Dorico vs Finale

Now you’re talking!

Yes, DAWs need to be able to do what they do more musically - more elegantly - and they also need to do more to ensure that the type of art created not be limited by the design of the app.

One hundred percent agree.

I presume that you are only intending your comment to mean that people who specifically want these features are limited by DAWs. I agree - but that isn’t the vast majority of users.

They may or may not use the same programming framework. I wouldn’t know. They may share some components.
It obviously is not the same codebase. The presentation is distinctly different in many respects.

I think we are saying the same thing. It seems absurd to maintain two different products when > 85% of the feature set is the same or equivalent. I don’t know the origin story of these products. I assume one or both came through acquisitions rather than organic development, and that is the legacy that survives today.

If I were product manager, I would be looking at strategies to merge the code to the greatest degree possible. They do enjoy a much higher price for Nuendo because of its more targeted customer set, but that could be managed with a “Cubase Media producer’s edition” or something like that. Or the reverse being “Nuendo Songwriter edition” etc.

But I’m not the product manager. I’m just some guy with a keyboard. :slight_smile:

And it works even better, if you have a skilled musician wife and a lot of musician sons, helping you with transcribing the parts!

Composers should proliferate more (and not in a bouleziesque way)!


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Supposedly Cubase SX back in the days was rewritten to use Nuendo codebase

Well I do not want to take any position within the argument raised in this thread but your statements really makes me wonder!
In case I fully missunderstand what you write then pardonnez moi.

Composing is not necessary writing down any note or any symbol.
Isn’t composing … creating music?
It is absolutely not necessary to have music written in any kind of way even if you need to communicate the music.
You can play your music to other musicians or you can record your music and pass the recordings to other musicians.

A daw is exactly 7023 times flexibler than Dorico as a compositional tool :slight_smile:

In a daw you can play and record almost anything you want at any tempo you want or at any no-tempo you want.
You can add anything you want to what you already have recorded without following any tempo or any time signature of what has been previously recorded.
You can do this with midi recording as well as with audio recording.
You can then manipulate/edit/change any bit of what you have recorded.
With a daw you can produce your music in the today best possible way.

What is “straitjacket-like” or what is “not the most flexible compositional tool” in what I described?


Hi @teacue

I think @pianoleo makes helpful points (which must be seen within the context of the discussion we were having). His point being that if one wants to compose by entering notes that DAWs currently have some limitations (some of which could be removed - like his tuplet example - and other items he mentions which I presume would require more fundamental re-architecting) - these omissions prevent some forms of music from being composed either only when entering notes - or by entering music any way possible - in a DAW. I didn’t take his comments to mean that he doesn’t see DAWs helping with composing which doesn’t demand these things - only that if a user wants to do the things he mentioned that they would have to use a DAW to enter only some of the music - or none - depending on which turned out to be the easiest workflow.

But as I read what you are saying @teacue your main point seems to be how helpful you believe the features of DAWs are for composition and production - and I completely agree. So much so that I believe the future for music notation would ideally be in apps which were fully DAW capable. On that point you had me at hello!

PS I also go one step further - I believe that music notational capabilities must go to the existing or new DAW apps - that it won’t draw young people if music notation apps acquire DAW capabilities (are they suited to becoming DAWs more than DAWs are suited to become music notation apps? - I presume not). This may not seem an urgent issue - but I believe that a series of realities in the music software market will make these kinds of decisions become crucial much faster than we might have imagined five years ago - with factors such as free apps which have growing capabilities, and music education being diminished in schools, and many products occupying space in the market which aren’t being aggressively developed and yet take money from those that are.

My comments above should not be understood to mean that I would be willing for the capabilities of Dorico to be diminished as part of being placed in a DAW. I absolutely would not want that.

And this is a factor that makes DAW/notation convergence more difficult.
Most DAWs (if not all) today support meters and tempo tracks, which should correspond directly to their counterparts in notation. You don’t have to use meters in the DAW. And for that matter, you don’t have to use measures in Dorico.

In my world, I don’t have much use for totally free-form sound and have trouble even calling that “music”.


Sorry cparmerlee but in my world I have great trouble to hear or read such statements, let alone on a music forum!
But well, each its own view, that’s one of the greatness of this wondefull world.

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I completely agree with this 100%.

For what I do, I completely disagree with this. Case in point: on Thursday I had a quartet gig where I played saxophone and hired piano, bass, drums. The rhythm section was all “A list” NYC area guys. We played two completely different 75 minute sets, the music was about 2/3rds originals of mine, and the rest standards or tunes by other jazz composers. There was no rehearsal so they sightread on the gig, and these guys certainly weren’t gonna spend hours and hours of their time learning some fairly complex music off a recording LOL! Everyone played brilliantly with no reading mistakes in spite of some wine and crummy lighting. This would not have been possible without clearly notated music. No DAW-like features were needed to write any of the music, and as no audio was shared, obviously no DAW-like features were needed to perform it or prepare for the performance.

