Migrating from Sibelius

Hi Daniel and congrats to you, your team and (hopefully) us users .

Will migrating from Sibelius come easily and in bulk for old scores if one want it? Or will there be hardships regarding one’s old library of scores and the change of scoring work mode?

Looking forward to the switch with some confidence and trust.
Bengt Berger

You’ll be able to bring existing scores from Finale or Sibelius into Dorico by way of MusicXML.

We have worked hard to make the default appearance of projects that start life as MusicXML files as good as we can. Nevertheless, my advice would be to keep finished projects in your existing scoring software, and only bring across projects that are either early enough in the process that reviewing the layout, parts, etc. will not be a big problem, or finished projects that require substantial revision.

I see, I had a small hope that since you all knew Sibelius from the inside out there would be an easy way for us but I realize that it probably would have taken lots and lots of work. This is an eternal problem, versions and platforms. Just have to accept it I guess.

Sorry to disappoint you, Bengt! This issue is addressed in the FAQs on my blog:

Sibelius and Finale use proprietary file formats and reverse-engineering of proprietary file formats is illegal in some countries. In any case, simply being able to read the contents of a Sibelius or Finale file would not be sufficient to be able to import the music contained within, because both applications rely on algorithms and rules contained in the software itself rather than the files saved on disk to work out how to display and format the music in the files. So in order to import music from Sibelius or Finale files, we would have to additionally reverse-engineer many of those algorithms and rules, which is impractical (as well as illegal in some countries). However, our new application will support MusicXML for both import and export, and both Sibelius and Finale have very good support for MusicXML, so that will be the recommended way to transfer data between different programs.

For more, see http://blog.steinberg.net/faq/

For what it’s worth, I recently transferred over 400 scores from Sibelius to MuseScore and was pleasantly surprised at how faithful the MusicXML files were to the originals when transferred. While this is no guarantee of anything, I do not think there is cause for alarm here. Batch export your scores to MusicXML, and when Dorico is here, import them. There will be some work to be done, but I do not anticipate it will be as much as you expect - at least I hope this is the case!

That’s OK Daniel, I don’t keep you personally responsible <:-)
It’s just that migrations consume a lot of time and when you don’t do them, later on when the applications that created them have become obsolete and you suddenly need an old file, you can’t recreate them (e.g. textfiles created in Claris Works). I don’t have much experience with MusicXML, hope it works somewhat smoothly and anyway I have too much confidence in you not to do the jump as soon as its possible.
Bengt B
PS moreover I suppose you will address the Indian notation issues sooner or later. DS

Sibelius has the batch convert option of “Convert Folder Of Scores To MusicXML” so if you at some point need to have an archival copy of all your Sibelius files as MusicXML (say, in a situation you choose to switch computers/upgrade the OS/decide to take all your old stuff to Dorico for further processing), it can be done quite literally with a single push of button.

Thank you for the comforting words ViliRobert and steve_1, glad to hear that it might work well.
Bengt B


how much of a learning curve would there be for a Sibelius user? Does Dorico follow the same conventions or will the UI be substantially different?

The user interface for Dorico is pretty different from both Sibelius and Finale. It’s a completely different program, reimagined from the ground-up, and built entirely from scratch. We have taken the opportunity to go back to first principles and try to really come up with the best and most efficient means of working we can think of, and we have certainly prioritised that over trying to retain compatibility with features or ways of working established in other programs. That said, because we have tried to make the interface simple, consistent, and easy to learn, I hope you will find the learning curve of getting used to Dorico pretty shallow, and pretty short.

How about keystrokes ? Any similarities? .

Philip Rothman (of NYC Music Services) summarized the basic note input keyboard shortcuts in his May article about Dorico: http://www.sibeliusblog.com/news/steinberg-announces-dorico-availability-in-q4-2016/

"Shortcuts are a mix of ergonomic and mnemonic shortcuts. These elements are also contained in the Write mode on the left side of the window:

  • The letters A through G input notes
  • The numbers 1 through 9 specify note duration (e.g., 5 is an eighth note, 6 is a quarter note, 7 is a half note)
  • 0 represents a natural; – is a flat; = is a sharp
  • The most common articulations are placed using the keys \ ‘
  • Tuplets are placed using the semi-colon
  • Grace notes use the slash key
  • Augmentation dots use the period
  • Rests use the comma
  • Q is for chords
  • I is for insert
  • etc."

Also a key thing is that some shortcuts are mode-specific, in particular those involving arrow keys. In Write mode they move notes about (in time, in pitch) but in Engrave mode they change object positions.

A little worried for the international user with completely different keys layouts on different computers …



We intend to set all of the shortcuts appropriately for each keyboard language, so hopefully there won’t be any major problems in this area.

Will it be possible to customise keyboard shortcuts, as in Sibelius? (Really hoping!)

Yes, we’re working on the key commands editor (as it shall be known) at the moment.

Does that include Danish ? - we have special letters on some of the keys…

I’m afraid we will only be looking specifically at keyboard shortcuts in the languages into which we are localising the user interface, which does not include Danish. However, you will be able to edit the key commands to suit your keyboard, so hopefully you won’t be hugely inconvenienced.

I’m afraid we will only be looking specifically at keyboard shortcuts in the languages into which we are localising the user interface

Here in french part of Switzerland we use a qwertz (french-swiss keyboard) with special characters relating to french and german.
over this I always prefer my apps in native english language user interface

I hope accomodation to setups like this will not be too problematic.