Dorico Intermediate ??


I have just bought Dorico Elements 3 , having been forced to migrate from Sibelius 7.5. owing to the fact that Windows 10 does not support 7.5 any more, and the options available did not suit, and then I found Dorico. It looks a good program, albeit a rather complex introduction to the different ways in which it works, and the options seem to be good.

Having said that, and accepting that I have only just begun to look through the format, intros to many options ( just a passing point - why are most of the videos shown referring to Dorico Pro, with far fewer ones referring to Dorico Elements ?), I found one or two points which I thought might need clarification - hence this rather long-winded introduction - sorry !

The first thing I noticed was that Elements is limited to 12 staves - good to start off with, but after developing ideas, this seems rather limiting. The number of staves needed for a relatively small orchestra would straight away be more than this, and the options to combine parts into a smaller number of staves (SATB 4 staves into SA and TB 2 staves) is not available in Elements, and the opposite option (SA and TB 2 staves, split into S A T and B) is also not available.

Have you considered the possibility of an Intermediate version of Dorico, of say 24 staves, and includes some of the options (like the ones I have mentioned) , so that it would be possible to start with Elements, upgrade to Intermediate, then upgrade again (for those who need even more facilities and options) to Pro ? These upgrades would cost a bit more than going straight to Pro, but would make it possible to gradually expand the music developed .

Just a thought - I would like to use Dorico, but the limits at the early stages without any possibility of extension (unless one were to buy Pro, an expensive option from Elements) makes the decision to continue a difficult one to make.


Bill, I’m afraid there’s little we can do to comfort you. The fact that the videos almost exclusively refer to the pro (ie “full”) version of the software is hardly surprising. This is how pretty much every company markets their software (although there is a new series of videos relating to dorico SE that was posted a few weeks ago when 3.1 was released; anything you see in those videos you CAN do in elements).

As for the restrictions of the software, if you’re going to be writing for full orchestra I don’t think it unreasonable that you would have to buy the pro version. Elements allows you to accomplish a fair amount, including many popular genres of classical music and even small scale arranging. But the fact of the matter may simply be that your demands simply outstrip what elements is designed to do. They certainly had to draw the line in the sand somewhere, and 24 does seem to be quite a high number in truth. But what it ultimately boils down to is that ‘elements’ is, in Dorico’s mind, what you referred to as ‘intermediate’.

Parsing out the limitations of three different iterations of Dorico is confusing enough. I can’t see Steinberg adding a 4th.

Bill, it sounds like you need Pro.

Sorry Romanos, I usually agree with you on pretty much everything but personally I think Bill’s point about the videos is a good one. That said, I’m in complete agreement with Dan - it sounds like Pro is the answer.

Having seen Dorico from v1 through numerous updates through to 3.1, I suspect that the gap between Elements and Pro is not going to narrow over time but grow wider.

Bill, one option that is open to you is to buy Dorico Pro at the crossgrade price, which makes it more affordable.

That seems surprising, considering Windows 10 still supports my copy of Sibelius 4. It might be worth asking on the Sibelius forum before you give up on it.

As for an “intermediate version,” Finale dug themselves into a hole with a range of products (Allegro, PrintMusic, etc) aimed at different levels, which over time diverged from each other and became a minefield of incompatibilities and inconsistent update cycles. Steinberg’s “one application with different licencing options” might avoid that, but Elements and SE already have different UI options for a few features that are in Engrave mode in Pro but need to be available somehow in the other versions. IMO it’s a slippery slope!

A more radical idea would be some type of subscription pricing, where the software logs the size of scores you create and/or the amount of time you use it, and bills you accordingly.

I’m not suggesting it would be a good idea though.

Oh, God, Rob, you just used the S-word!!! Shudder.

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David, no worries. I don’t mean to discredit the OP; I’m just not that surprised. I imagine in the fullness of time, videos may be released under playlists particular to each respective version, but I’m not surprised that they’ve only done pro up until now. I certainly don’t think that would be a bad thing! The videos have helped me immeasurably; so the more who can benefit from similar resources, the better in my book. That said, I’ve made these types of videos before and they require a LOT of work. Throw in Anthony’s unusually high degree of polish and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if one or two of the releases have been delayed a day or two in the past just so he could wrap up an edit. I’m not sure if the videos are his full-time gig for Steinberg, but they could certainly become so very quickly if they decide to do multiple video series. Perhaps fellow doricians need to fill in the gap in the meantime.

Dear Bill19,

I understand your concern, and think that Daniel has come with the best advice here. I wanted to chime in to bring you an answer about the videos…
Dorico is a software built by a very talented team, but limited number, thus time-limited. In the early years of Dorico, (2016-2018) there was only Doric (Pro) and we users did not have a manual. The only documentation available was Version history, the great videos and this forum. I think that is the main reason why you cannot find Essentials videos…

The S-word is horrifying from a non-professional point of view. Perish the thought.

It’s one thing for a non-professional to make what is for them a huge one-time investment, biting the bullet and then being free as you CAN afford it to keep up with upgrades. If your budget forces you, you have the option of waiting for an upgrade sale.

It’s another thing to build a monthly charge into your budget in perpetuity.

For a professional the cost of ownership is a necessary overhead, part of the cost of doing business. A monthly perpetual charge becomes much less formidable.

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For professional freelancers, work can be irregular and payment even more so, with feasts and famines. Having to pay overheads when you’re not getting (paid for) any work can be a huge burden. And of course you’ve got DropBox, iCloud, Office 365, Creative Cloud, and God knows who else all wanting their cut before you’ve even turned on the computer and done any work.

I certainly try to avoid or minimize the regular payments I have to make, and I would struggle if I had to rely on subscription software.

Hi Daniel, Thank you for your reply - the idea of a crossgrade is not something I was aware of - as I am no longer a student (which I was when I bought Sibelius), how does the system work ?

What a useful forum ! I have not used one before, as I expect everyone else is quite aware of.

Bill, the crossgrade doesn’t require you to be a present student. You merely have to demonstrate proof of ownership for Finale or Sibelius (by showing your serial number), and you get a 50% discount on Pro.

And to clarify, you don’t give up your F or S license. Just prove you have it.

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It’s not too onerous: you add the Dorico Pro 3 crossgrade to your shopping basket (you can click this link to do so), then you proceed to checkout. At that point you’ll be prompted to provide proof of eligibility for the crossgrade: something as simple as a screenshot of the About Sibelius 7.5 dialog (in the Help menu on Windows, in the Sibelius menu on Mac) showing your serial number and/or System ID/Activation ID will do. Our staff will verify your eligibility and then you’ll receive an email from us with a link to “Continue Shopping”: click that link and you’ll then be asked to provide your payment details and complete the purchase.

Since you might also have bought Dorico Pro in the first place had you known this was an option, if you decide to go ahead and buy the crossgrade, once you’ve bought Dorico Pro 3, if you email me with your original receipt for your Dorico Elements purchase at d dot spreadbury at steinberg dot de, I’ll see if I can arrange a refund for that purchase, since you won’t need it any longer.

Thanks to both dankreider and Daniel - plenty to work on.

A more radical idea would be some type of subscription pricing, where the software logs the size of scores you create and/or the amount of time you use >it, and bills you accordingly.

I didn’t think it was possible to make the idea of subscription software even worse, but combining it with spyware and adding realtime financial pressure to the process of making music would be the way.