What were you thinking?

I have followed the development of this product with great anticipation, and I was stunned to learn that it lacks many of the features that have been commonplace in Finale and Sibelius for two decades. The only way this product is viable is if it is better than Finale and Sibelius, and asking people to pay $550 for a yet undeveloped product is just banditry. Doric should have stayed in the lab for another three years.

While I agree that Dorico is not really ready to compete with Sibelius, Finale, and Notion, due to some of the features it lacks, I disagree that it should not have been released.

As it was explained in another thread by Daniel, music notation and it’s needs, sort of fall on a bell curve. Almost all music needs a staff, almost all music needs time signatures, key signatures, pitches, rhythm, etc. (the larger part of the bell curve), as move to the ends, that is where you find some of the other things. Not everyone needs chord diagrams, not everyone needs guitar tab, not everyone needs gregorian chant notation, not everyone needs whatever. A such, Dorico has done a great job so far of tackling the middle part of that bell curve. Getting almost everything that the bulk of music notation requires. I am finding it quite easy to put in an orchestral score, or a Beethoven Piano Sonata. Sure, my drum set parts for the drum set educational book I am engraving id suffering majorly, but not the main parts of basic music notation. As it was stated, things will come with updates.

The other part of this equation is cost. Steinberg has already “taken a loss” on this project for almost 4 years. To try and recoup the cost would be a very natural tendency. I don’t see anything wrong with what they have done. Features were listed and what would and would not be available in the very first public release. As someone who has begun using the software daily, I am seeing a better work flow, and I am seeing things that are truly amazing. Yes it has its bugs, and yes it has some key features missing. But all in all, I am seeing a program that once it has had a chance to begin moving forward, will be the notation software that will more than compete with Finale and Sibelius.

I have been using Finale for more than 2 decades (23+ years), and I can already tell you, compared to Finale version 2.2 there is plenty that Dorico does, that Finale did not do back then. There are something Finale 2.2 did that Dorico does not do, such as repeat endings. But in due course, Dorico will have those things. I am sure 1 more year, maybe 2, Dorico will be a force to be reckoned with.


Reading the topic, just for a second I thought you were talking about the US elections …

Back on topic, I strongly disagree with you on Dorico being prematurely released. I don’t want to get into the money side of things of recouping costs etc., that’s none of my business.

For me, I have huge trust and confidence in Daniel and his team. If he says it’s good enough to be released, then it’s good enough for me. I’ve been closely following his blogs for past couple of years, and I love the way Dorico is going. Right now, it’s not quite there yet; and I have a learning curve, but it’s worth every dollar and minute I spend on it.

I reprint a reply I offered in a similar thread to this, and apologize for those who’ve seen it already;

Re: Dorico important Lacks

Postby Bob Morabito » Mon Nov 14, 2016 10:37 pm

But I think that the right would be steinberg wait to have all the basic features to get to the level of a sibelius or even the Notion and release that after finished.

Dorico is brand new…I feel that to expect the first version of this completely new program (which is roughly only 4 years old, and just released) to have a comparable feature set to either Sib (first released in April 1993, so is 23 yrs old) or Fin (released 1988, which is 28 yrs old) old is really not very realistic.

Or fair.

(and in fact development of Sibelius was started in 1986, so its actually 30 yrs old. It was released in 1993)

And I believe Notion was initially released in 2005–so its been around at least 11-12 years.

Daniel and team and Steinberg have been COMPLETELY honest and open, many times about Dorico and what it would and wouldn’t contain in its initial release, and the first update is scheduled to be released at the end of this month (November).

So please give it a chance, and Im sure you’ll be MORE than happy you did:)

Thanks Bob

PS You also wrote:

I have followed the development of this product with great anticipation, and I was stunned to learn that it lacks many of the features that have been commonplace in Finale and Sibelius for two decades.

Im sorry I dont understand–if youve “followed the development of this product with great anticipation” I dont understand how you could have been stunned by the “lack of many features” when what was to be included in the first release of Dorico has been discussed and explained OVER and over by Daniel and team, and Steinberg have been exemplary in being completely honest about everything.

The first update is due out the end of November–hang in there, with Dorico,and I honestly believe you WONT be sorry :slight_smile:

Thanks Bob

I started using Sibelius with version 2. I quickly discovered several issues that made it somewhere between “usable with a lot of tedious work rounds” and “frankly, not useable at all for what I wanted to do”. The most serious one amounts to “in a situation that is very common in some forms of music notation, Sibelius can’t even display the correct accidentals in the score corresponding to the way it plays back!!!”

