Why not Dorico-like scoring capabilties in Cubase?

I’m looking wistfully at the teaser videos for Dorico, thinking that I would really like top-notch scoring capabilties like that
WITHIN Cubase, the program that I know and love, and which, I assume, has quite a few features that Dorico will lack.

I have often wanted better scoring features for when I need to write music, and I would like to write music (with notation) more easily and without killing the creative flow. Which, for me, is pretty much the situation now. In fact, mouse entering notes via the free program MuseScore is a bit EASIER than in Cubase. :unamused:

So why a new program? Why not include it in Cubase? I don’t get it…! Are they really targetting a different demographic? Do they think Cubase owners will buy Dorico, too?

I, for one, would pay for better scoring within Cubase, but not a new program, thanks.

Yes it is for a totally different market than Cubase’s (although of course there is some overlap between the 2 markets, just like there is overlap in the markets for cheese and wine). Dorico is a direct competitor to Sibelius & Finale that’s intended to outflank them at the top end of the professional scoring and engraving market. It has a list price of $739 vs. Cubase Pro at $699. I’d bet most folks using Cubase don’t use the current Score Editor & wouldn’t want to pay substantially more for for advanced scoring capabilities.

I assume over the next few years we’ll see a lite version(s) of Dorico released. And at some point probably some integration with Cubase, but that will be a long ways out before/if it happens. First they need to make Dorico a success in its primary market, which will take years. Also integrating with existing Cubase code won’t be trivial. So I’d guess having a Dorico based score inside Cubase is something they’d like to do, but that needs to wait until they are done with all the things they have to do.

Score style entry in Cubase to me is much easier than MuseScore, or even Sibelius and Finale.

I personally use a generic remote map along with an MPK2 MIDI Controller that the MPC pads set up to remote control step input.
Example Workflow:

  1. I Open and focus the Score Editor.
  2. I tap an MPC pad that sets a whole note.
  3. Tap a note or chord on my MIDI keyboard.
  4. Tap an MPC pad that sets up a quarter note (or whatever).
  5. Tap a note or chord on my MIDI keyboard.
  6. Repeat…
  7. When I want to move to a different stave on the score I just tap the cursor keys on my MPK2 up or down to move among staves.
  8. I can still use the mouse and Computer Keyboard as needed (I.E. To enter dynamics, special symbols, etc.)

I can lay down quantized arrangements in no time flat, and hardly have to touch my computer keyboard. From the ‘score’ tracks I’ll usually clone copies to a new folder when I get ready to ‘refine the sound’ of the project.

I don’t worry so much about the final printed output from Cubase. I just want it to be good enough to get a clean XML export. From there I pull it into Sibelius or Finale for Score and Part engraving.

The key is to set up a proper template to start with.

Expression maps are pretty easy to build on the fly during your first few projects to get a rough interpretive sketch of the piece, but I personally find it easier (and better sounding) to touch all that up directly in Controller Lanes (Or with VST3 Note Expression) in the Key editor anyway.

Wow, that looks quite complicated. In Musescore (a free program), it’s like this (from their website):

After entering note input mode, select the duration you need
The keyboard shortcuts for selecting the duration are as follows:
1: 64th (hemidemisemiquaver)
2: 32nd (demisemiquaver)
3: 16th (semiquaver)
4: Eighth (quaver)
5: Quarter (crotchet)
6: Half (minim)
7: Whole (semibreve)
8: Double whole (breve)
9: Longa
.: A period (dot) changes the selected duration into a dotted note/rest

Step 4: Enter pitch (or rest)
You can add note pitches using the mouse by clicking directly on the staff. However, you may find it quicker to use a MIDI keyboard (see below), or your alphabetical computer keyboard.

Enter pitches by typing the corresponding letter on your keyboard: C D E F G A B C
Notes: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C
0 (Zero) creates a rest: for example, typing C D 0 E gives the result shown below. Notice that the duration you select for the notes (quarter/crotchet notes in this example) also determines the duration of the rest (quarter/crotchet rest).
C, D, rest, E

That is super simple and fast compared to Cubase. I really hate how mouse entering notes works in Cubase. Instant headache and RSI.

Why comparing Cubase internal Score Editor wich is a “nice to have” feature to software that is specificially designed for scoring? Keep in mind that most competitors don’t even offer Scoring in there DAW anyways. I don’t use it at all and its not what Cubase is designed for in the first place.
Professional Scoring Software is a totally different market.

In Cubase, Sibelius, Finale, Notion, (and probably MuseScore as well) etc…you can set up any key combos you like. You’re not limited to using the mouse for note entry. Key-combos already exist…and if you don’t like where they live you can always change them. In Cubase you can even build macros to change out entire keyboard maps with a tap of a button (or MIDI key/pad/etc.).

I’ve also got a mouse with something like 30 buttons on it. Plus a left handed programmable game controller with dozens more buttons, wheels, knobs, etc. All that stuff can be bound to drive the Cubase Score editor (and the same goes for Sibelius, Finale, Musescore, etc.).

I chose to map my Score Editor controls to MIDI notes (Sent via MPC pads or split keyboard octaves) since I have the pads/sliders/buttons that were just sitting there doing nothing while in the Score Editor before. When I call up a different Editor all those mappings change for me…I.E. When in the Project Window the MPC pads will arm/disarm tracks, and in the Key Editor they do the traditional job of acting like ‘drum pads’.

To do this remote control thing in Sibelius or Finale I use a third party app called ‘Bome’. Now I can ‘step entry’ in several apps using the a fairly universal set of remote controls.

