The future of the Score Editor

Dear Steinberg,

The Score Editor in Cubase has not been updated for a long time, and I wonder if it will ever be in the future.

Now with the announcement of Dorico, more than ever questions are been raised about the fate of this part of Cubase.

What are your plans about the integration of Dorico into Cubase/Nuendo ?
Is Dorico expected to completely replace the Score Editor over time ?

An official statement about the future of the Score Editor would be more than welcome.


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Over on the new Dorico forum they did suggest some future Cubendo integration. But it was pretty vague and distant sounding as their current focus is on getting the standalone product right. The impression I got is that there are no real plans about any of this since they are fully booked on what’s happening now - but there are aspirations.

Do you really think that for probably more than 4 years, they’ve been investing in such a large project with multiple teams to create a new scoring software, without having any idea where they were headed in regard to the existing one ?

Yeah I do. It’s all speculation of course. But it is informed by having worked along side tech developers in a previous life and seeing how their planning works. And also trying to read between the lines on what the developers are saying. Looking at Daniel’s posts its clear he has a huge list of work for things to be incorporated into the first few versions. Steinberg wouldn’t expend the resources they have to replace Cubase’s Score Editor. That investment only makes sense if they are aiming to become the dominant professional scoring application. That’s job #1. Integration with Cubase only becomes viable once Dorico is an established product - and remember it is entering a market with two very entrenched competitors. A general intention to eventually integrate Dorico into Cubase seems likely, but anything more detailed would be putting the cart before the horse.

Steinberg is unlikely to even hint about integration until they know Dorico is a successful product.

If I were to guess (i.e. make something up) I think it will go down like this.
Dorico gets released and obtains a decent market share.
Several new versions are released with improvements.
A low cost lite version gets released.
After the lite version becomes established it gets integrated into Cubase.

The score editor is my one major frustration with Cubase. I don’t find it usable. I’m forced to do all my scoring in Sibelius, but its main limitation is the difficulty in working with MIDI controller data (it can to a degree.) So, I’m forced with a workable but inefficient and frustrating process of scoring in Sibelius, exporting MIDI to Cubase, and then editing MIDI data in Cubase (example: controller data for EW Orchestral dynamic crossfade patches.)

I don’t at all expect (or need) the editor in Cubase to be anywhere near as sophisticated as Sibelius, but it doesn’t seem to meet even basic needs. Just tried it again this morning (first time in a year or so.) I WANT to be able to use it… glad to learn. It took me a while to figure out how to set the Key Signature (I didn’t see this in the operation manual - searched online and found I needed to enable the Inspector.) Set the time signature to 6/8 and started writing a few measures. A bit clunky but it was OK. Then I needed to insert a quarter note on the 4th eighth note position of the measure. Cubase simply won’t allow it - I can insert it on the 5th eighth note position, but not the fourth. Perhaps there is some setting somewhere that I could tweak, but at that point I’m just too frustrated.

In Sibelius, the work above is highly intuitive and as easy as I can imagine it can be.

For this reason and this reason only I will be looking at Pro Tools, as I understand it has a light Sibelius integration. I simply want to work entirely within a scoring environment when desired, then flip into MIDI editing and/or audio recording when needed - all in the same program.

Absolutely, there is a setting : Quantize.

The Score Editor is probably not as intuitive as the other programs at first sight, but once you know how things work you can work smoothly with it.
It’s a little bit like … Photoshop. This software, is basically not intuitive at all. But when you learn how to work with, you find everything as it should be and logical.

I gave Sibelius and Finale a try (as well as other scoring programs) multiple times in the past, and I always ended up going back to Cubase. Why ?
Mainly because :
1- it is as powerful and professional as the other two
2- The power of Cubase audio engine & MIDI
3- Expression Maps !

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That’s good feedback… OK, I’m going to go back and try working with it a bit more. Will check the Quantize function as you pointed out (I’ve used this occasionally when adjusting drum parts, but the majority of the time all my MIDI is done in Sibelius and I’m just recording audio parts in Cubase.)

N.B. The Maestro is talking about Display Quantize here (i.e. a Score function, not the regular MIDI Quantize :wink: ).

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This is also speculation and opinion, instead of development let’s look at this from the business perspective, as business decisions made in advance drive the development budget and sales planning. I think a companion release as a vst or rewire version ( as an add on to Cubase with a cost or not , I don’t know ) to replace the current score editor makes complete sense.

