed on a page at any place, making it trivial compared to other programs to create things like worksheets and other seemingly disconnected sections of music.

You’ll find various options to format frames and systems here. The staff size of each system in Dorico can be set independently.

Properties, accessible at the bottom of the screen, are an important part of this mode when making fine adjustments; we’ll cover them more later.

Play mode

Play mode (Command-4 on Mac or Ctrl+4 on PC) is where you can edit your mix, load VST instruments, and more. We’ll go into detail later.

Print mode

The last of the five modes, Print mode (Command-5 on Mac or Ctrl+5 on PC) is where you’ll finish your project. Select a layout on the left side of the screen to see it in the print preview.

The layouts selected in this panel will be printed when you click Printer in the Destinations panel, or exported as graphics — including PDF, PNG, SVG, and TIFF formats — if you click Graphics. True monochrome output is supported. Annotations and view options can be optionally shown, similar to what is available in Sibelius, for those working in a publishing environment.


You can change the number of copies you need and expand the layout to see its page size and its number of pages, as Daniel demonstrates in this video:

Dorico can impose booklets and 2-ups, and can make use of a duplexing printer if one is available.


  1. Wilkins

    It is very disappointing that Dorico will not play Sibelius scores. So I shall not buy it!

    1. Eek

      Implementing the ability to do that would be illegal, otherwise other scoring apps would have added that YEARS ago.

    2. Carl-Henrik Buschmann

      It is very disappointing that my diesel car doesn’t run on gasoline.

      1. Carsten

        @Wilkins: There is MusicXML!

        Side notes:

        Even if it were not illegal to implement (in certain countries, it’s not): Sibelius’ (since the beginning) and Finale’s (since 2012) formats are encrypted. Therefore, it might be very hard, if not impossible to code such a file import…

        The former Sibelius Development team knows of course, how the file format has been implemented—not everything by heard though I suppose. While they could have taken away the file format documentation from Finsbury Park at the time they left, this
        would have been data theft (as this is owned by Avid).

        Other less known music notation software have open data formats, which makes it easier to implement file imports—from a technical point of view…

        By the way: How is Dorico’s file format “composed”? Based on XML? Compressed? Encrypted?

      2. Max Power

        It is very disappointing that I can’t play the Pink Floyd CD in my tape player. So I shall not buy it!

    3. Henry Howey

      It reads MusicXML

      Sibelius can export

      1. Steve

        I hope that an early adopter will report back on how much work it actually is to export MusicXML from Sib and get it formatted correctly in Dorico! Personally I’m thinking that I’d keep Sibelius around for previously-created scores but move forward with Dorico.

        1. Theo May

          I imported a range of my Sib files via music XML into Dorico– I was shocked at how accurate the default output from Dorico was. That being said, I’m no Ferneyhough, so I would imagine that depending on the notational complexity of your scores, your milage may vary!

    4. Chris

      All the more Dorico for us!

    5. Hans Nel

      Wilkins, it’s not Dorico’s fault that it’s software cannot work with Sibelius file. Sibelius files are created (by the software itself) by encrypting all the properties and objects that make up your score in a file. The ONLY software that has Sibelius’ “decrypting”‘engine (maybe a dll file) can open Sibelius files. Sibelius owns the rights to Sibelius files and will not give other companies like MakeMusic and Avid the right to decrypt Sibelius files. So you see, it’s NOT Dorico’s fault, but Avid’s “fault”. But Dorico will do the same. Steinberg will not allow other DAW’s and Notators to open Dorico files. It’s nobody’s “fault”. Software companies have the right to protect their property, don’t they? But…you are only spiting yourself by not obtaining Dorico’s. The very Sibelius you cling on was built by the very same coders that are creating Dorico! Dorico, in the short future, will surpass ALL other notation software. So, if you are like me…one who always want the latest versions of software, you should get Dorico. In time, Sibelius won’t even come close to it. :-)

  2. Carl-Henrik Buschmann

    A absolutely wondrous review, guys. Dorico seems to be a miracle come true. Imagine the work these guys have put down, my deepest and outmost respect! I want to buy them coffee.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thank you!

    2. Stefan

      Thanks, we like coffee (and tea incidentally).

  3. Jean-Paul Gilles

    Thank you for this exhaustive review of this wonderful software I will hasten to try.

  4. Ron Puente

    Hey Philip:

    Hope all is well. One question, will “DORICO” accept all of my Sibelius work? Thanks. Ron.

    1. Thijs

      You will need to go through your Sibelius projects, export them as an XML-file, and import that into Dorico.

