XML import — insane idea?

A few years ago, I notated a 12-movement orchestral score (winds 2/2/2/2, 2 horns, strings, with rhythm section and choir) in Finale. Shortly thereafter, in large part because of how irritating that experience was, I switched to Dorico. I need to make some small updates to this particular piece and am considering whether I should do these adjustments in Finale or import the whole thing into Dorico.

I used two files for this piece (for each movement) in Finale: one is the score, complete with staves for two of each woodwind as well as individual staves for those same instruments so that I can show or hide them on each page of the score as needed, etc. Another file has the parts, with each instrument on its own staff throughout. I always worked this way in Finale. The problem is that any updates I make to the score file have to be made to the parts file. Most of the changes I need to make are things like missing articulations or staff expressions, but I also would like to add some additional cues to some of the parts . . . things like that. Each movement is in its own file, so in total I have 24 Finale files. When I finish the updates, I then have to export each score and part, then compile them as single pdfs, then add page numbers in a pdf editor, etc. This part is a real drag.

I’m wondering if anyone has any experience with a situation like this, i.e. a multi-flow large orchestral score import via XML, and if someone could speak to whether the extra time involved is worth the effort of a complete recreation of the score and parts in Dorico—and if anyone has any advice as to the best approach. I would think the best approach would be to import the “parts” file, not the “score”, since there’s a separate staff for each instrument, and then use Dorico’s condensing features.

One other thing: this piece does have a rhythm section, and this means chord symbols (which seem not to import very well) as well as a drum set part. Drum set parts are not fun in Finale, and they are even more difficult in Dorico. I don’t mean simple drum set notation, but drum parts where one needs to combine elements of pitch notation, slashes, chord symbols, stemmed slashes, and actual drum notation—this takes so long, having to hide rests all the time, flipping stems, etc.

So, is this an insane idea? Or do I just hold my breath and let the piece live forever in Finale?

I’d say that if all you are really doing is change some articulations and add some cues, and you have your workflow set up and running, keep it that way for this project.

You already listed some topics that could need way more time than you would get out of the transition.
If you want to give it a try, I’d start from the score and import it into Dorico. Duplicate all players that have more than one instrument (like Flute 1 + 2) and delete the redundant content. (At least that was the way I went with most of my projects and it ended up being quite fast.)
You will probably have to redo the percussion section and the chord symbols - and depending on how good your knowledge on these topics in Dorico already is, this could introduce some trouble.
Layouting may also need to be done again?

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I agree – If you have plenty of time, and may need to revise it again in future, this project could be a good way to learn a lot more about handling these things in Dorico. But if you just need to get it fixed for one more edition and out the door, definitely keep it where it is and live with the necessity of double corrections.

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