Honest reflections on being married to Sibelius and dating Dorico

It’s a bit more articulate. The original instrument designed by Cristofori (“gravecembalo con pian e forte”) around the times of Bach sounded much like an harpsichord, but with dynamic control. It gradually evolved until some important milestones.

One of them is what we often call “fortepiano”, built at the times of Mozart (who owned a Stein during his latest years), that was functionally similar to a modern pianoforte, but still sounded as a hybrid between a modern pianoforte and a harpsichord. You can hear it in countless historically informed performances of his works.

This piano quickly evolved during the times of Beethoven, whose music was also probably a stimulus to make the instrument more and more powerful. At the end of the life of Beethoven, the piano was something very much resembling our piano. Still in its infancy, but with similar and finally acquired ideas.

This instrument evolved more gradually, but with very important innovations during the 19th Century. For example, I could play a few notes on one of the Pleyels of Chopin, and was surprised at how soft the keys were. It’s also a small instrument. During the century, concert halls became bigger and bigger, so the piano grew in size, weight, importance of the metal frame and of the mechanics.

When nearing the end of the century, the cross-strings instrument (probably, this one invented or perfected by Steinway?) started replacing the old one, still much loved by Brahms. It’s probably this pre-cross-strings instrument you are referring to, when thinking about an abundance of exemplars still available up to recent times.

The older instruments can be now only found in museums. Even restored, they are not very good for everyday use. There are, however, competitions where pianists are asked to play these original instruments, and it’s for sure a different perspective on music we all know performed on modern pianos.


  1. Just as there are few old harpsichords that sound any way like they did in their youth, there are few fortepianos that give a true idea of what their maker achieved. But there are many successful modern copies of Cristofori and Viennese-style fortepianos that can give us a better idea.

  2. The piano is a descendent of the clavichord (which hits the strings), not the harpsichord (which plucks the strings)

I agree on including Noteperformer. Sib is legendary for the lame sounds it includes and robotic playback, and Halion is just as weak - would never use those sounds for mockups. Noteperformer nails it for a great notation sample lib that loads fast with intelligent playback. Steinberg isn’t a player in the orchestral sample lib game so why not let the master Arne do his thing? It would benefit everyone ( except maybe the Steinberg Halion devs )

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That might be the first time I’ve ever heard someone try to make the analogy of MVC into notation programs. I mean, it doesn’t really work, it’s a square peg in a round hole, but nice effort nonetheless.

The problem with that POV is so much of notation is visual, and the context and meaning of symbols is defined by it’s graphical position. Worst still, much of that meaning can be (and often is) subjective depending on the audience of the score. So it’s not really possible to store all that information without graphical information. Even simple things like font choices or line thicknesses or how rhythms are split apart, etc. can affect the final reading of a score.

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I agree that most scores are not a problem, but the couple I’ve had problems with were problems that the Engrave mode did not help overcome. I will see if I can dig up the problem pieces.

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Thanks for the resources, Lillie. I’ll try to find the pieces that were a problem. (Just recently experimented with a Linux partition and ended up having to recreate my data drive. All was backed up, but has been a time consuming cleanup). When I find one, I’ll hopefully post a before and after viewing the resources. :slight_smile:

That last statement was ambiguous to me. Who would win?

Yes I guess that was a bit unclear. Dorico’s handling of page layout is far superior, in my opinion.

Enter Dorico 4. Nice transformation. Nice that I didn’t have to pay for the upgrade.
I had to dig in to the manual to find that the tabs were not on in every mode. I just barely got used to that and now it’s default is off. LOL. But I turned it back on and when I get used to Dorico’s key commands, I’ll probably turn it off. But with Sibelius’ 2021.12 update in hand, I have to admit that I have much less motivation than before to work with Dorico.

I appreciate the dialog in response to my original post. Even the rabbit trails are interesting. My marriage to Sibelius has much improved, so the affair with Dorico will be put off till…I don’t know, maybe a year–when the periodic upgrades stop?