Reaching out to our Finale- (and Sibelius-) using friends.

I was a dorico early adopter (gave up on Sibelius as soon as I could since there was no life in it at that time). That said, even though I was Willing & EAGER to learn Dorico, I had a few frustrating moments too.

I distinctly remember working on one document with a bit of a time crunch and spending close to 15 minutes going through all the same menus because I couldn’t for the life of me remember where a setting was that I needed to adjust. Engraving options? Didn’t see it there… I think I went through all the appropriate sub-areas that could have house the feature… didn’t see it in notation options… layout options? I don’t see it… where the heck is it??? Repeat. By the end I was getting terribly frustrated. All of that said, now that my mental map is clear, I fly through most tasks in a way I never did with Sibelius (or certainly finale before that!). Now that I know the settings I need to adjust the most and where to find them (and their respective key commands) it is a breeze. It just took the effort of plowing ahead through that period of frustration.

The trouble with MusicXML is that recognising the words (like pizz or arco) is the trivial bit.

The hard problem is figuring out what they are meant to apply to, because it’s perfectly valid for the MusicXML data just to say “write the text ‘pizz.’ on page 37, 4.93 inches from the top and 2.78 inches from the left margin” completely independent of any instructions to create staves and notes.

It just happens that was the right place to put it, in whatever app created the score, but when Dorico reformats the music, it might not even be on page 37 at all.

In other words, the XML parser really needs a complete copy of all the proprietary code of Finale, Sibelius, and every other app that might have generated MusicXML, just to figure out what it means semantically.

If you are now saying “but that means MusicXML is a pretty poor standard,” you are quite right. To be fair, it was a good standard for doing what it was first intended to do (which was reproduce the appearance of a page of sheet music without taking any account of what it meant) - but that’s not what people are now trying to use it for.

I don’t understand “impossible standard”. Why would anyone move to software that didn’t meet their needs? Having planned to purchase Dorico 3, I eagerly checked the Dorico 3 documentation for the missing fingering “function that I use all the time and is supercritical”. Not finding it, I asked about it on this forum. A senior member responded that it was not there yet. I still plan to do a Dorico 3 30-day trial (I did one for Dorico 2) to be sure I really can’t use Dorico 3.

Not having actually tried Dorico 3 (see my reply above), the following list of Dorico lacks is based on my trial of Dorico 2:

  1. Assigning multiple finger numbers to a single note with the fingering function.
  2. Drawing lines.
  3. Organizing my workspace the way I need to. I have multiple windows open on two monitors as I work and the fixed Dorico setup takes up too much room. I need floating palettes that I can position here and there for functions that I need to access that way.

In addition, since much of what I do follows older engraving norms and features unusual notation and I do so much hand work, Dorico’s AI didn’t save time; in fact, it generally got in my way.

What I have been hoping for from Dorico was greater control than Finale. Time saving is not a big issue. I found greater control in some areas (slurs, ledger lines) but less in others (piano braces). On balance it was a wash. Also, I missed being able to instantly input common markings in the music exactly the way I want them with single key commands from my library. I missed being able to instantly move measures from line to line and systems from page to page with single keystrokes so I could easily compare different layouts. etc.

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This isn’t the case at all. Looking in the XML file I just tried, the pizz directive is included within the measure immediately before the note to which it applies. In fact it’s the same kind of XML node as dynamics - . Subtype is “words” rather than “dynamics”, but their location is fixed by the bounding direction tags.

Lol - You sound like you want to start a conversion therapy group for Finale and Sibelius users!