      1. w^3

        There’s also a Sibelius plugin that can batch process folders to convert to XML.

  5. Donsta

    Looks great! I can’t wait till they add support for chord symbols. The day they do that is the day I buy it.

    1. Steve

      Agreed, this is a must-have for me. Hope it comes soon!

    2. Stan Martin

      I pulled the trigger yesterday and bought it just to get used to it. I can’t actually use it until the chord symbols are in place. 90% of my writing uses chord symbols.

    3. Bobby Rice

      I’m 100% with you on that comment. Perhaps it will be a “jazz/commercial” version of the software?

  6. Gordon Thornett

    The boxed package is a little more expensive than the download version. Do you know if it comes with any extras (such as a printed manual)? Is there any other reason to go for the boxed version (e.g. perhaps the packaged version takes a very long time to download)?

    1. Philip Rothman

      You don’t get the USB eLicenser with the download. It’s covered in the last section of the review.

    2. Aaron

      According to a reply by Daniel in a post in the Dorico forum, the box includes: 2 DVD-ROMs (containing the sound library), an empty USB-eLicenser, and a multi-language quick start guide sheet. Dorico’s program documentation is online-only; there will be no printed manual.

  7. Bob

    I realize you can’t cover everything in one review, but I’m eagerly awaiting to hear how well Dorico imports Sibelius 8 XML files.

  8. Tony Rickard

    Great article gentlemen. Honest and with the same thoroughness as Dorico! You achieved the impossible of keeping me awake and fascinated throughout my hour-long homeward commute and on a day that had a 5:30am start!

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Tony! That is high praise, indeed. I’m hugely grateful to Alex and Andrew, who worked tirelessly at all hours with me to put together this comprehensive review.

  9. David H. Bailey

    Great review — I shall revisit it a few more times as I begin to get into the inner workings of Dorico. This is the first time I’ve ever bought a version 1.0 of any software, but knowing Daniel and his development team I can see great things coming along as Dorico matures.

    Thanks for posting such an in-depth review — regarding not being able to open Sibelius or Finale scores — I don’t think that’s a big deal. My Sibelius scores will stay in Sibelius format, same for my Finale scores, until/unless I need to modernize them and then it will be a toss-up whether I try to import into Dorico or simply use their native programs to make any changes.

    In the meantime I can tell that it will take a while for me to begin to get comfortable working with the various modes of Dorico so any major projects in the near future will still be done in Sibelius.

    Thanks again for the great review!

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thank you, David!

  10. Peter Roos

    Excellent review, many thanks! I’m very much looking forward to getting my boxed version in the mail.

  11. Thien Bich Hoang

    Congratulation to Daniel Spreadbury and Philip Rothman and other members who were involved in this creating teams.

    Well Done Mate, Big Thanks.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thien Bich Hoang, thanks for your nice comments, and as always for reading the blog! Just to be clear, I am not on the Steinberg development team. Daniel and his colleagues at Steinberg are responsible for creating Dorico. Also, I must give the credit for this blog post to Alexander Plötz and Andrew Noah Cap, for they wrote the vast majority of it.

  12. Bob Zawalich

    Great review. Thanks to all of you!

  13. Abraham Lee

    This is an incredible review! Well done Alexander, Andrew, and Philip! Everything is exceptionally clear (especially the part about not being able to read Sibelius/Finale binary files) and was a pleasure to read with all the picture examples. I especially loved the short comparison between Dorico, Finale, and Sibelius. For me, that is a major selling point: getting to where I want to end up faster, with fewer things that need tweaking.

    The Dorico team should feel very good about where they’ve been able to bring this really amazing piece of software in a few short years. The only direction to go now is UP as long as they remain responsive to user feedback. Nicely done!

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Abraham! Glad you enjoyed it.

  14. Hannes

    Will there be a trial version?

    Why should I spend money on a product I didn’t even test?

    1. Terence Jones

      Near the end of the review it does mention that there will be a 30 day trial available in about a month.

  15. randy woolf

    very very well written review. sounds exciting, but for me, no cues=no sale. professional parts have cues.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Randy! Absolutely, the ability to place cues is an essential feature in professional notation software. There are a number of other features missing that make Dorico unusable for many people at the moment. From what the Steinberg developers have said, we expect that they will add those items in due course.

      1. Max Tofone

        Thanks guys for this extensive review…

        I really like what I have read and seen so far about Dorico but I also feel that this release should have been released later with all the important scoring features in place. At the moment for my work Dorico is not an option until they had all the missing important elements and an improved playback.

        Cheers, Max

  16. Rich Pulin

    To Philip and Staff!

    A HUGE Congratulations on your exciting new product!
    The Early Childhood Music Education Foundation, a jazz-ed mentorship,
    attached to and servicing the Las Vegas School District since 1993, would like to
    participate in this launch, in ANY way that we can…PLEASE call upon us, if we can help!

    Rich Pulin

  17. Bob

    Dorico is unusable for me till it gets chord symbols, repeat ending lines, cues, etc, but there were several cool things in tutorial video 2 that made me eager to get my hands on it. For example:

    1. No meter required – very useful for educational illustrations. I don’t do this very often, so I have to look up how to do it in Sibelius every time, and the procedure is a bit of a hassle. Looks to be much easier in Dorico.

    2. I’ve been longing for something like ‘Insert Mode’ for a long time. No more copy/paste to make room for new material (or notes I forgot to enter).

    The intelligent dot-adding feature also looks good.

    Looking forward to it!

  18. VicDiesel

    Could you also do these examples in Lilypond? In the “development diaries” for Dorico I consistently found the Lilypond output better than each of Sibelius, Finale, Dorico.

    1. Abraham Lee

      If you are referring to the two “stress test” snippets, here’s the first one ricercare-1-compare-all.pdf.

      1. Philip Rothman

        Thanks for posting this, Abraham.

    2. Abraham Lee

      For the curious, here’s the Chopin prelude that Daniel showed during the London live stream: chopin-prelude-no-7.pdf.

      The only “local” adjustment I had to make was the horizontal position of the very first dynamic marking. I made two other “global” setting changes: increased the vertical space between the staves a little and allowed the slurs to be a little more curved. Everythjng else is the default appearance. It’s not a complicated score, but take it for what it’s worth.

    3. Abraham Lee

      And here’s the second of the two stress tests: ricercare-2-compare-all.pdf

      Both stress tests show 100% default LilyPond spacing/layout although I’m not entirely sure I voiced each passage properly. Anyway, here it is.

      1. Philip Rothman

        Thanks for doing this, Abraham!

        1. Abraham Lee

          You’re welcome, Philip!

      2. Abraham Lee

        By the way, I used LilyPond version 2.19.36 for my additions.

        @Andrew Noah Cap: which version of Sibelius and Finale were used in the stress tests?

        1. Harvey Richardson

          These examples are not really useful.
          I would want to see both default output and secondly an improved/edited version. For example with the Sebelius examples I would have moved horizontal note positions and edited ties to make the score more readable.

          What would be a very useful community service would be a site that would host score snippets which people could provide
          default and edited renderings from so we could compare withouth having to purchase trial applications. A trial is only as useful as your ability to learn the application in time.

  19. Sanley Auster

    “There is no reason to doubt that this will happen eventually.” Hmmmm . . . I think this should be a bumper sticker or t-shirt slogan. I’m skeptical. Today, we live in a corporate environment where there is every reason to doubt that something will happen eventually or not eventually. I worked in the music business for many years and watched the corporations and start-ups run it into the ground. I’m skeptical but maybe, just maybe, this will be the exception to the rule.

  20. Jorge Grundman

    Great, Great, Great Review! It is almost a tutorial on how to use Dorico.

    The only thing I miss from this review is if Dorico has script abilities like Sibelius Manuscript. Does it have this?

  21. Brandon

    A $500 notation program that lacks the ability to do standard things like *transpose a section of music* at release is…kind of unacceptable to be honest.

    My understanding was that Steinberg was wanting Dorico to be taken seriously as a music notation software product. Sure, it’s coming “later”, but why is it not there at release? This is bare bones stuff.

    1. Dan Kreider

      I agree, and this was my first thought upon reading the review (which was excellent, by the way). Why not wait and release Dorico without these fundamental, glaring omissions?

      As an almost 20-year Finale user, I’m very intrigued. I’ll be watching Dorico’s progress closely over the next couple months.

  22. Steven Lebetkin

    One of the nice things about Sibelius is its interface with NotePerformer whose algorhythm takes all the brain damage out of the process. Simply take the time to notate your score carefully with attention to the detail of dynamics and articulation and press the play button. The you have a really good demo of the music without programming and having to be a sound engineer.

    The question is can Dorico do this? Or is there brain damage involved?

  23. Bob Zawalich

    >The only thing I miss from this review is if Dorico has script abilities like Sibelius Manuscript. Does it have this?

    It does not currently have the ability to write plugins like Sibelius does. There is a Script window that will let you record and play back a single macro.

    A full plugin facility, using the Lua programming language is planned for a future release, but I would not expect it to be available in the very near future. There are some threads about this on the Dorico user forum.

  24. Fabian

    Great review of a great software! Thanks a lot!

    One question concerning playback: does it integrate Vst-Instruments in the articulation and dynamics of the score like it does with its own HALion instruments? In Sibelius, Vst-instruments are played with reduced dynamics…..

    Thanks for an answer!

    Best wishes,

  25. Aaron Gervais

    This was so exciting until I got to the last page and saw that you can’t create cues yet. It seems really odd to release the product with no cue capability. Basically makes it useless for professional use.

  26. Martha

    I ordered the boxed version the first day. No word about it yet–what is the wait time?
    I eagerly await. . . .

  27. Chinny

    I have used Sibelius for over twenty-five years and Finale since 1986. I use both for teaching. Although I settled more on Sibelius for that purpose. Since Avid took over, it has become increasingly difficult to use the product in the class. Just as soon as you boot up you are confronted with activation even though they have an automatic deduction from my credit card. Of course my students now know to steer clear of Sibelius. I was hoping that Dorico would come to the rescue. But unfortunately with the absence of chord symbols etc, and for a very heavy price tag of over $500 for an unfinished product, is unacceptable. It would seem these software companies are now writing the products for themselves.

    1. Peter Hamlin

      I spent about a week trying to figure out an activision issue with Sibelius — turns out if I activate on my Surface Pro 3 with the expansion dock plugged in, Sibelius will not launch without the dock. Or vice versa. I ended up reactivating without the dock so I can use it on the road, and when I’m home I have to unplug the dock when I launch, then plug it back in to reactivate.

      A long way of agreeing with you about activation annoyances in Sibelius!

  28. Paolo

    I’m surprised they didn’t use the Apple Store, with its handy way of installing on multiple computers. Steinberg has never been too friendly with Mac users.


  29. Paul Rose

    Can one scan sheet music on paper (printed or handwritten) and then edit it with Dorico? I don’t remember a mention of this in the review.

    1. Abraham Lee

      Not directly, but since it can import MusicXML, you can use any scanning software you want to create the MusicXML file and then load that file into Dorico.

  30. Orion

    Fine review. But haste needn’t lead to lousy grammar: “Being a scoring software, one would think that Dorico creates and edits scores.” What, is anyone out there (including the writer) a piece of software? I hope not, but the dangling modifier in that sentence does imply that at least one of us is exactly that. Eek. How about, “Since Dorico is a scoring software, anyone might think that it creates and edits scores.” Computers and software have grown powerful and precise, but our ability to write clearly and precisely has faded.

    1. Hans

      Off course you’re right about the grammar (as if I should know), but you must be an alien from Orion because we humans are fallible and do err at times. I suggest using “Grammarly” to check one’s comments because without it, MY post will look like Egyptian glyphs!! ;-)

  31. Peter Hamlin

    Well, thank you for this very thorough and enjoyable review. I bought Dorico and am in the initial stages of learning it.

    For me, the flexibility of players and layout will be a big game changer.

    Dorico is a very welcome new player in the music notation world. I hope it does well!

  32. Peter Hamlin

    I hope Steinberg will change the licensing. (The comments on this in the review make me cautiously optimistic.) I have a home studio and a travel computer and work on both interchangeably virtually every day. My travel computer has only one usb port.

    I just ordered the dongle to see how it goes — but a two-computer e-license would be a significant improvement for me.

  33. Martha

    Somewhere in all the reviews/blogs/forums I saw a spreadsheet of key commands. Now I can’t find it. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

    Martha Bishop

    1. Wolfram

      Hi Martha, you can find an excel file of key shortcuts on the dorico forum. It’s posted by Derrek and the thread was opened by JGM 51 under the title of “key shortcuts”.

  34. Sanifu

    Outstanding review Philip; thank you!

  35. Dick Lopez

    1. How does HALion Symphonic Sounds compare with MakeMusic’s Garrison Sounds in Finale (especially the Grand Piano sounds)?

    2. Can Dorico files be saved as AIFF? Or only as WAV?

  36. Martha Bishop

    I bought Dorico specifically to do early barless music. I’ve tried my best to get NO cautionary accidentals, and that aspect simply does not work properly but is vital to early barless music.

    I also very much miss the dot on the number pad for adding time to a note. It’s awkward to have to mouse it.

