Dorico 30-Day Free Trial Extension?

To the Staff of Dorico,

Dorico has honestly been amazing, I’ve loved it. However, I am still learning the ropes of the software. Personally, I don’t feel as if 30 days is enough time to learn a notation software (could just be me). I’m trying to decide whether to purchase Dorico or Finale and I think an extension on the Dorico trial would help with this (I will be buying in August). Would this be possible or too out of your way?

Thanks in Advance,
Ian Hook

Also I noticed that Nuendo has a 60 day trial while Dorico does not?

As a user of both programs, especially advising one who is just starting out on a musical career (as I think you have implied), I would advise you to choose Dorico over Finale unless you have a very specific reason to need the kind of control Finale provides of various functions.

Yes, I want to go into Film Score and/or Composition. I’ve been considering Finale due to more control and the fact that some commissioners require use of Finale.

It’s true that Finale is pretty entrenched in the market. That’s changing, though, as MakeMusic continues to brazenly neglect it, getting rid of developers and focusing on other products like SmartMusic.

Honestly, Finale is dying (I’m not glad for that, by the way. I think it’s a crying shame). Its only claim besides established market share is, as you said, “flexibility.” But that claim is wearing increasingly thin.

Are there things Finale can fake that are harder to fake in Dorico? Yes, a handful, but they’re quite small.

I’d suggest posting a list of things here you will need to do that are non-standard or more graphical, and we can tell you honestly how easy these things are to do in Dorico compared to Finale.

Well, I just finished a Choral Arrangement for my Choir Director. She wanted a String Quintet (Violin I + II, Viola, Cello, Bass), Piano Accompaniment and One Vocal Part (it was a choral solo). Next, I’m writing a Classical Symphony for my final project for Music Theory and Composition (currently working on this, submitting it for a contest). More Choral Arrangements likely for my Junior and Senior years of High School. Then, I want to attend Berklee College of Music to double major (maybe) in Film Scoring and Composition. Finally, I want to become a professional Film Scorer while doing commissions in the background.

That all sounds pretty standard. Are there unconventional elements in the score you anticipate? Graphical elements, irrational meters, polytempos, custom staves?

Film score is one place where Dorico particularly shines. Google “Dorico condensing.” No other software does this. Also, smart cues that automatically update…

I make no secret of my bias for Dorico. I used Finale for 20 years and can’t imagine going back. If you’re starting fresh, please don’t get Finale. Sorry, that’s a bit too direct.

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As of right now, no. However, with Dorico the main thing I don’t like is that if you put a specific note value in (take a dotted eighth for example), it won’t give you exactly what you want without having to mess around a lot with preferences (it would give you an eighth tied to a sixteenth, not a big deal, just personal preference that I’ve run into). I do particularly enjoy Dorico but that is probably the ONE thing I don’t like as much as in Finale. Condensing is quite a life changing feature as well. Honestly, it’s amazing how you’re so insistent on Dorico. Preferences is something I feel like Dorico really hammers, maybe a little too much in my opinion.

You asked! Deal in specifics, and you’ll get honest answers. For example, I miss custom staves in Finale. And the ability to make any time signature display as any other time signature. But that’s about it.

What’s the context for the dotted 8th you’re referring to? Yes it’s true that Dorico “knows” what the meter and metrical preferences are. I wouldn’t say it’s a lot of work to change those settings. Besides, when you decide to change the meter later, it all re-beams automatically.

This is why Dorico is doing that. Can you achieve this in Dorico?


Yes, fairly easily if you wish. But it’s… (can I say this?) wrong. Finale doesn’t care, whereas Dorico tries to help. 99% of the time, I like what I get. For that other 1%, there’s Force Duration. Far more benefit than inconvenience.

Like I said, I don’t want Finale to languish. A rising tide lifts all boats.


If you anticipate attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, have you checked to see what notation programs they prefer?

If you are thinking of film scoring, you should know that Finale has dropped its ability to show video, so unless they change course, you would need to use a DAW to show your video and link by rewire technology to Finale.

(But then, if you go into film scoring, you will likely end up obtaining a DAW eventually anyway.)

If you’re on Facebook, maybe get in touch with John Barron in the Dorico Facebook group. I’ve seen him offer trial extensions to other people in various situations.

As someone who is involved in both film scores and concert music, I understand your concerns. As Dan already said, Dorico has a lot of features that other programs don’t have that make things much more efficient on both fronts, such as condensing. Timecode and video integration are also native to Dorico; in fact the timecode calculation for aligning beats on metrical moments is something I don’t think Cubase even has, for some reason. I own both Cubase and Dorico Pro, and if there is ever a chance of integration, I am excited for that moment. But even so, the Play mode of Dorico is becoming more and more customizable to rival DAWs.

I understand, maybe I was overlooking it.

I email the Professor of Film Score a little while ago (about 2 months) asking but he never got back to me unfortunately. Also yeah that’s true.

Should I dm him or how do I get in touch? Speaking of Cubase, I’ve been trying to decide between it and Nuendo, would you know any specifics on differences?

You could make a post on the group probably and tag him in it or in the comments. And I’d say go with Cubase if you’re only doing composition work. As far as I’m aware, Nuendo is basically the same but with added things for sound designers, post-production, and similar things.

Edit: Here’s a comparison from Steinberg’s website.

Okay, just sent in a request to join the group. Also that’s quite interesting.

Berklee started using Cubase as its DAW of choice in 2019. It’s part of a broader partnership with Steinberg. I can’t say whether that means they’re moving towards Dorico, but it’s definitely something.

That’s definitely good to know. If they stay on that path maybe they’ll atleast allow me personally to use it by the time I get there (in 2 years).

If composition programs are requiring a certain brand of software over another in this day and age, they are behind the times and in the wrong, to be honest. Nothing should prevent you from applying the concepts in other notation programs or DAWs in 99% of cases, though you may have to put in a bit of extra effort to figure out how to do it if the professors aren’t aware how to with that program.

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If I’d stuck with Sibelius as my software of choice, I suspect I’d’ve got my foot in fewer doors by this point, because there are loads of competent Sibelius arrangers/engravers/copyists out there.

Take from that what you will :wink: