Really interesting video which is well worth watching

I would hardly say he shredded the competition, given that he also made a video about how janky MuseScore 3 was, and then was given the opportunity to fix it… and did. And he included a pisstake about MuseScore in the bit which included a pisstake of Dorico, Sibelius and Finale.

As for his design; actually I think he more than most has a history of producing excellent design. His Leland font is superb, if you read his design thoughts about Audacity they make it easier to use and understand, and MuseScore 4 is groundbreaking in terms of open source software.

I’m a big user of open source software. I have bought precisely three pieces of software in my life not counting Windows which came with the computers I have bought. They are Sibelius 6, because it was the best piece of software available at the time (and my Dad taught the Finn brothers Physics and approved of them), Dorico because Sibelius 7/8 was an unintuative disaster area which used icons from the Encarta Encyclopaedia from 1992, and Dorico was much, much better, and DesignaKnit, because it was the only practical solution at the time.

I love things like FreeCad and LibreOffice, but you universally have to put up with nonsense that you wouldn’t have to with proprietary software because it is basically designed by committee.

MuseScore (at least version 4, and to an extent 3.6) looks, feels and acts like a piece of proper high end scoring software - certainly 4 has been much better than Sib 8 or Finale ever since I started playing with the alpha release, and it is free. Utterly, GPL licenced, for ever and ever and ever, free. Can you name even one piece of GPL software which comes even the tiniest bit close to the standard of MuseScore 4? I very much doubt it.

So yeah, I do rate Keary’s design. I’d say him and Daniel’s Making Notes blog are the two most impressive pieces of notation design philosophy I have come across.

Interestingly, the MuseScore forum folks tend not to get snotty about the Dorico team, or call him “Daniel S**tbury” or any other nonsense. Some are annoying in other ways of course, but ad hominem attacks are rarer.


Seems a touch mean to have a go at designers for using other people’s design cues. Afgter all, who designed the Sibelius 7 Ribbon Bar?

Of course we considered these kinds of solutions along the way, but we ruled them out for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the current system is consistent, regardless of the nature of the property being set (whether it’s a simple on/off switch, or a small range of values shown by two or three toggle buttons, or a drop-down menu with more choices, or one or more numeric values of some kind), which means that it’s quick and easy to override any property – and, as I said earlier on, in some cases a single click is all that’s required if the overridden value chosen by default is the one you’re looking for.

Secondly, removing an override becomes harder, and indeed different, for every type of property, so you have to actively parse each individual property when you want to remove it.

Thirdly, this kind of approach doesn’t work well for numeric values. You can’t easily put e.g. Default or even an abbreviation (Def.? And what about every other language that Dorico has to be localised into?) into those controls, and how does the user get back to that state when they want to unset the property? Do they have to type “def” in there? They can’t just clear the value that’s already in there by deleting it because that state is already used to show an inconsistent value for multiple selected items.

And finally, using something like the warning triangle as you suggest that adds visual noise (imagine that in one of the more complex property groups where you have, say, half a dozen or so properties overridden) without providing any interactivity – unless you suggest that the warning triangle could become clickable in order to remove the override, in which case, congratulations, you’ve just invented a much uglier form of the slide switch we already have.

Incidentally, while I know you’ve not put more than a few minutes’ thought into your idea (whereas we spent months working on and refining the Properties panel), and you posit that “some little hieroglyph” should be used rather than advocating strongly for what you mocked up, but a warning triangle is completely the wrong kind of icon for what needs to be communicated here. Why do you need to be warned that you’ve set a property? It’s what the Properties panel is for!

I hope you can see from your thought experiment that this isn’t as straightforward as you might at first think, and that there are good reasons for us ending up with the solution we did.


That’s not what Dan was doing. He was censoring the term “shitposting” and abbreviating, rather than censoring, Martin Keary’s pseudonym.

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Tantacrul is also an entertainer and does really good music related videos on his channel. And he has some serious background, a unique combination; the decision to hire him turned out really well for Muse. I don’t think his critiques are in bad faith. While one can get a lot of help from this forum, when it comes to Tantacrul it always descends into this weird tirade, everybody is mad about that years old video; as if Tantacrul stole everybody’s lunch money back then.
They just want to do better software and make it more useful for where they see it useful as a tool. I don’t think they pitch it as a competitor to Dorico, but want to make it work for their use cases. Education and hobby composition is certainly a big one where they can shine. I like the tighter integration with cloud; this could unlock interesting collaboration features in the future (certainly something interesting as well in the education space).

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My bad - Dan, I apologise and withdraw the ad hominem accusation. I misread/misinterpreted your intention.


OK, thanks for that clarification; it makes more sense now.

Yeah, although as a personal perspective I would be inclined to re-balance the ratio between consistency and friendliness towards the latter. But I appreciate that is just a personal opinion.

So I should jolly well think!

Good question - why do you need to see that these properties have been altered quite so prominently? In Sibelius, you re-coloured things which had been moved or altered - did that reduce or remove the accessibility options?

So… the reason for all this virulence against Martin is that some folks are salty that he dared - in a series of videos about notation software - he dared to criticise Dorico?

Man, I’m glad I’m autistic. Being neurotypical sounds exhausting.

Maybe I’m just too used to the open source model, where folks tend to be a whole lot less defensive about their “favourite” product. Instead, the things they get salty about tend to be “stupid” questions (where “stupid” is defined as “not immediately getting a feature which they understand and therefore assume everybody should”). Accusations of plagiarism are rare because, well, that’s rather the point.


I found the video fascinating. Not least because most of the team look as if their mums pack their lunchboxes…jeez! young eh?

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What annoyed me really about his video was not that he criticized Dorico, but that he gave false information about some key features that I think are an asset to Dorico (namely, everything you can do with the caret, and specifically cut a note anywhere you want). It annoyed so much I still remember what it was. Was it a lie, or an honest mistake from his part? Someone claiming that he’s been using the software for over six months and still doesn’t know this, while being an active developer and a musician… I tend to think it was not an honest mistake.
Most of all the critics he made that were relevant have been taken into account by the Team and the hub was revamped (for the better), so yes, there’s value in real criticism. His point of view was : “look how un-intuitive this piece of software is” — my experience with Dorico has always been “look how much thought has been put behind litterally everything in this very complex software”. There was some serious dishonesty in some parts of that video, that’s why people here react like that.
All in all, I’d say he’s now doing a terrific job with Musescore, and I feel he’s Daniel Spreadbury’s main disciple :wink:


Are people that mad, really? He takes jabs at us and we return them in jest, but I don’t know that anyone here is losing any sleep over it. As Marc said, the first video was misleading, which falls into a different category than criticism. But again, I don’t think anyone here hates Martin. As has already been acknowledged, “a rising tide lifts all boats” and it is nearly a universal truth that competition drives innovation. But I also don’t think it inappropriate for us to point out when he (Martin) gets things wrong; and that doesn’t make us bitter school children for doing so, any more than it makes him evil for observing whatever deficiencies Dorico may have.


Virulence? You haven’t seen it if you think this is that, more like annoyance. Personally I’m tired of Tantacruls stink bombs he sends out into the world. No doubt he thinks he’s doing a service, but as amply demonstrated by this thread, and the many like it where somebody comes in to highlight “See, see what Tantacrul says??” we all waste a bunch of time going over old ground, which I think has been mostly shown to be his opinion.

You’re teaching Grandpa here how to suck eggs … FWIW I started on Linux .56 I believe it was, when we had to get it at the local swap meet on CD ROM (no internet see). Since then I’ve led one major open source project as the lead developer and have contributed to others, and worked professionally in software enginering as a lead architect for 30 years. This rosy picture of FOSS people is far from the truth - it’s the commercial folks that don’t criticize the competition. In the professional world it’s unprofessional to behave that way, and you’d get ripped apart for it.

The FOSS guys are obnoxiously critical and think they can do it all better - ever heard Linus Torvalds? I met him, kind of high on himself but his tirades are legion. In FOSS it’s open hunting season and Martin is a bandleader for it. That’s what gets on my nerves, and now taking a job doing it ‘the right way’ (his way) doesn’t make up for it either.

Anyhow thanks for the retraction - appreciate that.

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Hi all!

I have 3 music notation programs on my Mac–Sibelius, Dorico, and now MuseScore 4. It took me weeks (perhaps months) to learn how to use Sibelius and Dorico. It took me a day to learn how to use MuseScore 4. Obviously, MuseScore 4 doesn’t have all the features of Sibelius and Dorico, but ease of use is definitely a plus in its favor, as well as its price of $0.00. Congratulations to the folks at MuseScore!

However, although I like all 3 notation programs (each has its good points), depending on my mood, I will continue to use Sibelius and Dorico for most things. Why? NOTEPERFORMER! Its great sound and extensive articulation set (especially on Sibelius; take note, Dorico) is still way better than MuseSounds, and using NotePerformer allows me to concentrate on composing, and not fiddling with controllers constantly. If Noteperformer did not run on Dorico, I would probably use Dorico less, in spite of its huge feature set.


