Dorico in the wild

On the weekends I usually go out for a hike or into nature, with my camera bag, and a music notebook in a nod to Beethoven who always carried one on his walks. Despite having it with me for years it’s still completely blank. So anyhow this morning I thought to take Dorico iPad on a walk.

Foggy on the California coast this morning …

Anyhow, I didn’t feel like composing (e.g. doing any real work) so hiked around, but ended up at a good place to sit, and for the heck of it pulled out the iPad again. Seemed like the idea of working anywhere was a bust, but for the heck of it I brought up a piece I’m working on (copied it via OneDrive earlier as no cellular) and hit play. Well something happened here, getting to listen to it (I really respond to having the computer play for me, gives me perspective on what I’m doing as a listener) started getting the juices going. Pretty quickly I found a wrong note that’s been bugging me, made some fixes, then started feeling really inspired.

I ended up getting worked up over it, walking around, finding a new spot and trying out some new ideas at the spot I was previously stuck at. It was one of the most enjoyable composition sessions ever. Really was wonderful to be out of the office in nature and was completely refreshing. On the drive home I was singing and coming up with more ideas.

So I’d call it a success, and definitely now an addition to my workflow. Easiest way to compose away from the piano/desk, which is a real kick in the pants. I’m not sure how it would be for doing real work (e.g. inputting a lot of notes), but for inspiration and getting unstuck it works great.

The only thing I’d need for it to finalize the deal is in-place editing which I’m sure the team is working on. Ideally it would be via any online platform (iCloud, OneDrive, Synology Drive …) but knowing Apple maybe only iCloud is viable. Which would probably be OK as there’s a Windows client for that too.


Can’t love this post enough!!

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So encouraged by that I upgraded my ancient iPad Pro to a M1 12” - what a difference! Almost forget I’m on the iPad, and paired with a Bluetooth keyboard and KORG MicroKEY Air keyboard now I am working anywhere. I’ve been working at my kitchen table, backyard, library, really nice to get in a different place to work.

The iPad version came just in time during these Pandemic days. These days I’m working at a computer so much I get awfully tired, not so much of doing creative work but just being at the same desk. This iPad has really made the difference there already.

I wasn’t sure about this iPad and thought I’d return it if it didn’t pan out but with Dorico it’s 100% usable. If you’re on a smaller or older iPad I highly recommend trying a larger one - it’s night and day with Dorico.

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I have one of the regular sized early generation “pro” models (4-5 years old now) and have been toying with the idea of upgrading for the larger screen. I am a firm believer in “bigger is better“ when it comes to the vast majority of screens.

I was really sad because I recently stumbled across an amazing 3:2 monitor made by Huawei but I can’t purchase it in the United States. It was 32 inches, I believe, but what I liked in particular was the aspect ratio. Had I been able to get it it would’ve become my third monitor at work.

Yes the old 3:2 (I think there was a 4:5 too) days were great. If you liked that I’d suggest looking at the 1:1 Eizo EV2730Q, 26.5" 1920x1920 square monitor. I have four of them total, my main has three side-by-side in a wall, and another on a studio computer. For creative work they can’t be beat. Landscape monitors became popular when computers started to be used for watching movies, but aren’t the best for creative work.

On the iPad I’ve been a fan since it first came out, but because of gimped features and lack of powerful apps for creative work became disillusioned. Dorico changed that, and I’m really surprised at how effective the larger iPad is. Being an iPad you can’t tell it’s that much more powerful, other than apps don’t keep getting dumped from memory and it is smoother, but the huge screen is amazing. Makes all the difference with Dorico.

*Pinch zoom is perfect and seamless

  • Extra real estate is most useful for the piano roll section, but overall feels more comfortable and relaxed
  • The sound is really good, listening to some music last night was quite pleasant
  • It’s so much like the desktop experience now that when it’s not it kind of jars you. Like the popovers still not showing completions (surprised that didn’t get fixed in 1.1?)
  • Best of both worlds, having a portable notebook for writing, and a computer
  • Best part of this its really like giving you a cheap second Dorico Pro license


  • It is large! More like carrying a notebook. Flip covers are a bit clunkier.
  • Dorico will really benefit from inertial scrolling on the score
  • In landscape, popping out the right hand region drops the bottom region piano scroll from the view, necessitating that I keep bringing it back. Not a big deal bit would prefer just keeping it up, seems like there’s enough screen space.
  • We really need some good AU’s. An iPad like this can handle a lot and has a lot of space, it’s being vastly underutilized with current AU technology. Perhaps if Steinberg could offer HALion as an optional install on the subscription.

