Dorico and Transcription/Smart Midi

Hi Everyone

I’m currently working on transcribing, by ear, a range of piano improvisations (midi-files), they contain tricky syncopated rhythmic lines and are played freely so the tempo does subtly vary.

My question is how would Dorico 4 improve on my workflow and what steps would I take to quantise/ use settings to bring up fairly accurate notation. I’ve seen how accurately relatively simple files can be imported but I need to know what steps I need to take for more complicated files.

If this could be a time-saver it would be brilliant.

Many thanks

Keep well.


In Extreme Australian Orchestration on his Debreved orchestration site, Tim Davies recommends using a DAW to quantize MIDI files before importing into a notation program. The Cubase “warp” feature might help here (although I am no expert in Cubase).

Yes, you really need to ensure that the timing grid is aligned with the MIDI file using Time warp in Cubase (or similar tool). Depending on how much the tempo varies you might need to align the first beat of every bar or every 2 bars.
You can then re-export the MIDI file so that Dorico can produce notation that more clearly represents the intention.

Thank you Paul…much appreciated.


Thanks Derek

That makes sense to me. You wouldn’t happen to know if there is something similar for ‘ ‘ ‘Logic ‘ as I use macs.

I’ll check out the Tim Davies site.

All the best


I export from Logic to Dorico constantly and my workflow has changed over the years. I used to meticulously edit the data in Logic to align it better in the Piano Roll. However, after years of doing this I realized that unless you choose the secondary menu “Functions” and then “Apply Quantization Permanently” and (I believe it is): “Apply All Settings Destructively” (don’t have it open right now) - what you are actually exporting is the raw, unaltered MIDI data from whatever you originally played in (!) (even if you subsequently quantized)…Furthermore: I’ve discovered that other than basically choosing in advance what notes I want to be played by the RH and which by the LH and assigning them to separate regions and then re-combining them later in Dorico, I no longer worry find myself needing to worry about lining things up timing-wise in advance in Logic; I simply export “Raw” to Dorico and then quantize as needed, etc. on the Dorico import end (which I find is a much shorter process, especially since you can assign a key command to “quantize” and then quantize different, selected groups of notes differently - 16th, 8th, with or without triplets, etc). You should also be aware that there’s currently apparently a Dorico bug I believe Daniel has acknowledged in which MIDI that might automatically intelligently assign voices doesn’t seem to be working reliably; and if you try to re-assign a piano voice in a given piano staff to a different voice it may disappear entirely. My workaround for the auto-voice assignment part has been to import the MIDI file initially into Dorico, then export it from Dorico as MIDI and then re-import it again. I haven’t yet found a workaround for the re-voice assignment issue other than to manually redo select voices, but by re-importing the MIDI in this manner the voice assignments are quite impressively intelligent right “out of the box”.

Hope this helps -

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In Logic, I would use Adaptive Tempo to see if the machine can follow the subtle tempo changes. I find it usually does a good work. Then, the MIDI file including tempo changes can be exported to Dorico.


Many thanks Paolo

I’ll give it a try.

Much appreciated


Hi D.D

I 'm really grateful to you for putting all this information together; it’s incredibly helpful. I’ll put it your suggestions into practise over the next few days. if I can get this all together and avoid having to put in hours of transcription it’ll be a lifesaver!

Many thanks


I should add (in re-reading your initial entry) one caveat: if you recorded your data originally completely NOT to a tempo, then you should probably create a tempo map in Logic denoting where all the quarter note beats are, using Beat Mapping before exporting the MIDI. For something truly rubato (and not detectable automatically by Logic), the easiest way I’ve found is to lay down a single MIDI piano note on a separate “TEMPO MAP” midi track for every quarter note beat of your piece. I would make sure the first note of your MIDI click track starts at the downbeat of beat 1, right at the beginning of your Logic session to avoid any glitches and it’s a continuous MIDI region from the beginning of your session to the end. Then (as you may or may already know): make sure “Beat Mapping” is visible in the upper left of your Logic Project Window. Select all your regions and control-click and temporarily choose “SMPTE LOCK ON” just to make sure they don’t move while you perform beat mapping (just to be safe). Then click on the actual word “Beat Mapping” in the upper left and choose “Beats from Region” and set the note detection value to quarter note. This should create a tempo map that matches where you laid down your midi quarter notes. You may also want to insert time signatures and key signatures before exporting (but again, no need I’ve found to otherwise do “fine tuning” of your MIDI data before export since you can do this part in Dorico). If the beat mapping to that MIDI region doesn’t work, you can also control click on the MIDI piano click region and choose “Bounce in Place” to turn it into an audio region. Then do the above beat map detecting feature again, choosing the audio region instead (which tends to be more reliable). Good luck!

  • D.D.

Hi D.D.

You’ve now given me a number of strategies to try. Thank you for so much helpful information.

I was close to sending the recordings to a professional transcriber but now I feel much more confident about giving it go myself with your excellent guidance to assist me.

Have a great week.