Expression Map data from Nuendo not importing

Hi. I just updated to the latest version of Dorico and am also running Nuendo 8.2. For some reason, when I export a music XML file from Nuendo, which uses expression mapping/technique data, that info is not making its way into Dorico. Yet, when opening the same XML file in SIbelius—the data is there! I assume Steinberg’s idea is to make a complete ecosystem between its products…so this seems to be a fairly obviously flaw. Unless there is some setting that I need to make within Dorico? Please advise.


Since MusicXML is a notation only interchange file format, I assume you mean that Dorico is not importing the TEXT representation of Playing Techniques/Instructions. As far as I can tell Dorico currently struggles with parsing Text objects which had associated playback data (key switches, controller data etc.) in the exporting application. This also happens with MusicXML files exported by Finale. For the most part, expressions containing playback definitions are ignored by Dorico regardless of Preferences/MusicXML import settings.

I am referring to technique text from the expression maps. How can we get the developers to work on improving this? Nuendo tech support referred me to this forum because, they claimed, the Dorico developers frequent these boards.

The way I see it, currently I will save more time by importing the music xml files into Sibelius from Nuendo or Cubase…versus importing them into Steinberg’s own native scoring software. Frankly, this is unacceptable if Steinberg expects Dorico to become the new gold standard in notation software. As a busy composer for film/TV, I need every edge I can get. It appears that Dorico, as of yet, may not have it.

Shaun, Dorico is a young program with a small (but extremely efficient) development team. The software already makes a point of doing most things better than the competition, but there are feature holes, here and there, and the development team’s todo list surely runs to hundreds of items.

Over the two and a half years that Dorico’s been publicly available, the updates have generally comprised a few big features and a whole host of little improvements (see the Version History document here: - note that these 143 pages only go back as far as the 30th May 2018).

By weighing in here, you’re adding support to the people that have already asked for MusicXML import to be improved: your post WILL be read by the team. It’s worth bearing in mind that:
a) everyone has a different priority list for what they want from Dorico.
b) Dorico’s development team have publicly stated that they want to focus on core development activity before increasing interaction with other Steinberg products.
c) the development team have their own roadmap. We users influence their decisions frequently. I’ve never met a development team who listen to their users more. (For that matter, I’d never previously been invited to physically meet a development team!) but only they know what features have knock-on effects on other features.

P.S. Storming in and saying “frankly, this is unacceptable” won’t make you many friends here.

I agree with everything you say, including your belief that Shaun saying “this is unacceptable” is unhelpful.

The Dorico team have freely admitted that MusicXML input needs more work. Beyond that, there is a greater aspiration from users and, I suspect, from the Dorico team to improve the round trip experience between Dorico and Cubase / Nuendo, though it is understandable if strengthening the core functionality of Dorico is the priority.

Dorico 3 is in active development for release perhaps in late summer. I expect this version will fill in some of key gaps in what is still a young program, though it is impossible for Dorico 3.0 to satisfy everyone’s wishlist. I think it likely Dorico 3 will add full support for guitar tablature and chord diagrams, as that is probably the biggest gap in core functionality, but that is only a personal guess. We will only know in the fullness of time what makes the cut for Dorico 3 and what does not: unless the team are at release candidate stage, which seems unlikely bearing in mind Daniel’s recent indications in this forum that Dorico 3 is not imminent, the development team will not have anything close to a final feature list for the 3.0 release. In any software project, aspirations sometimes have to be dropped from a particular release because of lack of time or because a feature is not mature enough for release.

When functionality is implemented in Dorico, the development team try hard to make it a good quality implementation. Releasing something unfinished or that is poorly thought out can ossify poor design decisions and frustrate users. As a very new user, I’m still in the early stages of learning how to use Dorico, but am impressed with the thoughfulness of the design and the overall coherence of the user experience. I am sure we will get better MusicXML import at some point in the future, but when this is and what will be improved is unknown at present.

