Second Dorico maintenance update released


As expected, Steinberg today released the second maintenance update to Dorico. Despite its incremental version number of 1.0.20, like Dorico 1.0.10 it includes a good many improvements and fixes to the barely two-month-old scoring software.

Steinberg product marketing manager Daniel Spreadbury covers the update on his blog. Steinberg has also been rolling out some useful video tutorials in the past week, each two to three minutes long and narrated by product planning manager Anthony Hughes, that are well worth viewing if you’re just getting started with Dorico.

Here are some of the highlights of what’s new in Dorico 1.0.20.

Arpeggio signs

A new Arpeggiation section has been added to the Ornaments panel, including up or down arpeggios as well as a non arpeggio bracket.

Arpeggios are added by either selecting the appropriate sign from the panel or by typing Shift+O for an ornaments popover, and then typing arp or arpeggio for an upwards arpeggio, arpdown or arpeggiodown for downwards arpeggio, or nonarp or non arpeggio for a non arpeggio sign.

Arpeggios can span chords in multiple voices, such as across a grand staff.

The length of arpeggios automatically adjusts as the pitches of the chord change, and an arpeggio will disappear entirely if only a single note remains at that position.

You might be wondering, where’s the arpeggio with an up-arrow? Well, because by default arpeggios are played upward, there isn’t a separate ornament for an up-arrow arpeggio. That doesn’t mean you can’t create one; you can set them on a case-by-case basis via the Properties panel…

…or make them the default option in Engrave mode > Engraving Options > Arpeggio signs, along with many other options for setting the appearance, design, gaps and endpoint positions of the wiggly lines.

Arpeggio lines don’t currently play back, but the release notes say that this is eventually planned.

Page layout

In Elaine Gould’s book Behind Bars, she devotes a couple of pages to describing Rastral sizes, which, despite having varied slightly among different manufacturers, were a useful guide to setting the size of music before computer music notation came along: sizes 0 and 1 were suitable for educational purposes, 3 through 5 for single-stave parts, etc.

The Dorico developers have made no secret of their study of traditional engraving practices, and have added a new Rastral size menu in Setup mode > Layout Options > Page Setup:

The default size in a new project is size 3. Of course, it’s still possible to choose any custom size by entering a value in the Space size box.

In addition to the plethora of options already available in Setup mode > Layout Options > Page Setup, two more options have been added in Vertical spacing:

  • The ability to hide individual staves of a multi-staff instrument (like a piano grand staff) on a system on which it has no music;
  • The ability to specify which players that should never be hidden, even if their staves are empty on a system.


Play mode gains Playback Options for the first time, and hopefully it’s a harbinger of things to come. The dialog is sorted into just two areas for now: Dynamics and Timing.

The Dynamics section includes options to stress the first beat or other beats in the bar, how much Dorico should increase the dynamics of accent and marcato markings, a humanize (randomize) option, and the option to control, on a curve, the relationship of the extreme dynamic markings such as ppp compared to the p through f range.

The Timing section controls the duration of default (unmarked) notes as well as those of staccato, staccatissimo, tenuto and legato (slurred) notes.

There is also a humanize option which modifies the start position of notes by up to 10 ticks, and the ability to control, in seconds, the gap between flows during playback, like when playing back movements.

Fun fact: a tick in Dorico is 480 PPQN.

In Daniel Spreadbury’s blog post, he said that playback “will remain an area of focus for us as we work towards our next updates, along with further improvements to the playback infrastructure, such as support for VST Note Expression, support for multiple input/output ports (as used by e.g. Vienna Ensemble Pro), and so on.”


Silence may be golden, but it’s not often easily notated…

There are two new options in Write mode > Notation Options > Rests. The first, Bar rests in additional voices, allows the user to control whether or not bars of music in one voice that intervene between bars of music with more than one voice account for that additional voice with a bar rests.

Confused? It’s the novel way that Dorico deals with multiple voices that makes this necessary. For a detailed discussion of this, read our review of Dorico 1.0.

Related to this is the new ability to explicitly create bar rests during input. Either click the big Insert Bar Rest button in the Bars and Barlines panel while in Write mode, or type Shift+B for the popover and then rest.

There’s also a new option, Rests equal to the length of a compound beat, to render dotted rests, or not, e.g. in 6/8 time.

Other writing and engraving improvements

  • Print mode is “considerably faster”;
  • A new option Additional vertical protrusion beyond top or bottom of staff has been added to the Design group on the Brackets and Braces page of Engraving Options;
  • A keyless timpani instrument type has been added;
  • Options for changing the default key commands for changing the pitch of notes, and the ability to assign key commands to force stem direction have been added;
  • It’s now possible to change any non-italic lyric to italic on a case-by-case basis in the Lyrics group of the Properties panel;
  • Dorico now reads the JSON metadata files for SMuFL-compliant fonts from the locations recommended by the SMuFL specification;
  • Type Alt+Return (instead of Return alone) after entering a time signature or key signature into the Shift+M or Shift+K popover, in order to create a time signature or key signature that applies only to the staff on which the caret is currently located;
  • A new option Stem direction for notes on the middle line of the staff has been added to the Stems group on the Notes page of Engraving Options, where you can choose between musical context and a fixed default to determine the stem direction of notes on the middle line;
  • You can now change the horizontal gap between the trill marking and the trill extension line (Trills group on the Ornaments page of Engraving Options)
  • The Brass band template has been improved;
  • Text styles for tempo text have been separated into immediate and gradual styles and can be controlled independently.

No, there are no chord symbols, yet — but Daniel said that when their team returns to work in January to plan the next update, they will tackle the most requested features, “and it seems very likely that implementing support for chord symbols will be at the top of that list.”

Bug fixes, version history and downloading

Approximately 50 identified bugs have been fixed, in addition to all the items classified as new features. A full list of those fixes, a version history and application updaters are available from the Dorico download page on Steinberg’s web site.


  1. Derek Williams

    Massive update. Thanks for the details. I might actually start using this soon! Will try out on my next project.

  2. Luis

    It seems more and more that Dorico was pushed out half cooked and that Steinberg keeps happily shoving it oops back into the oven. I don’t know why that strategy but I hope it works out for them. I can’t imagine a new car making a big splash with expected features being added after the sale–and in spurts. “Next month, look forward to the 4th tire being added to your new Dorico convertible that you already led off the parking lot with a tow truck. The coolest ever automatic roof will be at the top of our list for next update. Meanwhile, have an umbrella ready.”

    1. Nikola Kolodziejczyk

      Check out Tesla, they update the cars on a regular basis by Over The Air updates. The cars even get better acceleration!

      1. Luis

        :-) Nice. LOL

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