Steinberg’s Dorico 5 improves the music notation software’s playback and note input features, and the free desktop and iPad versions have been updated, too

Already one of the best music notation and composition software apps, Steinberg’s Dorico has now been updated to version 5 and should be even better. The new version offers improved playback features, new workflows and additional customisation options.

Having already included expression maps and an integrated key editor, Dorico 5 makes it possible to make your ‘virtual performances’ even more realistic with the addition of Stage Templates. These enable you to move instruments around the stereo field, automatically positioning them in the conventional places on the ‘stage’ depending on your chosen ensemble.

Space Templates, meanwhile, focus on the environment in which the performance is taking place - a concert hall, a recording studio or a church, for example. A number of convolution reverb presets are provided to mimic the sounds of these locations.

The Pitch Contour Emphasis feature, meanwhile, is designed to aid realism by modelling the dynamics of human musicians, while the inclusion of Groove Agent SE, Steinberg’s virtual drummer software, should make it easier to create real-sounding rhythms.

Dorico 5 also gets Scrub Playback - use this to listen to all the instruments in an arrangement at a specific point and then scrub backwards or forwards to check the harmonies and identify wrong notes.

On the note input front, you can now add markings and notations to multiple instruments in a single operation, saving you time. You also get Key Editor-style editing in the notation view - click and drag notes to move them around and make use of new live editing features that can be controlled exclusively with your mouse.

Throw in new customisation options, more engraving tools and enhancements for the free Dorico and Dorico for iPad - these now enable users to write for ensembles of up to eight players (previously only two) - and the cutdown Dorico Elements, and there’s a lot to chew on.

“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.”

Dorico Pro 5 is available now priced at $580/€579, while Dorico Elements 5 costs $100/€100. Customers who have activated Dorico Pro 4 or Dorico Elements 4 or earlier versions since 1 April 2023, are eligible for a free, downloadable grace period update to the latest version. 

Dorico SE 5 is available as a free download from the Steinberg website, while Dorico for iPad is available for free from the Apple App Store.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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