Exporting MusicXML from Dorico: Much is missing.

The information I can find from Steinberg on exporting MusicXML from Dorico says something about “not all score markings are exported at this time.” I take this to mean that the Dorico team has not fully implemented all the music notation features of MusicXML export that they wish to implement.

I’m running Dorico 1.2.10. I have a score of a string sextet that has a lot of frequently changing:

  • Tempo markings, ritard, a tempo, accel.
  • Staccato markings on noteheads
  • dynamic markings (p, mp, mf, f)
  • pizzicato and arco indications, changing back and forth
  • fermatas

When I export the MusicXML from Dorico, and then import the resulting MusicXML file into Sibelius 8.5.1, most all instances of each of the score markings indicated in the list above are missing.

To test things, I have imported my MusicXML file into Sibelius 8.5.1 and also into MuseScore 2.1. The resulting MuseScore score looks almost identical to the Sibelius score. No tempo markings, staccato markings on noteheads, no dynamics, no pizz. and arco, no fermatas. So I conclude that the problem is with Dorico.

Can anybody from the Dorico team comment on this, please? Do you have plans to address this problem?

We do have plans, although I don’t know when.
For a new program like Dorico, our first intention was to be able to import MusicXML really well, since when you get Dorico you’ll want to import some files and see how they look. Now that it’s been around a little while, people have projects that they need to export, so we’ll be working on that.

John, this is unreasonable, and Dorico has been deceptive about this. Your own Steinberg Dorico website has misleading statements about Dorico’s ability to work with MusicXML. As a registered owner of Dorico, I am deeply disappointed about this.

At https://dorico.software/import_and_export.html

you say “Projects often start or finish outside your scoring software. Dorico can import MusicXML and MIDI files from Cubase, other scoring programs and other DAWs. It can also export MusicXML files, allowing you to take projects started in Dorico into other applications.

Maybe literally it can, but practically speaking, no, it can not. Dorico’s MusicXML export was so deeply deficient that I might as well have re-created my project in Sibelius from scratch. On this one project I spent about two hours adding back in all the notes and symbols that Dorico had omitted from the MusicXML, as I switched back and forth between my Dorico window and my Sibelius window to compare every bar and every note in every bar in the score to see if I could find out which notes and symbols that Dorico had failed to export correctly. The amount of extra work was very taxing. I was worried that I could not find all of Dorico’s mistakes and that the new project I was building would be error-riddled even after all that proofreading and correction.

At the URL above, there’s a bullet point under “MusicXML” which says

“Export compressed or uncompressed MusicXML files (some notations not currently exported)”

That’s the misleading part, in parentheses. It doesn’t say “You will spend hours comparing your original score with the new one you are trying to create in another program because all sorts of things will be missing and you’ll have to correct them.”

At https://www.steinberg.net/en/products/dorico/what_is_dorico.html you say

“Print and export: Effortlessly handle final production with Dorico’s dedicated Print mode, or export graphics, MusicXML, MIDI and audio files to other software.”

There is nothing “effortless” about working with Dorico’s exported MusicXML. I had to put forth hours of unnecessary extra effort.

Lower down, you say

“Connect and collaborate: Dorico makes it easy to send music to/from other programs, or collaborate with other people. It imports MusicXML and MIDI files from Cubase, other scorewriters and DAWs. Plus it exports MusicXML, MIDI and audio files, so you can get projects started in Dorico into other applications.”

This is all quite misleading to the consumer. Every other music notation program that I am aware of, if it implements MusicXML, can handle import and export with equal feature implementation, symmetrically, in and out. Dorico can not; it is asymmetrical.

I am deeply disappointed, because I have a use case where I will need to export MusicXML from Dorico for practically every project I undertake. Practically speaking your half-implemented MusicXML export feature makes it unuseable to me.

I can only second everything Wheat said.

Steinberg’s marketing speech is misleading at best, not to say something stronger. I would even go as far as to expect Steinberg to deliver updates for free until Dorico really does what the marketing department says it already does.

I have already documented that Dorico will not export MusicXML elements including:

  • Tempo markings (such as quarter note equals 132 beats per minute), and tempo-related symbols such as ritard, a tempo, accelerando
  • Staccato markings on noteheads
  • dynamic markings (such as p, mp, mf, f)
  • pizzicato and arco indications
  • fermatas

I do not have the time to try to experiment and troubleshoot in order to discover a list of additional markings, articulations, and other symbols that Dorico also cannot export, but I suspect there are many more than the ones I happened to use and need in this particular score I was working on.

