Brainstorm - How could Dorico use AI?

So glad you asked! I had been meaning to post my suggestion as well. For me, I wish AI could be applied to the online manuals and help menu. Now, I know many of you, if you have used Dorico 40 hours a week for years, you won’t need this (maybe). But for me, or anyone who is using Dorico only occasionally, it is very, very time-consuming, and frustrating, to find an answer to a specific problem. For example, several months ago, it took me several hours to figure out how to insert a quarter note rest into a measure, without having the entire piece of music rebar itself. Why? Because when you search for an answer in the online manual, there are typically too many answers given, not the answer I need. You have to read 10 non-answers to find the one possibility that may work, and even then, it may not be the right one. And by the way, I am reasonably good and fluent at several other Mac apps, so I don’t think this is “just me”. Thanks for listening

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I tried asking both Google Bard and ChatGPT some questions about how to do simple tasks in Dorico, and both of them say with great certainty that they know how to use Dorico and can answer questions about it. However, when you ask a couple of simple questions (e.g. I asked Bard how to make a new instrumental part layout and assign a player to it, and I asked ChatGPT how to add rhythm slashes to a passage of four bars) it gives authoritative-sounding answers which have factual errors in them. This isn’t uncommon, of course, because it’s not really looking up the answers in the Dorico documentation – it’s seen the Dorico documentation, you imagine, but it has no idea what it’s really telling you.

Perhaps we could train one of these LLMs with the Dorico documentation and it would be able to replace me here on the forum. People have often assumed I must be a bot of some kind, so perhaps it’s time we tried to create one…


No, please don’t even think about something like that. I think most people prefer to talk to a real human instead of some dumb (sorry…) machine.


If a bot can answer the more typical and easier answers, and more people enjoy using Dorico, and the team can spend time improving the product, and even more people enjoy using Dorico – it’s a win!

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Although I also regularly go to Tonica Fugata to try out a few things - then it’s more to let loose a different style on a piece of music. Ingenious stuff, but mostly entertainment for me… main strength light in checking rules and study, but back to AI.

I think it might be helpful to expand on AI’s already existing (and growing) amazing scripting capabilities. Not so much to leave the creative to AI (the formulation of what you want largely determines the result, and that requires sufficient creativity from the user). Because I’m not going to elaborate on Lua … in Logic Pro I had code written, for which my knowledge of javascript is insufficient). An example is to get warnings in a log file when your Lower Limit Interval Voicings for guitar might start fighting with other instruments at a later stage LOL. You also decide which agreed rules you wish to be made aware of. :innocent:

With almost 40k posts it would be probably easier to just train the LLM on your forum texts. Add in the version histories and we have an indistinguishable Daniel-clone and you several more weeks of well deserved vacation time.
Now all WE need is a Turing test to find out if we are talking to the real Daniel here….


HAHAHA. Daniel, having someone directly from Steinberg in our forum is irreplaceable. This constant contact with the community is something I think is paramount do Dorico’s success and should never be replaced. I do agree with this though:

Now that I’ve been using Dorico for the past 2 and a half years this happens less frequently, but I do remember stumbling into quick things I wanted to look up that ended up being very frustrating to find, because of what Ernie said. I think Dorico would benefit from having a ChatGPT-like thing to answer most of these kinds of quick but “essential-for-learning” questions that most times you just can’t find easily when googling.
Things I can think off the top of my head: “How do I adjust the spacing of measures?” “How do I create custom beamings inside time signatures?” “Why are tremolos in the “repeats” pallete?”. “How do I navigate the carret around?”. “I’m hearing the wrong octave when notating. How do I correct it?”. “I want to manually add breaks. How do I do that?” Etc.

Yep, it sure could be improved. Another example, which just happened to me today: I needed to put in a tremolo for piano. When I went to the online manual and entered “tremolo”, 44 documents came up. When I tried to narrow it down by typing “piano tremolo”, 149 documents came up; of those, the majority said either “missing; piano” or “missing: tremolo”. Now that I think of it, “AI” is not needed as much as plain old “advanced search” options. The other option, the “Help” menu in Dorico, is no help at all, unless you are lucky enough to type a literal word that exists in a menu. So, for example, if you type “tremolo”, nothing comes up.

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I think you’ll often get better search results using your favourite search engine and using a query like “dorico 5 piano tremolo”. Just be careful when you’re looking at the results to make sure that the URL to the page on contains the expected version number – you’ll often get results from an earlier version of the documentation, because it’s been around longer and has had more incoming links, which makes the search engine think it’s more authoritative.

You might also find you get better results by including a bit more context in your search: “put in tremolo” brings up a search results list where the 4th and 5th pages are the ones that tell you how to input tremolos. (“Input” is the term we generally use to describe putting notes and notations into the music, but searches for “add” and “create” should also bring up good results.)

The documentation is split up into lots of separate pages, and the titles of pages give you a clue as to what content they include: titles with active verbs, like “inputting”, give you steps to follow to achieve a specific result; titles with nouns, like “Tremolos”, give you contextual or reference information about the noun in the title; if the noun in the title is a panel or window within Dorico, that’s where you’ll find explanations of buttons and options.

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Expanding on these ideas I would like to use AI to help with the creative process. I feel like I’m sticking my neck out here, so please bear with me . . .:slightly_smiling_face:

My composing process typically starts out a feeling (perhaps a melody and/or a rhythm) along with a general notion where the piece is going in terms of length, development, etc (although I’m occasionally surprised when a piece goes in a totally different direction than I originally anticipated).

The hard part of this process - the grunt work if you will - is after the initial idea/inspiration - wrestling with the piece until you’re reasonably happy with it.

  • Try out an idea.
  • “Nah that idea doesn’t work, find a better one”
  • Rinse and repeat hundreds of times until the piece feels complete (or at least nothing annoys me enough to put more work into it.)

What I’m looking for is an AI is to help with the grunt work. My thinking is to export all my compositions into MusicXML - this would include the history of how the pieces developed (I save intermediate backups along). These MusicXML files would be fed into the AI so it learns my style of composing. Now I could take my initial ideas/inspirations for a new piece, export from Dorico into the AI and have it give me a new MusicXML file with suggestions where the piece could go. This would be imported back into Dorico - and I am now free to work with that, change it or even reject it and say “Give me a different idea”. The AI would learn from these interactions and (hopefully) become more proficient at knowing how I like my pieces to sound.

So composing would be a collaborative effort - Me & My AI! Hah! That sounds like the chorus to this - only try substituting “AI” for “shadow”.

BTW - I’ve done some casual googling but so far have not found anything like this on the market.

On further thought, perhaps the export/import into MusicXML is unnecessary since Dorico files have a proprietary internal format of their own - so all the “training” could be done using Dorico files.