So far as I can tell, NONE of those issues have ever been fixed in Sibelius version 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.

On the other hand, they are all fixed already in Dorico.

Which program is “better” depends on your personal definition of “better”.

As I recall, many were clamoring for Steinberg to release Dorico. People were falling all over themselves to be beta testers. I am ecstatic that Dorico released when it did. It gives me a chance to learn to use the program while features are added, and the Development Team was clear what would and would not be included in the first release.

I recall the original release of Finale (at $1000). It was so arcane that I went back to MOTU’s Professional Composer for a while. Finally I decided that if I could learn to use Finale well enough to replicate what I could do in Professional Composer, then I could use Finale while I learned more of its many (still arcane) in’s and out’s.

So recalling the learning curve for the original Finale, I am glad to get in on the ground floor with Dorico: to learn what I can from the Forum and help files while I wait for a more comprehensive manual, percussion (incl. drum set) notation, chords, first & second endings, and improvements in efficiency and in a few cases reliability.

If you paid for a copy, go ahead and complain: no one is forcing me to read every word of what you say, but I’ve seen some worthwhile suggestions that I’m sure the Development Team has too. I’m not crazy about folks who seem to be threatening not to buy the program unless Dorico does “X,” but perhaps that is just a less than optimal expression of what is meant as a productive suggestion. The only thing that does irk me is (the very few times) when people question the motives of those working on the program. Unless one is a mind reader, that is just tacky.

I’m not crazy about folks who seem to be threatening not to buy the program unless Dorico does “X,” but perhaps that is just a less than optimal expression of what is meant as a productive suggestion.

Well, being such a guy I feel the need to answer :wink:

In my case this stems from a deep disappointment: I really love the new concepts. And I really (really!) would like to use this new shiny piece of software which seems able to cut down the time I need to reformat each and every player’s part to a minimum. But for example not being able to write repeat endings is a show-stopper to me, as I live in a wind band world where every march has those endings.
That’s why I’m being a bit harsh here from time to time: There it is, this new little toy I’d like to play with, but I can’t have it.

Imagine that Dorico were not a piece of software, but a motor car that has just come on the market. And let’s say that the lights can only be turned on and off from inside the engine compartment. Functionality is there, but convenience is not. Furthermore, there are no turn signals, so one has to stick one’s arm out of the window before turning left or right. Some early adopters complain about this and the answer is that there were too many other things to incorporate before launching the vehicles on the market, that the lack of functionality will be remedied in a month’s time, and that implementation will be better than it might have been had it been rushed. I think this might not make immediate friends for the new model of car and might even affect sales permanently, but other customers would point out that this is an exciting new car and that it took years before other models reached their present state of perfection – that with earlier vehicles it was necessary to get out and crank the engine before driving off, and that it took years before the self-starter was incorporated in all new cars. Some of the complainers would feel deceived by their expectations and would vent their frustrations – and the more aggrieved of them might demand a refund.

The model for software is different: the product is announced and claims are made for its ability to blow all competitors out of the water. Then v. 1.0 appears and, when it lacks features that have been available on its competitors for years, the excuse is made (not by the manufacturer, who made this clear up front, but by some of its customers) that the competition has had a head start of more than 20 years, and that one should be patient and wait for a free upgrade, or two. This is the difference between hardware and software today. It must also be pointed out that some software continues to lack features and continues to contain specific bugs, even though it has been upgraded several times, because the manufacturer was more interested in adding new features (and bugs) than in fixing the original bugs and problems – that dont affect its entire user base anyway. This also seems part of the model, and one that also alienates many users.

Now, none of the above is meant to be an attack on the people who are busy building Dorico, and certainly not on our long-suffering and hardworking contact to the team: Daniel. But, like it or not, and I dont, it is a common description of the business model for software. No doubt it was commercial pressure that predetermined the date of the launch of v.1 of Dorico, and no doubt Daniel and his team would rather have waited a year and have avoided the criticisms of lack of functionality. I and many others would also have been happier had it been possible to move directly to Dorico as a direct substitute for the other piece of software that I will not name. I dont buy a new piece of hardware without the expectation that it will replace what I previously used for the same task. But but this is not the way it works for software in the 21st century. We can regret this, and personally I do get a little fed up with having to be a guinea pig for new software in general. But I am even more irritated when my bank (a major international organisation with much more capital and many more customers than Steinberg) “improves” its online banking site and in the process makes it not work with Firefox, such that months later I still have to remember to use Chrome for this one website. In the same way one still cannot play surround audio files on a website with HTML5 using many popular browsers, and EMACS is still the best text editing software.