What are you referring to here, if I may ask? That one video happened more than 2.5 years ago. He hasn’t done a notation software analysis video since then. He doesn’t do any jabs or is on a crusade. If it’s a problem for Dorico that people might have seen a video from years ago, then there are bigger problems. It’s a tool; one can use multiple (why this we against them framing?) Dorico doesn’t have to be your personality - but a very powerful amazing tool.

A program that you learn in a day and that costs nothing? Haha, …

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Ok public service post to all people who have replied to me, or to whom I have replied:

I am autistic; this means that I am really bad at nuance, both in person but particularly in writing.

For what it’s worth, I am trying to engage with people to understand where they are coming from. I may attempt humour which doesn’t work, or which seems rude, or use hyperbole or flippancy inappropriately.

If I have upset or been rude to anybody, I’m sorry - with a very few exceptions, I didn’t mean to be rude, and the place where I meant to be rude I turn out to have interpreted wrongly.

My position is as follows:

1: there was a video years ago which made some comments about Dorico which I thought were fair enough at the time and haven’t really changed my mind about since (as regards Dorico 1). Maybe I will go back and double check

2: I generally think Dorico is superb, and better financial value than either of the other competitors in terms of minutes of music written Vs time taken to do so.

3: MuseScore 4 is frankly very nearly as good, in that your can produce engraving of similar or equal quality in a similar time, and is infinitely better value than Dorico, by definition

4: Dorico 4 is amazing. I tried Dorico 1 when it was launched, played with it for a while, and went “how much? Ahahaha”. I stayed away for some years after that and was frankly put off until this last summer, when I was bored enough to try it again and was blown away (eventually). I can’t help thinking that it would have been better if Dorico had been launched later, but with everything working and a full feature set, but maybe there were financial pressures to get it out there.

5: you are perfectly entitled to disagree with me. Neither of us has to be wrong. I wish you could do a bit of writing in engrave mode, and move stuff out of the way in write mode (especially galley view), but maybe that would be utterly confusing for you.

6: in general (and this is something which afflicts other forums for other software more than this, but does occasionally pop up here), if you have to explain to a user why a particular UI element is logical, then the UI has failed in one element of its purpose. I remember all of the posts on ahem another forum patiently explaining to thousands of people why they were wrong to hate the new UI trick and thinking “yeah, that’ll work - just tell them they are wrong to not want this feature”


This thread has sort of become about more than one topic! Oh well. On the Properties panel: I’ll be at least one voice strongly in favor of the way it’s been designed, and I have been since Dorico v. 1. Hidden or force-shown accidentals are a fine example: I could manually specify an accidental in a way that is useful now, but once I change something — say I add some new notes, or transpose from sharps to flats — my accidental specifications might “become invisible” because they happen to match the new default. The property switches are indeed non-redundant: they show me that something is going on with this note that I might need to be aware of as I continue composing or editing. The visual feedback of a mainly dark panel with a few bright blue lights helps me immediately pinpoint potential issues. For the way I work, it serves me very, very well.

This directed to no one in particular:

At some point the insistence that some function arbitrarily needs to take one click rather than two seems overblown. If one is at the level of a John Williams or John Powell, one can hire someone else to enter notes into a notation program to save time. If one is not at that level, then perhaps one needs to pay one’s dues to get to that level (if that is one’s goal), and clicking twice instead of once (multiple times if necessary) is not too much to ask. At some point art takes work–and time–and I doubt any of us is so precious that those requirements do not apply to us.

I am quite satisfied with the time Dorico saves me, over Finale, over Professional Composer, and (heaven knows) over hand entering and hand copying.

Thank you, Daniel and Team.


That’s a really interesting take. I don’t share it, because I don’t think it should matter if you are John Williams or a student taking their first steps in composing - I think that the creator of the software should treat both customers as equally important.

I also think that Dorico very much does do that. Look at how many beginner questions on this forum are answered not with an eye roll, or a curt “check the manual”, but with good information, often repeated again and again as each new user finds the same issues. And often by the actual developer.

I have yet to post a question on a forum about, say, my Honda Revere and get an answer from Sochiro Honda*.

*This would have to be via a Ouija board, but you get the analogy


Provided our measuring stick is a fancier one than just “has a consistently designed set of UI controls and a functional icon font”, I think it’s doing a bit of a disservice to some of the absolutely wonderful FOSS tools to put MuseScore up on a pedestal. To name a few:

Blender? GIMP? Scribus? Inkscape? LibreOffice (OK, it is MPL rather than GPL, but…)? VLC? Krita? WordPress?!

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