Steinberg today announced the immediate availability of Dorico 5, the new generation of its family of composition and music notation software for macOS, Windows, and iPadOS.
Dorico provides unique features for getting the best out of virtual instruments and sample libraries with its deep support for expression maps and integrated Key Editor, allowing detailed editing of the musical performance — and Dorico 5 builds on these strong foundations with new features designed to take virtual performance to the next level.
Stage Templates allow the user to quickly move instruments in the stereo field, automatically moving instruments to the conventional place on the stage for the currently chosen ensemble. Although many sample libraries are now recorded in situ in specific concert halls, some are recorded with close mics and thus rely on expert mixing to produce a balanced stereo image. Stage Templates lets the user achieve this with just a few clicks.
Just as Stage Templates describe the physical arrangement of instruments on a virtual stage, so Space Templates describe the parameters of the space in which the instruments are performing, whether it is intended to be a concert hall, recording studio, or church. By being able to quickly recall convolution reverb presets, Space Templates make it quick and easy to experiment with the character of one’s sound.
The most convincing virtual performances typically result from music that has been recorded live using a MIDI keyboard, but this requires a high level of proficiency in keyboard skills. Dorico 5’s new Pitch Contour Emphasis feature models the dynamics of human musicians, providing a subtle but realistic shape to melodic phrases, and breathing life into the music.
Other playback-focused improvements in Dorico 5 include the inclusion of Groove Agent SE, Steinberg’s creative drum software, and new MIDI trigger regions for quickly building a realistic rhythm section using the included drum patterns. Expression maps — which provide a mapping between the written notation and the MIDI controllers and key switches required to trigger corresponding sounds in sample libraries — have gained new capabilities, including per-switch delay.
The new Scrub Playback feature makes it quick and easy to listen to all the instruments at a specific point in the music and scrub forwards and backwards, providing an invaluable way to check harmonies and look for wrong notes.
Music input receives a major efficiency boost in the form of multiple item creation, allowing users to quickly add all kinds of markings and notations to multiple instruments in a single operation. Select across any number of instruments to input playing techniques, dynamics, ornaments, or any other notation, and Dorico will automatically add the chosen marking to every selected instrument — even intelligently determining the position of the first note on each staff and positioning the marking in the right place on each one.
The immediacy of editing in the Key Editor by clicking and dragging notes in the piano roll is extended to the notation view in Dorico 5, with new live editing features to edit and copy music using only the mouse.
Beyond the worlds of playback and note input, Dorico 5 is packed with new options for customization, including a comprehensive new instrument editor, that allows changes to every aspect of how music is written for each of the more than 600 instruments in Dorico’s default library, or to build one’s own. Chord symbols and guitar chord diagrams are further enriched with new options for alignment and kerning. Dozens of new engraving and notation options have been added, affecting such diverse notations as clefs, lyrics, bar numbers, pedal lines, rests, and rehearsal marks.
The release of the fifth generation of Dorico also marks a significant expansion in the capabilities of the entry-level and mid-range products in the family. Dorico SE and Dorico for
iPad, which are completely free to download and use, now let users write for ensembles of up to eight players (previously only two). Dorico Elements 5 sees the biggest changes, now allowing to write for ensembles of any size (previously limited to 24 players), and includes the comprehensive Playback Options dialog from Dorico Pro, new customization options for text and music fonts, expanded Engrave mode with staff and note spacing tools, and more — all at the same attractive price as previous versions. Dorico Elements 5 is intended to be suitable for all but the most demanding of professional users, and these new features greatly bolster its capabilities.
“This release marks the beginning of the next stage of Dorico’s evolution,” says Product Marketing Manager Daniel Spreadbury. “Although the musicians who use Dorico, and the uses they put it to, are incredibly diverse, playback and note input are the two functional areas that every user relies upon, and Dorico 5 strengthens both. We are particularly excited about the expansion of the feature set in Dorico Elements 5, and hope that many new users, especially students, will take advantage of the additional value provided at a very attractive price.”
Availability and pricing
Dorico Elements 5 is available from selected dealers and through the Steinberg Online Shop for 99.99 euros and 99.99 US dollars. Dorico Pro 5 is available from selected dealers and through the Steinberg Online Shop for 579 euros and 579.99 US dollars. Prices may vary according to the region.
A range of downloadable updates and upgrades, crossgrades, and education versions are exclusively available through the Steinberg Online Shop.
Customers who have activated Dorico Pro 4 or Dorico Elements 4 or earlier versions since April 1, 2023, are eligible for a free, downloadable grace period update to the latest version.
Dorico SE 5 is available for free download from the Steinberg web site, and Dorico for iPad is available for free download from the App Store.
Space and Stage Templates: Use a simple visual interface to move instruments on the virtual stage, and Dorico automatically translates that into pan and reverb settings. Experiment with different rooms
Pitch Contour Emphasis: Dorico’s playback is more expressive than ever, using sophisticated algorithms to breathe life into phrases in the same way human musicians do. No longer do you need great keyboard skills to bring your notated music to life.
Groove Agent SE: The entry-level version of Steinberg’s creative drum software is now included with Dorico 5. Not only can Groove Agent SE be used as a high-quality drum kit playback device for your Dorico projects, but it also includes more than 400 MIDI drum patterns, performed by top studio drummers, and mixed by Steinberg’s expert engineers.
MIDI Trigger Regions: Dorico’s new MIDI trigger regions play a note or chord that doesn’t appear in the score for a period determined by you. This is especially useful for triggering MIDI patterns in plug-ins like Groove Agent SE, or other pattern-based instruments such as TGuitar.
Scrub Playback: This makes it easy to audition the whole ensemble or a single instrument at any point and move forwards or backwards through the playback at any speed.
Instrument Editor: With Dorico Pro 5, you can modify or create instrument definitions to suit your needs, and easily reuse them in future projects.
New music fonts: Four new handwritten-style fonts, and four engraved fonts, all available at the click of a single button, to bring greater variety to the look of your projects.
Multiple item creation: Dorico 5 overhauls item creation from a selection: you can now create multiple items at the same time, on multiple instruments, and even at different positions on each instrument.
Live editing: You can drag selected notes to alter their pitch, or drag them to new rhythmic positions, with a live overlay to show you where the notes will be moved to.
MusicXML import and export: Dorico 5 brings enriched support for importing harmonics, playing techniques, ornaments, holds and pauses, and more. MusicXML export is also improved, with page layout information now included, and basic support for encoding information about the music and text fonts used in the project.
- Additional new features: many engraving improvements to chord symbols and guitar chord diagrams; extended capabilities in expression maps; improved support for Japanese lyrics; greater scripting capabilities; text improvements; and more.