Showing off Dorico

Hey Gang.

I used Sibelius (in a limited capacity) for years and switched to Dorico around v2. Doing a lot more in Dorico 4 now then I ever had before in any other notation program.

I’m curious, for those of you that know both programs better than I (and Finale for that matter), when asked “why did you switch to Dorico?” Or “ tell me why I should switch?” What do you demo in 5 minutes to show off the “ah-ha” features.

I tend to select a series of notes, hit the dynamics popover and show how typing mppp works. That’s usually worth a “nice!”

Other great quick demos to show off Dorico (other than saying get the demo and try it out)?

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I like showing people the “shorten/lengthen by grid duration” shortcut, to see how Dorico ties notes together intelligently. Also, the sequencer view in the Play window. And the Rite of Spring for condensing, divisi, and NotePerformer playback.


I switched because:

  • At the time it seemed like Sibelius was going to die (arguably, little has happened development-wise lo these many years…)
  • dorico has true open meter support which makes projects like plainchant transcriptions an absolute pleasure
  • engraving. Need I say more?
  • multi voice work is such a breeze, and you aren’t limited to only four voices on a stave. I distinctly remember one of the earlier development diaries where Daniel shared some examples of Bach and it was beautiful, right out of the box
  • Dorico’s default presentation without any intervention stands, on the whole, head and shoulders above any other program save, perhaps, lilypond.

Still one of the most impressive and unique things is Flows and Flow Headings. I can create an opera, with each aria and recit nicely titled, with each one starting on the same page that the previous one ends; and all the instrumental parts with titles and tacets – almost automatically!

Coming from Finale, the first things that impressed me were everything I didn’t have to do by hand. Notes in different voices avoiding each other? Vertical justification? Witchcraft!

Even something as simple as adding a fermata, and having it on all staves in one go – was revolutionary.

Figured Bass implementation is also head and shoulders above anything.


I’ve switched to Dorico4 because of all that it can do easily and well. I’ve owned Dorico since version 1 and have bought each upgrade as it was released but finally with version 4 I have made a strong effort to learn the program and I find that I am getting better printed results faster and am enjoying the process more than I did with Sibelius, which I enjoyed using far more than Finale. I find the practically limitless adjustments which are possible give me the most complete control over the notation of all notation programs I have tried so far (that includes Music Printer Plus, Dr. T’s, Finale, Sibelius, Encore, MuseScore, Graphire Music Press, Notion, and many others I’ve forgotten about. I also find the default settings in Dorico to be the most musically appropriate compared to other notation programs’ default settings so that it’s possible to get fast output that looks elegant with relatively little effort. My notation software history goes something like this: I used Finale starting with version 3.5 and used it for about 10 years before starting to work with Sibelius, which I quickly switched to for starting any new projects. It’s been about 10 years that I’ve been working with Sibelius before making this switch to Dorico.
Advice to anybody thinking about switching to Dorico from any other notation program: do NOT try to translate actions from another program into actions in Dorico – learn it as a brand new program! Download, read and follow the great First Steps tutorial (even though it was developed for version 3.5 it works great with version 4!). Start with small simple unimportant projects in Dorico like transcribing easy piano pieces from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach or a Clementi Sonatina, then work up to a string trio or quartet (something simple like an early Haydn piece or a Corelli Trio Sonata) then something involving lyrics like a Christmas carol or folk song. And read every post in this forum even if you don’t think it will pertain to you – many replies contain hidden gems that help to understand the program better.


I love having the ability to have all versions of a piece in one notation project. For instance, I recently composed a choral work for choir/orchestra; Choir, Piano, & String Quartet; and the basic Choir/piano. When I used Sibelius, I would have to have three versions of the piece which was an editing nightmare! If I made a change to the choral parts in one version, I would have to remember to make those same changes to the other versions of the piece. Not the case with Dorico! The changes appear is all versions! Love, love, love Dorico!


I like to show how the rhythmic notation changes when the same durations are placed in different places in the bar. For example: 4/4 meter, dotted half note tied to an eighth, another eighth follows. In many other programs, if I paste that one eighth note later in the bar (the and of 1), I will have the same notation, just shifted over half a beat. In no world does a dotted half begin on an upbeat - Dorico, by treating durations, rewrites things correctly. Well, 99% of the time - but it is fantastic


Thanks everyone. I appreciate your insights. I have always held that we learn as much if not more by teaching. I like to show off Dorico as it reinforces what I know and also gives me an opportunity.

Keep 'em coming folks. :slight_smile:

The ease of setting up, saving and editing a custom microtonal scale - even with the quirky use of sharps, flats, double sharps and double flats in 31-TET. Then the fact it plays back perfectly to the built-in VST3 instrument. This was my first day with Dorico 4 Pro, and it means I can throw away some custom code I wrote some years back to do this kind of thing (actually it was 19-TET) across a piano roll system and in conventional music notation.


Welcome to the forum, Andrew. I’m really pleased to hear you’ve had a good first day with Dorico!

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