Now that I’m working with Dorico iPad more some things

  • The move selected notes up/down an octave doesn’t seem to work (keyboard shortcuts)
  • Note selection is counterintuitive and clumsy. It constantly picks too many notes, and I have to keep fussing to get it to select what I want. Seems like it’s trying to be too smart. This needs more work.

By the way I upgraded from the same early generation pro iPad you have.

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With my finger size I generally use the pencil to choose notes. Playing “chords” on the keyboard is still a challenge even with the key size expanded. As far as AU’s go, strings with pizz. would be a real plus.

And these iPad’s cost a ridiculous amount of money. I’ve mostly given up on Apple and never would have done it except for Dorico, blame it on that :slight_smile: I got the 512GB/8GB M1 which I think is sufficient. The 1TB/16 GB is surely pointless, Apple likes to put out overspecced options which is just giving them money for no reason. Some people think it’s future proofing, but I doubt Apple will ever make iOS any more fundamentally capable then it is right now. And for compatibility app developers are unlikely to utilize the greater abilities either, especially given the expected norms of app store pricing.

Also I should mention for watching technical or education videos on the larger screen is really good now. The smaller one is only good for entertainment, but if you need to see details (e.g. I’m working on some rigging and animation) the larger screen allows you to see the details of what’s going on.

Yeah having the 8GB of RAM really makes it better now that the apps aren’t constantly swapping out.

Just did some experiments. The zoom is so fast that it’s easier to just do that. The selection seems to go

  • Single tap a note
  • Double tap to extend selection
  • Double tap fast to edit
  • Sometimes double tap fast will both edit, and extend selection
  • Sometimes double tap medium fast will either select another note in the cord, or the whole bar extended selection
  • Sometimes tapping a single note will extend to the entire bars, other times just the note
  • And so on

I see what they’re trying to do - without a mouse they’re trying to help in selection, but my experiments show it’s inconsistent so I end up fighting it more that it working with me. What makes it harder, is that if you have the selection button selected (two buttons on top bar, one for selective add to selection and the other a select box) the rules for single select still apply (e.g. you can still single double tap to grab the whole bar).

I don’t know … curious to hear from other people, I see how it can be powerful and maybe I haven’t gotten into the swing of it yet, but so far I’m struggling with it.

Is an Ipad Pro with Magic keyboard more expensive than a Windows touchscreen laptop that flips about or tears in half?

I appreciate that a desktop OS can do much more — indeed, for £1600 or so, I’d rather get a Mac Book, and forsake the touchscreen. (Typing this on an iPad….)

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The top spec is $1600 or something. And if you want the keyboard stand that’s another $300, add a pencil to that and you’re over $2k. A joke. I’m just on a project where I’m lead art and audio, so anything that allows me to utilize my time better is worth it. In this case with the iPad I’m able to get to some composition in the odd moments.

The other thing is futzing around. Any laptop, such as that Windows one you mention, eats power, is prone to having issues, basically there’s always something needing messing around with, whereas the iPad is more like a pencil and paper in that it just works.

The M1 Mac laptops are probably an exception, with better battery life than you typically see. I seriously considered just getting one of those, but what decided me on the iPad is they have more flexible handling (e.g. you can put it on a music stand) and the touch interface. Like I say if the team hadn’t pulled a rabbit out with Dorico iPad it wouldn’t even remotely be considered an option.

I’d like to equally be doing art on the iPad, perhaps sculpting, but there’s not a lot of options there.

You say it’s’a joke’, and then you go on to justify why it’s beneficial to you and better than the alternatives!

It’s a lot of money, certainly, but it’s not outside the going rate. $2000 is what you’d pay for any other similar device. Technology is incredible, but it’s not without costs.

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Yup, I’m just a bundle of contradictions :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Silicon based tech is inherently deflationary, but due to its walled gardens and arguably anti-competitive monopolistic behavior Apple has managed to keep dominant pricing power with consumers and their suppliers. They’ve been an secondary innovator, for sure, (secondary meaning they’re never first to an innovation, but they come later and do it better generally), but they’ve come to a point where every decision is Apple First, not User First, which used to be the case. All they’re doing anymore is inexorably taking power away from their users, first with ever reduced hardware capabilities, for greater cost, and now the one thing that has kept me in the walled garden is gone, which is privacy with their iCloud scanning.

