Dorico 5 wishlist

Apologies for the long post, but I just finished a couple of jobs and some of these issues were fresh in my mind. Some of these wishes have been popping up on the forum recently too, so I just thought I’d jot them all down in one place. Anyway, sorry for the stream-of-consciousness ordering and some of the repeat requests, but here are a pile of things I’d love to see in Dorico 5. Thanks for considering!

  1. Per instrument/player cue control. In Drum parts for example, often the rhythmic cue essentially is the actual part, so that cue needs to be visible in both the score and the drum part. A conductor needs to know exactly what the drummer has in their part, in order to correctly yell at them for missing the hits. The ability to turn on cue visibility in the score for that staff and that staff alone would be very useful. As of now these figures all need to be manually entered in order to appear in the score. Another approach could maybe be to select an individual cue and have a visibility override in Properties.

  2. Text cues. Some sort of text cue capability would be great. As of now it’s not terribly difficult to switch to Local and hide text items in the score, but some way to automate text cues would certainly be helpful. Or perhaps a Paragraph Style setting to allow a certain style to only show in part layouts or only show in score layouts could work. Setting a shortcut to input text that would only show in part layouts would allow the user to skip the switch to local and hide step.

  3. “Tie ends” for repeat endings. In Finale, it’s one click to assign a tie end to a note at the beginning of a repeat ending. Dragging LV ties around is time consuming and feels kludgy, especially if there are a lot of them to do. Even if playback of these ties isn’t implemented at this time, having the visual tie for the performer positioned correctly and quickly would be a time saver.

  4. Alternate chord changes. The parenthesis feature is great for alternate chord changes, but 2 sets of changes still cannot occupy the same beat. As soon as I use a different beat for the alternate change, it affects the spacing so this is obviously less than ideal. If 2 changes still can’t occupy the same beat, at least a way to specify that a chord symbol should not be considered by the spacing algorithm would be useful. Perhaps ideally this could work like multiple sets of lyrics and the user can just arrow up or down to another row of chords.

  5. “Late” instrument changes. Having instrument changes at the bar of entrance, not at the end of the previous instrument, is the standard in jazz and Broadway fields at least, and the added key sig (if needed) is often a reminder to the player that something is different in case they were reading ahead and spaced out on the “to” indication. The Dorico/Gould way of “early” changes is just wrong in these genres. The workaround with independent key sigs is a pain.

  6. Ability to hide cautionary key sigs. I know this is beating a dead horse, but this is the standard style for modulating etudes. If a pattern is repeating through the keys then there’s no need for cautionary key sigs or accidentals, and I often use this style when notating exercises for students. See Hanon (Schirmer edition) pages 50-61, 65-68, 87-94, and 98-105 for examples of this, but there are countless other examples in other etude books. Perhaps this could even be included as a Notation Option so it could be flow-specific, but a Properties checkbox would be fine too.

  7. Signpost for incomplete bars. It’s very easy to change a time signature and end up with a bar with the incorrect number of beats. As a proofreading tool, a way to show a signpost highlighting any bars that contain a different number of beats than what the time signature indicates would be very useful.

  8. Ignore for vertical spacing. Having multiple items at the same beat, like rehearsal marks, tempos, text, etc., often creates way more vertical space between systems than is actually required once I’ve manually positioned the items. To be able to click the rehearsal mark once I’ve manually positioned it and check an “Ignore for vertical spacing” checkbox would quickly fix many spacing issues, and would be much faster than manually moving staves around.

  9. “Smart” instrument headers. I assume this is probably quite difficult to automate, but doublers are accustomed to the header at the top listing the instrument that is being played in the first bar of the page. Something like “Reed 1 (Flute)” at the top allows the player to know what instrument is being played on that page during a rehearsal, so they don’t have to go back to the very beginning and read through the entire arrangement to find any instrument changes. Only having “Reed 1” at the top is useful for the librarian, but not the performer. As of now I have to do all of these with page overrides.

  10. Cut time. A Notation Option to beam/group 2/2 exactly the same as 4/4. I personally don’t beam cut time any differently and it’s annoying to always have to fix the first bar manually and then hide a 4/4.

  11. Notation Options / Force Duration. There are quite a few areas where Notation Options are insufficient and Force Duration must be used. This link isn’t comprehensive, but I quickly documented quite a few of my personal pet peeves in this thread. I’m sure others have additional situations they would like addressed too.