I have all three installed on my computer. I’ve been a Finale user for 25 years, Sibelius I’m less familiar with and currently my Dorico chops have actually surpassed my Sibelius chops. Here’s the thing… as it stands right now Dorico is an amazing program but there are still certain things, very specific things that have not been implemented yet. If you don’t need those things than Dorico will produce a product that’s just as good if not better than Finale and Sibelius. So in the short term Finale and Sibelius will be essential to copyists simply for the things that Dorico is still catching up on. In the long term… Finale in particular has been around for 30+ years. Think of all the files that exist in the world in Finale format. It’s likely in the MILLIONS or tens of millions of files! Making a simple change to a file is a lot quicker in the program it was created in then converting it through XML and importing into Dorico before making the change. There are also thousands of composers, arrangers, orchestrators etc. that use Finale and Sibelius and have been using them on ongoing projects for years or even decades. They have templates, they know the programs and it takes them seconds to get going on a new chart. It’s not about a mental block and people not WANTING to convert, it’s literally about productivity. IF someone has the time (and I happen to have some time) they could start learning Dorico, but when you’re on a deadline and you’ve got files set up for your project in Finale or Sibelius… you’re gonna do what’s most efficient. It took me several years just to set up my Finale Templates, btw. I’ve started that process in Dorico already but… like I said it takes a while.

Also, think about when you’re working with teams of people. EVERYBODY involved has to use the same program. If you’ve got a composer, an arranger, and orchestrator and 3 copyists on a project and ALL of them know Finale but only 2 of them know Dorico… the project will get done in Finale. It’s just gonna take a long time for Dorico to gain that type of an institutional foothold in the industry and that’s not because Dorico is better or worse than either program, it’s just logistics.

All this being said, I love Dorico - it has the potential to blow both programs out of the water eventually in terms of its flexibility, ease of use and efficiency. But I’m not about to delete Finale off my hard drive any time soon! And aside from that, there’s room for all three programs in the space. Sibelius was designed well after Finale and at the time was heralded as modern and what not and yet here we are still talking about Finale. It’s not an either/or conversation at the end of the day. I have all three and I use all three so… that’s probably the way it’s gonna be. imho

As an early adopter/enthusiast for Dorico, I’m not out to criticize its lacks. I find it fun and gratifying to work with.

But as to important things it lacks, I can mention two important features of a full score of a musical that I prepared for publication 20 years ago in Finale, which cannot as far as I know be achieved in Dorico:

  1. The ability to change the vertical order of 5 doubling reed parts from system to system, so that standard instrument order is preserved when instruments change (Piccolo at the top even if its Reed 4, etc.). The published full score of West Side Story is an example of this procedure.

  2. The creation of a doubling part for a single percussionist, alternating among timpani, mallet percussion, and 5-line drum set.

If either or both of these have become possible in an upgrade, I apologize. I’m not complaining (the score is already finished, I haven’t begun work on the next if there is a next, and my interest at the moment is largely recreational), but describing a situation vis-a-vis other software.

@loff56 makes a very valid point. I guess I can see that XML improvement is maybe more critical than I previously thought.

… and that’s probably why it’s high on the list now!

The question that comes to mind is how much clutter and diverted programming time should the Dorico Team add to Dorico programming in order to program around SIbelius’s (or Finale’s or MuseScore’s. etc.) shortcomings?

It’s clear that different people have different opinions about this.

Many here scream like Apple Fan Boys! What do you want to read here? Everything is great, finale is crap? Who does not think so must be treated? Dorico has his weaknesses and I’m not a finale fanboy. The completely exaggerated self-praise mudd sure times at Dorico put the reality. The audio conversion e.g. in Dorico, straight with Noteperformer is better than in Finale. For this I use currently Dorico.
@MarcLarcher For me, Dorico 1 was disabled on the eLicencer when I installed Dorico 3. Unasked. :open_mouth:

I think improving musicXML (particularly Dorico’s XML output quality) will only ease the (inevitable and ultimate!) transition of those deeply engrained in their competitive programs’ workflows as they move to Dorico. Having the comfort level of working back and forth in the short term - in other words - can only help (just as it’s also helpful to be able to re-program key commands to match what one is used to, as I did for certain things when I first made the switch from Sibelius). Having said that, I already find Dorico’s xml import pretty useful, and convert/tweak things sent from other programs to Dorico using this method all the time, so my hope is more for import/export parity in quality (which I know they’ve already suggested is a priority).

  • D.D.

