Dorico 6 must introduce revolutionary features

I want to clarify that I am not trying to criticize Dorico. As a software user for three years, I love it.

However, I have noticed that it is not widely used in mainstream recording booths for film scores. It seems studios are not interested in installing and trying out Dorico, even though it may be better than other software options.

Perhaps the Dorico team is not promoting it as much as they should be.
Do you think Dorico needs to reach more composers like Alan Silvestri? Also, why doesn’t Dorico’s YouTube channel publish English tutorials anymore?

It seems that Studios are content with paying a monthly fee for Sibelius instead of trying something new, even if it is superior.

Additionally, the cost of every Dorico update that requires payment discourages studios from trying it out. People are more likely to pay $10 per month than $100 per year.

Therefore, I hope that Dorico 6 will include numerous features that will make it worth the upgrade and encourage more people to use it.


I’m not sure if this is merely conjecture but I would imagine that there’s some degree of inertia to change from any familiar and established program that is getting the job done.

Perhaps also conjecture.


At least here in London, we work with whatever the orchestrator’s using. The studio doesn’t get involved in our(the copyists’) software choices; we’re separate contractors, just like the players and fixers.

Dorico does seem to be gaining traction with the younger generation of orchestrators, seemingly because musicians in this area seem to stick with programs and methods that have served them well for many years.

I cannot emphasise enough that the speed of change in this area is slow. There’s at least one well-known copyist team in LA, that - in Sibelius - insist on copying each instrument’s music to a separate Sibelius file, literally decades after dynamic parts became a thing.

(Yes, I was collating cues the other week where the start metronome mark on every part had been tippexed and handwritten - we weren’t going to open 22 files separately, even though the correction came through before we printed!)

FWIW I did work on a film in Dorico at Air Studios just a few weeks ago. Not likely to be a blockbuster, but a full orchestral soundtrack. Dorico 5 did an admirable job.

Most of the film work here is still Sibelius, and a little of it’s Finale. I’m firmly of the belief that the veterans that have been working with either of these programs for decades are unlikely to move, regardless of what groundbreaking features Dorico adds, simply because
a) they’re too busy to learn a new program
b) they know what works for them
c) they know that they can rely on what they’ve always relied on.

(Background: I’ve copied and/or been librarian or assistant on 26 film projects in the past year or so.)


I can agree with your assessment that Dorico hasn’t become the ‘standard’ as of right now in some parts of the industry. I can also agree that Dorico is a great tool with many amazing features.

I believe that the issue is merely a saturation of the market. Finale has been distributed in America since 1989/1990, 30+ years (please correct me if I am wrong). They have a TON of users. Some of which are 30+ years into using it. Sibelius was introduced in America around 1998, 25+ years. Sibelius did a GREAT job of reaching out to schools and educational institutions to get people into the Sibelius product line. And now Sibelius has a TON of users (arguably more than Finale). Dorico has been on the market for 7 years. They are in the process of trying to get into schools and other educational institutions to build the user base. This process takes time, and you have to have institutions willing to support BOTH packages, or all 3 packages if they have an established user base. While people that use Dorico agree that it is great, you have to get the product into more hands.

Sibelius became somewhat of a standard, not because it was instantly adopted. It took many, many years of getting students to use it, who then became professionals, who then pushed their friends and colleagues to try out Sibelius. To then have more future students use Sibelius, by default FORCING the user base to grow.

When it comes to a subscription model ($10 per month, versus $100 per month), I can tell you that I would rather pay $250 a year versus $10 a month. I have paid for software on a subscription basis, and the improvement in the program was minimal. The other issue is you are ALWAYS forced to stay in the ecosystem, something I am not a fan of. If Dorico died tomorrow, I would have software that I can use. If Sibelius died tomorrow, there could be many issues since you would need have code that would need changing to allow the software to work without subscriptions. Professionals will pay the reasonable cost for tools they need, if the tools really help them.

