Dorico is a family of music notation and composition applications from Steinberg. There are other music notation applications – but none of them matches up to Dorico in terms of musical intelligence, power, and flexibility. Here are just ten ways that #DoricoDoesItBetter.
Beautiful by default
Music in Dorico looks publication-ready as soon as you input it. Every detail of the music’s appearance has been carefully considered by our experienced team and shaped by feedback from professional music engravers with decades of experience. This starts with the music font: Bravura has quickly become one of the most widely-used music fonts over the decade since its introduction, and its sensitive recreation of the look of the finest mid-century European publications gives music set in it an immediate warmth, while its boldness means the music is clear and legible. In harmony with hundreds of other settings that affect line weights, horizontal and vertical spacing, pages of music produced in Dorico are balanced and beautifully proportioned. What this means for you is less time spent adjusting the placement of symbols and fussing over minor details, because Dorico takes care of all this for you – but when you want to tweak, Dorico provides every option you could want to change the appearance of your music in ways both large and small.
Flexible note input
Dorico is the only music notation software that is designed first and foremost as an environment for composing and developing your ideas directly at the computer. Every decision you make while working on your music can be re-made at almost no penalty, whether it’s changing key, rhythm, meter, instrumentation, or even the overall structure of your work. This flexibility starts with Dorico’s note input methods: using the mouse, computer keyboard, or a MIDI keyboard, you can input music on one staff or across multiple staves, dynamically allocating notes in chords to the selected instruments. Its unique Insert mode allows you to freely adjust rhythms, add and remove notes or whole passages, and never worry about overwriting your existing music. You never need input rests – just insert the notes, and Dorico will create the rests for you. You never need input ties – just specify the played duration of the note, and Dorico will make sure it is always legibly notated according to the meter. And Dorico is packed with powerful tools for copying, modifying and transforming your music, providing a deep toolbox that helps you express your ideas as quickly as you think of them.
Popovers for quick creation
Popovers are Dorico’s unique and time-saving way of inputting every marking into your score. You can of course use the mouse to input notations from the clear, well-organised panels in the project window – but when you’re ready to step it up a gear, popovers quickly become second nature. A popover allows you to input a notation using a simple, text-based shorthand. You only need to remember a basic shortcut pattern: Shift plus the first letter of the thing you want to create: C for clefs, D for dynamics, F for fingering, H for holds and pauses, K for key signatures, L for lyrics, M for meter, and so on. The popover appears, and all you need do is type what you want to create, hit Return, and the item is created in the score. Once you master even a few of Dorico’s popovers, it feels like cheating – how can inputting complex music notation be so quick and easy?
Dorico’s deep musical toolbox provides an almost bottomless array of fun and creative tools for manipulating your music. You can explode chords from one instrument across multiple instruments, or reduce music for multiple instruments down to a keyboard part. You can swap music between staves, paste into other voices, build complex chords by specifying intervals in the note tools popover, copy or move music to the staff above or below, and so much more. Dorico can create chord symbols from the music you select, and it can create well-voiced textures for any ensemble from chord symbols. You can lengthen and shorten notes at will, remove overlaps or fill gaps in MIDI transcriptions, and so much more. And every one of these features is built right into the software – no need to rely on plug-ins bolted on to the software that could break at any point.
Integrated Key Editor
Only Dorico has a deeply integrated Key Editor that provides much of the functionality and flexibility of MIDI editing in a full-blown sequencer or digital audio workstation. Dorico’s unique approach to handling music notation means that where other applications stumble, barlines and tuplets becoming inviolable barriers, you can freely adjust music in its piano roll editor and Dorico will make sure it is always clearly and legibly notated. Equally unique is the ability to adjust the playback position and duration of any note without affecting the printed notation at all – so you can have both a nuanced, natural performance and a pristine score, with no duplication of effort. And Dorico’s Key Editor provides powerful and practical editors for note velocities, MIDI continuous controllers, tempo and dynamics.
Flows for multi-movement works
Many musical works consist of multiple movements, songs, numbers, or sections – but music notation software struggles mightily to provide easy workflows for large-scale works. Dorico is different: projects can have as many flows as you need. Each flow is an independent chunk of music, which can have independent instrumentation. You can use flows for everything from a musical footnote or simple scale or exercise, all the way up a symphonic movement or an act of an opera. Flows can be imported and exported, they can be freely reordered and rearranged. No other software provides such powerful project management features, allowing you complete freedom in how you assemble the component parts of your compositions into performance materials.
Move instruments between players
Other music notation software start with staves: you can write for multiple instruments on the same staff, and the software will do reasonably clever things like change the clef and transposition, and even the playback sound. But as soon as you need to make revisions, things fall apart. Unpicking a single staff containing music for multiple instruments is time-consuming and error-prone. Again, Dorico is different: music is written for instruments, not onto staves. So when your first rehearsal is finished and you need to change a doubling or split it into a whole new part, you can do it without even breaking a sweat: simply drag the instrument from one player to another, and instantly Dorico will make every required adjustment in both the full score and instrumental parts. It’s just as powerful for percussion, allowing you to freely redistribute instruments between multiple percussionists, and even produce a percussion score for the players while showing everything combined onto space-saving five-line staves in the score.
Automatic condensed conductor scores
When writing for large ensembles like orchestras, wind or concert bands, producing a legible score can be a real challenge: the music needs to be clearly laid out, but it also needs to be large enough for the conductor to work from it. The gold standard is a condensed score, where a human editor has painstakingly determined how to most clearly show the music on every system of every page, combining music for multiple players of the same instrument – a pair of flutes, three trumpets, four horns – onto a smaller number of staves, reducing the number of staves required on each page and allowing a larger staff size, making the score as a whole more practical. But since the widespread adoption of music typeset on computers three decades ago, these kinds of scores have largely fallen by the wayside, because the needs of the instrumental parts are put ahead of the needs of the score. Dorico changes all this: it can produce a condensed score with the efficiency and skill of an experienced human editor, but do the work in moments, rather than hours. Now you can have both beautiful parts and a practical, condensed conductor’s score, almost completely automatically.
Smart linked cues
One of the keys to a successful performance is to make sure your musicians can always orientate themselves in the ensemble. Perfect instrumental parts are not only thoughtfully laid out and adorned with the essential landmarks – bar numbers, rehearsal marks, practical page turns – but also cues that allow the performer to latch on to key moments. In other software, adding cues is laborious and error-prone, typically involving copying and pasting music to a different instrument and applying visual tweaks. But you can easily paste this material in the wrong bar, so the cue is misleading, and as the piece is revised, you have to find and correct every cue. These downsides mean that computer-produced parts often have fewer cues than their traditionally engraved forebears. Once again, Dorico is different: its smart linked cues ensure that the cue is always in the right place, and it updates automatically when the source material changes.
Powerful page templates
Dorico is the only music notation application with desktop publishing-style page templates, allowing you to freely mix music, text and graphics to produce sophisticated page layouts. Even if all you want is clear, legible scores and parts, this unique approach pays dividends: every part can use the same page template, and have precisely the same information in precisely the same place on every page. If you want to create teaching materials, either for the classroom or for your instrumental students, you’ll find Dorico’s page layout features in a league of their own.
See for yourself
Don’t just take our word for it. See for yourself how Dorico does it better – download a free, fully-functional 30-day trial version today.