Incomplete MusXML Import From Finale to Dorico

I’ve recently moved from Finale to Dorico Pro 4. I’m attempting to bring much of my Finale files over to Dorico using the MusicXML formats. Unfortunately, when I open the XML files in Dorico, I get a perfect conversion for about 200 bars and then everything, with the exception of dynamics, disappears. This happens on multiple files so there’s either a limitation on the size of files that can be brought over or there’s a setting(s) in Dorico which is limiting. If anyone has advice on what to do about this problem I would be grateful.

Is that a spot where there are either triplets or hidden notes in the Finale file?

If so, delete them before exporting.

Everything disappears. There are triplets throughout the score but they come over in the first 200+/- bars. There are no hidden notes.

I’ve experienced exactly the same error as you did when I converted from Finale to Dorico via XML. In my case, there was always an offending spot in the original score—usually a small one. Once I found and deleted that, it was fine.

Whatever problem spot is in the original, it’s almost certainly at the place where the import breaks down.

Dan - any suggestions for what to look for in order to find the “offending spot(s)” would be appreciated. Thanks for weighing in on this.

The thing to look for is any kind of tuplet in the bar from which no further music appears. Often it’s simplest to just delete the contents of the offending bar, re-export the MusicXML file, and then try importing it again. Re-inputting the odd bar here or there after the import is the price you have to pay, unfortunately.

The error will most likely be a combination of tuplets (probably in multiple voices) that Dorico cannot decipher.
The simple solution is to delete the notes (in Finale) in that bar (add a text note to remind what you did) and manually re-input them in Dorico. (Work on a copy of your Finale file!!). Rinse and repeat as the same problem may be repeated later in the file.

A slightly more convoluted approach is to import your XML first to MuseScore, which I find to be slightly more accommodating than Dorico of XML errors.

In Finale it is too easy to get by with wrong tuplet definitions. Especially as tuplets are excluded from Finale’ internal error checking and because they often appear correct visually. Dbl click their handles and double check they are correctly defined, and your XML will be fine.

My sincere thanks to everyone who commented on this - there were, in fact, several tuplets which, once deleted, allowed the import to come over from beginning to end. Thanks again for your help.

musicXML, to date, is a standard that has had uneven implementation (on both export and import) from many applications. Hopefully it will mature over time.

I think MusicXML as a format is exceptionally mature, but it’s also a very flexible one, and there has also been no strict specification of how things should best be represented in MusicXML until very recently (arguably it still has a way to go in that area), so the problem is not with the MusicXML format itself, but rather with the patchy, inconsistent and opinionated ways in which the 300+ applications that import and export it have chosen to implement it. Dorico is by no means perfect in this regard either, and some of its unique characteristics – like the fact that music isn’t stored strictly in bars – means that it exhibits some unique quirks when handling MusicXML as well.

Thanks, Dan. I’ve had that issue, too, but didn’t think to check my Finale score for problems first. It’s weird; after using Finale exclusively for 20+ years before finding Dorico, when I go back, I feel lost in a strange world🙃

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FWIW, Finale has recently issued an update: v. 27.3 which has an improved ‘Check Regions for Durations’ plugin which no longer overlooks some incomplete or overfilled measures. This will most likely help with XML export and import.

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