Wow, is what I'm thinking... and it ain't in a good way

Sometimes constructive criticism is offered with a tone that makes it sound like the offerer thinks the people being addressed are incompetent nincompoops. Such criticisms tend to be received more favorably when offered with a tone respectful and appreciative of the hard work that has already been done. Not saying this is the case here. I’m just offering some constructive criticism.


Just my two cents on the primer stuff in software manuals.

It’s true that after 30+ decades of working with music I don’t need to be told what rehearsal marks are; however, 30+ years ago, I can assure you I was learning something new every single day, and gradually scaffolding my present day knowledge into what it is today. Some repetition obviously helped as a young student of music. It’s also important to realize that there were indeed a lot of things I’d seen on musical scores or parts of which I know what to ‘do’ if I saw it, but had heard all sorts of crazy names for it over the years.
Bars or measures, Bird Eye (for framata), fence (for stave or staff), Bull’s Eye (for Coda),
Rail Road Tracks (for break)
On and on this list goes…and that’s just in English alone. It can get even crazier when accounting for multiple languages.

Plus, I do need to be introduced to how the designers of the software define and treat all these symbols and terms. To Dorico, it means this and this, and will be treated thusly. It’s kind of hard to clarify such matters without some primer information.

It adds clarity.

Next, I well remember my first forray into DTP software. I had no clue what a font was, what kerning meant, gutters, picas, and on and on. Fortunately, the manual that came with my first copy of Pagestream gave me great background primer in publishing terminology. It was well worth reading for a variety of reasons. Most notably, it laid out how that software team defines and implements publishing related terminology. There are indeed times when multiple products ‘interpret’ various terms differently, and implement them differently.

Back to music software: A great case-in-point is how Yamaha does MIDI note-names (the octaves) differently than Roland. Some instrument/software makers start program numbers with 1 and go to 128, others with 0 and go to 127. MIDI and VST software done in Europe often handles ‘note off’ events a bit differently than software done in the USA (end result is the same, but sequencers can conceptualize it VERY differently…in some cases software even repeats the same note at zero velocity instead of calling it and treating it like ‘note-off’).

It’s conceivable that something as complex as musical notation can also follow different conventions, rules, or concepts on how best to interpret user intentions, and implement those concepts into the score.

I’d rather have TOO MUCH documentation than too little.

Personally, I prefer a cognitive learning style over a constructivist approach when I learn a new piece of software. I’ve admired for years how Steinberg has taken on the daunting task of more or less bridging those two learning psychology approaches so the user can achieve either learning style with the same set of documentation. You can start with page one and read it though like a nice cognitively written technical manual, or, you can skip all over the map at your will, following links and searching for ‘just the things you think you need, when you need them’.

Of course it’s never perfect, but I can see where these writers have put a lot of thought into making the documentation friendly to multiple levels of perquisite knowledge on the tasks at hand, and a variety of learning styles.


Probably not wise to to criticize something as sophisticated as Dorico until you have invested at least a couple of months in it. Dorico has a learning curve, but I don’t think it is any steeper than any other notation program, and the end result is magnitudes better. If you don’t have time to learn the program, maybe you should set it aside until you can learn it properly…


Actually, I really like the LilyPond manuals compared to Dorico. The “Learning” manual gets about 75% of the job done, then the Notation Manual gets you up to 95% (of most basic stuff). The rest is searching forums and the listserv.

Uh yea…

I ordered the last Finale print manual (2004, I think). It was printed 4-Up (4 pages to one side), both sides, well over over a ream (500+ sheets) of 8.5" x 11" paper. That’s over 4,000 pages. $20 for a ream of paper I couldn’t load into my printer that required a magnifying glass to read. It sat wasting space on my book shelf for a few years till I recycled it.

I became an instant convert to searchable .pdf files at that moment. Unfortunately, Make Music abandoned those five years ago with the release of 25. I don’t care much for the Finale Help files but I’ll take them over the print manual every day.

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Me too. And I much prefer downloaded pdf’s to online equivalents. The former enables you to search and keep the search results in view, the latter has search functionality but the results disappear after you select an item. Maybe it’s a browser issue - I use Safari. There are ways round it but a downloadable pdf is a lot easier work with.

The SMUFL guide used to be available as a download, but recent editions appear to be only available online. If it’s a lot of work making it downloadable - forget it, but if not, it’d be good to have it back.


The idea of headroom in Dorico is well stated. After decades of using Finale, where every note on every page seemed to require multiple commands, either during or after entry, using Dorico is such a relief. Once the music is in Dorico, with correct rhythms and page turns, all else seems effortless. I’m working through my 196 page piano score, containing 48 flows, and there are still minor edits and changes needed, all of which are simply corrected with no impact on the remaining flows in the document.

Thanks, Steinberg team for the great product. I’m looking forward to seeing what else is under the hood.



Thank you Daniel - I apologise for the delay in replying to your post.

There is so much to lok through, and as well as the TipsTuesday, there are Resources which add to the available information - I will be able to gain much from these

I regularly look at the forum, and the breadth of knowledge (sometimes I cannot understand the question, let alone the answer !), and expertise, that it must be a very difficult task to give information to all who request it: I can see that the questions I ask come under the label of ‘Newbie’, or ‘Beginner’ or Initial Questions. Now that I have so much more to refer to, it will probably make questions more scarce.

However, there is still one question which I must now ask - apologies for this - and that is

Is there any way that the Resources and Tip Tuesday videos can be simply more available, instead of searching for them - I did not know they existed before, and they would have been very useful when I started trying to use Dorico even at an elementary level…

You might find this resources page that John Barron put together fairly recently helpful. (This was in fact already shared in an earlier reply, but as this thread has got fairly long here it is again :slight_smile: )

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Thank you Lillie - I am now able to find most of the resources to help me.

The question I added at the end of my last post was - if I am looking for simple introductory tips, details etc, are these on one of the tabs (or the intro page of Dorico) so that I can get started without delay - at the moment I would have to search for these, not even knowing if they existed.

Dorico is an amazing program : it can cater for most users , right up to the real professional users, but the ‘starters’ can sometimes not know where to look.

The Dorico Hub already has a section for “Video Tutorials”, as well as a “News” section which includes Tips Tuesdays.

The resource page is indeed extremly valuable. The Third Party Resources link from needs to be updated to

Thank you - I think they’ve tweaked their site. Link now updated.