• Jun 27, 2021 - 07:21

The Wikipedia article on Dorico has a quote from some review:

"There are now three ‘professional-level’ notation programmes available: Sibelius Ultimate, Finale and Dorico. However, the only one of the three under significant development is Dorico."

I wonder how widely that view would be accepted? I am a sporadic user of MS, and am quite contented with what it can produce; I wonder if there is any meaning to "professional level" other than "costs money". I also see the truly bizarre illustration given on the WP page of how Dorico "supports complex musical notation", which is a particularly hard-to-read version of Chopin's Ballade number 4. I can't tell whether the special feature of Dorico is supposed to be that it can combine the stems in that odd way, or what -- in any event it is a very misleading advert for Dorico.

Can someone give a quick rundown on the actual state of currently available programs (normally spelled like that, even in British English); I thought Sibelius more or less died when the team went off to Dorico. Remember that anyone can edit WP!


You wrote:
I wonder if there is any meaning to "professional level" other than "costs money".

Ha! Check this out:

You wrote:
I also see the truly bizarre illustration given on the WP page of how Dorico "supports complex musical notation", which is a particularly hard-to-read version of Chopin's Ballade number 4.

I couldn't agree more... check out the beams in the treble clef, the word 'legato' in the first measure...
Above image taken from:

Compare to this image from the WP page about that very Ballade:
Definitely a difference -- especially notice the 5 notes relocated from treble to bass clef
Above image taken from:
(In the 'Musical analysis' section of that page)

In reply to by Jm6stringer

I have been using Dorico Elements for a year or so. Having found Sibelius impenetrable years ago, Notion not full-featured enough, and Guitar Pro too limited for general composition work (I had used Musescore many years ago, so did not consider it when starting to score more seriously), I'm now at the point where, preparing a musical for publication, the limitations of Dorico Elements are becoming very apparent. Cost has stopped me upgrading to Pro.

Only 12 instruments, or players. No engraving editing options etc.

I have to say at first I found Dorico very powerful, and fairly easy to get around, or at least to find the ways to get around, whereas my memory of Sib was of searching fruitlessly for different options that in my view should have been grouped together. However, I keep running into limitations of the Elements version (I'm not methodical enough to keep a record of these!) and thought I'd give Musescore another try after reading something on the Dorico forum that basically accused Musescore of nicking a lot of ideas from Dorico....!

I was expecting to have to shell out for the Dorico Pro version (when they next had a promotional discount) BUT I seriously doubt I will do that now.

Musescore so far is more than meeting my expectations - there are a few buggy quirks that I'm coming across (hide empty staves, then un-hide, and they don't all reappear, for one), but overall I am seriously impressed. With the expectations of Version 4 and more DAW type integration I'm almost certain that paying out cash I do not have for Dorico Pro ain't going to happen.

So, is there any meaning to "professional level" scoring software? Well, perhaps in this day and age where everyone in the software business is standing on the shoulders of those who came before - perhaps not. Of course Musescore has to be paid for, and I'm very curious as to how it is able to develop without a so-called corporate structure and profit driven motive etc. But as a life-long socialist, I see no problem with the concept of a socially / community owned software code. It does, however, bring up the whole question of intellectual property & copyright etc - and as a struggling composer songwriter whose royalties barely pay my winter fuel bill - I of course would be reluctant to give away all my intellectual property. Although, in this digital age, Spotify and a million other podcasters and online radio stations are using our creativity without fair payment, so in a way we've already given it away.

It may be that Musescore is a bit of an exception - though Open Office can certainly give Word & Pages a run for their money. Maybe we're at a time where there's so much knowledge in the community (knowledge that was once highly specialised) that we should expect even more fully functional "free" software to emerge. Perhaps it's only the grand monopolies of Microsoft and Apple that is holding this back, and, rather like the notorious "in app purchases" of i and android apps, the future business is in the "enhanced & user specific" applications of the software - not the core functionality.


In reply to by Jm6stringer

Of course one can achieve excellent results in nearly every program. The question is how much extra work is required.

That example on the Dorico Wikipedia page is really horrible. Several of us were commenting on the forum about it last week. It certainly shouldn’t be the representative example being used for Dorico!

Sibelius and Finale are still very much alive and well. As for Wikipedia? I use it as a starting place for information, but then dig deeper.
I am learning MuseScore because I fear that my copy of Sibelius 7.5 will notwork on some future version of Windows. That will be a sad day. I wish MuseScore did some of the things that Sibelius does. That said, I don't use notation software enough, or on a "professional" level, to justify buying anything. But if I could, it would probably be Dorico.
Now, any software is only as good as the person using it. I could have the most expensive version of something and only produce garbage if I don't know how to use it. By the same token, it is quite possible to produce outstanding work with open source software.
In my un-professional view, MuseScore has really started to be more professional with v 3 and SND. On composition sites, you could always tell MuseScore work because of the obviously midi sounds. Hopefully, V 4 and better fonts will make more people take notice.
In spite of all the "workarounds", it is still a pain to select instruments in the mixer. And drum set notation is not worth it, to me.

In reply to by bobjp

Personally the sounds of the scoring software are secondary - if I wanted to create realistic (as far as that goes!) sounding orchestral music I'd use a DAW with a decent sample library like Miroslav or BBC etc.

For me scoring software is for creating scores that will be read by real musicians - so the sounds are only as a guide during the writing process. That said, I'll be happy if V4 supports VSTi and Note Performer.

Actually I loathe most movie soundtracks due to the (lazy, preset out of the box) use of VSTi's - always the same "dramatic" tropes, always in friggin' A minor!

Wherever possible I use real musicians. If we don't write for real musicians don't surprised if there aren't any around in the future.....

In reply to by [DELETED] 37205164

I agree that we should write for real musicians. I also agree that the only way to get a decent virtual performance is with a DAW.
However I don't have access to musicians. I also can't justify the cost of a DAW.

I find NotePerformer disappointing.

Yeah, Am. Kind of like Cm in classical music.

The demise of real musicians has been going on for a while now. Witness the orchestras that have shut down. And that's sad, indeed.

I think all genres have tropes that help identify them.

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