Dorico 3 SE Announced

I pivoted over to Dorico last year, and have had great results. I still get a bit of use out of Sibelius[1] for specific needs, but Dorico has become my primary driver. Someone on the Facebook groups for Dorico has worked out some of the kinks to the only limitations I’m feeling with Dorico, and I’m looking forward to exploring his ideas.

What’s very exciting, though, is that Steinberg has just released a free edition of Dorico, titled “SE.” I’m very excited for my students to be able to tap into the raw power of Dorico, compared to anything else available. It’s not just that it’s great software for someone doing serious work, but its treatment of music stands to be so much less in the way of a student than anything else on the market. I remember as a student fighting with Finale NotePad, and struggling to get results that looked passably professional. Nowadays, the engraving you can find on Musescore’s web portal is straight-up gruesome. Dorico acts as a mediator for the intent, though, in a way that I feel much better setting my students up with.[2]

While the limitations are definitely significant, Dorico SE, I think, is the ideal tool to have most of my students inputting actual music they want to have printable as something to play. Whether that’s things they’re trying to share that they’ve learned by ear or something they’ve found online[3]. I’m looking ahead towards being able to produce some aids for them to learn the basics. Dorico’s guided tour feature isn’t a bad start, but the learning curve to music notation software – even when I’d argue Dorico is relatively intuitive – is still steep.

UPDATE: Dorico’s Daniel Spreadbury reached out on my mention of Dorico’s limitations with MusicXML. I was mis-remembering some things, and for that I definitely apologize. Dorico does a pretty good job of importing MusicXML, though I would still actually recommend using MIDI export from MuseScore’s site. That’s not because Dorico can’t handle the import of the MusicXML well; it’s because by importing it as MIDI, Dorico will use its smarts of taking the intended lengths of the rhythms and the notes as pitches and make smarter choices for how to notate the rhythms and the enharmonic spellings than you’ll often find on the MuseScore portal.

  1. Which, coincidentally, just announced a really disappointing change in their upgrade policy that means I won’t be getting any new features until/unless it changes again.  ↩
  2.  ↩
  3. Musescore’s portal is actually a pretty good source for just finding music, even if its engraving is poor. Exporting to MusicXML into Dorico SE would be a good workflow for my students trying to get any music that has few enough instruments to support this behavior, but Dorico has had some standing issues with MusicXML – it’s one of the real strikes against it as a program right now.  ↩