But life is short, folks! We live in a digital world that has been in transition for over a quarter of a century, Daniel and his team are doing a great job, and we are privileged to be allowed to influence the development of a world class piece of musical software.

The glass is more than half full!


David, you made me smile :wink:

And although I do not necessarily agree with all of your points, you certainly got me to be more patient with Dorico in general.

I really hope that when the first update comes out not only will most of the major issues be tackled, but there will be a roadmap on what to expect to come during free updates in the near future.

Yes, the glass is more than half full.

Maybe a lower price for the less mature versions would’ve eased these problems, kind of like how games can have cheaper Early Access releases for those interested.

In general, managing expectations better would help Steinberg a lot to prevent unhappy users. At least communication during development was top notch with the blog, that is a good step forward.

I’m getting a little sick of seeing these threads… every single one is the same.

  1. It has only had 4 years of development as opposed to Sibelius’ 23 and Finale’s 28. Assuming the Dorico team works at about the pace as the others (a ridiculous assumption but whatever), it should technically take them just as long to get to where Sibelius and Finale are currently. Of course I’m very confident that they will get there in less time but still, let’s be reasonable.

  2. There has been a MASSIVE wealth of information regarding the EXACT state of Dorico currently. The team themselves have made it generously clear in the product page (good luck getting most companies to list missing features), and these forums are full of lists and rants, not to mention professional and amateur reviews. If you walked into your purchase blindly, I can’t feel too much sympathy for you because you should probably do research before putting down $200-$600 dollars. On the other hand, if you knew in advance what it would be like, then why complain?

  3. Assuming clear communication (which they’ve been great at), it’s literally a better thing for us that we get it now rather than later. Even if development continued EXACTLY THE SAME as if they hadn’t released it earlier, we still then get to jump in on it sooner and I know countless people including me are happy about that. But will actually speed up the development time because now they’re really finding out what’s buggy, what quirks need to be fixed, and what features people want the most.

  4. What’s your definition of an undeveloped product? I would imagine it’s something like “it’s developed if it does everything that I need it to do”. But everybody has different needs. Dorico is currently serving about 95% of my needs. It also provides things that Finale and Sibelius flat-out DON’T provide. Maybe they should be running to catch up with a 4-year-old piece of software that’s doing things they’ve never done?

The only way this product is viable is if it is better than Finale and Sibelius,

Sorry but this is the money quote to me. First of all, it’s viable if enough people purchase it to support development. Maybe additionally you could say it’s viable if it gets generally positive feedback. It has nothing to do with Finale and Sibelius. Second, you’re judging whether or not its better based on what, a strict count of the number of features? There’s certainly other ways to evaluate it though.

For me personally, Dorico not only competes with finale and Sibelius but it’s actually better. I’ve detailed this before but it’s more stable, the workflow is faster, and the algorithms are good enough that they handle a whole part of my old workflow that took hours (just visually aligning everything, especially with parts). The software is faster than Finale and is only going to get faster. And of course they will add features as quickly as they can.

I’m sorry for my antagonistic tone, I’m just tired of seeing this over and over again. And I know, the solution would be to not click on the threads… but I can’t help it!! :confused:

Sure, I’d have preferred that Dorico version 1.0 would have everything I could possibly wish for, and it doesn’t, yet, but to be fair, I don’t see how Steinberg could have managed people’s expectations any more than they did. How can Steinberg be blamed when they publish a detailed list of what NOT to expect in Dorico version 1.0 and, after it’s released, a large number of people nevertheless complain about those missing features? Really, come on! And, as amusing as david-p’s post is, the simile with the motor car would only apply if the manufacturer had neglected to mention having to turn on the lights from inside the engine compartment, or having to signal using one’s arms, and Steinberg certainly can’t be accused of this.

While I appreciate David’s points, I have to laugh a bit at the car analogy, which I have heard a number of times now. The car, of course, would cost about 100 times what folks paid for the cross-grade price. I assume the cost-conscious would do considerable research on what they were getting for such an outlay. I did the same sort of research on what I would get for Dorico.

And of course Steinberg did not force anyone to trade in their former notation software to cross-grade to Dorico. I might have a bit more sympathy for those paying full price for Dorico just starting out without a program they already use and can continue to use (my Finale did not go dormant when I bought Dorico).

I cannot yet use Dorico for my professional needs either, but then I never expected to. But let’s find a better analogy than the car purchase next time.

