I'm with Dorico, no ifs, no buts

Dorico first release. Some thoughts

I struggle to see where the problem is. We were warned Dorico was work in progress from the onset and, as I understand it, this first version was released with the caveat that it would not be fully featured yet but there would be a series of free point releases and enhancements during the life of version 1. Effectively we were being asked to buy into Dorico on a promise. We didn’t have to go ahead but many of us did and we went in with eyes wide open.

My reasons, as a composer, for going Dorico are simple:

  • Sibelius: there was so much more I needed from that software but now it’s dead in the water and any meaningful development has ceased. Economically and artistically Sibelius does not make sense to me anymore, neither does it hold any promise for the future; and the future of my software is important to me
  • Finale: It can’t cope. It was never really a composer’s tool anyway (I know composers use it, goodness knows how). In my Finale days I spent far too much time setting things up and looking for the right tool to use just to edit things. Some people will tell you it’s all singing, all dancing. Well it isn’t. I couldn’t do anything in Finale better than I could in Sibelius, and, for the most part, a lot more easily in the latter.
  • Functionality: I can already do things using Dorico I couldn’t dream of in either Sibelius or Finale
  • The future: at least Dorico has one! - and we’re told the design under the hood is ready wired for many fascinating new innovations.

So, for me, Dorico is the only way forward. If you’re a composer it’s my opinion you should be migrating to the new software, as of now, but sensibly; you simply cannot expect to commit your precious work totally to this software yet. Equally, I think you’re losing out if you don’t buy into it now and also try to influence its future path.

So, if you’re a composer my advice is get stuck in - you’d be mad not to since, in my opion and for my uses, Finale and Sibelius are going absolutely nowhere.


I think that’s pretty much where I’m at with it as well. My requirements are certainly not as broad as many on here - I’m not producing large scores for large/odd ensembles, nor producing esoteric notation, so I would imagine I’ll be more easily pleased, and once my “show stopper” missing features are present and working suitably (guitar tab, percussion/drum notation), I’ll be pleased. But as you say, this is the beginning, not the end product. Sibelius seemed to have reached its “Word 97” moment a while ago, and everything else was playing about, and in addition a subscription model is not for me; a one off purchase is my chosen method.

Providing that it becomes a fully-featured tool before the inevitable paid 2.x upgrade (or we get preferential pricing for being day 1 adopters), I can only see good things in the future, as there is so much potential here.


Pretty much spot-on, Peter.

I don’t know that I’m prepared to say that there is no further meaningful development in Sibelius; I don’t feel I know enough about programming to say, but you may well be right. The recent past does not offer many grounds for hope.

I can’t speak about Finale, not having had anything to do with it.

However, my instinct tells me Dorico will have overtaken the competition fairly soon - give it a couple of years, maybe, to judge from what the guys have achieved in four? Or maybe less than that. I have this impression of an incredible buzz surrounding the program.

I think it’s a fairly safe bet it will overtake the “dinosaurs” pretty soon - it’s already done so in some areas.

On the other hand, there are some developers out there who have plenty of enthusiasm and knowledge, and don’t do what they do for the money. Looking forward a few years from now, the most “interesting” competitors to Dorico might be MuseScore and Lilypond - companies can legally protect their actual code, but you can’t patent ideas!

Actually, some of the “not in any other commercial notation software” features in Dorico have been in Lilypond, in embryonic form, for a long time already - for example a basic structure similar to “players,” “flows,” and “frame-based layouts”, automatically merging two parts onto one staff in a score, etc.

It’s not all one-way traffic - the next version of Lilypond should have a pretty good interface to Smufl-compatible fonts, and the public domain version of Bravura…

I agree with regard to MuseScore; in fact I would say this is where the real competition will be in the future as it’s a thriving concern. I use it myself for rehearsal files because: 1) it’s easy to share over the net and recipients can quite easily optimise their own parts with a minimum of knowledge; 2) It’s in active development and 3) It’s FREE

I can’t use Lilypond for composition at all - although a great piece of software. I dabble occasionally, for fun, but even with helper apps, it’s not hands-on enough for me.

Agreed - Lilypond is an engraving tool not a composing tool!

In fact the MuseScore and Lilypond guys are talking to each other. Musescore uses Lilypond’s music fonts, for example. I’m not sure how much further the relationship has (or will) develop, though.

This is a fun quote (from a MuscScore forum) - somebody explaining why he can compose easier in Lilypond than in MuseScore:

Why I still use lilypond when I make music ( as an amateur), is the total freedom at input-time (using denemo or text). I already saw on the musescore forum that a lot of musicians have the same problem with musescore as I do. When I am creating some music, I first put in the pitch-line, without considering the rythm (even though I already have it in mind). Once that is done, I start putting the rythm as I have it in mind. All this is done without measures or all the stuff that keeps me from going on with my song in musescore. The point is that in denemo (based on lilypond), I do have this TOTAL FREEDOM to go on with my music. So, if you tell me that musescore is better, I say “yes, it is for some ways, but lilypond is for all ways”.

To misquote a recent Nobel prize winner, “The insert mode and unmetered rhythm, my friend, are blowin’ in the wind…” :sunglasses:

Fascinating. We can do the same in Dorico now, of course, although you have to choose some sort of value to start, then afterwards use insert mode to change values at will. I suppose. Not quite so abstract though, is it?

I have had it since the first day. without any reasonable documentation (most of us got through the documentation before lunch) the first few days were spent on the forum and bothering support. finally got to the point that I could start using it to write music (not to complete a piece. It isn’t ready for that. Maybe next month.) to see just how it works as a composition tool. I am sold. just the ability to change back and forth between measured and unmeasured sections as part of the flow is very intuitive (much more so than sibelius and finale, which one has to fool to do the same) is great. Ok. I am on board. Can’t wait (not that we have a choice). I guess I continue to look for rise of the Phoenix of Score engraving program (and I am sure publishers do as well). But the good news is that this might be it. Not sure if it will do the circle music of Crumb (finale has an example of this done in finale. the staff is not horizontal but in a circle. check his piano music) but there is a lot to build in between now ad that.

The more I use it, the more I love it!




It’s passed a major milestone for me.

Today I wanted to throw together a simple 16-bar example of something to post the score on another forum, and I clicked the “D” icon without stopping to think “shall I do this in Musescore, or Lilypond, or Sibelius, or Finale, or…”

I agree completely. I’m 200% with DORICO!!!

Dorico does at face value have a lot going for it and I have invested my hard earned cash in it. HOWEVER I’ll use Dorico full time ONCE the scores playback fully. Implement pizz., staccato etc etc etc

Until then, its a waste of my time, because I cannot hear exactly how my scores sound - so I’ll continue to use Sibelius for now

I composed a free-rhythm classical guitar piece within hours of getting the programme. This programme may be the future of music notation for others, but it is my present, and what a lovely present to receive.
And I still have other software to do multi-instrumental music while I’m learning this software. To capture the free flow of musical ideas I couldn’t recommend any other programme but Dorico. Already.

If you’re wedded to Sibelius playback (as I am - I use NotePerformer) you could try the method I use: work in Dorico and export your recent work as XML fro playing back in Sibelius. I do this for aural proofing and creating demo passages as audio files.

OK it’s a bit clumsy but it’s a lot less trouble than trying to get Halion to cope with my scores!