2 More Newbie Questions

I have 2 related questions but one is much more important than the other.

  1. I’m unclear on how to manage transposing instruments. I do a lot with brass parts. I had a sextet arrangement in Sibelius. I exported it in musicxml, imported it to Dorico. It was 95% there. Great! The biggest thing was the transposing bit. I pressed play and the sounds were spot on. But the scores were off. CaptureBT1.PNG shows the first system in Sibelius. CaptureBT3 shows Dorico.

Note the Horn in F and Bb instruments both show up in C. I tried changing the key signature on m1 of the 1st trumpet part and it changed all parts. Tried selecting all notes in the horn part and applying key signature. It changed the trombone and tuba.

I DID create a native brass band template in Dorico, assigning parts for Eb Soprano Cornet, Bb Cornet, Eb Tenor horn, etc. and it worked. But I’m unclear how to change existing staves/instruments.

CaptureBT2 and BT4 show a different section where all instruments are playing. The top 4 staves are sounding the concert pitches correctly, but the staves show key signature of C, when it’s really in concert Eb (as the trombone and tuba demonstrate).

2) This is actually the much more important question to me: how do I find the answers to these kinds of questions without writing here? You all are very helpful, and I have NO doubt that Dorico can do anything I want… my needs are so basic compared to film scores or symphonies. No doubt that Dorico can do it, but how to I figure it out? I have downloaded the 200 page pdf manual. I have the Dorico online help (F1 from the program)open all the time. But in the case above, I searched on “transposing instruments” and there is 1 reference in the 200 page manual:

Notation Options
The Notation Options dialog provides multiple options that allow you to make changes that
affect the way music is notated for each flow.
The changes that you can make affect the following:
• Note and rest grouping, such as the handling of syncopated rhythms or of different
rhythms in different time signatures
• Voices, such as the sharing of noteheads among voices or the order in which multiple
voices are tucked together
• Accidentals, such as the handling of cautionary or courtesy accidentals
• Transposition, such as the handling of key signatures in transposing instruments

and, to be honest, I can’t understand that parameter in the Notation Options section at all. Nothing about setting them up, or transposing C staves to other instruments, or even affecting a single stave (per my experimenting above).

I may sound like I’m whining, so I apologise. I am NOT a professional, and I will NOT use Dorico every day, or even every week. So when I start to work on a project, I will have to re-learn some things I learned last project. Is there a more detailed help facility? a 1000 page manual instead of a 200 page one? I’m sure you can answer any question I throw at you, but neither of us has the time to teach me with that approach. I’m trying to be as independent and self-teaching as possible.

How do I figure out how Dorico works? I think I’ve watched all the videos on your YouTube channel. If the answer is “some day we’ll have a comprehensive manual and robust training offerings, but not today,” that’s fine. Perhaps I’m not the right candidate for being on the ground floor of Dorico, as much as I want to support you all. You may well need cleverer people than me for the first while.

I’d appreciate your candid thoughts.

Thanks so much.

Here’s the 4th attachment.

In the Edit menu of Write mode, is Concert Pitch or is Transposed Pitch checked?

Before starting work on any MusicXml import I’ve learned to do these steps:

  1. in Write Mode, do Select-All and do Edit Menu/Reset Appearence and Reset Position.
  2. still with everything selected, do Edit/Stem/Remove forced stem …
  3. … and Edit/Beaming/Reset Beaming.

If you need to change a key signature for a single staff only, keep down the Alt key while you hit enter (or click the staff).

I’m sorry you’re finding it tough going with Dorico so far, Dagrace. To answer your second question first, we are painfully aware that the documentation currently available for the software is insufficiently comprehensive to be useful at the moment, and we are taking steps to improve this situation as quickly as we can, but it will take time. The community here on the forum has been amazing at taking up the slack and speaking for myself I am happy to answer whatever questions you might have in the meantime.

To answer your first question: your best bet after importing a MusicXML file is to replace the instruments with the right ones. Go to Setup mode, and expand each of the cards in the Players panel by clicking the little arrow to the left of each player’s name. Now you’ll see the name of the instrument held by the player: hover over the instrument name and a little chevron > will appear. Now click to show the context menu, and from that menu choose Change Instrument. This will allow you to choose the right kind of brass instrument with the right transposition, and keep all the music. That should take care of things.

Well, I’m embarrassed. I thought there was a parameter somewhere so that some conductors could see everything in concert pitch nd others could see transposed, but I sure couldn’t find it. Thanks!

However, that changes the pitches, but not the key sig of the parts. It still looks like Trpts and Horn are are all in C.

I haven’t tried the tricks mentioned after your post. Stand by.

Thank you. That helped also, but the key sigs are still off. Have Daniel’s suggestion to try.

Thanks for the honest answers, Daniel. As you see from this thread, people ARE stepping up to help one another. You are all most helpful. But I hope you can see my viewpoint too that I don’t want to bother you ten times a night because I forgot to look in Edit menu of Write mode for the transpose switch. :blush:

To complete this thread, I did your suggestion also for problem #1 and reassigned the instruments. Worked great. Hope that’s not something we’ll have to do forever, but at least it does accomplish the job. So all 3 of the responders helped me with little bits that made this conversion successful. Thank you all.

I guess I will raise one more somewhat pickier question. If you know it’s a bug, I’ll never mention it again.

As I was trying all these different tricks, I’d reopen the XML, apply the “fixes” then save as using the same name. I looked in the windows file explorer (or whatever that’s called) and it was indeed over-writing the file name (usually one gets a warning “this file already exists… overwrite?”). But the Dorico window showed 1, then 2, then 3 projects all with the same name. Presumably the old ones will fall off the bottom as I open other projects, but that’s a little confusing. Again, if you know about it, I’m fine. Although the overwrite warning would also be nice.


You should certainly see a warning if you’re about to overwrite an existing project, and indeed I do when I try this for myself. I’m not sure how to reproduce this problem!

There are separate “instruments” for trumpets and horns with and without key signatures.

For example, “Horn in F treble clef part” has a key signature, but “Horn in F (no Key sig)” - unsurprisingly - doesn’t.

If you don’t choose the right instruments when you set up the XML file, you probably need to create a new instrument (in Setup mode), copy the music onto the new staff, then delete the old instrument.

Daniel’s sugestion of re-choosing the instrument after importing the xml file worked. I did notice when choosing the instruments that there are often several choices, including “No key sig”. Thanks for the tip.

Good news and good news.

#1) The Save As does indeed work as it should. I was inadvertently saving to a different folder (whence I had opened the xml file).

#2) I found the preferences where it points to the default folders for saving things. That lead me to the solution. So the good news is that I am teachable!

False alarm. :unamused: Thanks!