Any plans to get Note Performer working in Dorico too??

I just wonder if there are any plans to get Note Performer working in Dorico, since that would make music notator’s lifes much easier …
By now the sound quality is not satisfying for me in terms of dynamics, phrasing etc.
In order to give people an idea of how a written piece sounds, I prefer the virtual player “Note Performer”, that is well integrated (in Sibelius) and responds in a quite natural way to musical expression marks.
In my opinion the expressiveness (dynamics, colours, articulations etc.) is even more important for a convincing Demo than 100% naturally sounding instruments that sound static and cannot simulate to “breathe” …
I’m sure the Dorico-Team does a good job and will get the desired features into the program, but that takes a time and meanwhile a tiny virtual orchestra player like Note Performer would ecourage professionals like me to really swith to dorico …

Are there any future plans for dorico toward this direction?
Kind regards,

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The point has been made. Without a real roadmap, it’s hard to know how serious Dorico takes playback for orchestra. I get the feeling, from what little has been said in terms of full orchestral notation and playback, we won’t be seeing the level of articulation management, divisi, and other semantic interpretation (which would drive expression maps which would in turn would drive a VI like Noteperformer) until Dorico 2 or even later.

I must admit I was deeply disappointed to see that after the fall update we are likely to be hit up for a paid upgrade without this area being better sorted. (See Scoring Notes comments for the speculation from Phillip Rothman.)

Traubitz, whether it’s speculation or not, I’d imagine Steinberg will be comparing their pricing to Avid’s and MakeMusic’s. Here in the U.K. the ongoing cost of Sibelius (if you’d already bought it or are crossgrading from Finale/Notion, but without educational discount) is minimum £118 per year. For the poor people that didn’t own Sibelius a year or two ago it’s that much money not just to hang onto the version you’ve got, but to keep your software working whether you want the updates or not. Bear in mind that Sibelius “updates” have become utterly token gestures that add predominantly niche features.

Once Dorico has cues, percussion notation, fingering and perhaps custom lines it’ll do pretty much everything notation-wise that Sibelius can do - generally better; copying of information between layouts obviously needs some work too. Note I say notation-wise and exclude playback stuff from that: I don’t think I’m anomalous in using notation software’s playback functions merely for note-checking, and do any serious audio mockup work in a sequencer.

Anyway, to put it into perspective, Dorico up to this point has cost me £225 (crossgrade without academic eligibility), which is less than two years of ongoing Sibelius “updates”. For the time being I’m running Sibelius 8.5 and hoping I never have cause to give Avid any more money, but at some point (no doubt) new computers will cease to support (what will then be) old versions of Sibelius, and at that point I’ll have some thinking to do. I’d’ve thought that most users won’t continue paying TWO companies money to keep their notation software going. I shan’t be remotely upset if Steinberg want more money out of me in the next year, at some point, as long as it’s not a bl**dy subscription!

I know we are getting away from the OP, but as far as paying for updates goes, I don’t mind if the update is significant. One of things I liked about Sibelius (note the past tense) was that an update was a major change; now, not so much. No one likes to pay more, but as long as the update has real improvements, then I’m ok with it. I suspect that when we get to 3.0, Dorico will have made a major dent in the competition, and will be worth the money.

The real question there is: are the Dorico team aiming at being ‘as good as the notation software competition’ for playback. or are they aiming at ‘better than?’ Judging from the statements of intent and commitment to VST3 etc, the answer seems to be “better than,” but it also seems to be taking a long time to get there. Existing functionality like Dorico’s piano pedalling options plus a VST instrument like Pianoteq shows where playback might arrive at, right across the board, though!

If they do reach “better than”, options like NotePerformer might not look so attractive anyway - but at some stage serious audio mockup work will have to replace the bundled sound library will something more comprehensive, IMO. The bundled samples are just too limiting - e.g. only one instance of orchestral woodwind samples won’t ever do realistic playback of an “a 2” or “a 4” section of flutes, oboes, etc, however you try to fake it.

I don’t have the delusion that NotePerformer produces “serious audio work” - but if the bundled playback from Sibelius or Finale only score 1 or 2 out of 10, NotePerformer only has to score 3 or 4 to be a clear winner. It’s the old “if you and another person are being chased by a lion, you don’t have to run faster than the lion to escape, so long as you can run faster than the other guy” situation!

I think Dorico could easily go past it’s competition before 3.0, but I get the feeling that it’s operating with some significant blind spots when to full-orchestra-from-a-blank-page work. People can poo-poo and say things like “if I want it to sound good, I’d use a DAW…”, and I’m certainly NOT looking for mock-up sound out of a notation program, but it needs to sound better than where Dorico is today, without programming. For me to invest more time and effort in a somewhat incomplete, buggy product it needs some of its sharp corners rounded off.

I am not so blinded by “Avid rage” to overlook Dorico’s shortcomings and make the Dorico team aware of those shortcomings. (Shaping the future Dorico was, after all, one of the Steinberg pitches in investing in a admittedly incompetent 1.0 product.). I think it’s a mistake to rev the product,with its attendant fees, without softening some of Dorico’s sharp corners.

Dorico get’s A- in engraving (and can be A+ after the next update fills in som key notation.) In terms of composing/arranging convenience, it’s probably B- or C , though the filter system in 1.1 was a big improvement, there are a lot of shortcuts that don’t exist and can’t be created. In terms of large projects, Dorico gets a B+, but it’s tendency to lock-up seems to increase with the size of the project (YMMV). Notation playback, out of the box, Dorico is probably a C- (IMHO) but with me “fixing it up” I’d say it’s only a C+. If they could get NotePerformer or equivalent going, they’d easily earn an A for score interpretation (based on the current state-of-the-art in the market.)

NotePerformer probably isn’t going to remain a static unimproved application either – so there’s that. At least I’ve seen they still are working on it.

How much they can improve it without increasing its sample mass to a heavy footprint, I don’t know.

NotePerformer has such a light footprint currently so even if they doubled or tripled the download size it would still be very light in resources. It is a remarkable product that makes using Sibelius a pleasure again from a playback perspective. I certainly hope the product continues to develop and that Dorico eventually has access to it. Pianoleo mentioned a figure of £118 minimum for Sibelius annual subscription but I only paid £84 for mine so not sure where his figure comes from. I also think you can pay for 3 years which proportionally work out a cheaper annual cost.

So, bodohiber, if you want to produce an audio sample to your liking, these will be your steps by now:
a) from Dorico export your project as music.xml
b) open that file in Sibelius and export to audio file

That is quite straight forward at the moment.

I agree NotePerformer is a good solution to the problem that the Sibelius playback system is too hard for most users to get their heads around (and it’s too much work even if you can get your head around it.)

But it can’t work without getting the playback information from the notation app. There are various threads here where people seem to be getting tied in knots setting up key switches in Dorico - but just doing that, and not using the controller inputs that go with it, is only the first (and easiest!) 10% of the "real "work to get realistic playback - and the other 90% is mostly impossible to do in the current version of Dorico.

Currently support is US$89/year or, depending on what your current version is, you can upgrade + get 3 years for US$299. (It works out to about $100 for the upgrade and $199 for 3 years of support, or about US$67/year after the upgrade.) That deal is set to go back to $399 for upgrade + 3 years on October 1. The big threat that some Sibelius users see is that if they “fall off the wagon”, then they need to pay $299 to get back on the upgrade/support plan for the first year. It’s both a confusing and (sometimes) expensive system.

The point of having decent playback native is not necessarily to make mockups (by exporting XML and playing it back through Sibelius.) The use case is to quickly audition a few bars of orchestral texture on the fly while working. Export to XML, load into Sibelius, playback, go back to Dorico is a workflow non-starter. (It depends on your workflow–for me it’s a definite non-starter because I like to quickly audition what I’m experimenting with.) It’s all about speed and ease of use. Like Pianoleo suggested, if I need a mockup, I’ll go to my DAW (Cubase) and use the tools & samples I have there.

It would seem that getting Dorico to the point where Arne could port NotePerformer to Dorico (which he seems willing to do) would be the fasted way for the Steinberg team to get their notation playblack into the big leagues.

Yep. I’ve “fallen off the wagon” with Sibelius. I’m 29; my dad’s a composer and first bought Sibelius (7, Acorn) in the mid-90s. I’ve personally paid for every version of Sibelius since v4, and the pricing available to me is this:

If you ignore the educational discount, it’s actually cheaper for me to crossgrade from Finale (which I legally own), despite having paid thousands over the years for Sibelius. Go figure!

Regarding support for custom sample libraries (including NotePerformer, VSL, EWQL, GM…): we know that setting up expression maps is currently complex, incomplete and not documented, but we do have much greater plans for it in the fullness of time. Currently the only automatic setup is for HALion Sonic SE + HSO via the ‘Apply Default Playback Configuration’, but we hope to expand the concept of a Playback Configuration such that you can switch between different configurations easily, once the expression maps have been defined. However this is a very complex area, especially when you take into account the other things we want to do, such as per-voice routing, routing different playback techniques of a single instrument to multiple channels/devices, etc. It will take us some time to get to that point, but rest assured that playback is very important to us. (unfortunately, so are cues, percussion, chords, fingering…)

Outside of your staff do you offer use to beta testers on your pre-releases? That will likely speed up bug spotting and save your staff some time.

Yes, we have quite a large number of beta testers.

You won’t get any defense of Avid’s pricing out of me–I’m no fan of the subscription approach. :smiley: If I could move everything I have to Dorico today, I would.

Paul, I realized something regarding the MIDI file exported from Dorico (till 1.10): The modulation curve are totally straight per note. I am wondering whether the following processing pattern could be introduced for string instruments:

  1. for individual notes, draw the moducation curve parabola-like per note.

  2. for slured notes, draw the moducation curve parabola-like per slur.

  3. if a note (with sustain or vibrato technique) is placed right before a rest (or a blank measure / bar), consider auto-fade the end of its modulation curve out.


Obviously the team has to set some global priorities - presumably, to maximize the “average” level of customer satisfaction.

That doesn’t mean it gets frustrating when things one personally has no use for (chords, percussion) or are only “nice to have” (fingering - it’s easy enough to fake it, in small quantities!) are in front of the things one needs and can’t fake - like cues.

Actually, for me, playback is somewhere close to the “nice to have” category - if Dorico can do it better than a DAW, that’s great, but otherwise, it’s only going to disappoint in the end! (But the team have released a very nice teaser in the piano pedalling options, of course!)

These are the sort of things that we’ll hope to add over time, in addition to support for VST note expression which allows per-note dynamic variations in plugins that support it.