Can't find it: Instrument switch

a quick sanity check: I have a solo player holding Ukulele and Guitar. How can I make the player switch instruments?

Much appreciated,

Just write notes into the relevant instrument (in Galley View), or select notes that are in the wrong instrument and use Alt-N or Alt-M to move up or down a stave (even if that stave is currently hidden) - Dorico handles the instrument changes automatically.

Ah Leo!
The virtues of Galley view!
Right now I’m editing an XML Import, and since the Dorico result corresponds nicely with the layout of the original PDF, I was working in Page view for quicker comparison…
All good, thanks!


This is a wonderful feature! I had the same question and finding the answer was DIFFICULT! I wish there were an easier way to learn all these things!!!

Would you be happy to share some of the terms you searched and where you looked etc? It would be useful to know so we can review making the relevant documentation/tips easier to find.

Thank you so much for asking – that is an excellent question!

To begin with, I have been wanting to switch to Dorico from Sibelius
now for years, but felt that I couldn’t do it because I’ve always been
under heavy deadlines, with massive projects to complete. Still,
several proofs keep showing me that Dorico is the superior product IF
ONLY IT WERE POSSIBLE to become proficient, as a professional, at
being able to quickly do whatever I need to do.

With that in mind, one of the projects I sadly completed in Sibelius
– 1,117 bars of orchestrated music – I decided that I want to change
to Dorico, before attempting to do more with it. I need to create a
piano reduction of the orchestra part (for one thing), and I also need
to beef up the orchestration so that full symphony orchestras can
program the work. This involves simply adding three trombones, a tuba,
and doubling a few of the winds which are currently single, with one
flute player doubling piccolo.

I began by OPENING up the Sibelius score (using a musicXML file) then
working from there – rather than re-input what seems close to a
million notes, from scratch.

To help clarify, I have probably spent six months watching Dorico
videos, reading tutorials, etc., as I am very serious about making the
change. I still cannot understand the FLOWS. It would, indeed, be VERY
useful to me to USE the FLOWS – for example, creating the Solo (it’s
a large work for Viola who & Orchestra) and Piano version – without
always needing to save the entire file as a different work, in order
not to mess up the original while creating the other versions I need.

However, it is so incredibly confusing – the tutorials don’t simply
take you from A to Z, but jump all over the place, so even after six
months, I still know how to do certain things, but – although I am
constantly RE-LOOKING things up, in my attempts to figure it out – it
feels like learning a new language without a textbook, finding
yourself in the middle of a foreign country that doesn’t speak your
language. Although I look it up over and over, I end up giving up on
simple things such as getting rid of that word “Flow” in order to put
a single title at the top of the page. I realize that (one of the
great things!) Dorico makes it possible to, for example, write a
symphony, or a book of piano selections – even the work I am
attempting to switch to Dorico right now – where you can name all the
movements within the work, while giving the whole a different,
all-encompassing name.

But it’s all SO confusing, and the answers seem like they are all
written down on index cards, all of which have been shuffled and
buried in a large barrel. My greatest breakthrough has been the
ability to Google individual questions and – often (thank goodness)
– find the answer. HOW I wish the tutorial was a simple process of
(A)-Learn this first, (B)-Now this… etc., so that I wouldn’t become
STUCK with each and every step.

Anyway, with that said, I decided – today – to try a different
approach, which is, go from top to bottom of my score and see if I can
make each instrument part work.

My MusicXML transfer called the 2nd player – and again I LOVE the
concept Dorico has created, in fact, I love EVERYTHING about the
GENIUS behind all of Dorico’s concepts: calling my Flute II/Piccolo
player a PERSON, then deciding which instruments that person can pick
up and play – it’s all incredible. But for the constant BANG YOUR
HEAD AGAINST A WALL deadends that come up with every third or fourth
move. Anyway, Dorico named the part “Flute II/Piccolo,” I guess
because that’s what I named it in Sibelius.