  12. Chord symbol suffix alteration baseline. When using 76% to invoke the larger, more legible suffix alteration glyphs, the accidental is poorly aligned with the number in literally every font other than Academico. (Test it with Times, Minion, Helvetica, etc. to see what I mean.) Unfortunately there isn’t a way to globally modify and position a suffix, so it must repeatedly be edited for every single root. In my own default file I don’t have any double sharp or double flat roots, but I’ve edited each of my chord suffixes for 21 roots. This is a major PITA and I now have hundreds of chord overrides. Either a way to specify a suffix alteration baseline, or a way to make a global change to a suffix that will be reflected in all roots really is required here. A global level of custom editing could affect suffixes for all roots, and then a more specific level could be used for editing suffixes for specific roots. (Additionally, there is a known bug where modifications to single suffixes get wiped out when you make a modification to a double suffix too, which would be great to see fixed.)

  13. Custom chord symbol library. It’s simply not reasonable to expect Dorico to account for every possible chord symbol nomenclature system from every different composer. Certainly modern jazz composers, non-Western composers, etc., will have lots of different requirements, some original to the composer. Repurposing an existing chord that’s not being used in the project is a very kludgy workaround. Some sort of mechanism to manually add a unique or uncommon chord symbol is needed.

  14. Shift-select chord symbols. It would be very useful to be able to Shift-select chord symbols in the same way you can notes. Select the first, hold down Shift, then select the last to get all the chords in that region. Or select the first, Ctrl-select the last, and Ctrl-Shift-A to get everything in between. The double command shortcuts to filter chords are certainly helpful (I use Ctrl-F, Q) but it would be nice if this could just work in the same way it does for notes.

  15. Part-specific Tempo line breaks. Long tempo indications can wreak havoc in the parts as there may be only certain positions in the system that can accommodate the full text. The ability to select a longer Tempo indication and independently split it into two (or more) lines of text for a specific part would solve this issue.

  16. Mixer default state. I generally do all my Dorico mixing, reverb, etc in VEPro. As I don’t really use Dorico’s mixer, I’d really like the default state to be all levels at 0 and no plug-ins added, so I don’t have to go in and fix this in every project. It would be great to have a Preferences or Playback Option setting for this.

  17. Bar repeats - score vs. parts. Often repeated figures are fully written out in a score, but bar repeats used in the parts. This way the conductor can always tell what the figure is even if the initial statement was on a prior page, and the performer’s part is still optimal for reading. It would be great if there was some sort of local mechanism to control whether the bar repeats or the actual music should be shown.

  18. MIDI-off. It would be very useful if Dorico could keep track of MIDI-off events when inputting. This way the user could roll a chord by either physically depressing the keys or using the sustain pedal to input awkward chords or chords that extend beyond a reachable range. This would be very useful for example when the input caret is extended through a trombone section or for doing score reductions. For pitch-first users, if a note isn’t being held it would be great if entering a duration with no note being played could advance the cursor by the value entered rather than entering the previously played note or chord. @DanKreider mentions this here.

  19. Create Blank region. I almost effectively have this now. I edited my Small Slash Notehead Set to just be a non-breaking space as I don’t really need small slashes. If I need a Blank region with all notes and rests hidden, I just apply a Slash region and then click the small slashes property, which effectively hides all notes and rests, but they still play back correctly. This works pretty well, except the horizontal spacing now reflects the slash region instead of the underlying music. If I’m creating a worksheet for a student to fill in or to transcribe a dictation, it would be great to be able to apply a Blank region to hide the notes and rests, but still correctly maintain the horizontal spacing of the underlying music. A checkbox to not maintain the underlying spacing would probably be useful too if something like a Blank region is implemented.

  20. Right panel states. It would be great if Dorico could remember last used right panel states, especially for Playing Techniques. Also, it doesn’t make any sense to have Slash, Bar Repeat, and Numbered Bar Regions buried in drop-downs when they are the only things in there. The drop-downs could either always be open as they only contain one item, or simply done away with altogether as they are currently unnecessary. (Perhaps other items are planned to be included in the drop-downs in the future.)


If only most feature requests were this well thought-through!


If you improvise the way you stream of consciously lay out your wishlist, you no doubt have very thoughtful and clear music. :smiley:


These are all absolutely awesome and completely necessary additions to an otherwise fantastic piece of software!