There are millions of files out there in Finale, Sibelius, and XML formats. Image setting technologies required to get scores and parts on the music stands of performing groups change over time so publishers are going to require the ability to go back to old scores and get it to print (or to portable screens, or whatever) somehow.

They are a long way from being DEAD. Even if all Makemusic and Avid do is keep the printing, and instrument plugin matrix fresh enough to run modern/available versions of printers/instruments/effects, and keep the apps working in the regular OS upgrades pushed by the likes of Microsoft and Apple…people will continue to need and use them (or some kind of super project converter applications).

If keeping it working on modern systems is all the development love those older competing apps get, prices for them are likely to fall somewhat, but unless ‘newer apps’ on the market are really good at ‘importing old’ files with minimal fuss, they are a long way from being DEAD.

None of them are really getting into heavy duty remote location collaborative tools yet. None of them seem ready or willing to dive into the world of virtual course writing and classroom management. None of them offer much help in building an interactive score that’ll compile into a modern Learning Management System [LMS]. I.E. WCAG, SCORM, xAPI, HTML5, AICC, and cmi5.

So…there’s a lot of room for development, and a major NEED for healthy competition among the different development teams.

Maybe someday…scoring apps will start pumping out Lectora like features that’ll let you crank out ready to serve learning modules. Hopefully they will also find intuitive ways to build a bridge for integrating technologies like PyWare.

In short…I would not consider any of them DEAD just yet. If there is a WILL, all of our leading Scoring Apps have endless directions and niche markets they can expand into. Without some competition, it’s less likely to see development in quite a few long neglected areas of music publishing needs.

This is weird. I have Dorico1, 2 and 3 on my mac, and they do work flawlessly (I just checked, because honestly, I thought I had deleted Dorico 1!)
Each Dorico version is a different program, with its own preferences files, etc… I don’t know what could have happened with your Dorico 1 app…

MarcLarcher - I think Robert01 may be talking about the eLicenser license for Dorico 1, not necessarily the program itself. When you upgrade to a new Dorico version the old license is replaced with the new one, that is standard behavior. It shouldn’t prevent using the old version. It has always been the same with Cubase upgrades as well.

If I wanted to built a super converter app, or even a super interactive education app, I wouldn’t bother trying to make it compatible with one of Finale, Sibelius, Notion, Capella, etc.

I would base it on PDFs. They have an infinitely higher probability of still being around in 10 or 20 years than a niche-market software weighed app down with decades of technical debt and owned by a company that hasn’t made a profit for years.

PDFs have an infinitely higher probability of still being around in 10 or 20 years than even MusicXML, come to that!

There is already such an app:

I’ve used it before, with varying degrees of success. It tended to crash or run out of memory with big scores, but they made a big improvement this summer when they rewrote it for 64-bit operation, which most likely would fix those issues I had with big scores. I was going to try the new version and see how it works.

mducharme, you’re probably right. Since this eLicense behavior has never come across my path, I’ve never really cared what it did…

Basically, yes. :slight_smile:

We’re your friends. We wouldn’t have this intervention if we didn’t love you …

we write software that has to interact with quite a few different things, all of which do things differently, and some non-compliant with the published specs.

If you decide to enforce the specs (which is what the IETF want you do to) then people stop using your product, because your competitor doesn’t do this, and your customers can’t get the other vendors to alter their systems.

So hacks and workarounds for known problems in key associated software are common and sensible (within limits, e.g. there have been plenty of security vulnerabilities introduced by workarounds to non-compliant software). The alternative is putting a squeeze on your customers.

I’d love to be able to move to Dorico. Part of that is migrating my existing work. So that puts Sibelius (and others) square on the table when it comes to going a few extra steps to cope with their foibles. Customers just want software vendors to solve their problems, not reflect them back at them.

xml import from Sibelius is very shaky at best. Mine always insert extra notes and rests and then move everything 1/1024th note over. None of this is Dorico’s fault - it has to do with the music xml specs. I would gladly jump ship if there was only a better way to import previous items.