Music notation software and macOS Mojave [updated]

News

Today Apple is releasing macOS Mojave (10.14), the newest iteration of its Mac operating system. While Mojave’s most noticeable features focus on the user experience with a dark mode, stacks, and other additions, there are some technical changes. One is the removal in Mojave of sub-pixel anti-aliasing — the technology that helps smooth out text on less-dense displays, but is increasingly unnecessary with Retina and other modern high definition displays. Mojave will also be the last version to support 32-bit applications — notable if you’re running Sibelius 6 or Finale 2014.5 or earlier.

On this blog we’ll focus on Mojave’s compatibility with desktop music notation software: Sibelius, Finale, Dorico, MuseScore, and Notion.

If you’re using any of these products with Mojave, please share your experience in the comments section.

Updated September 24, 2018 at 11:36 am with compatibility information about Notion.
Updated September 25, 2018 at 9:28 pm with compatibility information about Finale.
Updated September 28, 2018 at 9:24 am with a link to Avid’s Knowledge Base article.
Updated October 8, 2018 at 9:33 am with compatibility information about Dorico.
Updated November 29, 2018 at 12:00 pm with compatibility information about Sibelius.

We’ll continue to update this post as warranted.

Sibelius

Official status: Supported

Avid’s Sam Butler said (November 29, 2018):

This release (Sibelius 2018.11) contains the following changes:

  • Full support for macOS 10.14 Mojave
  • Sibelius will no longer run on Mac OS X Mavericks

Other recent versions of Sibelius and Sibelius Ultimate run on Mojave without significant issues, although the music and text are slightly thicker than normal on non-Retina displays only. This is due to a change by Apple in macOS Mojave (10.14) to remove support for sub-pixel anti-aliasing on non-Retina displays.

Avid has published a Knowledge Base article with information about its products’ support on Mojave.

Finale

Official status: Supported

In a blog post on September 25, 2018, MakeMusic said that Finale 25.5 is compatible with macOS Mojave:

Upon testing with Monday’s public release of macOS 10.14 Mojave, we’re pleased to report that the problems we had seen previously in Finale 25.5 have been resolved.

Because Finale v25.5 is compatible with Mojave, as will be Finale v26 due later this year, we no longer anticipate a need for a 25.5.1 release. If you planned to update your macOS, you should be able to do so without any related issues to Finale.

Dorico

Official status: Supported

On October 8, 2018, Steinberg released Dorico 2.1.20, with support for macOS 10.14 Mojave.

Steinberg says:

If you are already running the still officially unsupported macOS 10.14 Mojave, please download and run the Dorico 2.1.20 installer below for compatibility with your operating system. Dorico 2.1.20 is functionally identical to Dorico 2.1.10, except that the on-screen appearance of fonts is improved.

If you are running macOS 10.13 High Sierra or earlier, you do not need to install this compatibility update!

Steinberg’s Daniel Spreadbury provided additional information to Scoring Notes on September 20:

The new security model in Mojave also means that additional prompts are shown to the user for inter-application communication. One place where this will certainly show itself is in Dorico’s use of the eLicenser. When you first run Dorico on Mojave, you will be prompted that Dorico would like to control another application called Synsopos. Synsopos is part of the eLicenser system, and it is essential that you click ‘Allow’ at this prompt, or Dorico will not be able to run. (It is only necessary to accept this prompt once for each user account on your Mac.)

Finally, we have no current plans to support Mojave’s new dark appearance for the Finder and applications. Dorico 2 does not currently support the Dark Aqua appearance, and due to the custom design of its dialogs and windows this is not something we anticipate supporting in the near future.

MuseScore

Official status: Supported

MuseScore’s Thomas Bonte said (September 22, 2018):

We have received no user feedback thus far that MuseScore 2 does not run on macOS Mojave.

For those who feel adventurous, they can also try MuseScore 3 alpha 1 released earlier this month.

Notion

Official status: Supported

Notion product manager Chris Swaffer said (September 24, 2018):

PreSonus will update its statement for all its applications in due course, but in the meantime, I can confirm Notion has been tested and is compatible with both macOS 10.14 and iOS 12.

Comments

  1. Cyril Blanc

    I have tried Dorico 1.2.10 , it does not play the score !

  2. Matthew Hindson

    Why does Apple keep.doing these things, i.e. making decisions like removing the sub pixel anti aliasing. It must be to force people to upgrade to retina screens. Plus think of all the inconvenience caused to so many software developers, such as most of those listed above. :(

    1. Shiki Suen

      Subpixel aliasing hinders the hardware rendering speed of Window Server (similar to the DWM in Windows) due to its inefficiency. Apple still provided an improved LCD smoothing to non-Retina displays. If not fixing this issue by removing it, the entire macOS Window Server lags.

      Also, before blaming the developers you should blame the Qt framework. It has a hell lot of bugs on macOS. This time, due to Qt again, the dark mode is temporarily not implementable to Dorico.

      Lemme stop my comment for a while as no one wants to hear my swearing to Qt.

  3. Cyril Blanc

    Beta from Mojave are distributed since many month.
    It is the fault of the develloper not to upgrade
    UPGRADE IS FREE

  4. Shiki Suen

    TBO, Steinberg should start their compatibility tests in June or July. They are too late. Even if it was Dev Beta 1, macOS Mojave is still more stable than macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 (stable release).

    Fortunately, Dorico 2.1.10 runs everything fine on my laptop with every public beta build of macOS Mojave till now. I hadn’t met the font weight issue that was talked by Daniel Spreadbury to the ScoringNotes. However, today I turned off the system-wide font smoothing from System Preferences, and I see all Qt apps on my laptop shows thinner font weight than what I used to in the recent years.

    1. Shiki Suen

      Update: What Daniel said is right. In every place in the score using Bold fonts, a lighter font weight is chosen.

      Hence, hold until the next Dorico update unless: 1) you have personal workarounds to bypass this issue; 2) the font weight issue doesn’t matter to you.

  5. Hamster

    Display problems under Mojave (specifically the issue of the subpixel AA rendering) can be solved by switching subpixel AA back on again.

    This can be done with the following defaults write command:

    defaults write -g CGFontRenderingFontSmoothingDisabled -bool FALSE

    You can also affect line smoothing:

    defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 1

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hamster: Have you tried this and does it solve the specific issues mentioned with Sibelius and Dorico?

    2. Shiki Suen

      However this does not fix how font weights get handled in Dorico.
      (I uninstalled Sibelius from my laptop for years and couldn’t test anything about it at this moment.)

  6. Shiki Suen

    Follow-up with Dorico:

    In my case Dorico is usable on macOS Mojave but has little glitches. The font weighting problem does not hinder my work (because my works are not for publishers but for studio music performers’ temporary necessities). However, everytime I start Dorico, the entire system freezes for approx. 5-10 seconds; everytime the audio engine launches, the entire system freezes for approx. 5-10 seconds; since Dorico starts, the first time I drag an element through the Setup screen, the Dorico app freezes for approx. 5-10 seconds.

    I initially thought that it may be usual with Dorico until I tried Dorico on my hackintosh running High Sierra without these freezing issues. (My hackintosh couldn’t upgrade to Mojave due to the lack of appropriate NVidia video drivers.)

  7. Bill

    Finale v25.5 is NOT fully compatible with Mojave and Finale is ignoring requests for information about when they will, if ever, release a 25.5.1 update to make it compatible. Entering any kind of text (either as a lyric or in a text box) with an accent mark causes an immediate crash. Who knows what other bugs they failed to test for when they announced it was “compatible” ??

  8. Michael Degott

    Seit dem upgrade von macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 auf Mojave werden bei MuseScore cap Dateien nur noch mit Noten aber ohne Liedtexte geöffnet. Gibt es eine Lösung oder wird daran gearbeitet ?

  9. Michael Degott

    Ich war so “abenteuerlustig” und hab es mit MuseScore 3 alpha 1 ausprobiert: der Liedtext ist mit dieser Version wieder dabei. Halleluja

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