Dorico is not importing Music XML from my cubase 10.5 project correctly

Hello, I noticed that Dorico v3.5.10.1045 is not importing Music XML from my cubase 10.5 correctly. Is this a known issue? Are others having trouble too? Is it just me? I thought importing from Cubase would be an easy thing. Please advise.

Specifically, in my case, there is no more music after measure 148. Just whole rest bars until the end of the piece. Very frustrating.

Sorry to hear you’re running into this problem, Chris. Could you please attach the MusicXML file that you’ve exported from Cubase here so that we can take a look? You’ll need to zip it up first.

In general you should find that provided you’ve used the score editor in Cubase and quantized the music so that it’s all cleanly notated, it should import nicely into Dorico.

Hello dspreadbury,

This is a perfectly quantized piece. It imports into other musical notation programs as expected. This is a Dorico MusicXML import issue.

In the measure after which there is no music on the Dorico import, are 16th note triplets. After removing these triplets, the rest of the music appears as expected. What’s odd is that there are other 16th note triplets in the piece, but for some reason Dorico got hung on this measure. I’m curious however, what else might be missing.

Also, after finding this Dorico Forum post about MusicMXL import, I am losing confidence in the Dorico’s ability to import MusicXML from Cubase at all.

So, this is seems to be a known issue. What other known issues does Dorico have? Is there a list somewhere. I got burned for a lot of time on this. Would be nice to see a list of known issues so that time is not wasted.

Also, the main reason I purchase the program is to import from Cubase. Did not expect too run into a problem with triplets. Hmm.

Dorico_MXL_Import_Issue_Triplets.dorico (478.4 KB) (484.1 KB)

I have uploaded my MusicXML sequence and Dorico project. I have scrambled my midi notes so that it’s just random notes playing. I left Measure 148 intact and it still creates the problem. As you can see viewing the MusicXML in other programs, there is music after measure 148 through measure 156. Dorico gets hung in the middle of the 16th note triplet at Measure 148, and no longer shows music.

Good luck! Hope the Dorico engineers can fix this issue.

The other problem with MusicXML that I have run into is that with piano staff music imports, the bass clef stems are facing the wrong direction and are visibly tied to the treble staff notes. I have to manually change their voice, change stem directions, and then I need to go through and erase unnecessary rest that have been deposited by the voicing change. This is a ridiculous waste of time!

I did notice, however, that when importing midi files, Dorico seems to import the notes correctly, with note stems point the right direction at all times. And it changes the stem direction correctly throughout the piece. So, something is amiss with MusicXML import. It doesn’t work.

Again, I must ask, is this a known issue? And. is there a list of known issues for Dorico? I want to use Dorico, but I do not want to waste my time chasing bugs that are already known about.

Thank you for you time!



Thanks for attaching your project, Chris. We’ll definitely take a look at the issue you’ve found.

MusicXML is a sufficiently loosely-specified format that different applications can encode the same music in many different ways. This means it’s quite tricky both to export it “correctly”, and also tricky to import it “correctly”. Even though Cubase and Dorico come from the same company, they are written by separate teams who come at music notation from completely opposite directions. In an ideal world, both Dorico and Cubase would fully subscribe to Postel’s Law (which says something along the lines of: “be conservative in what you send, and be liberal in what you accept”) and we would have special cases implemented for at least the main applications that users might expect to be able to import MusicXML from. As it is, there are hundreds of applications that implement support for MusicXML, and practically all of them will handle many aspects of the encoding differently.

I know that in the end, that doesn’t matter to you as a user of both applications, and it’s quite right that it shouldn’t. You just need to get your music back and forth between different applications without running into problems. But hopefully the above at least helps to clarify why it might be that two applications that both import and export MusicXML might produce different results with the same file.

We do not publish a list of known issues, I’m afraid, and nor are we likely to start in the near future. But please do come to the forum and ask your question here when you run into difficulties, and I or somebody else from the team will be happy to help you.

My colleague Richard took a look at the MusicXML file, and I believe both of the problems you’re experiencing here – with the tuplets, and with the disposition of notes into the left hand staff of the piano – are because you have only a single voice set up in the Score Editor in Cubase.

