HORRIFIC performance of Dorico 3

Color me dubious. From my measurements Dorico doesn’t touch the disk at all. What you are observing is frankly impossible.

Dr Paul’s Geekbench scores put this one to bed, didn’t they?


I wonder if you have a variety of third-party VST plug-ins that might be slowing things down? That’s been shown to be a problem in other threads.

I’m experiencing similar problems in Dorico 3 with a score that I’ve written with Sibelius a few years ago. I imported it into Dorico via MusicXML. Editing actually is somewhat painful. As lje67 pointed out it’s not that it would be unusable, but a lot of operations have a varying latency between 100-700 milliseconds. I’m on a highly overclocked quadcore i7 here with a good amount of RAM and a SSD harddrive. What can I do to improve performance?

Here is my geekbench result: https://browser.geekbench.com/geekbench3/8839799

Welcome to the forum, jasal82. Your best bet is to provide the project itself, along with specific details of which operations in particular you find slow (e.g. a description like “I open the full score layout, I select the first note in the violin 1 part in bar 83, I start note input and type C D E F, and it takes 2 seconds to input each note”). You can either attach the project here, or you can email it to me at d dot spreadbury at steinberg dot de.

Experiencing similar problems with the Dorico 3 trial on my:
late 2013 Mac Pro (trashcan) 2.7 GHz 12 Core Xeon E5-2697v2, 64ram, SSD.

(no problems whatsoever with Sibelius Ultimate 2020.1)
Condensing is turned off.
Look forward to any updates/solutions on this thread!

Karel, welcome to the forum.

You have not given the Team much info to go on (although listing the specs of your system helps).
Best would be to include an excerpt from a file that runs slowly on your machine and some info what operations are moving particularly slowly. You will need to zip it up before attaching it here through the “Full Editor & Preview” screen. If your file is large or needs to remain confidential, then you can e-mail it to Daniel with a reference to this thread.

Daniel and the other developers are anxious to see examples of works that run slowly to help them optimize performance.

I switched to external midi instruments to help with CPU load and latency. Sad to say there is still a second or two delay between hitting play, and anything happening. Couldn’t it do some kind of pre-load for those first seconds, like the streaming players do? Also, Dorico’s support for external midi (in and out) is so disappointingly minimal. All my work in Cubase midi device setup, creating patch scripts for program changes in external midi instruments, would be a great benefit if Dorico had the same feature. I end up having to keep Cubase open in the background, just to do patch selections. That’s not the Dorico/Cubase integration I had in mind! :slight_smile:

When you start playback, Dorico recalculates all of the playback information for the score. Unlike Cubase, where all of the MIDI and audio data is already in the right kind of representation to be played back instantaneously, Dorico has to generate all of the MIDI on demand. In the fullness of time it is our intention to have Dorico generate or update the playback data after every edit so that it is available when you start playback, but that’s not trivial to achieve.

I’ve got a project of 40 Players, 12 Flows, over 150 pages. It takes less than 1 second to start playback, using 3 VST plug-ins (ARIA Player). Regardless of whether you’re using them, if you’ve got lots of third-party VSTs, that may be a factor.

I’ll send a score to Daniel via e-mail.

But in general operations that are slow in general are:

  • switching between modes
  • after clicking ‘apply’ in layout/engraving/notation options
  • adding or moving players/instruments to the setup
  • moving groups of notes to a different staff (alt+M)
  • copying notes

It doesn’t feel very snappy which is a shame!
The bigger the score, the longer the wait.

As mentioned earlier in the thread, it isn’t meaningful to compare the performance of Dorico with other applications. But from a new customer point of view of course it is important. The above lag I do not experience with my current notation software, even in big scores.

All of the operations you describe there are known to be comparatively slow, Karel, and indeed to scale with project size.

When you switch between modes, if Dorico has to switch from page view to galley view or vice versa, that means performing the complete layout process again, which for a large score takes an appreciable amount of time (similarly, when you switch from a part layout back to the full score layout in the same tab, this can take a few seconds for the same reason).

When you change any of the options in Layout Options, Notation Options or Engraving Options, Dorico likewise performs the complete layout process again; this specific case we do intend to improve, because at the moment Dorico tears everything down when in fact if it was able to keep track more closely of which specific options have changed, it would be able to perform a more targeted update.

Similarly, when adding a new player or instrument in Setup mode, this causes the entire score to be laid out again. If you need to add more than one player at once in an existing, large score, my advice would be to first switch the current view to a part layout instead of the score, add the players necessary, then switch back to the full score: you will have to wait for the full score to be recalculated, but only once, rather than waiting after each player/instrument is added. This is also amenable to some improvement, though it will also require some serious time investment to achieve; the current system has the great advantage of ensuring that the result of each major operation like adding/removing players or changing notation options gives correct results right away, and when we take a more targeted approach to try to avoid unnecessary processing, the risk of bugs arising from corner cases that we do not manage to identify ahead of time is greater.