I’m fully aware that there are plenty of composers who have no need for notated music. Even in modern jazz, people like J Dilla are very influential and I doubt he used anything but a DAW to create music. There are also plenty of composers and genres where DAW features are not required at all. For my large ensemble writing, sure, I send out a mockup and require at least some DAW features, but there are plenty of instances where I don’t require any DAW features at all, just the clearest notation I can present to the musicians. For me, that’s Dorico.


That’s incredible, Fred – respect. And I hasten to add that this was the way what we now call “Classical” music was made in its day! Composers wrote it out, put it in front of players, and half of the time they were sight-reading on the gig! Bach was writing a new cantata every week.

Jazz has definitely become the classical music of the USA, in the full sense of tradition and education. (And of course it is the printed and otherwise recorded music that survives.)

But, interestingly, this is not the way the first masters learned to play. Jazz style and technique spread, uniquely, because of recording technology. Some bands used charts (Ellington) but many didn’t (Basie). Nowadays there are some players who don’t read but not so many (specifically jazz I’m talking about).

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Yes and no I guess. Some of the most famous 1930s Basie charts like One O’Clock Jump were “head charts” but he also had people writing for him during that time like Eddie Durham. Eddie also wrote for Jimmie Lunceford’s band, and Benny Carter, Sy Oliver, and Don Redman wrote for their own bands as well as plenty others. Of course there were definitely tunes that just evolved as “band arrangements” out of riffs too when you were playing 300 gigs a year!

Certainly there were/are famous jazz musicians who didn’t read like Wes Montgomery, but that’s almost unheard of now. Now most pro jazz musicians can read 11/8 upside down and backwards!

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And this makes the vast time span of existence of the so-called Gregorian “music” even more inexplicable! How could people stand it!


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Indeed. The world became a much better place after the Africans invented drums.

That’s probably more true in New York and LA than some other places. But certainly the age of the self-taught jazz musicians who can’t read music is fading. I know a few who are still making some kind of a a living playing mostly by ear, but that’s pretty unusual now There are many who read but aren’t great readers, such as you might expect from a conservatory musician. That just points to the need for us to have good notation tools and techniques available and to know our target musicians as much as is practical.
In my case, almost everything I write is for a specific set of players whose musical range and reading skills I know. I have learned what works and doesn’t work with them.

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Discussing this stuff here feels like going to the old folks home to debate WW2 stuff. I can’t be bothered. Most people have better things to do with their time, and those familiar with this forum already know how that will go - so why waste that time?


At the risk of quoting nobody… My 2¢

I own current licenses for six notation apps—all the majors except Sibelius plus a few that are definitely in the minor leagues. Thanks to cross-grade pricing, not that expensive after the first one.

Finale wants to be all things to everyone (as does Sibelius) while Dorico is more rigid in trying to keep your notation on the straight and narrow path. Both approaches are valid but neither works in all situations — nor does any other or I wouldn’t have six. I hate the workflow in most of them but each has functionality that lets me get my work done.

I hope that, if MusicXML 4 becomes widespread, that will change but almost no one went to 3.1 (was that 5 years ago?) including Sibelius. Dolet 8 at least adds 4.0 and 3.1 to Sibelius. Dorico’s handling of .xml needs more work but I’ll live.

For composing, I started off with pen and paper over 50 years ago. Nowadays I write in notation, then export to a DAW if I need to add additional audio tracks which is frequent. Others start in DAWs and compose in their MIDI controllers, then export the MIDI or .xml to notation only if scores need to be generated. Both approaches are valid.

For the past 30+ years, the notation users want more DAW functions while the DAW users want better notation. The ideal blend hasn’t happened yet. Will it? I have no idea. Logic and DP users know that notation is not the top priority for either app but a lot of film scores are played from their printouts.

Too bad that ReWire is dead. I hope that someone comes up with an acceptable substitute. What MusicXML can do for notation app exchange, RW was doing for DAWs and some notation app-to-DAW in real time. I see that the latest updates to Apple’s apps (Logic, GB etc.) removed all ReWire components. I will test to see if Finale (Master) can still talk to Digital Performer (Slave) anymore — DP hasn’t had RW support for years but it could “listen” to Finale through CoreAudio. I’ll go out on a limb and guess that Logic has lost this functionality completely now.

Well, back to work. There are deadlines.

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