Best Practices: Woodwind or Brass Lines That Include Both Unison and Chords

In order to better learn Dorico (with Noteperformer) I am beginning a project using Strauss’s Blue Danube Waltz. My use for Dorico is composing, not engraving. As a non-professional I lean on Playback as part of my process, auditioning what I am writing and make any needed changes.

In Blue Danube Immediately there are Horn lines that include both unison and chords. If I notate all chords on a two-voice staff and all unisons on a separate Horns section staff, then crescendos/diminuendos and other inter-note markings must be kept on separate staves. But they don’t function when for example a crescendo starts on the Unison staff and ends on the Voices staff. The beginning and end are on separate staves.

But If I notate both unison and chords in separate voices on the one staff, when in unison only one voice plays (a known issue between Dorico and Noteperformer, I believe).

At this point it seems the best I can do is use a single staff for separate Voices and live with the Playback issue.

Has anyone figured out a better practice? Or perhaps there’s a reasonably functional solution I just don’t know about yet?

I can’t speak to it from a playback standpoint, but from a notational standpoint, it’s very common to mix unison and polyphonic passages on the same staff. It’s just always important to use the correct designations when switching between them. For example, “a2” if the two parts are sharing a voice, or “1.” or “2.” if just one instrument is playing. These sorts of changes must be clearly notated.

Dorico is first and foremost a notation program, and I would lean towards solutions that are notationally correct, even if playback is compromised in the short term (until the program develops to accommodate the need).

Dear DaddyO,
I guess the separate voices is the best way to be compatible with the future asset in Dorico, combine. Of course we do not know when it will be implemented, but we know for sure it will, and that it will be a game changer. In the meantime, it allows you to finetune the dynamics and if the work you are doing is not meant to be published now, it would be my way to go.

Thanks dankreider, yes, I’m familiar with the standard notation conventions, at least the ones most commonly encountered. But it’s always great to be reminded.

Thats a good point. And since it’s my only real option right now that I can see, your conclusion looks like the best way, as you say, for now. Meanwhile, perhaps Wallander and Dorico will figure out a way to handle the playback of different voices in unison.

Again, thanks both for your replies.