Unexpected positive feedback on output

I conducted an orchestra concert last Saturday for which half of the material was produced with Dorico. I received completely unsolicited positive comments from two musicians about the quality and legibility of the output. They play my material frequently and actually noticed the change. I try to maintain very high standards in producing my material, so my Sibelius output was already very much appreciated. To have two people come up to me after the dress rehearsal to express their views on printed parts and assert that they preferred these more recent ones was a lovely surprise I thought I should share with the team!

That is really great to hear, Claude. Thanks very much for taking the time to share this with us.

I’d like to add that I had exactly the same response. I did a concert on Saturday that I write the music for every year and this year was 100% Dorico instead of Sibelius. The improvement in quality of the printed music was mentioned on several occasions by the players and conductor.

Claude, Davetoria,

To what specifically do you attribute the fact that the change to Dorico was so obvious and welcome to your players?


In interpreting these two people’s comments, I would venture to say that they liked the “blackness” of the Bravura font and the spacing, especially spacing and positioning when there were faster values with lots of accidentals. One musician was a violinist and she felt the accidentals were easier to read. The principal trumpet is a Sibelius user, so he came to me with a lot of questions about Dorico after noticing that the output looked different. He really enjoyed the legibility of it. He’s a professor at University of Lethbridge, I think he will buy Dorico after I told him about the layout possibilities and the use of flows. These things are useful to music educators because of the handouts they need to produce.

The relatively tight note spacing might also be a factor. If you look at 19th century hand-engraved notation, it can be amazing how much music they get on each page compared with Sibelius or Finale.

FWIW Lilypond has always had “blacker” fonts and tighter spacing than Sibelius and Finale - the default spacing in Finale in particular is much too wide IMO.

I agree about the heaviness of the Bravura glyphs and the tight spacing. Another factor over Finale & Sibelius default settings is that the line widths are generally heavier to go with the font. Even the staff lines, which I would not have guessed would aid legibility until I was actually reading it.

While I agree that Dorico has excellent spacing algorithms and font glyphs, I feel the need to point out that I have never been restrained in putting as much music as I wish onto a single page of music in either Sibelius or Finale. I have recreated exactly the page layout of many different 19th century published musical works, using both Finale and Sibelius over the years and they’ve been very legible. In particular, Sibelius’s “Make Into Page” single click after selecting all the measures I want on a page, followed by the “reset music spacing” function works very nicely.

This weekend I will be attempting to do the same with Dorico – so far have just been experimenting with it, trying out solutions that people have posted to problems they’ve run into. But I have to transpose the Db Piccolo and the Eb horn parts to an early 20th century hand-engraved concert band work (Espana Rhapsodie, arranged by V. F. Safranek). I will be very eager to see how close I can come using Dorico.

I am very encouraged by the reactions that Claude and Davetoria have received from musicians playing from their Dorico-produced music!

Dorico’s equivalent to Sibelius’ “Make into Page” is called “Make into Frame”. It works perfectly well and there is no need to “reset music spacing”…
I wish you will succeed with your work this weekend, and do not fear to ask around here if you have questions !

Thanks for the follow up. This is all good news. I cant say that I have always been able to match 19th century layouts in Sibelius, and movements like Beethoven Scherzi have always had to be cast off by hand. One thing that modern music notation programs are reluctant to do is to allow overlaps of elements. These were amazingly common in the days of hand engraving, and the result was usually quite musical and not at all difficult to read. I have not yet encountered a difficult case with Dorico, but when I do I look forward to seeing what it does!


For a quick sample of good overlapping, David, try a big, dense chord with accidentals on every note!