Shaun, in general dynamics are imported from MusicXML files, including MusicXML files exported from Cubase and Nuendo. It’s true that certain other textual markings, including important ones like arco/pizz., are not yet imported, and these are things that we intend to improve as soon as it is practical to do so. In the meantime, if you are finding that regular dynamic markings are not being imported, please attach an example here (you can zip up a MusicXML file exported from Nuendo to attach it to the forum), or email it to me at d dot spreadbury at steinberg dot de.

Hello, Daniel. Thanks for responding. The dynamic markings are importing fine, actually; it is just the text markings for technique or expression that are not importing successfully into Dorico. I look forward to better integration of music XML in a forthcoming update. Do you happen to know if this will occur within the V2 revision set of Dorico?

I only just updated to Dorico V2 this past week (finally!), and I am streamlining my templates and general workflow within Nuendo, after working on a TV series for a major studio over the past four years. I would love to make Dorico a part of my usual scoring/production process, however, I will likely have to stick with Sibelius for the time being, at least until this XML situation improves. I don’t think it would be fair for me to have to continue to pay for upgrades (V3 was mentioned above), for what is to me basic functionality. That is where my ‘unacceptable’ comment was coming from–that, and by definition a new aspiring “gold standard” product should have all the basics covered. I will continue to have no need for Dorico, since another product has better features for the time being. It is indeed frustrating, since I was one of the first purchasers of the product upon its release. It is hard for me to imagine why XML import would be far down on the list of priorities, since it is a basic way that music notation is exchanged between music-making software programs. Moreover, XML import does exist already as a feature within the program–it just doesn’t work as well as it should.

In response to the needlessly scolding remarks made by others above, I should state state that as a consumer of Steinberg products for over 20 years now (starting with Cubase VST), I have been very loyal. I am also fairly certain Steinberg can deal with some constructive, real-world criticism by such a staunch supporter of their brand. Nobody likes to feel like a beta tester, especially 2+ years later, and after paying an additional upgrade fee.

To quote David W above: “Releasing something unfinished or that is poorly thought out can ossify poor design decisions and frustrate users.” Well stated, David.

This echoes what I have encountered with Dorico’s XML implementation. It is my opinion as a consumer long invested in this product, that such a flaw is unacceptable. Additionally, without some form of direct support via a ticket system or what have you–relegating me to a public “user forum” is an additional source of frustration for reasons which should be clear, given the generally excusatory and unhelpful user responses above. I hope there will one day be a better direct customer support system in place for Dorico, and that Steinberg finds my feedback of value.

The Dorico 2 product cycle (six releases, in total) has come to an end. You’ll have to wait for Dorico 3, and you’ll likely be expected to pay for it.

I don’t really understand why you didn’t take advantage of the 30 day free trial - if you had, you would have realised that it wasn’t suited to your specific needs.

While I’m here, I guess I should clarify: MusicXML import existed way back in Dorico 1.0. Playing Techniques (including pizz. etc.) were implemented much later. Presumably at the point that Playing Techniques were rolled out, other priorities meant that MusicXML import didn’t get the necessary attention to include PTs.

As to being “relegated to a user forum”, you now have Dorico’s Product Manager’s direct email address. What more do you want?

I know this probably sounds quite contrary, but I don’t. I hope whatever resources Steinberg allocates to Dorico will be spent on more developers, not customer support reps. This forum and the other resources are a pretty good way to get questions answered… and in record time, as users practically trip over one another in a race to give helpful replies to anyone who asks. To top it off, team members chime in daily to give clarifications and fill in the gaps. Try getting that from a help desk. (Product B, anyone?)

