MS4 compared to Dorico

You have seen the video where the product owner and head of design for MuseScore spends an hour attacking a competing product

“Giving feedback for free” would be another way to look at it. IMO, there were some valid points in there. And to be fair, he did the same with other products, including MS if I remember correctly.

six months after taking on that job

I don’t remember the timeline, but again, IIRC he “gave feedback” to MS and their reaction was to hire him. Anyway, my impression was that the whole series was motivated by his personal frustration with all the products and was in the works before he worked at MS, but I could be wrong there.


plus he didn’t spend one hour attacking, I rewatched the video and he spends a lot of time as well making compliments and praising Daniel and the team, so I guess some people only deicded to hear and focus on what they wanted rather than seeing the bigger picture and accept criticism (granted a bit was unfair, but most was valid at the time and a tiny bit would still be valid now) ; if there’s clearly a software he attacked it’s Sibelius (and on several videos) and given the tone he had I think he truly had hopes for Dorico to take over. and definitively “quit Sibelius”.
I’d be curious now to see a new take given how far Dorico has progressed since that video (way more than Sib and Finale I think), but now that he’s on MS I guess he has better and more constructive things to do…


Guys… Is it really that hard to stick to a single topic?
This thread is about a concrete feature comparison between two specified music notation poducts.


While Dorico certainly doesn’t make hard to do so, one nice feature of MS4 is the ability to load/change vst instruments directly from the mixer.

Hi @laughreyg,
Well this is more VE Pro inspired way of loading VIs. Dorico follows the DAW way of loading the instruments and especially Cubase. Personally I don’t find the way how the VSTs are loaded in MS4 as an advantage. Just different approach. :slight_smile:

Greetings :slight_smile:

Hi @J.K and @AMazedBrane,

I completely agree with you both! :slight_smile: I’ve watched the video created by Tantacrul on Dorico, and actually I haven’t noticed any attacking against Dorico.
Yes, at the time when the video was created Martin Kaery was already hired by Muse Group, but his video about Dorico was full of constructive “criticism”, with many examples how certain features can be improved in order Dorico to become more flexible and easy to use with lesser time spent on reading the Manual and watching tutorials.
In the video Martin tried to present Dorico mostly from the perspective of a first time user. Some senior Dorico users and Daniel, if I correctly remember, a bit prematurely had said that Tantacrul doesn’t know enough well how to use Dorico. Actually he has a rare talent for a developer, to be able to look even at your own product from the first time user’s point. I also think that the fist time user’s experience is the best meter for workflow design. :slight_smile:
I like Dorico, and how powerful it is, but still I’m thinking that consulting the manual, or watching tutorials is pure waste of time and inspiration, which should be reduced to the minimum.
To me the software should be enough flexible to provide an opportunity to the users to find their own workflow. Especially for people who are using Dorico and DAW applications… It’s not good when the software forces you to spend a lot of time on it’s learning curve.
Sometimes I’m wondering where Dorico could potentially be, if Martin Kaery was hired as part of the team?! :slight_smile:

Best wishes,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:


Tantacrul presented some things in Dorico as not possible to do at all, when in fact they were not possible using the mouse, you had to use the computer keyboard. He presented the program from the perspective of somebody who is allergic to computer keyboards and wants to do everything with the mouse. In Dorico, you cannot do everything with just the mouse. It seems he did not know some of these things he was complaining about could be done with the computer keyboard because he was trying to use the program with only a mouse, which in the case of Dorico is like trying to use it with one hand behind your back.

I also saw a lot of feedback from people who were very interested in Dorico beforehand that Tantacrul’s video made them decide not to get it. I don’t think they watched the whole thing, they just got the sense that he was making fun of it and decided not to buy it. I know several people in person who were planning to move to Dorico before the Tantacrul video and the video made them suddenly unsure of what to do.


