Importing Finale xml files

Hello everyone, I’m just starting to work with Dorico after some 30 years of Finale.

I suspect that there will be no clear answers to this but I wanted to ask in case my experiences of importing Finale-generated xml files ring any bells. I’ve tried all three Finale file xml options with the same results.

In the attached file#1, two bars have amassed a large number of extra dotted rests which I can’t explain.

In file #2, there is a blank bar filled with a random collection of rests, no doubt making up the correct value but … !

File#3 is the most problematic – for some reason b. 70 appears to have become a 5/8 bar and consequently, all the following bars are offset, as you can see in b.79. Forcing a 4/4 bar at b.70 makes difference to how its rests appear or to the subsequent layout. Strangely there’s a visual red cue in b.71 apparently showing a new tempo of 4/4.

If I import this xml file back into Finale, it looks and plays perfectly.

I’m looking forward learning Dorico and may have to accept that transferring any previous scores is simply not worth the time but I wanted to ask advice on this before giving up.

Thanks for any thoughts.

i think xml files will not have all things properly transferred, but honestly Dorico is far superior handling xml files compares to Sibelius (in my case), and also it is important to save the file as dorico before you start editing the score.

Notion and a couple other apps handle .xml a lot better than Sibelius.

The OP is asking about Finale. MakeMusic owns MusicXML and Dorico’s implementation is not advanced,

I’ve tried all three Finale file xml options with the same results.

You have to be more specific than that.

Please spell out your three methods, your build of Finale and OS. It makes a difference.

First of all, look at Dorico’s options for importing XML. Turn OFF everything, except for Text Items. That way, Dorico will display the music using its own rules, rather than setting every note and rest with overrides and properties taken from the file.
Then try importing again.

One thing I have noted is that if you use ‘displayed’ time sigs in Finale (i.e. different from ‘actual’), then Dorico will interpret every bar with a hidden time sig. You can tidy this up by deleting the first time sig and reapplying.

I’ve imported everything I’ve ever done in Finale into Dorico, and the results are much better, and more useful. If you want to upload a complete example, or send one to me by PM, then I’ll have a look at it.

exactly, that is what i mean, Dorico’s xml handling is better but of course it has its own rules. when i use Pdf2music and send the xml to Sibelius, everything is chaotic, but when i import to Dorico it was showing a better result with just little bit of editing of course. Sorry if i not that really good in understanding the question. And since i no longer have Finale in my pocket since the 2011 version

Ah – I stand corrected. I thought I had completed that info in my preferences but apprarently not.

Finale v26 and Dorico 3.5 running on MacPro under Sierra (10.12.6).

I exported files from Finale using each of compressedmusicxml, musicxml and xml options – these are the three Finale options using its ‘Export XML’ dialogue. All had the same import results.


Welcome to the forum, Roderick. With these kinds of issues, there will always be a specific thing in the encoding of the MusicXML file that is responsible for the unexpected results in Dorico. It’s unfortunately hard to speak in generalisations about the kinds of things that can cause unexpected results when importing into Dorico. It’s certainly true that Dorico’s import is of necessity less forgiving than other applications when it comes to importing MusicXML. Part of that is down to a lack of maturity – the MusicXML import/export code in Finale has been developed by the inventor of MusicXML itself for 20 years – but part of it is also due to the fact that Dorico’s unique design, where music exists freely in streams upon the top of which barlines are imposed at the end of the process, means that any rhythmic problems in the way e.g. tuplets are encoded, or a rest is missing, etc., result in a much bigger knock-on effect for the rest of the score. In other applications, where bars are immutable containers for musical data, those kinds of errors tend to be contained within a single bar, but in Dorico those errors can be compounded all the way to the end of the score.

If you want us to look into any specific problems, we can do so, but we’ll need the original MusicXML files.

Hi Daniel and thank you for your welcome and thoughts on xml. I fully appreciate that this is a minefield but thought it worth asking. It would be really good to be able to work on some of my old Finale library in Dorico at the same time as learning the programme. Several of my colleagues have encouraged me to move in this direction – in part, as I feel that Finale has become very slow and ‘clunky’. I’ve always loved working with it and in many ways, I’m very quick, but think it needs a re-write from ground up to make it more efficient.

I’ve tried to send the xml/musicxml file by pm but I get a message to say the that it has an invalid file extension. Maybe only graphics are allowed?

Try zipping it first.

Hmm, no luck with that either!

If the resulting zip file is larger than 2MB, you won’t be able to attach it here. You may need to attach multiple individual files. Please also be specific about the particular instrument and bar at which the problem you’re experiencing is occurring.

Before exporting from Finale i would advise to run the “check region for duration” plug in, with the whole file selected, so you can see if there are beats missing that could complicat the import into Dorico

Thank you for the thought. I have already run the JW Validate plugin which threw up a few details, now corrected, but with the same import results. I’ll try the other option you mention, in case.

Just did that – same results.

Daniel – the zipped file is 213kB. It’s not even highlighted when selecting a file to upload. I’m doing this by pm. The original is 6.1mB – curious. I’ll break it up.

Hi. i was also a long time user of Finale. I found it very useful to import some of my Finale files into Dorico and then set about changing things to see how Dorico worked. I learnt a lot this way. Better than starting with a blank page and trying to do something.I love the way I can print parts very quickly from Dorico. Much quicker than all the editing I had to do with Finale.

Hi – that’s very reassuring to hear. I would very much like to be able to complete some projects in Dorico and for this to be part of my learning curve. However, this currently import experience is rather down heartening. Might I ask exactly what process/settings you used for the transfer?

Unfortunately, your mileage may vary. I have generally had very good success with XML files, although on occasion they‘re a hot mess.

Hidden notes in Finale are generally a very bad, no good thing. Also, tuplets can sometimes cause problems. It just depends on the source file.

You may want to try deleting certain portions of the original file that could be problematic in Finale. It’ll be a partial import at least.

I’ve occasionally used an intervening notation program to work around compatibility issues in XML conversion to Dorico, with reasonable success. For instance, if I have a MusicXML file that won’t import properly into Dorico directly, I sometimes try importing it into Sibelius or MuseScore and exporting MusicXML from there, and then import that MusicXML into Dorico. I’ve had particularly good luck with using MuseScore (which is free) as the interim converter.

See my post further up thread. Generally, it’s not the XML type that matters: it’s what’s in the Finale files itself. Setting Dorico’s XML import settings to only respect Text Items, and turn off everything else.

There will be some clean-up, some of which you can minimize in Finale before you export, and some you must do in Dorico.