Suggestions for the Dorico team for film scoring projects


I’ve just used Dorico for the first time on film project where 45 odd cues coming from a DAW via midi to Dorico need to be scored in about 10 days. Below is a list of things that I’d love to see developed to make my workflow faster and more streamlined.

Just to say, I’ve found Dorico be great in almost all areas and I’ll now be using it as my preferred software when possible so these are not complaints, just helpful suggestions I hope made with the best intentions.

Sorry if there are already threads on some of these. Sometimes I know there are threads but there is no fix so I’m making it clear that it would be really good to change, for me anyway … :wink:

Adding dynamics to the start or end of long notes

I do this a lot in the course of a film score, adding hairpins over one or two bars etc. I wish there was a way to quickly select the couple of bars at the beginning or end of the long note to do this, like with bar select in Sibelius. It would cut my time down a lot!

Playback / sounds etc.

I don’t need Dorico to sound good, I need sounds that are very easy to hear for proofreading (listening!) like the General Midi I’ve been using in Sibelius (mac) over the last 20 years.

I also find Dorico sounds too heavy and slow when deleting adding instruments etc, changing voices etc. So I’ve taken to turning off the playback to make this quicker. It’s not a great solution.

Please integrate General midi playback if poss.

String Divisi …

Strings divisi in Dorico is great and I understand its logic if you are an engraver with time on your hands. But when you are scoring lots of music in a short amount of time it runs into problems. Some of them potentially quite serious.

The biggest being music can disappear for scores or parts if you are not careful (divisi changes in the middle of systems when the music doesn’t appear until the next system as mentioned on another thread). I work in gallery mode and don’t want to have to worry about music disappearing. I just want to close gallery mode, check the score looks ok and send it to the copyist without fear of error. For me music should only disappear from a score if it’s intended.

Secondly, I wish divisi staves with no music on them would hide automatically like any other stave, I don’t want to through the score hiding for example the g.a. if there is a big solo violin part and no tutti. It takes time and also you have the other problem that when you hide the stave you can make the error of not un-hiding it when the music comes back in, the same problem as before. Please, music should never disappear unintentionally.

Thirdly. I’d like a lot more control over what appears above the divisi stave, 1 - 2 etc and what appears on the left of the pages. Two different options would be good so they can be independent of one another. Also I would like an option for the unison to not have the text unison.

Performance indications.

I often write, sul tasto, very light bow, very little vib. I can’t make a performance indication with that stacked, would like to. Also the order of stacking of single line indications should happen with the order you input them, that would be great.

Group names

When groups go down to one stave I no longer have a group name but a number, that’s not great.


I tend to work at 100% as I find it gives me the best overview and detail at the same time. I don’t have time to zoom in and out all the time. But selecting single objects (one note in a chords etc) is a real pain at this zoom. Please make the selecting more specific.

String harmonics

The diamond for string harmonics should not change style when semibreve as default please. I don’t see the reasoning. It’s just confusing.

String harmonics for speed of workflow

When adding artificial harmonics please make the default partial 4.

99.99% of the time it’s 4 … In a score with a lot of harmonics, that a lot of time saved

(Just to say, string harmonic input is a million times better than sibelius.)

Transposing parts

Parts should be by default transposing, I don’t see when they are not. When you have little time it’s one of those things that starts to worry you :wink:

Dynamics too attached

I don’t a lot copy/paste/change for dynamics, but if I change one mf-mp etc, it changes the rest. I understand the logic and sometimes it’s useful, but when I’m working fast I don’t want to have to worry that I’ve just changed the dynamic of a flute part that I can’t see whilst working on a cello part which had a dynamic copied from the flute and then I forgot it was copied. Is there a way to turn that function off?

Standardised text size

String divisi text, alt X text, and performance indications should all be the same size as default. I don’t see why the string div. text is so small.

Hiding text in parts

The hide and show in score or parts like in Sibelius would be a very nice feature and save time.

Key sigs and midi import problem with accidentals

When importing from for example logic the midi file will come as default in C major (if no key sig was assigned) So Dorico adds C major, fine. But also all the accidentals in the score dissapear. I tried to correct this by changing to atonal but that didn’t work. Deleting the key sig property completely brought back the accidentals. I just find this a little worry even if it’s easily fixed. The accidentals shouldn’t really dissapear ever, unless desired …

Bass flute playback doesn’t work below G (alto flute G)

As it says …

I when I have a accel. (etc) from midi I have 100 tempo changes to delete before adding in an accel. line, how do I select them all at once seeing as they disappear off the top of the page.

Part spacing not perfect

I know this is a big subject and you can edit to your hearts content in edit mode if you have the time but I find the spacing of bars in a parts to be sometimes great and sometimes wanting. I just want the default to be great all the time. :wink: Or at least not putting two bars on the last system etc. Sorry if there are lots of automatic fixes for this but I haven’t had time to research yet.

Playback of pizz. canceled by performance div. marking

Player creation speed of workflow

I have a template with all my instruments set up for a project, all great.
But when I need for example the string section to overdub itself I create a new string section. I’d love an option in the creation of new instruments where you can proper-gate the the layout from another layout at this stage. It would save time and stop me forgetting!


