SN234: Q is for Qhord

I was probably in high school trying to use Sibelius 1.2 to write an arrangement of something for me and my brass-player buddies the first time I got help from “Daniel at Sibelius.” Well, it’s been a long fifteen years for both me and Daniel Spreadbury; but, he’s as delightful and nerdy[1] as ever. This week’s SoundNotion was now the third time we’ve had him on the show to talk about Steinberg’s new scoring application, Dorico. If you’ve not been following the drama of the last few years, Daniel and many of the original Sibelius developers have been working in secret on Dorico for the last three-and-a-half years. Take a listen to our excellent conversation with Daniel. (show notes)

I gave Daniel (now “Daniel at Steinberg”) a bit of a hard time at the end of the episode on the licensing tech that Steinberg plans to impose, and I may have implied that I wouldn’t buy this thing if I couldn’t use it on two computers. I’ve been thinking about that a bit more since we recorded this show last Friday. And I’ve reached the following conclusions.

Second, it’s ok that Dorico 1.0 is not a one-for-one replacement for Sibelius 7.5 for me. I can use it for projects that fit it, and installing Dorico on my Mac isn’t going to break Sibelius. I can use them both. No, it doesn’t have chord symbols. But you know what? I don’t usually use chord symbols, and if I need them, Sibelius is a click away.

Third, this is a huge project serving a niche market. I want to show Steinberg that they aren’t wasting their time and money with it. If I don’t support the competition, I don’t think I can whine about Sibelius.

But first and foremost, the most significant feature of Dorico is not its proportional spacing algorithm, slur arc controls, or even the miraculous open meter implementation. It’s actually the people that make it. My experience corresponding with Daniel and other members of his team lead me to trust them. Trust is not a word I’m usually comfortable associating with giant multinational organizations; but, the reason I use it here is that I’m not describing a big organization. I’m describing people.

So Steinbergers, you may have my dollars later this year. I’ll even pay whatever a VAT is if I have to.

  1. On this blog, as in life, “nerd” and “geek” are terms of honor and endearment.  ↩