Not all applications that support both MusicXML import and export support exactly the same notations in both directions, but it is definitely fair to say that Dorico’s export is a lot more asymmetrical than most, and we are well aware of Dorico’s deficiencies in this department. I am also the person responsible for writing the marketing copy for Dorico, so you can blame me for that, too. I’m sorry that the copy is not sufficiently explicit about the things that are missing from MusicXML export.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of some of the things Dorico does not yet export:

– Any kind of versioning information (e.g. what version of Dorico was used to encode it)
– Accidentals
– Chord symbols
– Arbitrary text
– Barline types
– Rehearsal marks
– Microtonal accidentals
– Grace notes before barlines (other kinds of grace notes are OK)
– Some dynamics (things like rfz, fp – basic dynamics are OK)
– Instrument transposition
– Articulations
– Partial beams and beaming over rests (basic beaming is exported)
– Tempos
– Glissando lines
– Arpeggios
– Playing techniques

I hope that the above list will at least help to set your expectations for the current state of Dorico’s MusicXML export more realistically. Improving MusicXML export is a priority for us, but it has to compete with many other things for our limited development time.

Any updates on this? Is the list Daniel provided more or less the same in Version 2 if I upgrade?

I’m hoping - at the very least - accidentals and dynamics work?

I’m thinking of using Dorico for a project I’m doing for a friend - but he would like the versatility of being able to open my files in Finale if he’s in a pinch… but this much missing would be embarrassing for me! I’ve been talking up Dorico, I don’t want to explain it can’t even export accidentals and dynamics!

It does export accidentals, but not explicit accidentals. Once you’ve imported the MusicXML file into Finale there’s a plug-in you can run that makes accidentals explicit. I haven’t had to do it for well over a year so I can’t remember exactly which plugin, but I do know that it ships with all recent versions of Finale - it’s not something that you need to download specially.

In answer to your general question, read the Dorico 2 Version History document (google it!). If it’s not listed there, it hasn’t been added to Dorico 2

accidental handling in Finale can be found in the Canonic Utilities plugin (Plug-ins/Scoring and arranging/) :slight_smile:

Thanks Fratveno - that’s the one!

I have been trying to compose in Dorico, because its output is appreciably better that Finale’s, but I can’t make playback work, and can’t afford the time to sort it out. I have therefore exported the piece in MusicXML and imported it into Finale. Neither of the programs will take input from my keyboard sequencer, which I think may be a Windows 10 problem, but Finale has a better way of using the computer keyboard for pitch input, and I have a companion program to Finale, written in AutoHotkey, that gives me lots of useful key combinations, so I expect to make quicker progress now.

The lack of accidentals was obvious, which led me to this thread. Canonic Utilities puts accidentals on every note, but I can’t make it put them only where needed. If I have to do the transfer again (my present intention is to compose in Finale but print in Dorico, unless the reverse move has similar problems) I shall try my first thought, which was to change the whole piece from C to C sharp or C flat and back. This turns some notes to their enharmonic equivalents, but there are fewer of these than of unnecessary accidentals to change back by hand. I shall await reviews of Dorico 2 before deciding whether to get it.

Certainly the MusicXML import from Finale (and indeed from Sibelius) is much more fully-formed than the export, so you should have no problem bringing material into Dorico from Finale. But I think it’s worth trying to sort out the playback in Dorico: have you worked your way through the troubleshooting video? It should take no more than 20 minutes to sort it out.

The video is in this thread.

My daughter, who is more expert in Dorico than I am, has made playback work on her computer. She tried all the recommendations in the video on mine without success. Despite the time taken to correct my accidentals, I made much more progress yesterday than on any previous days, for reasons other than the lack of playback.

Ken, can you provide any more details about the nature of the playback problems you’re having? If you can provide some specifics, we may be able to hit upon the solution. Please include details of your computer hardware and software setup as well as details of the problem itself.

Not now, maybe later. Composition takes priority for the present.

Any news regarding chord symbols in musicXML export?

I’m afraid we’ve not yet been able to give further work on MusicXML sufficiently high priority to have tackled this yet. Sorry.

Drat, I won’t be able to fully convert to Dorico until I can export to my non-Dorico using colleagues with relative ease. I will have to keep an eye on those changelogs for the time being!

On the other hand, you could persuade your colleagues to switch to Dorico :smiling_imp:

More seriously, the MT publishing house I sometimes work for have a couple of customers a year that ask for Sibelius files (in order to augment band parts etc.) and we’ve always been happy to oblige. I’m dreading the time when a repeat customer next demands Sibelius files and has to be told “sorry, you can have Dorico files or very rough MusicXML”…

In a better world perhaps…ah well, at least I have something to look forward to. :laughing: