I’m trying to make an ensemble consisting of a wind quartet, piano and 5 singers. I used the wind quartet template and added the piano and 5 staves for the singers. Dorico placed the piano staves under the winds and the singers’ staves under that, placing an accolade in front of the piano staves and square brackets before each of the instrumental and vocal groups. Fine. As soon as I moved the singers’ staves to the top, Dorico bracketed everything but the piano together in one group. In setup mode I tried putting the winds and the singers in separate groups, but the bracket didn’t change. Why does Dorico behave like this and why can’t I change it?

In Engraving mode choose Engraving options > Brackets and Baces > Ensemble Type: Orchestral

Chamber ensembles use the “Small ensemble” bracketing style by default, where all instruments are bracketed together regardless of their family; as al3xandr0s correctly points out, to enable bracketing according to instrument family, you need to choose the “Orchestral” bracketing style.

I post here because the subject is similar… I try to engrave a piece of music (from an opera) with vocal soloists (normally no braces at all), a choir (braces) and piano (braces). I found, thanks to al3xandrOs, the different engraving options, but I cannot find how I can have soloist singers without braces AND a choir with braces…
How about introducing an option when I choose the instrument : soloist. This instrument would not be “brace grouped” with other instruments of the same kind. Could be very useful for opera, concertos…

I think MarcLarcher is right. You should change the way Dorico groups soloists together with choir sections. See Elaine Gould’s Behind Bars p. 463.

… or have the group braces editable. I don’t understand what the point is of creating groups in Setup mode when the braces don’t follow the groups.

I think that the current behaviour of braces is not necessarily the final one, once the Dorico team gets round to looking at the issue.


That will be implemented, perhaps in the first update, if I recall correctly.

Braces and brackets just should be freely editable, there are many different modes of using them. In a concert band, you commonly separate the following groups with brackets (and barlines): flute-oboe-bassoon / all clarinets / all saxophones / brass (sometimes divided) / Percussion. For the same instruments one most often uses the thin, straight brackets, not the thick, angled ones. Here is the Concert Band template in Dorico not consistent with the practice of big american publishers like Alfred, Belwin or Hal Leonard. (A very big market!)

With the available presets in 1.0 it is not possible to change this (or am I wrong and only a dimwit?), hopefully it will be with 1.0.10! Yet with the lack of so many features it must be a nightmare for the dorico staff right now. Perhaps Steinberg just should have asked for a crowd funding with discounts for buyers when it was going to be released and would have hired more beta testers?! I am wondering about frustrated first buyers, I am one lucky guy I could buy an educational crossgrade. I would have been very upset if I had spended the huge amount for a new, full, commercial license…

Hi wolframd

I am not very upset, and yet I paid full price. Because I know that I pay for what is going to improve into being a remarkable tool to engrave music. A tool that will last, because it is well thought, bought on a very solid knowledge by people who care for quality.
I am not upset at all, actually, because, having followed Daniel’s blog, I knew that to be part of the users from day 1 (and I also tried to be beta tester !) would imply having an unfinished tool. And that it would give me the opportunity to contribute to the development. And I like that.

Hi Marc,
we should not open a different discussion here, that was my fault, sorry…

I try to enter the right topic, yet I think all is said over there (“What have you been thinking” or so, right?)


I have an ensemble piece imported via XML into Dorico 1.0 and I have been unable to change the braces of the instrument groups. Dorico does it well by default except that the double bass staff is left out, perhaps because I called it Contrabasso and Dorico (even the 1.0.10 update) doesn’t recognise it. I’ve tried changing the name as well as changing the new Engraving Options/Approach settings around and nothing helps. Does anyone have any suggestions?

You should be able to resolve this now using the new Change Instrument feature: select the existing contrabasso instrument in Setup mode, click the little chevron > next to the instrument’s name, and choose double bass from the list. You can always go back and edit its name again afterwards.

Thank you again, Daniel! I’d tried changing the instrument name but not the instrument itself. This new feature works very well and it solved the problem.

To my former problem: I did a workaround with groups and in 1.0 nothing changed. After the update today, the brackets were all on the right places. I did not use first and second players, so I do not know yet about sub-brackets. Only drawback: The percussionists are Glockenspiel, Percussion I and Percussion II. They are in one group, but not bracketed together (5 lines, 1 line, 1 line).
How can I achieve this?

No, I do not wish to send tanks to the London Dorico team, sorry for that typo!!!

Pitched and unpitched percussion will currently be bracketed separately, and there’s no way to influence that at the moment, I’m afraid. Would you generally want pitched and unpitched percussion bracketed together, unless the pitched percussion should be braced on its own (e.g. for harp or grand staff marimba)?

That’s what I always do. (Sorry to interrupt.)

Probably one should have both options, I know them both. In american concert band scores, they always bracket them together, and I know the separat brackets as well for orchestral scores.

Engraving is a hell (yet so fascinating!!!)

For my current personal daily work, I do not care so much, but thank you so much for asking! The question should certainly be answered by full time engravers.

Is there a way to adjust the thickness of a brace and the distance to the staff?