At the end of the day, the ones who use the software are the consumers, us, who buy it for our own reasons to fulfill certain needs. If the product doesn’t, in fact, fulfill those needs, no refund is allowed, then a consumer may feel angry and frustrated. When a customer pays full price for something that doesn’t do expected things, and is asked to wait, it’s also understandable they may feel upset. That’s not a fault; it’s an expected response I would think.

When a product is promised to “kill the competition” one would expect it to have at least the same level of functionality of said competition, regardless of how long it’s been in development compared to its competition. That’s just an excuse. Not a person on this forum is out of integrity if he/she feels frustrated that at the moment the sw doesn’t in fact kill the competition in a number of key, glaring, important areas. Especially when it was marketed that way. Not everyone read the blog for 4 years; some just read the marketing copy and went for it. Not everyone is a fanboy and customers should not be expected to read pages of blog entries to know they are not getting what they think they are getting. I mean not a single bit of disrespect to the Team Steinberg.

I do not fault a single one for being upset about the lacks. And I also don’t fault those who are thrilled with the sw but frustrated at the complainers. Hey, we each have our own perspective, and for some Dorico is already substituting their previous notationware.

The very astute and clear communications of the team in advance, as well as the fact that this is a 1.0 product, makes it more understandable that things are missing. Especially when the needed functionality is coming in the very near future.

Hang in there gang; you have valid points at being frustrated, and at the same time, your needs will (most likely) be met in spades in the first few updates.

The one INCREDIBLE thing we have here is a super talented, dedicated, caring team of programmers and developers who are listening to us, which means we will get most or all of our needs met very shortly. I’m not sure everyone realizes what a treat this is, what a luxury, to have this level of customer service.

[quote="Vaughan Schlepp"I don’t see how Steinberg could have managed people’s expectations any more than they did[/quote]

Release it as a paid early access, and don’t call it 1.0 until you have all the features required to produce even hobby level real world scores - repeat endings and piano pedlings being probably the most notable missing features.

I have created five real world scores so far, and my choir will be performing from them in a few weeks. Dorico is way beyond hobby level, whatever that means. The scores are beautiful.

I’ve done piano with flute pieces which I’m using. So for me it is perfectly useable right now at least for what I’m currently interested in. Obviously that wouldn’t be true for everyone.

I guess the thing that always gets me, is this statement… “Until it has all of the features to produce (word or phrase to indicate a basic level score)”. I understand wishing that Dorico did more. No fault for wishing. And no fault for sharing the idea of how important that feature is necessary to you. But to have it’s limitation marked on the website, and still have people complain is quite absurd to me.

I can tell you, I have done a lot of work engraving, arranging, and publishing over the last 23+ years. Many of the things people complain are “missing” are things I have never used (chords) or very seldom used (repeats, piano peddlings, etc.). I can safely speak from my work that Dorico does create hobby level real world score. So I am confused what these other people are talking about… at this moment Dorico does great creating basic entry level scores. I guess the issue goes back to what each individual considers a basic level score.


I can safely speak from my work that Dorico does create hobby level real world score. So I am confused what these other people are talking about…

Well, I write for wind bands. Looking at the the last 5 pieces I wrote, 3 of them used repeat endings.
It all comes down to what kind of music you write and what you have become used to. If you write mainly for jazz ensembles, not having chords would probably make you shake your head.

So, stating that you “have done a lot of work engraving, arrangin, and publishing” does not necessarily say something of core featureset you need doing that.

It does, in the sense that what you consider core feature sets, others might not. So when people make the argument that “Dorico can’t do basic level scores” that in itself is a comment about the type of work the user does, and the features the user needs. Such a broad statement is not true, and does not speak for everyone. Maybe it does for that user, and maybe several other users, but it does not speak for everyone.

I am simply making the point that to say “Dorico doesn’t do basic level scoring” is really a not a true statement. There are people able to do such things in Dorico.

@Estigy And I am confused by what you wrote… In your first paragraph you echo my point… “It all comes down to what kind of music you write and have become used to.” But then you tell me that my experience does not necessarily mean anything in the next paragraph. Which is exactly the point I am making - It comes down to the users needs.

Like I said above… I understand people who have frustrations. I understanding wanting more feature sets. What I don’t get is making unrealistic claims that you can’t create a basic score in Dorico. And that Dorico is useless. Maybe you personally cannot do things ALL of the things that you want to do, and maybe that is irksome. But remember that statement is based on your needs and not everyone else’s. And to quote myself… “I guess the issue goes back to what each individual considers a basic level score.”