Something else that apparently MuseScore is still missing is any sort of support for percussion with multiple instruments on a single stave (except in rare cases where the soundfont or VST instrument has different instruments on different pitches in the same patch, and those happen to correspond with where you want to put them). For example, if you load up temple blocks, you get a staff where every line and space is temple blocks, if you load up suspended cymbals, all lines and spaces are suspended cymbals, and you cannot make “kits”. Even if you don’t care at all about what the playback actually sounds like, this strikes me as extremely limiting for all but the most basic percussion parts. Certainly writing for any piece for solo percussion would be very difficult and frustrating. I don’t remember for certain but I’m pretty sure I could even do this in Finale like 13 years ago.

IIRC Dorico was initially designed so that one could do virtually everything using only the computer keyboard, a good idea if one is trying to work on an airplane.

For the love of all that is holy, can we stop talking about That Video?



The latest and final 2022 podcast from Scoring Notes is well worth a listen. It mentions the incredible functionality and potential of the Dorico Jump Bar and discusses machine learning in notation software. This (AI) may be an area which Muse Score may struggle with?

I would class myself as a “beginner” but am more than happy to pay for Dorico Pro as it provides a solid foundation to build the necessary skills. The best tools are essential if one aims for the stars.


one thing I find sort of sad about lower-quality engraving/music software, is that it often contains defective default settings for different notation elements.

this leads to beginner-users of those packages engraving scores that are less-than-ideal, but being beginners, unaware that what they are in fact doing is “wrong”.

not that it will stop them, but this type of semi-functional software should NEVER refer to itself as “professional level”.

I’m happy that there are inexpensive or free alternatives to the professional software packages. I mean, I use a free and incredibly basic photo-editing app. But then, I wouldn’t submit anything I do with it to a competition or an audition, either.

Michel, you forgot to mention that then, when some of those users switch to a professional level program, they can’t understand why the new program doesn’t work like their old program.


I guess it depends on what DAWs you are familiar with. Pro Tools is used in virtually every recording studio in the world (I think I’ve only been in one that didn’t use it) and it loads VIs directly in the mixer as an Insert.

I just checked and there’s still no one at MuseScore that knows that octave transposing clefs are not used for Tenor Sax, Guitars, Bass, etc. Grrrr!!! I can read concert or transposed sax section writing, it doesn’t really matter, but octave transposing treble clefs mess me up and really slow me down as I have to think about it. Octave transposing treble clefs are only for Tenor voice, not Tenor Sax. So many students just use the defaults here and they are terrible.

1 Like

I used to use MuseScore a lot, usually for piano arrangements, but occasionally for chamber and choral works. I’ve even contributed code in the past, and it’s great to see how far the software has come. I could make a decent looking score in MuseScore 2.0 — that is, with enough manual effort. But eventually, the manual edits got tedious, and the scores I was writing got more complex. While I didn’t need other software, I wanted it because it would improve my workflow. I basically outgrew MuseScore, and so I moved to Dorico.

To start, Dorico offers a lot of nice notational and engraving niceties that would often have to be made manually in other software. In MuseScore, I would have to constantly make horizontal and vertical spacing adjustments (especially with lyrics) to avoid collisions and to make the music look good. I’d also need to change slur and beam angles (especially around grace notes) and manually hide rests, especially in multi-voice contexts. I’d have to constantly check note values and beams against the prevailing meter, and check courtesy accidentals against the notes in the surrounding measures. These are all relatively mechanical adjustments that I believe the software should do for me, as Dorico does — it’s actually kind of hard to get weird-looking notation in Dorico. (Some of these were addressed in recent versions of MuseScore, but not all.)

Scoring is an iterative process, and revisions are a necessary and expected part of that. However, they are generally much more painful to execute in MuseScore than with Dorico. Want to adjust meters or rhythms? Get ready to manually fix a bunch of rests and tied notes. (And I hope you don’t have any tuplets.) Decide you want notes in one voice instead of two? First you must convert the voices to the same rhythm, then move the notes to voice 1, then delete the rests that appear in voice 2. Want to edit a bit of music for Flute 2? Don’t forget to make a corresponding change to the condensed staff and part, and any cues it might be in. Want to change the way a playing technique text looks, like making it italic? You’ll need to change it in every instance in every instrument in the score and every part. Each of these operations takes several times longer in MuseScore than in Dorico. Plugins can help bridge the gap, but it’s annoying to have to run them.