If you use the polyphonic voicing feature in the Score Editor, you should get a much better result – both in the Score Editor itself, and then also in the MusicXML file once you export it.

[This statement has been retracted. BTW, typing into an iPhone half sleep is generally not recommended by this user because can cause ill will towards humanity if not careful]

Chris, I’ve imported literally thousands of MusicXML files from Sibelius, Finale and PlayScore 2 into Dorico over the past four years, and it appears that I share neither your experiences nor your sentiment.

It really does matter what the user does, and it matters how the notation looks in the source program.

Well, if that is your experience, then I will tone down my language. There was an assumption in a previous paragraph that I was doing something wrong, and that my actions were to blame for the import not working, and I took exception to that, Because I was very careful in my preparation. And, in fact the MusicXML I prepared imports well into a competitive notation software. Flawlessly, in fact. The midi file from the same sequence imports near flawlessly into Dorico as well. So, if Dorico needs some more specific preparation for the musicXML that the midi file, and other programs do not need, please tell what this is.

Also, the problem I am having is specifically importing from Cubase, not importing from other notation programs. I have now updated my previous statement to reflect that.

I’m not “pivoting the blame”. I am telling you that you will get better results – not only in the MusicXML import from Cubase, but also in the Cubase Score Editor itself – if you use the polyphonic voicing feature to produce sensible keyboard notation in Cubase before you export your MusicXML file.

OK, I just read about polyphonic voicing in the cubase manual. That opens a whole new door of setting up how the notes display in the score. This is great! Thank you! I appreciate that suggestion. Sorry if I seemed rude about it earlier. I just didn’t understand why the midi file import was better at parsing the piano score then the MusicXML import function (This, btw, makes no sense to me and Dorico’s programmer(s) might want to look into this).

Understanding how the voices in the cubase score section has allowed me to set up the score in a way that Dorico understands. Still does not explain why other programs don’t need me to do this as much as Dorico does, but perhaps I’m spoiled. Nonetheless, I am now able to get the score from Cubase to Dorico successfully by using the polyphonic voicing feature in Cubase. And that was the goal.

So… thank you for putting up with my ignorance on this issue. Sorry I was a bit brash earlier, I just did not understand how and why the polyphonic voicing feature would make a difference. I also did not understand that midi could be used in the way it is being used inside polyphonic voicing setting. This offers a whole other world of technical possibilities, and potential failures. And explains why some notes disappear 'without explanation." Cubase offers a powerful tool here.

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The difference between importing MIDI and importing MusicXML is that MIDI does not and indeed can not encode anything about the way the music should be notated: it is simply a stream of note positions and durations, measured in ticks in an abstract way that says nothing about what the note durations should be, with no information whatsoever about voicing. MusicXML, on the other hand, has to encode this information, i.e. it is impossible to create a MusicXML file without specifying the notated duration of each note, which staff it should appear on, which polyphonic voice it should be in, and so on.

As a result, Dorico approaches the import of these two very different representations of musical data in very different ways. When importing MIDI, Dorico knows that it has to make every decision about assigning instruments, determining durations, performing quantization and assigning voices itself. It uses the data in the MIDI file as raw material for transcription. When importing MusicXML, on the other hand, Dorico has to assume that the data in the MusicXML file is that way because the user who has exported it, and/or the application that generated it, wants that particular notated representation to be preserved. So Dorico tries to import the note durations, voice assignment etc. as literally as it can from the MusicXML file.

Other applications may well take different approaches to importing that kind of MusicXML data, but Dorico simply tries to import the information it is given as literally as it can.

Therefore, the onus is on you, the person producing that MusicXML file, to make sure that the music looks more or less the way you expect and want it to in the application that will export the file before you export it. In this specific case, it means that you should use the features provided by Cubase’s Score Editor to make the notation look clear and legible – e.g. display quantization, polyphonic voices, etc. – before you export the MusicXML file. If you don’t want to take the time to do that in Cubase, then simply export a MIDI file instead and allow Dorico to do some of that work for you.

Different tools, with different purposes, requiring different approaches.