Like I said, I have a particular rare use case that made it worth while for me, but I think their platform has become a collective delusion of ‘it’s better’.

Not trying to get into another tired old Apple-vs argument, but you asked. For the compute power you get yes $2k is a ridiculous price for an iPad. How they make you believe it’s worth it is the window dressing - the ecosystem does work remarkably well together. But you’re not remotely getting the hardware for that price. Example - I just did a render of a sculpt on the iPad . Now I don’t know the algorithm the developer used but this took 10x what it takes on a desktop which costs 1/10 as much. The M1 is nothing special, to get that battery life they are way under clocking it. They’ve always done so - they just do software tricks to make it seem like it’s fast. But for anybody who needs real horsepower it’s a joke.



And you don’t have to buy the iPad.

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Today was a state park. Nice, hot 90F day but there was some fitful breeze so it felt pretty good. Sky was hazy due to some awful fires up near Tahoe and the Oregon border, but today wasn’t too bad and nobody was out because of it.

Instead of lugging the MIDI keyboard around I went al denté and used just the keyboard, which is surprisingly good! I almost like it better because you stay on just one device, for a lot of music I think it’s faster. Only issue was I went to select some notes to drop an octave and the app kind of froze in a weird way. Qt still responded (menus and buttons) but nothing else would and the actions didn’t do anything. The score was frozen too and wouldn’t move. I had to kill it (with great trepidation as I had done a bunch of work), and while half of it the new work was lost, it appears the team has added auto-save while unfortunately it did lose half of what I done.

Anyhow had the big iPad this time, found a picnic table off the trail to do some thinking and writing. You could only hear the little sounds of the animal and the forest, mainly birds, things scurrying around, occasional bird of prey with their chilling calls, rustling leaves and acorns dropping. Very peaceful and a great way to work.


Should that be “al fresco”?

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I have listened to the remarkable playback StaffPad offers with reworked (and optional, at extra cost) sample libraries from the likes of Cinesamples and Orchestral Tools, which Steinberg hired to produce its Iconica sample libraries. Hopefully Steinberg will consider similarly “reworking” its own Iconica library(ies) to work similar magic with Dorico for iPad.

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I saw your post the other day, and I feel that this thread needs more examples! For me, Dorico for iPad is allowing me to enjoy some work time in the wild as well, which is something I’m enjoying quite a lot. I was able to do a gig from start to finish. I’ve started the job in an international bus trip, and finished it the day after in my hometown at the park. The iPad is the only device I can use comfortably on the bus. I’m even considering purchasing some camping equipment like a portable foldable table and chair to enjoy the day at the park while composing!

Anyway, here’s my contribution of Dorico at the park!

By the way, I’m writing this from the cafe next to my house. Now let’s get back to Dorico!


Excellent! I was hoping more people would share bits of their world.

For equipment I find the CME Air 25 key to be the best MIDI keyboard pairing. Being low power Bluetooth you have to go through Garage Band or the Korg app to pair it up and reconnect. I use the Korg app and it’s super easy and is otherwise seamless. It has good sized keys, good sensitivity and while there’s little depth, that’s the flip side of why this is the best match, which is it’s the only one I’ve found that slips into a backpack easily. The Korg microKey Air is rather big, as is the Komplete 25 (which also is wired). The latter two are better if you want mod wheel support (not important to a notation composer).

For keyboards I use the older Apple short Bluetooth keyboard which works flawlessly. I didn’t want the $350 keyboard cover because of price and the trackpad takes up a lot of room. I’ve found the keyboard and MIDI keyboard need to be close together with the iPad to be comfortable.

Otherwise the EarPods work great, most of the time I don’t want to be making noises when out and with these I’m still hearing the environment and almost forget their there.

That’s pretty much it. Otherwise I carry extra power supplies, the Pencil and other gear for doing art. Between Dorico, Procreate, Forger and Scrivener I can do a lot of development (art, music and writing/design for game development)

Not sure if this counts as “wild”. Certainly feels that way - closest i can get at the moment…


Excellent! Kids park? Definitely wild :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

I’m curious to see where people manage to actually be productive away from their desks - gave up thinking this kind of thing would really work.