1 it gives the notation program
a huge built in audience to help capture market share, 2 it would increase Cubase appeal, sales. 3. At the same time The full standalone version could offer more features and go after the leading competitors.

Also the full version looks like a closed system, if this is true it’s of no use to me for mockups or just simply using notation instead of midi to write and play back. 3rd party orchestral libraries blow away stienbergs, and we need a Sibelius approach to send midi out to vst of our choice. Could some one fact check this ?

Regarding Rewire

It will support 3rd party VSTi’s, although only for VST3 and known well behaved VST2 instruments

Some thoughts:

The 2 products (Dorico and the Score editor in Cubase) can live side by side. Avid has done so with Sibeius and Pro Tools.
Perhaps we’ll see something like what it seems Presonus is doing with Notion and Studio One? Last year they added the ability in Notion to exports stems for editing in Studio One. They’re rumored to be creating a true integration between the 2 products.

I do hope the Score Editor continues on and does not fall by the wayside. It is an important part of Cubase for me.


I’m spending some time this weekend with it (and the manual) and will be giving it a serious try. If I may ask you (or anyone kind enough to reply) one general question: do you score drums with it and, if so, how does it work for you?

I can see punting here and just using a standard MIDI view with a drum map, but I’d prefer not to. In Sibelius I went through a tedious process of setting up my own soundsets for BFD and my own custom drum staves. It took way too long and was frustrating, but ultimately I got exactly what I wanted. I can score for every aspect of the drumset in an intuitive way (even high hat articulations, shank vs. tip, etc, etc.)

As others have noted, it will be interesting to see what effect Dorico has on future versions of Cubase. I am relatively happy with the Cubase 8.5 Score Editor; it is fairly reliable and features like the “Make Chord Symbol” function really save time when I am composing. That said, it is clear that score editors are notoriously complicated and do not always present things as we desire so they are constantly evolving. For someone like me who uses Cubase for composing and recording, but doesn’t require it to provide sheet music to an orchestra, Cubase 8.5 strikes a good balance IMHO.


As we now see, with the introduction of this dedicated Scoring in Cubase forum (Thanks to TheMaestro and Michael Michealis) Cubase Score sees continued support and development. :smiley:

(Note also, there have been many feature additions since this topic first was posted in 2016. Rhythmic Notation, Bar Repeat signs, rhythmic grid while editing (see attachment), among (many) others

Just curious…

Was it somebody called Walter or Werner something that was the main Steinberg developer of the Score Editor, for all these years…? Is he still with Steinberg…?

Do you know Steve…?

Michael is, and was, and yes, he still is. Have a look at the new forum- Imagine you got here via a notification vs navigating the forums.

Oh, it was him…! Posting in that other thread… :slight_smile: Nice. Thanks Steve.

Saw the announcement Matthias Quellmann posted about this (new) forum , in the main Cubase pages.

I’ve been using the Cubase score editor for about, well since cubase atari and after that Cubase score came out I guess.
Yep other programs came along, that focussed on some fancy fonts and cleaner layouts. However I still prefer to have the score editor to be part of the DAW, so many workflows and situations I have to deal with and when scoring is applicable, it is usually is an integral part of them. Sometimes scoring serves a quick interactive studio recording process, sometimes a score and its parts are the final product.

With Cubase I’ve created full orchestra scores as well as the parts for classical as well as modern and Jazz music, 1000s of pages. Sometimes with frustation that is (score errors 7 an niners). However, no matter what program I used, scoring in general requires high level of craftsmanship anyways, there’s so much more to it then just placing notes on a staff and printing that out. Most - if not all - the features needed are already present in today’s Cubase’s score editor, sometimes a hard to find or not very user friendly implemented, but in general compliments and respect for the developer that created and maintained this piece of software for such a long time.

Parts and scores that have a clear layout and are well annotated (dynamics, articulations, bows, harp pedals, and so on) being handwritten or created with a scoring editor will make your clients come back for you, because it saves them big time in rehearsal stage, and that’s my main use case.

Wow! Thank you Steve. And thank you for bringing up this thread.
Actually I found the subject intriguing, and when I opened the thread I realized it came from me! :smiley:

Indeed many improvements have been brought to the Score Editor in 4 years, including really huge ones!
But many more very important and essential improvements are needed.

Now that we have a dedicated forum, we’ll go to the bottom of things!

You are warned! There’ll be trouble! :smiling_imp: