Finale and Dorico comparison

I’m a choir conductor in Spain. I have been using Finale intensevily, to prepare the scores for my choir (full score, particellas and mp3) I have edited more than 100 scores in Finale, many hours a week during 12 years. So I have a lot of experience with Finale.

Music is my passion, but I earn my living working on IT projects, and giving support for all kind of software and hardware. So I Iook at music notation software from both views, music and software technician.

2 months ago I tried Dorico, and it was love at first sight. But I had doubts if the effort to move to Dorico was reasonable, bearing in mind my experience with Finale accumulated over years. Finaly I decided to buy Dorico Pro and now I am importing all my Finale scores to Dorico.

These are my conclusions:


I love the user interface. Everything is much more powerful, easy to use and intuitive. Windows with the views I need can be easily organized, moved, dragged, or zoomed in/out.

Key comnands are wonderful. I can easily assign to keys the tasks I use often.

Amazing how easy I can introduce nuances in the playing of the score (time changes and dynamics)

Writing lyrics is much more easy.

Music input with the keyboard is better.

Toolbars are well organized and distributed in the screen.

Manuals and video tutorials are excelent. Whenever I look for something I find it in a moment.

There are miriard of options in the layout, engrave and play that can be easily been found and adjusted.

Piano roll views are a big advantage. Finalle doesn’t have it.

Master pages are wonderful. They allow me to adjutst all the parts and full score consistently.

I like the modes Write, Engrage, Play, Setup. I allows to concentrate on what you need when you are working.

Comments are very easy to add and view. I miss to be able to add them independently of one staff, for instance in the lines that divide bars, or in the title of the song…

Tokens are wonderful


Only this:
Play the score with Dorico, and at the same time I need to play a keyboard with a different sound. For instance, Dorico is playing a choir score and I need to play a piano over it to enphasize some passages for my choir. In Finale I could do it easily. In Dorico I didn’t find how to do it. I could add the piano to the score but I wouldn’t like it. I would like to transmit the keyboard in MIDI Channel 1 for instance, and set a sound I need in that channel. But Dorico should not change always the MIDI input channel to the one that is owned by the staff I click in the score. That should be configurable.


Set the breathing marks position in the score better. Dorico can handle them much better than Finale, but I still miss something. Instead of choosing a fixed amount of space before following note (not always gives good results), it would be better if Dorico puts them just in the midlle of two notes (or the last note and the end of the system) and you set the % of space you want to move it to the right or left.

Installation of Dorico SE is difficult for the people of my choir. I should be easier.

When I have a staff with 2 voices (soprano 1 and 2 for example) I would like Dorico to be able to create an mp3 for soprano 1 and another for soprano 2. Normally in the scores you have many bars with only 1 voice (soprano 1) and other bars with 2 voices (soprano 1 and 2)
What I have to do now is:
For soprano 1 I select all the soprano 2 (in the whole score can be done at once) and choose property Suppress Playback.
For soprano 2 is more complicated, I have to select soprano 1 in only the bars that have 2 voices and select property Supress Playback. I have to do it in every bar that has 2 voices.

Congratulations to all the developers of Dorico. Impressive what you have achieved!

You can completely turn this off under Edit/Preferences/Play/Enable MIDI Thru. You can open a standalone VST player with whatever sound you want to hear loaded then that will be the only one you hear when you play your MIDI keyboard. Depending on your setup, you may need to create a virtual MIDI port and use another program to route the MIDI signal to both programs simultaneously.

Welcome to the forum, Fernando. I’m delighted to hear you’ve been getting on well with Dorico over the last couple of months.

Thanks for your feedback on the things you would like to see improved in future. On the subject of the installation of Dorico SE, I completely agree that this needs to be much easier, and I am hopeful that when we can leave behind the current eLIcenser system that Dorico is using, we will be able to greatly streamline the process of getting Dorico SE installed and registered. Watch this space!

:astonished: Does that mean Steinberg is ditching the e-licenser soon? That would be yuuuuge.

“Soon” is a relative term. The team has said it’s very much in process, but it’s a slow process with a lot of administrative hurdles, since it is company-wide. So don’t get too excited, but it’s certainly happening. Some day. :wink:

Thank you very much for your idea, but if I disable Midi Thru I am lost. I cann’t start HALion Sonic SE as a standalone. I don’t have any way to make my keyboard sound when I play it.

Sorry, I might be wrong but I don’t think this is possible in Dorico without a standalone VST then. Dorico doesn’t have a fixed channel MIDI Thru like Finale does. There are some inexpensive or even free piano VSTs available, perhaps give one of them a try for a standalone playback sound.

Hola Fernando, mira hay dos maneras de hacerlo, una fácil y una Difícil. ¿El problema es que no sé si estas en Mac o en Windows?

1.- Difícil: Créate un piano en Setup, pero escóndelo de la partitura. Luego tienes que seleccionarlo en la ventana Play cada vez que quieras usarlo.

2.- La manera que lo ocupo yo, este sistema es fácil
pero requiere que tengas una tarjeta de sonido externa: bájate un driver que se llama Asio4all, parte una aplicación que tenga piano (ya sea Halion, Kontakt Player, etc.) y configuralo para que use el Asio4all ocupando la tarjeta interna del computador y Dorico ocupando la externa.

3.- Si tienes Windows abre las propiedades de sonido y configura la tarjeta para que NO permita uso exclusivo, pero este sistema te puede dar problemas. Alternativamente puedes usar un driver distinto en Dorico (Edit > Device Setup > Asio setup > Generic Low Latency Asio Driver), ábrete el panel de control y des selecciona la primera opción. Aquí hay explicación:

Thank you for your help.


Yes, I recently found a post from 2017 with that soon promise. I’m certain it was old then, too.