It can be difficult to achieve certain kinds of notation in MuseScore. (Daniel lists quite a few in the first reply on this thread.) Some of these things can be done in a hacky way, such as ossias — you add an extra staff to an instrument, hide it throughout the score, and reveal it where necessary. (It also only works on whole measures.) Another example would be a tuplet spanning two measures — use a double-length measure with a fake barline. (Don’t forget to add a corrective bar number change!) Other notations such as forked unison stems are practically impossible. I mean, I suppose you can add any kind of notation you want by inserting text and graphics (indeed, this is what a user might fallback to with Dorico), but the time and effort to get it to look adequate can be substantial. In contrast, native support for that notation makes entering it fast and effective, and it makes you wonder why you ever bothered with the alternative.

Editing in MuseScore is not without its perils — it’s almost too easy to make certain kinds of edits, and making them inadvertently can lead to a lot of headache later on. You can drag elements around to modify their visible and/or logical position: drag notes up and down to move their pitch, drag dynamics left and right to move their timing and precise placement, etc. Sometimes this can result in accidentally applying spurious overrides to these elements. For example, dragging a note right increases leading for the entire segment (spacing column). This can make it hard to get consistent spacing throughout the score, especially if such edits are made unintentionally. One would be wise to use keyboard commands to make these edits instead, as they have more predictable results. But don’t accidentally press up or down, as this changes the pitch of the notes. And pressing the opposite key does not put it back, as it might result in a different pitch spelling. Dorico adds a bit more friction to make logical changes to the notation, and ensures visual-only adjustments can only be done in Engrave mode.

Playback in MuseScore has always been very finicky. In order to play VSTs, I’d have to run MuseScore through JACK and a VST host. I’m glad that it supports VSTs natively now, but it does not appear to have any kind of expression mapping capability yet. MuseSounds is an interesting development, and the demos sound very good, but it doesn’t seem to be very customizable. (Even NotePerformer offers some influence over the interpretation by way of CC overrides.) Actually, right now, the user cannot exert much influence at all over MuseScore’s playback. (The piano roll in MuseScore 2 used to be horribly buggy, then it was massively improved in version 3, but now it’s gone until they rework it for version 4.) You’d need to export the MIDI to a DAW and make the necessary adjustments to timings, keyswitches, and CCs there. On the other hand, Dorico turns the notation into suitable and tweakable instructions for your VSTs to make a good mockup without needing a separate DAW.

All of this is to say, MuseScore is fantastic for what it is: free, entry-level software. You can do a lot with it, but it might be painful — for both the user and the player. Dorico can do so much more, with a lot less pain.


I agree. If you just let it do its thing, your results —by default—are typically much nicer than any other program, save, perhaps, lilypond.

This is partly what I meant when I said the other day that you can often tell from quite a distance whether or not a score was made in finale, for instance. For good and for ill. But the same goes for Dorico. Assuming the music font hasn’t been changed, there’s a “look” to default Dorico, and it is a very nice look, which means even casual users can produce very handsome scores without much effort.


even tenor voice seems to be more of a historical relic… most modern published scores have stopped using the treble clefs with the little 8ve sign (or the more archaic one that superimposes a C clef with a treble clef).

I think I’ve used the 8va treble clef for tenors in one of my pieces, and quite honestly, when I re-engrave that piece in Dorico I will stick to a regular treble clef.

1 Like

Totally the reason I haven’t replied to any of those posts on this one.

Just to belabor The Video for one more moment: The idea of looking at Dorico from the viewpoint of a first time user, and expecting it to easy/intuitive/a breeze/a walk in the park is just silly. A program that aims (and usually succeeds) at top-level music printing is not going to be a simple plug and play item. I would not walk into a recording studio, go into the booth and criticize why there are so many knobs and faders. I have certainly had my struggles, but learning to use Dorico is just that: learning.
Good things take time. To learn, and develop.