At the moment, we remain focused on filling out Dorico’s feature set and therefore are choosing not to devote the many weeks/months it will require to achieve these improvements right at this moment, because we believe we have a responsibility to our users to continue using our limited development time to deliver features that users are waiting for. However, we have concrete plans to address these specific cases, and we certainly will address them in future.

Dear Daniel, thank you for your time and thorough answer. I really appreciate the excellent customer support.
I understand and will experiment with your suggestions.

Nonetheless I don’t quite understand, as you mention in your last paragraph, why it isn’t a 1st priority to fix these issues.
I feel that these performance improvements is something many customers are waiting for. Many film composers use the same system specs as I do, and many use Cubase. For instance Hildur Guðnadóttir. I can imagine Hildur would be happy to be able to use Dorico without waiting.

I really love how Dorico looks, feels and works. I love the condensing options and many other features and it would be a dream to work with Dorico.
But without any expectation of performance improvements in the near future I would definitely not buy Dorico but a different notation application that works instead. I’m sure sure this applies to other potential customers.

Please let me know if you feel I’m wrong about any points I made here. Like I said, I’m very enthusiastic about Dorico and would like to make it work!

We have a small development team, which means that we have to very carefully prioritise everything we work on. Time we spend working on adding features to the software is time we cannot spend working on improving performance, and vice versa. It wouldn’t matter if Dorico were blistering fast if it was also not capable of addressing the use cases of a wide range of musicians. Likewise, some of the features that make Dorico very appealing are those that are, by their very nature, the most computationally expensive. For example, condensing is a completely unique feature that will be highly impractical, if not impossible, for the developers of the existing mature notation applications to add. Condensing does make inputting music into the score slower when it is switched on, but it’s easy to switch off while you are doing note input, and when you switch it back on, you can measure the amount of time that the feature is able to save you in terms of preparation of the full score in hours, if not in days. Similarly, Dorico’s sophisticated algorithms for part and score layout result in you having to spend significantly less time on the layout and formatting process, and the removal of hundreds of repetitive tasks in every project adds up to hours, or days, saved, even if some individual operations may be slower.

We consider performance to be a feature of the software, just like any other feature. Working on performance must therefore be balanced with all the other work we need to do. Dorico has matured very rapidly, and it is getting to the point where we will be able to shift the balance from focusing purely on adding features to ensure that the software meets a sufficiently wide range of use cases to become a viable alternative for a demanding user base that is already entrenched in one of the competing applications to devoting some of our limited time to enacting the plans we have for improving the software’s performance.

If you love how Dorico looks, feels and works, you should buy and use it. Individual operations may be slower than in your previous software, but you should judge the application on the total time it takes to complete a project, rather than at this micro level. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of testimonials in threads on this forum that the software delivers on this promise.

Ok Daniel, thank you for your time!
I’ll think about it.

KarelB, I have used Sibelius for nearly 20 years before switching to Dorico. It took me about half a year to become faster in Dorico than I’ve been in Sibelius. Today I’m much faster in Dorico and the results look so much better! Part layouts are incredibly fast, when the score is ready. This also makes a big difference for me.

Hello all,

I agree with the comments that Dorico feels slow. My computer is not top of the line now, but it was one a few years back.
(Core 17 6700k @4.00 GHz, 32GB of RAM. Crucial 256GB m.2 SSD)

I have been a Sibelius user for many years now and this kind of sluggish performance never really happened. Now, I also agree with Daniel saying the potential time saving that comes from condensing in particular probably outweighs the time lost in the little things, but still, those little things also add up, and more than that they can stifle (a bit) a creative flow.

I have been following the development since the very first diaries started popping up and was thrilled when I could finally purchase it. Overall, I’m happy learning to use it and getting faster all the time, but this really sticks out as a weak point at the moment.

If the offer still stands, I could send the project and a diagnostic report, just in case it is something solvable and not just the way the program works at the moment.


Welcome to the forum, estebanrv. You are always welcome to share your project with me. Please be sure to include specific details of particular operations that are slow, including which layout you’re working in, and what particularly you are doing. If you are encountering the program being slow when changing between page view and galley view or when performing operations in Setup mode, there’s nothing unusual about that, and there’s no need to send your project to me.

I found noticable difference in UI responsiveness between my MacBook Pro 15" 2017 and my Mac Pro late-2013 (slower).
Maybe the generation of graphic card does matter, but that’s what happened with macOS Catalina on my side.
I feel sick with font rendering on Windows (especially with Qt-based apps), hence my lack of feedback about using Dorico on Windows.