    Additionally I’m having a great deal of difficulty in keeping the audio aspect working unless I do certain maneuvers which don’t ever seem to save. I’m working on a Mac with Keystation 49es.

    I think the program will eventually be a super program, much more powerful than Sibelius which I’ve used for years. I eagerly await every upgrade in the hopes that it will meet more of my needs, but Meanwhile Sibelius works for my modern compositions.

  37. Davis Eccott

    Not impressed! No sound on playback! Can’t find any help to resolve problem anywhere! Very disappointed!

    1. Davis Eccott

      I now have sound on playback working. The fault was entirely of my own making. I didn’t realize that the “edit” referred to was the edit on the mac menu. I was looking for an edit on the play section of Dorico. As soon as I changed the device setup to use “built in audio” everything worked, all thanks to the great team in Germany!
      Haven’t explored all of Dorico’s possibilities yet, but it looks to be a great piece of software with many thoughtful and interesting capabilities.
      My sincere apologies if my earlier grumble caused anyone to be put off. All I can say is, don’t be put off!!!

  38. Steve

    I’m a relatively new user of notation software. I got Finale 25.1 and then 25.2, and find it maddening to use. It seems buggy, and things don’t work like the manual says it will. Is Dorico pretty stable? I’d rather have fewer features and it be robust!

  39. Hans Nel

    Ok, personal opinion so far.

    Dorico is a well fed fat toddler at the moment and is quite a tough little bugger to learn, but make no mistake, it’s growing like “Smallville” and will soon be a SUPERMAN! I really like Dorico (shortcomings and all), but their has a LOT of work being done creating it so far and I see NO competition in the near future!

    1. Hans Nel

      there (Orion)

  40. Maximumspatium

    First of all, thank you for the review!

    My enthusiasm for Dorico’s impressive innovations is quickly tempered by some obvious “legacies”:

    1) Steinberg’s legacy high-margin low-volume business model behind Dorico plaguing users with restrictive and intrusive copy protection systems like eLicenser (do you know that you have to buy their hardware key in order to run demo?)

    Steinberg‘s advertising is speaking about customer‘s freedom but what‘s about the freedom to use your legally purchased software in more than one machine? No way! This situation isn‘t likely to change soon. Otherwise, why to swallow Syncrosoft together with their nearly uncrackable copy protection if not for forcing it unto the customer to make a bunch of money?

    2) I‘m quite sure Dorico is working with its own (binary, compressed and encrypted) file format like Sibelius and Finale do so it‘s subject to the same legacy like its competitors. The legitimation of this decision doesn‘t matter much. The fact is that encrypted binary formats are useless as far as their creator becomes unavailable. This is in short the old good way to lock customers to expensive proprietary products. Did you even try to switch your score library from Sibelius to smth else? Don‘t tell me about MusicXML export! It doesn‘t work that way!

    What‘s about customer‘s freedom to use tools of their choice? Or even the ability to share your work/ideas with non-Steinberg customers? What do you think, what‘s the reason for not having an interchangeable, open file format for score exchange?

    That‘s why I ain‘t going to buy Dorico, at least in the near future. My advise would be to wait and watch where does this journey end up. Dorico‘s price is high and there is neither „Dorico first“ nor „Dorico lite“. Dorico‘s advanced features are impressive but honestly rarely needed (unless you‘re going to publish that unnatural piece by Ferneyhough :)) There are several notation products outside of this Finale-Sibelius-Dorico circle doing less but being both cheap and good…

  41. Kristian

    Being a bit lazy I’ve never bothered to properly learn notation since I mostly write music on the guitar and use tabs (with notation attached) for composing. It seems like a simple request, but is it possible to add inputting music by tab?

    Being a guitar player I find myself thinking more of the movements along the neck than as notes themselves. Harmonizing and adding melodies is alot easier if I can visualize my self playing the notes on the guitar.

    I guess at some point I should just learn notation once and for all, but untill then, I’ll stay lazy :)

  42. Deke Roberts

    Maybe I’m not understanding something here, but writing a program that would allow you to feed music written on program A into program B is not illegal, only using anything that is part of either programs A or B is illegal. This is why Open Office can read documents produced on other word processing formats.

    I will lay odds that somewhere, someone, probably in the open-source community, is even now working on writing a program for this very purpose, at which point the owners of the propitiatory software which they perceive as being under threat will tear the program apart searching for matching code, and if they genuinely can’t find any, they’ll rewite their code so that their next update won’t work with the ‘pirate program’.

    And that’s when the phrase “Cat and mouse” will start appearing in reviews.

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