Importing MIDI file into Dorico

I usually sketch and finalize my compositions by using Cubase 9 Pro, because I’m used to do so, and because Cubase gives easy tools to control many features of music. After completing a composition in Cubase, I export it into MIDI file. The next phase is to notate the music. For the present I have used Finale and Sibelius for notating by importing MIDI file into notation software. It goes relatively well, but of course the result depends on the complexity of work. Now I tested Dorico for the same purpose, but the result wasn’t satisfactory at all.

The major shortcomings were distorted rhythms (interpretation of tuplets was totally wrong) and for some reason a track of Cubase was doubled into two staves in Dorico. This all means huge work to get the score in good shape.

I hope that the Dorico team or any other can tell useful solution to the problem.

Pro arranger Tim Davies suggests using the DAW tools to quantize. IIRC Cubase has a (rudimentary) notation function. Have you tried using that to export XML (if Cubase has that export option) rather than MIDI into Dorico?

I definitely agree that doing a bit of quantization in your sequencer before you export the MIDI file can save a lot of bother later on. The forthcoming update includes some further improvements to the transcription of tuplet rhythms in MIDI files, but I would always recommend quantizing anyway if the goal is to get clean notation. You might even find that doing the quantization in the score editor in Cubase and then exporting the notation there via MusicXML works better.

Thanks Derrek for your reply. Yes, Cubase has a rudimentary notation function and export and I tried MusicXML too. Rhythmically it worked properly in a portion of bars, but there were other problems; MusicXML export from Cubase into Dorico resulted in several empty bars (no music). For now the DAW tools are unfamiliar to me.

Daniel, thanks for your info. Here is what I did before exporting the MIDI file from Cubase: 1) In Cubase quantization was set to 1/64 Tuplet in piano roll editor, 2) In Cubase quantization was set to 1/64 Tuplet in score editor and 3) In Cubase all the notes were accurately set into rhythmic grid.

And as I told in previous message to Derek, I tried exporting MusicXML into Dorico but unfortunately with poor results.

Can you attach the score here (or even just a small section that shows some of these problems)? MIDI files don’t contain enough information for Dorico to know exactly which instrument to import for each track. If you are finding that a track is being split into two staves then that suggests that either the range of notes exceeds about 2 octaves (which triggers a heuristic to import as a grand staff instrument), or there isn’t enough information in the track for Dorico to know what instrument it is, and so it’s defaulting to a piano. As Daniel has mentioned, we’ve made a few improvements to MIDI import in the forthcoming update, and I can try importing your file to see what’s going wrong.

Paul, the editor of the Steinberg Dorico Forum do not accept attachments (I noticed this earlier as I wanted to include pdf-file, and now midi-file). Can you send me your e-mail address to my e-mail? Then I’ll send you the MIDI file for testing.

Indeed doing a bit of quantization in Cubase hepls a lot for this purpose.
I would like to point to a very particular and usefull function of Cubase Score which helps even more.

With the Display Quantize values Cubase Score let you display the notes exactly the way you want.
Cubase Score has a very usefull additional function called “Scores Notes To Midi” (to find in the Functions submenu on the Scores Menu).
This function converts the notes to the exact MIDI value needed and the notes have the exact lengths and positions that are displayed.

  1. Make a copy of the track or of the song you want to export.
    This is necessary as the midi events will be changed.

  2. Open a track in the Cubase Score Editor and choose the apropriate Display Quantize value that will display the notes the way you want.
    If a specific Display Quantize Value does not work for a whole track, make several parts and apply a different Display Quantize Value for each part of the track.

  3. When the notes are displayed the way you want, select them all, then select “Scores Notes To MIDI” from the Functions submenu on the Scores menu. The notes are now “converted” and will have the exact Midi value needed and now the notes have the exact lengths and positions that were previously only displayed.

  4. After finishing all the tracks of your piece export the whole piece as MIDI file.

  5. Import the MIDI file in the notation program of your choice.

I think the most important thing is not to expect that you can transform all the notes in Cubase Score at once and that you may have to change the Display Quantize value for each track or even for several parts within a track.
But Cubase Score allows you to do this very fast!
If you are able to display the notes in Cubase Score exactly the way you want (and Cubase Score is flexible enough to allow this) then this function will convert the notes to the exact MIDI values needed to be displaed the same way in any notation program.

It has alway be a joy for me to use this function ant this way I exported complete orchestral scores and had to do very few corrections.
The only things I do not export are Drums tracks as I find it much easier and faster to write the drum tracks in the notation program than to adapt a Cubase drums midi track.

Dear Erkki,
You can upload files as long as you zip them.
Hope it helps!

Thanks Teacue for practical and detailed advises. I’ll test my score the way you tell.
Thanks Marc Larcher for your hint how to include attachments in the post.