Best approach for importing scores from Musescore


I’m currently making the switch from Musescore 3 to Dorico Elements. On the whole, very much enjoying scorung with Dorico and the expression maps have opened up an ease of scoring (I primarily arrange for big band) for me.

I’m looking at migrating my pre existing scores from Musescore. First attempts using MusicXML have been largely ok, after removing almost all the settings to honour the layout in the MusicXML file, however I’m getting some odd behaviour when expression maps are then applied, especially with dynamic based expressions like forte-pianos.

For some reason, the expression map is bsing applied a semi quaver after the note that it is attached to, meaning the expression is missed. If I then delete the dynamic and reinsert, nothing changes, and the same with the note itself; but if I move it a semi quaver later then the expression is applied correctly.

Is there any way to completely clear all expressions from a file and start over, or manually change the position of them via the play window? Alternatively, is it a better approach to simply import midi files and then re-write all the dynamics?

I generally have all the import options switched off. Let Dorico decide how to do everything.

You can quickly check how Dorico has interpreted text items by using the filter. Do a system selection of the whole flow, then edit>filter>… and select all dynamics. You will then see what Dorico thinks are dynamics.

You can also use this method to remove them all (having selected them, just delete!)


I’d be interested to see one of your projects where the dynamics are taking effect at the wrong position. Could you attach one here?

Ok here we go, the Musescore file, the generated MusicXML file and the Dorico file saved after import:- (1.7 MB)

However, I’m now not 100% convinced this is just an issue with imports; I have another score which I have been working on, which admittedly did start as an import from MusicXML but only for about the first few bars or so. And then lots of new work added; however all of a sudden, in the Coda, the expression map for forte piano is no longer being applied in the trumpets at bar 122, and also is no longer applied on the segno.

File attached, along with the expression map file. (6.0 KB) (1.7 MB)

I think the problem you’re experiencing with the forte-piano dynamic in the repeated section in your project is a bug. Sorry for the inconvenience. The good news is that the bug is fixed in the forthcoming update, so it won’t be an inconvenience for too much longer.


Ah no worries, thanks for the update; I was almost certain I’d done something wrong in the expression mappings!

If I did that, any manuscript transcription I did in MuseScore would be 100-250+ pages of broken up notes tied together that I need to fix.

These defaults are one of the first thing I changed when I started using Dorico, as I don’t find them logical at all.

Dorico is fine to make assumptions when I am using it for composition, and using its note input directly. At that point, I can choose whether or not I want to accept its “suggestions” or use mechanisms like Force Duration to enforce my intent on the notation’s display.

I don’t think it’s imposing Dorico’s assumptions at Import on entire scores is a logical default, as often the MusicXML comes with those [composer/transcriber] intents in the file. I prefer to honor them.

I don’t want the Import function to Edit the scores, which is what basically happens with the default settings.


I do frequent transcriptions from pdf → PhotoScore → (via Sibelius, because it fixes some problems)->xml → Dorico. Also I work a lot from musicScore-> Dorico.

My advice is let Dorico do it’s stuff. If you don’t like it’s defaults then you can always change them. But once the xml import options have fixed things, undoing them can be a real pain.


Lol. Cheeky, but that kind of answers the question (unless the question was rhetorical).

You see, MuseScore probably did the same thing in several places when I input the score there, but I overrode this to make the notes appear as they need to appear.

Allowing Dorico to do this would undo all that work and force me to redo it all over again. It serves no purpose but to waste my time. It’s a massive waste of time, due to me willfully enforcing more manual labor on myself.

Like I stated earlier, allowing Dorico to do its thing when I am using it for note input is fine, because I can make decisions on allowing what it suggests to stand on the spot - as in any other notation software (MuseScore, Finale, etc.).

However, if I’m importing something I’VE [PERSONALLY] DONE in another notation package, chances are what is in the MusicXML is exists as it does because I chose to make it that way. I don’t want the software to default to changing it.

Importing should not alter the work that is being imported.

If you imported your book manuscript into Microsoft Word and it changed words from American to British spelling, altered hyphenation, etc. then you’d be properly pissed about it.

Why would my words be in American to begin with (I’m British)?

That said, there are numerous threads here about folks frustrated when editing xml imports and surprised that Dorico does not seem to respect their choices, only to discover that (eg) durations have been forced by their import choices.

Then reverse the scenario. You know what I meant :stuck_out_tongue:

Actually no. This is not the case, because the defaults in Dorico Settings is not to force durations. They are only forced if you go into settings and change them to make it so. As a result, almost no one is surprised by this, because this is always the result of an intentional change - unless they are using the application on someone else’s computer.

What surprises people is when they import a MusicXML into Dorico and tons of notes are split up and tied together instead of notated the way they were in the original file - from which the MusicXML was generated :wink:

The notes are proper in the MusicXML, Dorico just has funky defaults that result in the notation being “edited” (visually) when the file is import.

That is the problem I had with the software when I moved to it. It is generally what gets people.

Once they know how to fix it, it ceases to be an issue because they simply change the settings and they persist that way for future imports. It’s just the initial shock and awe that surprises :wink:


Finale Original:
Finale Original

Dorico Import (Default Settings):
Dorico Default

Dorico Import (After Turning on Force in Settings):
Dorico Corrected Settings

Erm??? OK I’m confused.

Dorico has a bunch of xml import options. Personally, I deselect them all, because I want Dorico do it’s magic. If you select any they will create forced items.

Utter nonsense!!! Dorico will respect the original, if you tell it to do so!!! (which, of course, will create forced items)

Clearly you do not understand what is happening. (Perhaps you are someone who prefers dotted quarters on the 2nd beat?)

I give up…

I think you’re the one not understanding what’s being stated, at the risk of sounding a bit too frank.

Then again, you went there first…

Please learn how to set your Notation Options in Dorico, and then complain.

You’re completely missing the point. Lol. The default setting is to edit the score. It should be to respect what’s in the MusicXML.

The setting to force duration should be on by default. No one should have to “set that up” to force the application to NOT edit the visual score when importing from another application.

You really had no clue what I was referring to in this entire dialog? I’m glad the pictures helped, at least!

Blocking because I see where this is going… Have a nice night.

  1. First it’s “turn it all ll off and let Dorico do it’s thing.”

  2. I respond that I would not do that because the score would be effectively edited on import if I did that, forcing me to re-do tons of work.

  3. Acts clueless as to what I mean…

  4. Shown pictures to illustrate the issue…

  5. Tells me to complain after I set up my notation settings (literally required to not have a score effectively edited on import, BTW, since it’s definitely not the default setting… THANKS FOR THE TIP, THOUGH!).

It’s like a fish flopping out of water.

(Ignoring the rather patronising LOL) You have the option! If you want Dorico to respect the xml notation, by all means turn on that import option. But just understand that by doing so it will create an override in the Dorico file (which you might later find to be unwelcome).
Alternatively, set Dorico to the notation options that you want and it will interpret any xml accordingly.

Yikes, that went off in a… er… direction.

The good news is that the bug is fixed in the forthcoming update, so it won’t be an inconvenience for too much longer.

Hey @dspreadbury, thanks for the feedback on this one; just wanted to confirm that the fix in 4.3 has solved the problem with the forte-piano in the repeats here. Will check the imported versions later. Thanks!