Barlines across grand staff - question

When using a grand staff for a piano/vocal part, is it possible to stop the bar lines going across the complete grand staff, i.e. preserve a gap between the staves? This is often the convention when using lyrics in a grand staff in pop/rock/jazz music to enable easier viewing of the lyrics. In Sibelius it was possible by “grabbing” the top of a bar line and dragging down, which would remove the line between the staves for the whole part.

On a related note, is it possible to substitue the default brace for a bracket - again because of common conventions in jazz/pop/rock. If not would a possible workround be to create two separate staffs (treble and bass), assign piano to both and join them via a bracket. (This might actually have a benefit in that the bass staff could be individually mixed to make a custom balance between the left and right hand?)

I can’t find anything in layout options, and have so far not found anything in the forum.

Dorico has a specific instrument for these purposes.

Thank you, pianoleo,

I’ve added the choir reduction as a player and changed the instrument output to piano, which has got the display and sound almost to where I want to be.

All I need now is to know if there is some way of changing the brace at the beginning of the stave to a bracket.

If what you want is a different bracket and not a piano brace, you should instead pick two instruments, group them, rename them, and reassign the instrument sound.

Then you can change your bracket style in Engraving Options—>Brackets and Braces.

I could be wrong, but I believe both the piano instrument and the choir reduction will be created with a brace, which cannot be altered.

This is one of a very small number of instances where I miss the complete user customization of Finale for this feature. But as the recent update has demonstrated with the renaming dialogue, I’m sure greater customization will come in time.

One way or another we will provide a way of choosing whether to have a bracket or a brace for a choir reduction instrument in the future. What I did for somebody who is working on the Revised English Hymnal, which will have all of its music typeset in Dorico, is provide an altered instrument definition that changes the brace to a bracket. I could do this for you if you send me the userlibrary.xml file from your user application data folder, so I can graft it into your existing saved defaults.

Daniel, I’m intrigued by this, as hymnals comprise most of my professional typesetting.

What is the status of manual adjustments for lyric baselines? This is the one element that is preventing me from typesetting hymnals in Dorico (I’m sure you’re weary of the various iterations of “Feature X is the one thing I’m waiting on to switch over”… sorry)

I’d very much like to know how the editors are getting around this, as it seems essential to me.

Dankreider - thanks for your earlier suggestion of a workaround which confirms my initial thoughts (having had to do a similar workaround in Notion for IOS on my iPad to achieve the same result).

Daniel - thanks for your kind offer - how do I send the file to you? Just to clarify - I’m not looking for a choir reduction as such. I’m looking to create a keyboard instrument grand staff that has the same layout of the choir reduction grand staff, except it would have a bracket at the beginning (if that makes any sense.) I would primarily be using a piano sound for it (though it would be a simple process just to reassign the sound in Halion SE).

Dear Dan,
It seems we’re clearly OT here, but it’s not the first time you write about that baseline, and I admit I do not understand your problem. What is it exactly you are trying to do that you cannot? Could you send a picture?

I need the ability to grab all lyrics in a given system and move them up or down as needed for visual appearance. Dorico allows me to set global baselines for lyrics, but it does not currently allow changes on a system-by-system basis. Finale does this via “Adjust Syllables,” where you can marquee-select all the syllables in a line and move them en masse, not only horizontally, but vertically as well.

The Dorico global settings (even with “minimum distance from items” or whatever it’s called), while helpful, do not give me sufficient control over vertical spacing, for a well-balanced hymnal format. I do not often need to “override” the vertical spacing defaults, but when I do, I really do. Daniel had mentioned this was in the queue for future updates; I was just curious as to its status, hearing that someone was typesetting a hymnal in Dorico.

asaph53, you can send the file to me by email. My email address is d dot spreadbury at steinberg dot de.

Dan, the challenge we have for allowing you to change the vertical position of a line of lyrics on a given system is that there’s no clean place for that data to live, and that will require a bit of thought. Normally such information would be a property, and we could indeed add a delta Y property for an individual lyric (perhaps we should do this anyway, as I daresay there are exceptional circumstances where it would be useful), but when the thing you want to move is an entire line of lyrics but only on a particular system, the offset only makes sense while those specific bars are actually on the system, and the offset can’t live in the lyrics themselves (not least because if the casting off changes, those offsets should be removed). So we need to create some kind of extra data structure to save these lyric line offsets, keyed off the rhythmic ranges of the systems, and discard them in the event that the rhythmic ranges change (which is how things like staff spacing adjustments in Engrave mode work).

No problem, I’m happy to wait on the team for a solid solution in time. Meanwhile, for everything else–orchestration, choir, lead sheets–I’ve totally switched over and am worlds happier!

Would love (via PM?) to get in contact with the typesetters for the hymnal you mentioned and pick their brain. Maybe I could find a way to adapt to existing features in this case.

Daniel, there doesn’t seem to be a userlibrary.xml file at that location? Would that be because I’ve not set anything up yet?

Regarding changing the vertical position of a line of lyrics on a system/stave. Is what is being asked for like the feature in Sibelius where I can select any lyrics (or all the lyrics in a stave) and move them vertically up or down because the lyrics are “attached” to the notes. I find I do this a lot because of the particulars of what I am writing (mainly contemporary worship songs) where I sometimes need to get the lyrics “out of the way” of some notes? As others have expressed, if this is not possible at the moment I am reassured that this feature will be available in time.

For this, look at Lyric global engraving options. You set vertical distances globally, which automatically avoid elements in the staff. It sounds like this would be exactly what you need, without the need for manual adjustment.

You can set both “normal” distance below the staff, as well as minimum distance from protruding elements (for example, a low A in the lead sheet that uses ledger lines) – this will automatically move the lyrics out of the way to avoid collision.

I was asking for more specialized control. I never need manual vertical adjustment for lead sheets or choral anthems (thankfully). Dorico’s automatic adjustments are great.

Thanks Dan for those explanations!

I second those thanks.

Can I second DanKreider’s request, please?

When dealing with grand staff choral music (using the Choir (reduction) instrument) it’s often most aesthetically pleasing if the lyrics are vertically centred between the two staves, and of course the global baseline setting just can’t achieve this correctly in every case.

Dan, I think the reason that it’s possible to use Dorico for the REH is that the style typical of the NEH and its successor is to show only a single verse with the music, and to show the remainder as block lyrics below.

Andrew, the attached zip file contains a file userlibrary.xml. Put this in /Users/your-username/Library/Application Support/Steinberg/Dorico 2 and you’ll find that when you create a ‘Choir’ instrument, you’ll get a bracket rather than a brace. (1.88 KB)

Daniel - thank you - that’s brilliant.

I’m using Windows so I added it into the appropriate App Data folder.

When I started Dorico and opened up the choir instrument in the project I had been working on, it loaded with the default brace. However, when I started a new project it opened correctly with the bracket. I was then able to reset the instrument sound and copy the music over from the original project. So all looks and sounds good, thank you.

Yes, it will only affect new projects that you create from now on: it can’t affect existing ones.