Happy start of Q4!!!

Depending on your time zone, Q4 has started, or is a mere few hours away.

I doubt we will hear news today about Dorico, but I am wishing everyone a happy time waiting during this Q4 for Dorico’s release!!!



Robby, sorry for the OT, but as a user of both Sibelius and Finale, can you tell us what you think about the difference between the two?

I tried both as well, but then I switched to Cubase, so my opinion is for sure incomplete.

Thanks for your time


Sure… (none of this post is meant to offend Daniel and the team, from their earlier work with Sibelius)

To start off with, I think both programs attack the problem of music notation from 2 distinct ideas. Finale was designed as an engraving tool, and primarily as such. Playback was rudimentary in the earlier versions, and as time went on playback got better (I think to compete with Sibelius). Finale always had a decent output, and since the release of the Maestro Font, I will say that Finale has an excellent output (if you as the user are able to dig in and tweak things). Sibelius, seems to have attacked the issue from the composition side. I think Sibelius’ output is ok. It is definitely useable in performance settings. But I do not believe the output in Sibelius is equivalent to Finale.

With that said, Sibelius seems to have been designed more as a compositional tool, rather than engraving tool. Meaning it was designed to help composers and arrangers do their job. So there are many, many wonderful shortcuts, and the like, that Sibelius has that Finale doesn’t have. And not to mention the playback. One of the selling points for me in the first version of Sibelius was its playback ability. I couldn’t believe it… all I had to write was pizz. above the staff and Sibelius played the correct sound. No MIDI edits, no hidden MIDI messages, it just did it. Things like this I believe show, that Sibelius was designed as a compositional tool, rather than an engraving tool.

Prior to the year 2001, Sibelius was used probably 5% of the time. I still kept up with upgrades because I saw potential in the program. Also, everyone I was working for and with in those days were still heavily into Finale. Up through Finale 2009, I used Finale probably 75% of the time, and Sibelius 25% of the time. The output of Finale I just thought looked better, and from someone who used Finale back in the days of needing the 3 manuals the size of college text books, I knew how to achieve exactly what I wanted to achieve. There are several method books and published ensembles that I was responsible for the music layout, etc. (mostly in the percussion field). I believe around Finale 2009 is where Sibelius 5 came out, and over time the output of Sibelius did get better I thought (or maybe because I was learning how to tweak things a little better). I starting moving more to Sibelius than Finale, probably 60%/40% I would say. The ease of getting music into the computer with Sibelius was so great. As integration with Virtual Drumline (VST Library of percussion sounds) became even easier in Sibelius 6, I pretty much switched full time. I was able to arrange music so much easier, for the schools I was teaching. I saved hours and hours doing that. Once again, the output was never quite as good as Finale could do, but the hours I saved, and the fact that it was still very readable made it a no brainer. I go back and use Finale from time to time, although not as much as I once did. And Finale has changed so much from the earlier versions, that I am lost on how to do some things.

So all in all, I think Finale has excellent output if you can get in and tweak it. I think Sibelius is so much easier to use as far a putting music in and getting a printed result. I think Sibelius is great for playback and trying to hear how good your work really sounds. I think Finale has made strides in playback, but I still do not feel it is as good as Sibelius.

I hope that helps explains what I see as the difference.


And I’ll add this too…

Finale used to have a Message room in AOL back in 1993-1994 (I believe). You could access tech support directly and receive responses back from other users and from tech support. When AOL went to unlimited use, Coda got rid of it. They offered the same sort of thing on their website. As time went on, this got worse. Finale employees quit responding to issues on their website, and only other users would help. Over time, this changed a little, as well.

Sibelius had a website, and I am not sure if Daniel was around when I started using Sibelius, but if he wasn’t there right away, he came very shortly after. And the fact that I could be in touch with someone directly at the company and how genuinely seemed to listen to our complaints and feature requests was huge!!! Daniel was quick with an answer, much like he is on here. In a small way, I felt like I was part of the company, part of the community, part of the reason Sibelius got better and better.

It’s hard to find this same level of customer interaction with any product out there. And I rather like it!


This is what saddened me the most when the Sibelius London team was sacked. I really felt that I would no longer have that important interaction. I wrote a terse note to Avid to voice my concerns on that issue as I felt I was no longer part of I called a “software development community”, and that I had lost a sense of trust as a result.

Thank you so much Robby! :slight_smile:

For what is worth my (humble) experience is completely convergent with what you say, which is very interesting indeed!

Really? I would love to hear what your opinion is.

I will also say, I do mostly percussion copying and arranging. So I am not completely using other forms of notation.

Well, as I reported, I’m mainly a CubScore user, but I experimented with both Sibelius and Finale. My impression is that Sibelius is more user friendly, and able to play the score (even if I find it’s “artistic” way of playing “naturally” absolutely unnatural :wink: ), with quite decent final results. With Finale you can reach whatever result you want, but you have to study much more, and the engraving result is excellent.

I came from the Finale days of SEVEN(?) floppies and THREE manuals, too. :smiley:

All was well with the world until five years later, when a friend let me hear the playback on Sibelius. :open_mouth:

What really sold me on Sibelius, however, was the output. Instead of having to extract, then format parts, the way Finale did it, in Sibelius, the parts were just THERE! Soooo, about three years ago, after a few Finale upgrades, I got Sibelius 6, and now, with 7.5, I only look at Finae when I want to ship something to Sibelius, via XML.

I read about people using the two for different things. I don’t know what I’d need Finale for, at this time. Sibelius is so FAST and convenient! I’ve saved hundreds of hours, since moving to Sibelius! Dorico seems poised to do the same.

In the mean time, what I miss about Finale is, the way that you can play, “A-S-D-F-G-H-J” like a C Major scale during note entry. In Sibelius, my note entry is slower, since I can’t type the traditional way and think musically at the same time. Daniel assures me, that Dorico’s keyboard will be customisable enough to let me set it up the way I like. YAAAAAAY!! :mrgreen:

… bu the way, Q4 ends on December 31, so, Daniel and the boys still have time. :wink:

And this is why I think Dorico is in a position to be truly great!!!

From little snippets here and there, it does appear that Dorico has great output. Now, maybe they are just showing the best of the best, so we will see for sure when we get our hands on it. But I don’t see a reason to fib, so I do believe the output will be great. The team has spent countless hours going over details about the fine art of music notation. If you spend a year working on ties, I am sure that almost no stone was left unturned. So that area will be better than Finale. So we have a program with great output!

Next goes to ease of use. From watching the MOLA conference video, Daniel demonstrates some of the program. And boy does it look easy to use. Note entry right now in Sibelius, while it does seem faster than Finale, still slows me down since I no longer have a keyboard with a number pad. So with Dorico, it appears you will be able to get music into the program pretty easily. And not to mention, the ability in insert mode to not only insert music, but to also make changes to durations!!! I do a lot of copying from hand written scores. I can’t count the times I skipped a bar for whatever reason, and had to go back and edit. Or the number of times, as Daniel also explained happens to him (and I am sure others), while looking at the piece of music I fail to change note values, and now I have a string of half notes for 4-5 bars, when the notes all should have been 16th notes (semi-quavers I believe). I see Dorico as really changing the speed with which I work.

And lastly playback. I know many are pushing for Cubase integration, which I think would be a great selling point. Dorico has the Cubase audio engine. Looking at the tiny clips they have showed of playback mode, it looks like there is A LOT of potential there. Based on this, I am already sold on playback without really hearing a lot of it. For me, playback is a way to check what I have entered. I know others need it for mock ups, but I am not that advanced yet. Maybe in time I will be.

So to wrap this up, I think Dorico will be the perfect bridge of what makes Sibelius good and what makes Finale good, and it will come together in a package that will be great. I can’t wait to get to use it. I already have projects in mind to start working on in Dorico when it is released.


The latest (and last) episode of Daniel’s Development Diary (Part 15) tells us that release will be before Wednesday December 21st: “Dorico will be available to buy before the winter solstice.”


You shouldn’t read anything specific into me mentioning the winter solstice as indicating when in Q4 the product will be released. I merely chose that date because it’s before the end of the year!

… as I was saying … :laughing: