Chord symbols and MusicXML. (Problem resolved)

Dorico 1.1 now supports chord symbols. But when I take a MusicXML file with chord symbols in it, and import it into Dorico 1.1, it fails to import the chord symbols altogether. They are lost.

Am I missing anything here?

Does Steinberg plan to add MusicXML chord symbol parsing support to Dorico in future?

Otherwise how am I going to get my hundreds of jazz lead sheets created in Sibelius format output as MusicXML and imported and converted into Dorico format?

Furthermore, jazz lead sheets need to have 4 measures/bars to each system, every system, except when certain circumstances cause the engraver to over-ride this rule. Yet Dorico ignores the number of measures/bars in each system when it imports MusicXML, and re-flows the measures/bars according to its own engraving spacing, which would be fine for most music but is emphatically wrong for jazz lead sheets. Unless there is a workaround for which I’m unfamiliar, I’m going to have to go through all my jazz lead sheets once brought into Dorico (with all the chord symbols stripped out and discarded) and manually add system breaks all through each lead sheet to restore the standard of 4 measures/bars per system. That’s going to be a great deal of extra work.

In “Layout-Options” you will now find an option to define a fixed number of bars per system.
I didn’t try yet if this setting can be override for certain systems.

Edit: it is possible to override this setting for certain systems with “fit into one system” or “command-shift-J” in engrave mode. (hopefully I choose the right translations, using german language).

I’ve tried importing Sibelius files (via XML) with chord symbols and it works just fine.

Here it works, too. I exported a leadsheet from Sibelius 8.3. and Dorico 1.1 imported the chord symbols just fine.

Ditto from Finale 25.4. No problems, in fact a couple of small improvements :slight_smile:

Hi Folks,

I tried importing an XML file saved from Sibelius 8.6. It happened to be a string quartet with no chord symbols.
Imported fine - however if I try to put chord symbols in it doesn’t work.

Still experimenting at the moment but the chord symbols are working in a regular Dorico project.



Hi Folks,

Further to my recent post, I just tried importing a Sibelius XML file (Top Line & Chords) - Notes are there - chords not.
However this time I can write Dorico chord symbols into the project.

Weird or what?

One more thing for the time being. I’m a Brit and am used to seeing chord symbols under a ‘Top Line’ - So far I can’t find a way of moving the chords symbols at all!! Have I missed something?



Are you talking about guitar frames rather than chord symbols?

Hi Paul

No just straight chord symbols i.e. C7 Gb7 6/9 etc.


Could this be related to the fact that Dorico displays chords on rhythmic instruments by default? Did you make sure to select, in Setup mode, the right option (right click on your player and make sure chords are displayed on ALL instruments)?

I have done further troubleshooting on my problem with MusicXML import and no chords. I believe I have resolved my issue.

All my work is on the Macintosh platform.

I created a lead sheet in Sibelius 8.5.1, and exported the MusicXML using the MakeMusic Dolet 6.6 plugin.

When the resulting MusicXML was imported into Dorico 1.1, there were NO chord symbols.

When the same MusicXML file was imported into MuseScore 2.1, there WERE chord symbols.

When the same MusicXML file was imported back into Sibelius 8.5.1, there WERE chord symbols.

HOWEVER when in Sibelius 8.5.1 and I exported the MusicXML using Sibelius’ built-in capability of XML export (NOT using the MakeMusic Dolet 6 plug-in), then I got a MusicXML file that could be opened in Dorico 1.1 and had the proper chord symbols.

So the problem must be with some quirk in the way that Dorico 1.1 reads MusicXML generated by Dolet 6.6 for Sibelius versus how Dorico 1.1 reads MusicXML generated by Sibelius 8.5.1. (Thank you Michael Good for this clarification.)

That’s strange because the MakeMusic Dolet 6 plugin is supposed to be more advanced in capabilities and closer to the pure MusicXML 3.0 spec than the internal capabilities of Sibelius 8.5.1 itself.

Hi Marc,

That’s it you hit the nail on the head. Chords are now appearing in XML files.

Many thanks,


Jeff :smiley:

Hi Folks,

Just before I pack up on here & go to my gig tonite. I made a few different XML files from various Sibelius projects.

On importing into Dorico everything shows up except Chord Symbols. If I import the same files into Sibelius everything shows up.

I have checked the options in Dorico for showing chord symbols in all instruments - no change. Chord symbols can be entered in Dorico no problem - but that’s gonna take time.

Why is Dorico ignoring Chord Symbols on XML files?

I’ll spend some more time on it tomorrow & see if I can come up with a solution!

After that my trial Dorico times out. Still can’t make my mind up about the crossgrade!!



Don’t know whether this will help, but Dolet now offers version 7 (for Finale) which reflects the XML Music 3.1 spec.

FWIW, the Dolet v 6 and v 7 is only for Finale versions prior to 25. In Finale 25 the equivalent functionality is built in.

Hi Jeff,
Could you post an XML that you find isn’t working for you? I’m happy to have a quick look. Doesn’t have to be one of your real sheets; you could make a quick example file in Sibelius and export that. Feel free to PM if you prefer.

Yes, and it just came out this week. But the newest version of Dolet for Sibelius is still 6.6, which has been around for some time. I have no idea if MakeMusic is going to release a new version of Dolet for Sibelius. The MusicXML spec was owned by MakeMusic (the developers of Finale) when they bought Michael Good’s company Recordare some years ago. But it’s my understanding that ownership and development of MusicXML itself has been transferred to the W3C consortium. I don’t know if MakeMusic is committed to further Dolet plugin development for Sibelius (which after all is the competitor to Finale).

So for now if I export scores from Sibelius intending to import them into Dorico, I’ll try both Sibelius’ native MusicXML export and the Dolet 6.6 plugin export, and see if I can spot more significant differences in how Dorico handles the different MusicXML files.

If the Sibelius plug-in language (ManuScript) can’t access the data that MusicXML 3 needs, it doesn’t matter whether anybody “wants” to support an updated plugin or not - they can’t, until Avid extend ManuScript. And we’ve seen how much (cough!) new development there has been to Sibelius in the last few years…

I remember a comment from Michael Good years ago, that ManuScript was never designed for writing plugins of the size and complexity of even the first versions of Dolet - and if you look at the code of those old versions, it’s like taking a trip back to the way computing was done in the 1960s.

ManuScript probably “seemed like a good idea at the time” when the Finns were still developing Sibelius on the Archimedes, but its WAY past its sell-by date in 2017.

I seem to have documented a bug here. There are two or three ways to import a MusicXML file into Dorico 1.1. Doing it one way (opening Dorico and first creating a blank document, and then using the menu command File: Import: MusicXML…) results in a Dorico document that has no chord symbols and misinterprets the clef and puts the melody line in the wrong octave (in my specific case where the clef is the Tenor Vocal Clef, the regular treble clef with the little “8” on the bottom).

On the other hand, opening Dorico and going to the opening screen and clicking on the “Open Other…” button, navigating to the MusicXML file in the Finder, and opening it that way – results in a Dorico file that has chord symbols and has the notes in the correct octave and looks fine.

By the same token, starting in the Mac Finder, right-clicking on the MusicXML file, and choosing “Open With Dorico” results in a correct-looking Dorico document.

I have filed this bug report with Dorico and I have sent them examples of the relevant files.

Thanks for putting up with all this. I would be inclined to try to delete this entire thread I created, since I don’t want to bother you good people with all these details, but since Dorico wants bug reports and discussions about them, I’m leaving all this up in case anybody needs to study it.

In the case of export of XML Cubase, I had to check Format 0 in the MIDI Files> export section.