I say give it time. I already have many friends who have slowly moved into the Dorico world. We all sing our praises, and slowly but surely, more and more people are getting into it. More and more schools will start to use it, producing more and more students into the real world using it, therefore growing the user base. 7 years is not a long time, compared to the life of the other players. I would argue with each passing year, the user base is growing.


Edit: Leo said in about 2 sentences which took me MANY, MANY more sentences to say.

  1. professional studios will pay for professional equipment—even expensive equipment—if it’s what they need.
  2. define “every update”. The once-per-year major version upgrades that change numbers do require a fee (like every other software on the planet that isn’t freeware…) but there are multiple large “dot” updates every year that introduce banner features and are completely free.*
  3. I doubt anyone is discouraged from “trying it out”. There’s a standard trial period, for starters. Secondly, their price is right on par with their immediate competitors when it comes to buying a new license outright. Thirdly, they offer non-forfeiting cross grades just like their competitors, so you can get your hands on it for a very reduced price.

*these “dot” updates, by the way, are often so feature-laden that people publicly comment that they are surprised they don’t warrant a whole new version number.


Hi @RZDorico,
On this topic I can fully agree with @pianoleo.
It’s not about that Dorico isn’t well promoted, or it doesn’t offer something unique that the others don’t.
There are at least two key factors that you need to keep in mind:

  1. Long term developed habits
  2. Lack of time learning a new piece of software, no matter how good it is.

The situation in the DAW world is different than in the notation software area.
The DAWs are far more equal to each other. For example if you are an expert in Cubase, you could become an expert in Pro Tools just in less than a week. Such a fast transition isn’t possible in the notation apps world.

By the way “Pulse College”, Ireland and it’s branch - “Film Scoring Academy of Europe”, Bulgaria using Dorico as their official notation software, which means in few years Dorico will become the primary app in many film scoring studios around the Globe.
So, don’t worry about the future of this great app! :slight_smile:
After all “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Finale and Sibelius are on the stage for more than 30 years, while Dorico appeared just 7 years ago…

Dorico is still far weaker for composing modernist and aleatoric music than Finale and Sibelius, no matter that many things in that area are achievable through various workarounds. Once there is a native full support for those genres, Dorico will be the superior one! :slight_smile:
Actually a pivot in the development of Dorico will be the integration of MIDI 2.0.
It will open a vast area of new possibilities, especially for aleatoric, modernist music and combination between classical orchestra and contemporary electronic elements. We’ll be able not only to have score output, but to get a proper playback out of Dorico, too. :slight_smile:

Best wishes,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:

+1 to James ^^^. The cost of Dorico is just petty cash, less than the cost of lunch at a recording date. The cost factor is obviously important for individual musicians, but negligible for a studio or production budget.

That’s one of the biggest differences between now and then too. Back then you pretty much had Finale, Sib, Encore, and a handful of smaller players. Pro engravers had SCORE but no causal users adopted it. Sib’s marketing team also crushed Finale’s. Now you have MuseScore, which is not great, but perfectly competent for most musicians in the educational market. Back then you had to pick some sort of paid notation software (although probably most musicians had cracked copies). Now there’s not only established competition, but a free alternative to compete against too.

I agree that getting into the educational market is really key, but IME probably 90+% of undergrads are now on MuseScore, so that has to be a tricky market to navigate. Most students think a $10 iOS app is expensive, so getting them to shell out $359 for an educational Dorico license is mostly a non-starter. (I have gotten a few to convert, or at least try SE.)


This is one of the main reasons why we have expanded the capabilities of Dorico Elements, which can be bought if you are a student or teacher for just $67. Obviously that’s still a lot more than “free”, but the value provided by Dorico Elements is really tremendous (and will only get better when it also includes Iconica Sketch, a library that retails separately for $120).


That might suggest Dorico should tailor a First Steps/Demo project specifically for that market demographic for use during a trial period.

I just gifted a new elements license to a former choir student who just went off to study music. I figured it best to just kickstart the process and remove any musescore temptation. His scores will easily stand out among his musescore peers.


Hi @Janus,

Well, why not?! Some famous film music piece for large orchestra with all tweaks and humanization… (here the copyrights could be a problem)
By the way, the beginning of Richard Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra” is used in some films, so it could be given as an example, too.
Dorico really lacks demo projects of a serious orchestral works in renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic, aleatoric, modernist and film music… This is something easily achievable, and at the same time would be attractive for the beginners. They will be able to explore how it was created in Dorico. :slight_smile:

Best wishes,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:


I agree. Not least a demo project scoring to a video.

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Is it weird that I like that Dorico is not the industry leader? There is a certain complacency that comes along with that. I like this niche community and dedicated devs, and I don’t want randos messing up the vibe. People will wise up eventually. I’ll be here in the meantime <3


Hi @bridghammusic,
Well, we all like the community around Dorico, no doubt. :slight_smile:
I don’t think if the app becomes an industry leader this will affect the community in a negative way. After all the team behind Dorico leads their part of the forum.
“The good general will be followed by countless selfless warriors, while a bad one won’t be able to lead even a single one”. :slight_smile:

You might want to consider making the Elements chord symbol features a little more clear on the Compare Editions page. Right now there is …


… but it’s really more than that, as almost the entire Engraving Options / Chord Symbols category of settings is available under Library / Chord Symbols in Elements. Simply stating “9 presets” and no custom chords doesn’t really reflect the range of customization that actually is possible in Elements. I’m not sure if it will make a difference, but flexibility with chord symbol nomenclature is pretty important to those who use chord symbols. The comparison page sort of undersells the actual capability of Elements here IMO.

Hi everybody,
I am new here and I am from Brazil (Fortaleza). A few months ago there was no chance I can buy Dorico (dolar or euro), but now with Dorico Elements and Iconica Sketch that’s ok. I think there is some game change. I feel that more people can take it and know the functions with trial versions. Yeah, there are some areas that need to more developing, like filme scoring and audio. Dorico 6 will be fantasctic if we can manipulate wave sounds. The Staff Pad can do this. I have to use Dorico and Reaper to do all the work, and in some case just Reaper. The “Midi Orchestration” world is vast but is more close to the filme scoring, and is not just to mockup sounds. In Dorico we can use another sounds library to “write” and sound anything. Thanks for the translation for portuguese and the wonderful staff of Dorico.

Interesting discussion here. From where I sit, it’s less an issue of promotion and marketing, and more of small-but-significant technical limitations. There are conventions in film scoring (and live soundtrack performance) that are difficult, if not impossible, to do with Dorico at present. Nothing that would be Earth-shatteringly difficult to implement, but things that are potential dealbreakers for conductors and recordists working in that environment.

I’m currently working on a project for a major film studio, and what the librarian on the project is asking for is just on the edge of what Dorico is capable of doing. My biggest fear is that they’ll ask me to switch back to Sibelius, or (gasp!) Finale so they can receive what they’re used to seeing.

What’s causing you/the librarian headaches, out of interest?

I read your comment twice and still don’t now what - specifically - your are talking about:

You say that there are “conventions in film scoring” that give you a hard time, but you don’t say, what conventions you mean.
You say that there is a librarian asking you for things that are almost undoable in Dorico, but you don’t say what those requirements are.

Chances are, those things are not as tough as they seem to be or there might already be workarounds.


I have spoken with a number of “concert-music” composer colleagues about how great Dorico is. They often react with some form of: “it sounds really great, but I have so many pieces that I’ve done in Finale/Sibelius over the years that I could never abandon it, so I don’t know if I’d want to have to learn a second tool and use and upgrade both going forward.”

It might be interesting if Steinberg could partner with some engraving business(es) out there in supporting them to offer discounted pricing on (A) porting an existing score into Dorico and (B) follow-up video session(s) answering some “how would I do that…?” questions.