Dorico 5 update - thoughts

Some nice if uninspiring updates but we’re at version 5 now and we still cannot loop a section (I know we can add repeat markings but this is a bit hacky).
Also I’ll probably only upgrade from version 4 when you improve the playback/MIDI editor. With noteperformer 4 we are getting very close now to making pro MIDI mockups in Dorico so that we can just export the stems for mixing. This IMO should be the focus with more MIDI editor key commands,and more DAW -like automation.

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Welcome to the forum, @archerpark, and thanks for your feedback on Dorico 5.

Can you say a bit more about what features in the Key Editor you’re missing that would allow you to work more effectively with your MIDI mock-ups?


Firstly let me say that the MIDI editor feature is what prompted me to buy it - I am a fan of the software overall.
My feedback is based on me being able to write professional mockups in Dorico alone - at least producing orchestral audio stems that I can then mix in a DAW. (I basically don’t want to have to mess around in Cubasis/Ableton/Logic with blocks of MIDI - I want Dorico to do that part).
As it stands the Key editor feels generally a bit clunky compared to DAWs - maybe it can do everything other DAWs can but it takes me longer to edit stuff in it and I’ve been using it almost since Christmas. Next time I use it I’ll write down some more specific issues and get back to you.
In the main though I (and I think a lot of other users) want to see development in playback. I have BBC core and note performer 4. As Dorico stands now can it do everything a DAW can do regarding MIDI manipulation of playback? If not do you plan on improving this? Or if it can could we have more tutorials on how to tweak settings etc.

While I certainly understand your desire to work as much (if not exclusively) in Dorico (I don’t care to work on midi data in DAWs if I can help it either), I think we have to be at least a little bit realistic here. If you want to massage mockups to the point that they sound “real”, then DAWs are the proper place to do it. Dorico has been making great strides to implement many new features in this realm (and I have no doubt the team will continue to develop more as time goes on) but you can also reach a point of diminishing returns. As it is now, I think Dorico is the undisputed leader insofar as direct control over manipulable midi data from within a scoring software is concerned. But at some point Dorico would just turn into a DAW if that’s the only arena where they spend their development time, and Steinberg already has one of the most important DAWs in the industry on offer.


I understand your point but I disagree. I think notation software like Dorico - in partnership with Noteperformer, are ready to do it.

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I think in terms of direct MIDI editing, yes, it probably can do everything that your run-of-the-mill MIDI editor in a sequencer can do. Dorico doesn’t have anything like Cubase’s Logical Editor, for example, and nor does it have VST parameter automation (both things that we would like to add in due course). Certainly our goal is to make it possible to produce a mock-up entirely in Dorico, but we do have to balance the work we do in every area of the program, so we can’t ever devote all of our development resources to this single area, and thus it will take us a while to get there.

Please do let me know which things you find causing friction next time you work on something in the Key Editor.


There are those who think that Dorico has gone too far in favouring Playback over Notation.

I don’t envy the team having to manage that balance; but personally, I’ll use whatever features I get on both sides. A rising tide lifts all boats, and all that.


DAW’s Can do so much more especially around audio editing and playing live and synths etc but I don’t see any reason why Notation programs shouldn’t overtake them now in producing PRO mockups.


In that sense, I completely agree, but then we need to pivot our attention more to NP’s development, rather than Dorico, since NP is doing all the interpreting.

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Good point but maybe Dorico can facilitate Noteperformer’s development more (Maybe they are behind the scenes)


I think the question on where dividing line is between MIDI editor and DAW will keep coming up.

In my view, Cubase allows for very sophisticated routing and processing of audio signals. Groups, sends, busses, VCA faders, multichannel and immersive audio, etc. It’s like the mixing deck in the back of the modern concert halls; whereas Dorico is more like a conductor getting the best possible performance out of instruments themselves via MIDI.

I use Dorico as a MIDI front-end to Cubase (similar to the VEPro setup, or a totally manual and very hands-on NP setup) and for me the v.5 updates that I’ve read about so far are simply perfect. They are exactly what’s needed in a model where Dorico controls the MIDI and allows for fully swappable audio/VST components to render that to audio. There is already some basic segmentation in the available audio/VST renderers: from NP that does all the work to fully manual options like VEPro or Cubase. In this context, I’m not quite sure of what to make of Spaces template…

Yes, that’s me, for example.

While I can see the power Dorico got in the DAW section of the software (and hopefully a steadily growing user base therefore), I feel like some of the major topics within notation and engraving have been left alone. The problems around layouts getting completely wrecked if too many things are being stacked on the same spot (chords, system text, rehersal marks etc.), for example. Or the big area of things like crescendos/slurs/ties reaching into first and second endings. I really had hoped the latter topic would have been adressed in this update.

That’s not to say that the new version has nothing for me - I really love the scrubbing feature!
But many of the Big New Things I either don’t need (like Spaces/Stages and pitch contour because I’m already using NotePerformer) or don’t use (like Groove Agent).

Well, let’s hope for the next update :wink:


For me the DAW improvements mean little. But, I appreciate that they are important to many users here, and have been the subject of feature requests. If this update doesn’t do many things for me, that’s ok - the health of the overall program is an important aspect. For Dorico - or any software - to survive it needs to both deepen and widen. And who knows - perhaps the features that I say I don’t need now may well turn out to be things I adopt in the future.

I’ll update, but won’t be in a rush to do so.

Congrats on getting this out the door.

Looking forward to the continued improvements!


I’m one of those. None of the items on my request list has been addressed, and most or all of them are features Sibelius has had for years (most from when Daniel et al. were with Avid).


@bobk, I’d love to know a handful of the things that are on your list.

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A post was split to a new topic: Dorico 5 crashing on Mac Studio

Ties into second endings

Ability to add customized chord symbols to the library for use in other projects

“Empty bar” regions

Ability to customize the playback form (like in Sibelius)

Stop receiving input from MIDI keyboard when Dorico is in the background (This is useful when transcribing music using another playback app like “Transcribe”. If I play the MIDI keyboard, notes are entered in Dorico, so I have to exit note entry mode before switching to Transcribe, and then back into it when I return)

Thanks for asking, @dspreadbury


Thanks for the list, Bob. Ties into second endings are difficult because we really want to tackle that whole area of notations that cross repeat endings in a more general way, so that everything is handled. But it’s a really big job and due to our tiny team size and competing demands on our time, tackling these really big notation features hasn’t been practical recently, on top of the things that we feel hold the most strategic value for the future success of the product as a whole. But I really want to get back to working on these kinds of things because we know they are important.

Can you say what an “empty bar” region would do?


(I can see @FredGUnn typing. If he repeats himself about the chord symbol editor one more time, he might just find himself banned from the forum…)


You just need to use pitch-first input! I hate duration-first for transcription or composition for this very reason. If you use pitch-first then you don’t have this issue.