So…you can make Cubase ‘your own’. If it’s speaking German and you prefer Spanish, just go in and teach it your favorite dialect of Spanish :slight_smile:

Really my only point here is that the Cubase Score Editor is really nice for what it is (an editor that’s easy to compose in, and can produce basic scores and parts that are legible). It’s very flexible in terms of building quantized MIDI tracks that conform to diatonic western music theory and rules. It’s got a nice set of base ‘interpretation’ features that are optional to use, yet easily mastered if one wants Cubase to attempt to ‘auto interpret’ various score markings. When that isn’t enough, it’s super easy to open multiple editors at the same to isolate issues that matter for ‘playback’ from those involved with producing a ‘clear and legible visual score or part’.

One simply needs to ‘read the manual’ and spend a bit of time mastering it, and customizing it to fit his work flow. This shall be the case for any software.

It’s a nice editor for the money. When a need arises for intricate control over the engraving process it’s not going to be as powerful or easy to use as a dedicated music publishing suite.

Some prefer to work in the publishing software first to compose, and then import it via MIDI files into the DAW for doing the audio mock-up. For me, it’s easier, more inspirational, and more productive to do it the other way around…working with the Cubase score editor to compose and then the key editor to force my own playback interpretation, and then pull it into the publishing software to manage the engraving process.

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Wait for the LE (Light Editions). My guess is that slim downed versions will be available somewhere after the laucnhdate just like we have Nuendo Live, Cubase LE, Artist, AI, Wavelab Elements & LE.

Exactly why the Cubase Score Editor works for me too. (Plus a bunch of other stuff.) Well put, Brian.

The Cubase Score editor was conceived for writing music- printing it too, but writing is the main thing. It’s been around since before the Cubase VST days, and the same developer who conceived it still leads the team that maintains it. It currently receives updates and new features- one recent notable was building the MIDI inspector into the score editor. Note entry is super flexible, but you have have to be willing to dig in and learn how it works. This tool was created when reading a software manual was still in style. :wink:

I switch back and forth between Score and Key edit windows a lot, and having the selected item remain selected is super convenient, and unique among daws. It is absolutely tightly integrated.

In my setup I have note durations set to 1, 2, 4 for those values, then 3 for 8ths and 5 for 16ths. I use ‘.’ for augmentation dots, and t for triplets. I have ctrl-b set for ‘build tuplet’.

As far as Dorico goes, when I first heard about it my first question was about whether it would be integrated into Cubase. But as more details come out about it, the less I feel its integration with Cubase is necessary, or logical, except maybe for spacing and font stuff. The most amazing parts of Dorico, (to me) the upcoming scripting stuff, won’t even be able to be fit into the Cubase we now know. The two programs are on separate trajectories, and I have set my expectations regarding this- Any integration that might take place is approximately 5 years down the line.

I have used score since it was invented and actually think the program is likeable.

Some people think in dots - musicians even! :wink:

If Cubase is to remain top of the heap (as it as been for years) the score package needs updating. For example why not have the key editor open within the score window? Why not get more expression map control in score so you can choose a note from any library? Why not have lanes/track views in the sequencer window with legible staffs?
I think that Cubase developers should provide to give full integration to Dorico in version 2. This would not only empower Cubase, but also empower Dorico giving it the expressive power of a DAW the ability to groove quantize from audio, to extract MIDI from audio, to playback libraries with accuracy
I think it’s a mistake to think of a scoring package as something that only emulates and prints fancy pages - todays composers workflows are much more than this, they compose for MIDI.
SOmething has to be done about the mess of gigantic templates that these composers have to arm - its a waste of resources and restricting to workflow. If I have 10 orchestrata packages (not that unusual) how do I find the right flute for passage A, then another for the fortissimo staccato? Do I really need to load seperate tracks? Why not one track called flute?
Why do I have to load so much into my templates and then disable and freeze?

Note expression and expression maps are great but we CAN go much further


Yes- It would be great to be able to select MIDI ports from within expression maps.

I myself would am willing to pay significant dollars for Dorico. Much more than the current price. Steinberg products are actually incredibly inexpensive for their capabilities. Dorico is already showing great promise as a scoring standard. I would like there to be an open standard and a free editor to add music analysis notes. I believe the adoption of Dorico could be significantly accelerated by this.

I completely agree with this. I nyself use AI to add to the score to create more lifelike performances…

My two cents on this.
I think notation software and DAW software have fundamentally different roles.

In the DAW, you are creating (or documenting) a performance. When I track MIDI from VST sample libraries, I focus on how it sounds, with no thought at all on how it is notated. The slight imperfections in timing might be exactly what makes the performance work. A very slow attack in a legato string passage might push me into triggering the MIDI note a quarter note before it is meant to be actually heard. And so on.

In the notation software, the goal is the opposite – to take the performance and make it readable to another musician. The MIDI data needs to be “flat” and correct, so that the player can then interpret it into their own performance.

Where you begin your projects – the recording/performance/mock-up or the notation, or if you only do one or the other – varies for every composer/musician.

Cubendo and Dorico are specialized in their own fields and are both powerhouses and the absolute best you can get in each area (Dorico’s set of engraving and layout options and the program’s whole cleverness in how it approaches these things is frankly mindblowing).

Maybe one day these two different types of software will somehow find a way to merge together into one. Maybe in 10 years all this will be different – but we are not there today.

EDIT: Only now I realized this thread is 5 years old. Sorry if this disturbs the sleep of some kind of forum deity :innocent:

Agree. Scoring/engraving programs are fundamentally graphic tools like Photoshop. Very specialized, but graphics none the less. The intended result is 100% visual.

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