We do have an excellent dedicated tech support person in our Hamburg team – her name is Anja – and if you bought Dorico in one of the countries that Steinberg services directly, she is almost certainly the person who would handle your ticket if you submit one. If Anja can’t answer a problem, then she hands it on to me or another member of the Dorico development and testing team, and we make sure that the problem is resolved between us. If you’re located in the US, then Yamaha has a team of support staff dedicated to Steinberg products, and in the event they’re unable to help, they contact me, and we make sure that the problem is resolved. Similarly if you are in other countries where Steinberg products are handled by Yamaha, you will typically get native-language support from a Yamaha support person, and they all know how to get in touch with us in Hamburg or London if they need help handling a customer enquiry.

So technical support is available not only via this forum, but by the usual channels. However, the most direct line to the people who actually build the software is through this forum, since several members of the team do visit on a regular basis, including me, the product owner.

To answer the specific point about the lack of import of playing techniques in MusicXML, it is certainly an unfinished corner of Dorico’s MusicXML import. The challenge is that MusicXML does not have a single, consistent and semantic way to describe these kinds of markings – in one sense, through no fault of its own, since there is no single agreed standard for such markings either in music software or indeed in published music more generally – which means that the import of these kinds of markings is non-trivial, since many different markings have to be explicitly handled in a number of different ways. We have chosen not to prioritise this yet in favour of spending our limited development time in other areas. You will understand from your own professional work that every project you undertake means there is at least one other project you cannot undertake – the famous “opportunity cost”. We are juggling these issues all the time. There is a reasonable chance that had we prioritised differently such that Dorico could now import more playing techniques from MusicXML, it would not be able to do something else equally important to your workflow, and if not yours, then to many others’.

The fact that the lack of this feature makes Dorico impractical for you is noted, please believe me. There are no further free updates planned to Dorico 2.x, though if any should come, they would undoubtedly be more in the realm of fixing bugs than adding new features. At this stage I cannot say whether or not improved import of playing techniques will be a part of our next major version: all I can say for sure is that at the time of writing we have not done any additional work on this.

I know that this is not what you want to hear, Sotto Voce. But I hope that you feel reassured that we do understand the need and we do plan to address it. I’m sorry that for the time being you will continue to need to use Sibelius in your daily work, and I look forward to the day – hopefully soon – when Dorico’s other advantages have sufficient weight for you to make it your daily driver for your scoring needs.

Thanks, Daniel, for the detailed response.

Regarding the support experience, I had called Yamaha here in California, and was simply referred to this forum. I am glad to know you and your team are so hands-on involved in the forum; however, I always prefer direct and relevant communication such as yours, versus hearing from everybody with an opinion.

I hope to somehow know once XML implementation has been better addressed (i.e., before paying for any further upgrades). Perhaps this thread could be updated at such time, if you could be so kind to remember to update it. Otherwise, I may feel free to check in with you directly from time to time. Best of luck to you and the Dorico team.


In fact, fratveno gave you essentially the same answer Daniel did as soon as you posed your question.

Derek, I don’t see it that way, but then again, respectfully, I didn’t come here to have a discussion with you. I appreciate fratvo’s response though, and I really don’t understand or appreciate the general snark presented above
by ‘you’, Derek, or some of the other “senior members” here. What made you feel compelled to read through this thread and leave such a lame, unhelpful comment? Color me unimpressed. You and others can save your comments, as I do not plan to revisit this forum. Instead, I will always prefer to deal directly with company representatives, who have a better sense of professional decorum, and who convey the most accurate and current information. Clear, thorough and honest information is what I am after. It does not have to be a difficult process to obtain a useful answer, and I can be the judge of when I have encountered it. I certainly don’t need your assistance in this regard.

You and some of the others above have made it painfully obvious why public forums simply do not work for all customers. I’d like to thank Daniel once again. I may be in further (direct) contact in the future. But perhaps it might be best to simply close this thread. It hasn’t fostered much of a sense of community…not for me, anyway. Ciao!

I will certainly endeavour to remember to update this thread, but alas I cannot promise it. However, you are very welcome to check in with me directly any time you like: you can reach me at d dot spreadbury at steinberg dot de.