All the best,


Hello dear colleagues,

I can only completely agree with @FredGUnn. No doubt the requested improvements are needed. :slight_smile:

I would like to add just another few things that are of high importance:

  1. Fermatas and Breath Marks adjustable playback - Having this function in the Properties panel will make our job easier. Currently if we need to recreate the playback of these symbols, we should manually edit the Tempo curve which isn’t the most correct practice.

  2. Ornamentation Playback - This is by far one of the most awaited improvements in Dorico. Most of them should be added to the Playback Techniques list.

  3. Aleatoric Boxes, aleatoric lines and other symbols - Currently we are missing mainly the boxes. The lines are present in Dorico, but they don’t have a playback. Would be great if we could get proper aleatoric playback only by using the proper notation, without tricking the app.

  4. Left and Right locators and option to loop the playback between the locators (with option to change notes during playback, real-time recording, etc…), and of course an option to export Mixdown, or Tracks between locators.

  • This is not only important for those who would like to practice their instrument part alongside with the part of the score, but also if we would like to present only part of the composition to third parties.
  1. Logic Pro-like Smart Tempo Detection:
    Scoring to Video requests - #5 by Thurisaz
  • Cubase Pro has a tempo extraction from MIDI, too, but I find the one in Logic a bit more advanced which is very important for those who score for media.
  • On the other side such function will Humanize the tempo and grid related playback even for non-media music. Which is very important.
  • The Smart tempo should be applicable even on already existing scores without destroying them.
  1. Staff/Track Versions, similar to the way how they work in Cubase.
  1. Bezier Curves for automations and tempo track. Just like in Cubase.
  • The Bezier Curves are one of the most important improvements in the DAW World nowadays.
    They allow us to have much smoother and natural playback. Unfortunately still they are not part of Dorico.
  1. VST Connect for Dorico (multiple user mode + video call).
  • Would be great if Dorico Pro could work as VST Connect Pro/Performer host (Dorico Elements as VST Connect SE/Performer) and Dorico SE as VST Performer.
  • This will allow the users of Dorico to cooperate over internet while working on a same project.
  • Such function may allow someone on vacation, with laptop, to connect his/her workstation at home/studio and do some work (Of course if the host computer is Online). Here solutions like TeamViewer, Remote Desktop… would not do the best job when it comes to streaming audio and clouding files in case of interrupted connection.
  1. Tuplet Grid (triplet, sextuplet…).
  • Currently Dorico offers only regular and dotted grids, but there is no tuplet grids.
  • The tuplet grids would allow us to create and edit properly tuplets in the Key Editor which is important for the playback.
  1. Sending of Tempo Data to VST Plugins.
  • Dorico still doesn’t support sending of tempo data to VST.
  • This is required by most of the libraries in order to produce more natural playback.

Best wishes,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:


I’m not entirely sure what all this encompasses, (PC user on Pro Tools, don’t have Logic) but it would be really cool to somehow easily map tempo changes in Dorico to an existing performance.

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Hi @FredGUnn,
Well, I’m a Cubase user on PC. Cubase has something similar to the “Smart Tempo”, that detects tempo from MIDI and Audio which is a very powerful tool. After checking few videos on YouTube, I found that the way how this was integrated in Logic makes it far more powerful and intuitive, than the one in Cubase. :slight_smile:
In Dorico such function will easily turn us from composers, orchestrators and arrangers to “conductors” as well.

Bes wishes,

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  1. Instrument Designer. Obviously an Instrument Designer is a much requested and much needed feature. I’ve become comfortable enough with hacking my instruments.xml, instrumentFamiliesDefinitions.xml, and instrumentnames_en.xml files that this isn’t a super high priority for me personally anymore, but obviously this would be a very valuable addition.

  2. Billing/time monitoring. Of course there are plenty of other time monitoring apps, but if there was a way to automatically record the time spent on a specific Dorico session or file to a specific client, that would make hourly billing much easier and more accurate. A way to automatically calculate page counts (would need a half-page, or other pro-rating option too) would be a time saver as well.


In addition to this request I would include also:

  • “Instrument Ordering Conventions Designer” that allows us to create customized Ordering Conventions.
  • Option to share the “Ordering Conventions” and the “Custom Instruments” with the other Dorico users via the Hub + info section and rating function (which will inform us how accurately is the convention, or the instrument designed). Lately the team could make the most accurate ones native for Dorico.

Re 22 Billing, there was a thread on this already recently. I don’t want to see Dorico become an omnibus for things that are better done externally. Clockify is a superb tool for this job, and does what it does do very well.

The problem with billing is that you can end up billing clients for your lunch break if you forget to close the program. Yes, the same goes for Clockify too.

The UNIX philosophy is that a program, big or small, should do one thing and do one thing well. I’d prefer to see Dorico do notation and playback and do it well (which it is doing) and not add extraneous business features.


I see this will become a long thread.

But can I plus one playback of ornaments including the baroque ones? And while on that, please add an option for playback of ‘tr’ to start on the note above the principal note, as was practice at certain times around baroque era.


Glissando playback for strings at least, please Mr Dorico!

I am aware this is a hard problem.


#1 feature request is for a video export feature or mode (scrolling score). Basically, either something like the Print tab, but let it scroll fluidly with playback and be exportable as a high-res movie. Or else (and preferably) a way to export Galley view with a scrolling playhead. (Yes I know there are a few limitations with Galley view so I’m really asking for a hybrid between Write>Galley and Print, and make it exportable as a movie. You have no idea how many YouTube videos I would create once this feature is in place.


I was sort of hoping for something really simple and basic. Finale, for example, has some very basic stats in File Info like measures, “active frames,” etc., although I can’t say I’ve really ever used any of those as I’ve never billed by frame before. I’ve handed off most of my straight up copying work at this point except for a few high profile clients, but I somehow still end up doing a bunch of cleanup work either natively or via XML. A way to reset a clock and have it record time that the program is in the foreground with a certain file open would certainly be useful for me anyway. I suppose page counts are probably too complicated for Dorico to be much help with, at least with the complicated Local 802 rules.

@FredGUnn see:

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Many of these things are small improvements on existing features, albeit them being very well put.

The thing that totally is missing in Dorico now though is a solution for contemporary music practices, which leads to a lot of composers not using it (yet), or only for part of their projects.
This is a blind spot for Dorico currently, and I think this should be fixed with higher priority just to provide a broad and complete Notation Software.

Things would be:

  • Cut out scores (this is the most important one!)
  • Aleatoric boxes (as mentioned)
  • crossbeaming between multiple instruments of the same player
  • conductor symbols (similar to rehearsal marks)
  • more vertical notespacing flexibility (as @FredGUnn mentioned), also around playing techniques
  • custom Notestems
  • easier copying frames in engrave mode
  • Better page template management. I have talked about having a page template “list” already before. We require to make several pages of pre-text before the music starts, for dozens of parts.
  • real “headless noteheads”
  • real polytempo support
  • real irrational meter support
  • fixes in condensing. In my current project, I don’t know on which page I could even use condensing, as there are always some lines, glisses or trills which currently are buggy.
  • EDIT: of course easily changing the amount of staff lines for an instrument should be added.

Honestly, I would be totally ok with Dorico creating leading conventions and aesthetics in this area. Contemporary music has tons of varieties on notating the same principles (aleatoric boxes for example), but what’s needed the most is just a clear way of communicating the intention with the musicians. If Dorico can provide that, I wouldn’t mind about the details of the styles, and I am sure many practicing colleagues wouldn’t either.
Although contemporary composers want to be precise in notation, a lot of them aren’t dogmatic, in contrary to folks from historical music performances.


Totally agree.


I’ll be very curious to see if and how the team goes about addressing and implementing this one. With a few tricks like 0-line staves, the “blank notation” slash workaround I mentioned above, etc, you can get partly there now.

As far as I know there aren’t really easy workarounds to address the bracketing, staff label, clef placement, barlines, and other issues though. Something like this Penderecki seems not really achievable currently.


The possibility to use Divisimate in real time, the same audio quality of dorico 3,5,the possibility to use a piano réduction to send every individual note to the different instruments.
for exemple a C Maj chorus. Right click to décide the c will go to the CB, VC, Basson-the e will go to the Vl1, ALti, clarinette-The g will go to the Vl2, the clarinette 2 etc …
This is the same logic of divisimate but with the piano réduction view …



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  1. Glissando playback please! The lack of it is one of the only two reasons I still use Sibelius for some projects as the players like to have a demo sound file.
  2. The other reason is use of Fermata/Caesura control in playback. I know it’s possible to do some working around on fermatas, but a proper implementation would make a huge difference. Then I could stop using Sibelius altogether.