Dorico usable?

Hi all,

I’m a longtime professional Sibelius user (doing mostly orchestral music: filmscores, arrangements with or without rhythm section).

I’m curious on Dorico and bought it a while ago to support it. Only quickly I had a look in it then and noticed that it not yet was usable for real live projects (then: no cues notes, no chord symbols, no first/second ending etc.).

I’m thinking whether I should try again. Is any of you already using it for real live, professional projects? What are your experiences? Did you do the total switch from Sibelius (or Finale)?

Thanks for your input! Stefan

I did the total switch well over a year ago. Sibelius is still on my machine for opening old files, but I really hate working in it these days.
For orchestral music I’d like more control over brackets and braces, more support for basic graphic notation (wavy lines and the like) and I’d like the work that’s already been done on divisi to extend to the opposite - condensing (so that you can show two flutes on one stave in the score but print two separate parts for the two separate flautists). All of these things are very much in the pipeline.

Cue notes and cues are now very much here. 1st and 2nd endings work fine. Chord symbols are perfectly implemented, with the caveat that you can only have one “set” of chord symbols in a project - there’s no provision for a pianist having a fully-fledged set of chord symbols and a rhythm guitarist having a simplified subset.

Coming from Finale, Dorico 2.0 is now very much usable for my work. (I can’t speak for film scores, though.) The one thing that would make it perfect, which I believe is in the pipeline, is for parts to show tacet when the player is excluded from a flow, though there are workarounds.

Hello Stefan,

I have switched completely and deal with large orchestra on a consistent basis for both arranging and composition. I use Dorico almost daily. It is very much ready for this kind of work. An addition to what pianoleo mentioned on his wish list is that string harmonics are not natively supported, though the diamond notehead can be used.

The cues are a thing of wonder, truly. Soon I’ll start getting criticized for putting in too many cues!

Outside of favours for friends (could you write an arrangement of “x” for my student group?), all the work I do is professional work.

I still feel I have more control over Playback for scratch/demo sound files in Finale. NotePerformer has been an worhtwhile addition; but I still need better understanding of Expression Maps (for 3rd-party VST’s), and Dorico is still working to implement various expression controls that I would need to produce workable sound files efficiently.

I made the switch from Sibelius to Dorico as of version 2. It more than meets my needs. I can’t think of anything I miss from Sibelius, while I could easily list half a dozen big areas where Dorico is much, much better. (Note: I don’t really care about audio, except to audition what I’m writing, so I can’t speak to that aspect.)

The program is not yet as stable as more mature software (read recent posts on this forum for examples of the kinds of issues users have), but the bugs are disappearing fast with each maintenance update, and crashes are much rarer than they were.

An addendum, in terms of something that’s not yet been said in this thread:

At the moment Dorico doesnt automatically copy score overrides to parts - cosmetic adjustments to slurs, some dynamics etc. Enharmonic adjustments are a one-way Street: you can adjust in the score and the parts will automatically update, but if you fix in the parts the score won’t update.

Also Dorico has no way (yet) of copying layouts. For example, if you have a part for Bb Clarinet and an identical part for A Clarinet you have to make the same adjustments twice.

Both of these things can slow you down. It’s not put me off using Dorico at all, but when doing repetitive stuff in this area (and spotting inconsistencies between score and parts by proof-reading as carefully as I can) I often look at the clock and curse the fact that these things haven’t been built into Dorico yet. Even an automatic signpost that said “Score/Part difference” would have saved me tens of hours over a few months - I’d know where I needed to look to fix something.

I’m not able to use Dorico just yet for any personal work, but that time is coming very quickly. I’m very impressed with the evolution of Dorico thus far and am enjoying an extended “trial period” (I own Dorico) learning how to use the software in between my freelance engraving jobs.

One thing I’d like to point out. I do freelance engraving for a large US publisher of educational music - school concert band, jazz and orchestra. All work is done using Finale, which generally is very satisfactory. The problem, as I see it, is that publishers such as my client often have several, a dozen or more, even several dozen composers/arrangers/contributors, all using Finale. It’s going to be tough for Dorico to make any inroads into this market just yet.

I’ll leave the marketing of Dorico up to Daniel and his staff, and I of course don’t know how they are pursuing composers and arrangers who work for commercial publishers. Maybe it’s time to drop some complimentary copies of Dorico in the right places.

It’s only a matter of time, due to Dorico’s project organisation and workflow advantages.

I’ve supported (bought) Dorico from the start, but am staying with Sibelius for the foreseeable future.

There are a number of things I need/want from Dorico, some big, some small, including (but not limited to): Dorico can’t play back swing feel, doesn’t play repeats, and lacks Sibelius’ “manual repeats” feature. It lacks DS/DC/Segno system text (coda signs and segnos can be added, but they require external glyphs, and those don’t play back). It lacks jazz articulations for horns. Measure repeats don’t play back. There’s no metronome. It supports only full-page graphics export, not selections. You can’t (yet) hide ledger lines. Bar numbers collide with clefs at the start of a system. It lacks a global show/hide feature (and it doesn’t seem like that’s part of the Dorico design philosophy). You can’t hide cautionary key signatures (need to use separate Flows).

I realize some of these have work-arounds, and obviously some users do fine without them. For some, the Dorico workflow and/or improvements in engraving justify the switch. But for me the reasons are not yet compelling enough.

My $0.002 worth.

Those points are really important to know, thanks pianoleo.

Re 1: That’s the same in Sibelius and I always wished this would improve.

Re 2: That’s a powerful feature in Sibelius. E.g in a bigband score, where many instruments (all trumpets etc.) might have more or less the same page layout in the parts. That would be great if Dorico could include this too. That’s very relevant for me and a reason to stay with Sib so far.

Thanks all!

Dear Stefan,
Things have changed since July and all the points that you stress have been (kind of) taken care of in the 2.1 update. The first point with Propagate properties function and the second one with copy layout.
Hope this helps (you to switch!)

Hey Marc, that’s excellent to hear! Thanks!