Finale v.25.1 maintenance update is released

by Philip Rothman on October 25, 2016 · 0 comments

in News

MakeMusic last week released the first update to version 25 of Finale, officially known as v.25.1. This maintenance update mostly fixes bugs, but also adds several interface improvements and modest feature enhancements.

Improvements to time and key signature dialogs on Mac. When the Mac OS starting de-emphasized scroll bars in its GUI, Finale’s often-used key and time signature dialogs became harder to use. This has been corrected in v.25.1, with a spin box added to the Key Signature and Time Signature dialog, along with graphical drop-down in the latter for the numerator.


The Key Signature dialog, pre- and post-update

The Time Signature dialog, pre- and post-update

The Time Signature dialog, pre- and post-update

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Dorico is here: A review

by Alexander Plötz on October 19, 2016 · 55 comments

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Editor’s note: This review was written by Alexander Plötz; the playback section was written by Andrew Noah Cap. Philip Rothman edited the review and provided additional content.

For new readers to this site: is an independent site about music notation software and related technology, and is independently owned and operated by NYC Music Services, a music preparation service. It is not affiliated with Steinberg, Avid, or any other software company.

Today marks the release of Dorico, a new proprietary music notation application from Steinberg. If you have enthusiastically awaited the program for months now and your mind is already made up: Go ahead, skip this review and purchase Dorico right away; feel free to come back here while you wait for the eight gigabytes of the sound library to download.


In most professional fields, the arrival of a new software tool — for a reviewer — is generally an occasion to perform a routine task of measuring up the new against the not-just-as-new-anymore, comparing the product to a number of similar competitors. True innovation is often incremental and limited to only a handful of the many components of a modern software package.

With commercial music notation software, this is a bit different: for more than two decades, the market has been dominated by exactly two products. Both of them, Avid’s Sibelius and MakeMusic’s Finale, are powerful tools with an impressive record of innovative features, but they also cannot hide their age. Rooted in an era when software engineering had just started to find ways out of the Software Crisis, today they are mature to the point of a terminally arrested development, one could say.

So when a new player enters the market — for months now credibly promising not only to match, but to surpass the status quo — it creates an enormous amount of expectation, especially in our narrow and opinionated niche. That is why an in-depth review of Dorico, like the software itself, cannot be approached in quite the usual way. Instead of merely discussing what we can produce with Dorico, we must also explore the philosophy behind its design.

A few notes before we begin:

  • In order to write this detailed review, my fellow contributors to this article and I were allowed to use various pre-release builds of Dorico over the past several months.
  • I have used Dorico on a Microsoft Surface 3 Pro running Windows 8.1, with an additional monitor attached.
  • The examples contained herein have been created for the sole purpose of illustrating this review. They are intended for demonstration purposes only and are not suited for any other use.

We’ll start by recapitulating the four-year journey to today’s release; if you prefer to jump directly to the review: this way, please. Read the full article →


Dorico release date announced: October 19, 2016

by Philip Rothman on October 12, 2016 · 7 comments

in News

Steinberg announced that Dorico, its music notation and scoring software four years in development, will be available in one week, on Wednesday, October 19, 2016.

In a press release today, Steinberg’s product marketing manager, Daniel Spreadbury, said: “Putting this first release into the hands of musicians worldwide is a huge moment for our team, and it’s only the beginning. Dorico is already remarkably capable, and we will continue to build on its foundations to make it better and better.”

Ben Timms, the company’s head of research and development for Dorico in the UK, added: “I’m immensely proud of what our fantastic team has accomplished in creating Dorico. We’ve seized the opportunity to reimagine how notation software should work in the 21st century and the results you can achieve in the first release of Dorico are truly amazing.”

The Dorico product web site is fully active, with details about the program’s workflow, notation, layout, playback, audio, printing, and exporting capabilities. The web site targets specific user groups such as composers and arrangers; engravers, publishers and copyists; teachers and students; and media musicians. It explicitly courts users of existing software, specifically Sibelius and Finale, in a “How Dorico is better” section.

A screenshot of the Dorico web site, today

A screenshot of the Dorico web site, today

At the site and also on the Dorico YouTube channel, Daniel narrates a 90-second promotional video running through Dorico’s highlights.

As previously announced, pricing will be 579 € including VAT, or $579.99 for US customers, for a full professional license. Educational pricing for qualifying teachers and students will be 349 € including VAT ($349.99 USD), and a crossgrade offer for qualifying Sibelius and Finale users will be available for 299 € including VAT ($299.99 USD) for “a limited time”. Read the full article →


New Sibelius plug-in: Create N by M tuplet

by Philip Rothman on October 11, 2016 · 2 comments

in Tips

Back in the days of Sibelius 5 and earlier, Sibelius was fairly restrictive about tuplet ratios. It would only let you enter tuplets where the first number in the ratio was between half and two times the second number. In other words, if you wanted to fit 9 eighth notes in the space of 4 eighth notes, that was disallowed.

In Sibelius 6 this restriction was loosened somewhat to encompass the vast majority of cases. The new limit was that the first number in the ratio had to be between a quarter and four times the second number. So 9:4 was okay, but 20:4 was not.


Users still come up against this limitation, though, as described in a Sibelius users’ forum post from last year.

It turns out that Sibelius’s limitation on tuplet ratios is artificial. While Avid has said that extreme numerator/denominator combinations may cause instability in note spacing algorithms, Sibelius can otherwise support these types of examples — scores imported from a MusicXML file with more outsize ratios appear correctly, and plug-ins can create these more extreme ratios as well. Read the full article →


Thumbnail image for Steinberg to unveil Dorico in October events in London, Vienna, and online

Steinberg to unveil Dorico in October events in London, Vienna, and online

October 5, 2016

Dorico, the long-awaited music notation software by Steinberg, will be presented in special public showcases in October in London, Vienna, and streaming online.

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Thumbnail image for Feathered beams that look and play back correctly in Sibelius

Feathered beams that look and play back correctly in Sibelius

October 4, 2016

A step-by-step tutorial on how to create feathered beams in Sibelius — first by spacing the notes evenly, and then by spacing them according to their speed, making for more realistic playback and display.

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Thumbnail image for Elaine Gould’s Behind Bars now available for Kindle and iBooks (updated)

Elaine Gould’s Behind Bars now available for Kindle and iBooks (updated)

September 27, 2016

Elaine Gould’s venerable music notation reference Behind Bars is now available as an e-book for Kindle, devices running the Kindle app, and Apple’s iBooks for Mac and iOS.

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Thumbnail image for Newzik and Opéra de Rouen collaborate on performance with all-digital sheet music

Newzik and Opéra de Rouen collaborate on performance with all-digital sheet music

September 23, 2016

As part of the recently concluded Normady Impressionist Festival, l’Opéra de Rouen Normandie performed a concert of student compositions, reading scores and parts entirely from the Newzik sheet music reader app.

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Thumbnail image for Music notation software and macOS Sierra (updated)

Music notation software and macOS Sierra (updated)

September 19, 2016

A summary of notation software compatibility with macOS Sierra (Mac OS X 10.12) at this time.

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Thumbnail image for Barline joins in Sibelius

Barline joins in Sibelius

September 14, 2016

Instrument families are typically grouped by joining barlines across staves. Here’s how to customize these groups and restore missing barlines in Sibelius.

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