I think that’s it for now. Thanks for all the hard work creating Dorico, it’s really amazing and getting better all the time, I’m definitely converted. I find now that I’m getting up to speed it’s fundamentally better on all fronts and definitely faster to work with in general.


Oh, and I’d love players not to disappear when they are hidden and the file closed and re-opened as mentioned before.

My workaround of having two flows with one hidden in the layouts but works well but it adds time to my workflow.

Thanks for outlining your thoughts here, Ben, it’s always helpful to get this sort of feedback. Just in case there are some existing options that might improve some of these in Dorico as it stands now, I’ll drop some links etc below.

You’re probably aware of this, but you can use a dedicated tucking index for playing techniques to determine their order when multiple playing techniques overlap / exist at the same position.

Assuming you mean player group labels – when there’s insufficient vertical space to show the full group name, the abbreviated group name is used. Provided you renamed the group using this method, you will have had the opportunity to set whatever abbreviated group name you want.

You can edit the corresponding notehead set (i.e. remove the whole note notehead, and tell the remaining one used for minims to be used for all durations longer than a minim) and save as default, so that’s how it’s setup for all your future projects.

This has definitely come up before, so the team’s aware.

Part layouts are indeed transposing by default – have you perhaps edited your default layout options for parts, but using a part that was also set to be concert pitch? You can use the Library Manager to compare a fresh project to your user library vs the factory library to check for differences.

If multiple dynamics are changing when you edit one, then they are linked. (linked = vertical, grouped = horizontal) There’s a preference for whether Dorico should auto-link dynamics and slurs when copying/pasting, which you can turn off.

You can change the font size of all text-y things in Edit Font Styles and Paragraph Styles, depending on the thing (text-based notations are generally font styles, everything else is a paragraph style). Save your changes as default using the star to think about or change them never again :slight_smile: Text items can use any paragraph style, and indeed you can set up custom key commands for adding staff-/system-attached text with a default paragraph style auto-selected.

There is a key command for “hide/show item” that applies to a select selection of items (see the note at the end of that page).

Could you share a simple example that demonstrates this, ideally with the MIDI file as well as the resulting Dorico project? It could be a combination of options affecting this but it could well be of use to the team to take a look.

You could make a marquee selection around the points in the Tempo track in Play mode/the key editor?

Examples would be useful! Two quick places to go:

This chapter in the First Steps guide demonstrates taking a 4-page piano piece down onto 2 pages with no manual intervention, just amending settings.

There’s also this setting for whether a short final system justifies horizontally.

This will be due to an incompatibility of the associated playback techniques for the two playing techniques (i.e. if the “div.” playing technique uses an ord./“arco” playback technique, that is probably in a mutual exclusion group with “pizz.”, because a string player can’t play pizz and arco simultaneously).

Perhaps this would make more sense philosophically as a potential option when duplicating existing players, rather than adding an entirely new section?


A few more tips:

You can use the caret to enter dynamics and other markings at any rhythmic positions – even within tied notes. See the User Guide for details.

You can unlink dynamics after they are entered if you want. Alternatively, you can turn off linking of copied dynamics by default in Prefs > Note Input and Editing.

Obviously what you describe there should not happen. But you’ll have to provide a sample file where this happened for anyone to diagnose the problem.

You can select one and then Edit > Select More.

Thanks Lillie and Mark,

I really appreciate you taking the time to reply, especially to the ones with simple fixes (often the case in Dorico I’ve found!). I’ve done a lot of research to find answers to many questions but it’s hard to find them all!

I’ll work through those this week and see how I get on. And send my keg sig. file.

@Mark, thanks, yes I’ve been putting those dynamics in with the caret, or copy and pasting to a caret position but it’s time consuming to do in relation to just selecting a bar etc. and when you have to do it a lot it becomes a pain so I’d love a bar select option … :wink:

For keg sig problem I’ve found that if I close the file and open it again the accidentals come back, still worrying though, for accidentals to disappear. It occurs only when I import a midi file into my template, not if I open a midi file directly.

So here is - my project template - a midi file - screen grab of result.

Can you see if opening the template file and then importing the midi file gives you the same result as the screen grab attached! The Ds and As should be Db and Ab but they disappear unless I delete the C major key sig. I think in this test turning it to Atonal seems to work but I’ve had other files where that didn’t work so I just deleted it to get the accidentals back.

Thanks, Ben

keg sig problem DORICO TEMPLATE.dorico (659.0 KB)
key sig problem MIDI.mid (8.3 KB)

When I import that midi into that Dorico project the flats appear for me with no further action. MacOS 10.14 Mojave, Dorico 4.0.31.

Have you seen any similar problem with accidentals not appearing elsewhere?

Your thoughtful, detailed response to this multitude of issues is a perfect example of the awesome support you at Dorico provide us users.
As if Dorico weren’t awesome enough, your support alone is worth using it. Outstanding!

Thank you.


Thanks Mark, oh well perhaps I’ll try upgrading to 4.3 from 4.2 and see. I’m also on mac 12.1 on an M1 chip, could be that! Will let you know if it’s the 4.3 upgrade …

Couldn’t agree more …

Still the same effect with 4.0.3 …