My review: Dorico is easily outdoing the competition!


Is Dorico ready to use? Yes

Any 1.0 tool has kinks to work out, but let’s be fair, Dorico has features no other program does. That alone levels the playing field, but Dorico also has the most intelligent design we’ve ever seen not just for engraving, but any music program on the market. This is my review of why:


This is ingenius. It makes for easily adding and removing instruments mid-project. Compare that to Sibelius and Dorico easily wins that round. But now look at Digital Performer. It’s easily a nightmare of a UI disaster. The one thing it has going for it is Chunks. For the film world that’s huge. I’ve asked many DAWs to add something similar. Well FLOWS actually allow us the very same functionality. That is, multiple sequences in one project. What’s better is that the instrumentation and visibility are cleaner with Dorico. My point here is that one feature gives us great flexibility for engravers and composers alike and ease of use. It adds the “complete functionality” we really need, where all the other tools I can compare are simply doing guesswork and giving us puzzle pieces. To me, that is the hallmark of smart feature design. Dorico feels like the “complete” puzzle in the way it’s design works.


The coded it for modern hardware, from the ground up. How many old-timer can you say that about? None. I know from experience that rebooting software from scratch is one of the best ways to get a better product. And I can see that here, easily.

User-oriented Features

Things like easily Doubling Durations and repeating bars or patterns are the biggest factors in what make an easy tool in my experience. Thing is, Dorico is full of that “easier pattern” philosophy.

3 complaints
(only one is significant and is about to be fixed anyway)

One is that it’s an adjustment to get comfortable with new keyboard shortcuts. Clearly that’s inevitable.

The second is that some bugs exist. I can’t double my durations right now. It’s pretty screwy. But as much as that bothered me I grew up and realized just how many bugs I’ve seen in other programs. That’s the nature of coding. When I look at abilities as a whole, I see a great program here and one I feel more comfortable working in than any other at the moment. That plus the usefulness of the core design, things like Flows and a truly minimal UI, and it’s easy to see that Dorico is a winner today and for the long haul.

The third is that the PLAY tab is incomplete. I’ll admit that I worry this was sold as a great composing tool yet the developers are mostly interested in engraving. But I have to recognize that they are working on giving us those tools fairly soon. I expect once an update comes we’ll have to give feedback, report a bug or two, and they’ll refine it. But this is my only genuine complaint… Waiting for PLAY to get updated to awesome.

Overall Sentiment

Rather than treating it like it’s incomplete, I’m treating it like a Star Wars film coming out next month. Just give it patience and when it comes out, enjoy the best parts of the ride, even if you find a plot hole. It’s easy for us to be critics, but when I look at Dorico, even with a few small bugs and without hyperdrive yet, I still see a ship I want to fly. And it’s already obvious this is better than any other ship in the galaxy.

Congrats on building what we’ve been waiting for all these years, even decades!



I’m only on day two… after 17 years of extensive Finale usage (under grad studies, masters student, edited Finale textbook, wrote other music books, taught Finale in university, dozens of large engraving jobs, guest speaker, etc)… and I’m really excited about where this program is headed.

The ease of use is unexpected. With very little effort, note entry and lyric entry were fast and easy. The automatic results of the music spacing and such exceeded expectations. Articulations and other markings were just as nice.

Long way to go: No doubt. Any v1 program is this way. Self admittedly, the team knows there are lots of “core” notation features that must be added. If the current content is any indication, the addition of features like Chords will be on par or above the industry standards.


Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, Sean. We are working diligently to add more features, both to Play mode and to the rest of the application, and I’m confident that you will be happy with where we’re headed.