However, very understandably, Dorico didn’t catch all the little
things I had typed into Sibelius, “move to piccolo,” etc., since
Dorico uses a MUCH MORE SOPHISTICATED and better (by far) process. So,
I went through quite a bit of guesswork until I found a way to let
Dorico know that my “2nd player” could play, (A)-a flute (Dorico,
understandably, wasn’t quite sure) then I added (B)-a piccolo to the
same player. When I added the piccolo, it had no music in it. All the
piccolo parts were there in the Flute II part. When I tried dragging
it, copying it (Dorico, wisely, won’t allow you to paste notes into
the piccolo part if the player is occupied playing the flute), then I
tried CUTTING the notes FROM the Flute II part, then pasting them
below into the piccolo part… Of course, YOU know that didn’t work –
because now I do know how to do it. But it wasn’t easy to figure out,
with the THOUSANDS of questions asked and answered, HOW TO I ASK THIS
QUESTION? I had, long ago, been through the manual teaching how to
write for orchestra. But these details are either glossed over, or
referred to by following a thread to other places, etc., anyway the
answer isn’t something you can poke around and figure out – you
simply need to know the answer, as it requires a detailed keyboard
shortcut. Which, naturally, is why I needed to ask the question. When
I attempted to get an answer, I was led repeatedly to videos and
explanations about how to create or add an instrument (a second or
third…) instrument to an existing player. This was pretty easy to
learn, as it is the first thing Dorico teaches you. In Sibelius, what
I was trying to do would have been very easy. But in Dorico, like the
“Secret Menu” at In-N-Out Burger, you need to know the secret.


dorico how do you tell a player to switch instruments?

Dorico move music to a different instrument

Dorico how do you tell a player to switch instruments?

Change instruments one player

Switching Instruments

…Unfortunately, I can’t remember all the different ways I tried to
word it. I generally kept getting results such as, changing a part
you’ve given to a clarinet player so that your trumpet player can play
it instead, etc.

IN THE END, it was entirely a fluke, as I stared into the ocean of
unrelated responses and began contemplating either giving up –
finishing my work, once again (as in the last film score I wrote
where, once again, I tried to make the switch from Sibelius to Dorico
but found, there was just too much to learn and my clients wanted
results soon – not six months from now – or, feeling that I simply
needed to create my score (or at least the Flute II/Piccolo part) from
scratch, as I was beginning to know how to do things the Dorico way,
just as long as you start fresh – not something I was anxious to do
with a massive 1,117 hour-long BUSY full score.

I appreciate what Dorico has done – the program IS exactly the
program I would love to own and use, if only it weren’t so incredibly
hard to learn all the ins and outs.

I remember telling my 8-year-old daughter to “CLICK ON THE Sibelius
ICON on Daddy’s computer and see of you can enter this choral score
(S.A.T.B. with piano accompaniment).” I was just curious. Someone had
hired me to transpose a score and I had a concert to play in before I
could go home to do it – that night – and wasn’t looking forward to
it. My daughter called me on the phone 3 hours later – she had NEVER
used Sibelius before, and I didn’t tell her where the manual was (nor
did I know). She asked, “How do you enter Lyrics?” I told her, “click
on the note and use CONTROL+L” She said, “Thanks, Dad,” and was
finished with the project in a little over 3 hours.

Learning Dorico is not like that – ALTHOUGH – I absolutely LOVE
every one of its innovations, they are ALL the things I wish that I
could do. What can I say?

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

I wish all of you all the best.


Kelly Richardson

Quoting Lillie Harris via Steinberg Forums

Thank you for sharing this. Those ways of phrasing a search for an “instrument change” are useful, thank you.

I have added tips for inputting notes for additional instruments held by a solo player in various places (e.g. here in the prerequisite list for inputting notes, here at the end of the topic about adding instruments, and here on the page about instrument changes), as by default you only see the first instrument held by a player in the score (because instrument changes are allowed, and therefore only one instrument is shown at a time unless both have notes simultaneously; additionally, there isn’t a restriction on giving multiple instruments held by the same player simultaneous notes). In short, the quickest way is to switch to galley view, where you see all staves in the project, not just the ones shown in the score.

You can’t drag notes from one staff to another (similarly, you can’t drag notes up/down to change their pitch - to minimise the risk of mistakes), but there are other ways, e.g. as described here or using traditional copy/cut and paste.

The Dorico manual is designed to be a reference guide, not something that you read cover-to-cover. Its segmented style covers specific things completely but separately, and is therefore very useful for online searches. E.g. “inputting lyrics

For something more directional, you might like our First Steps guide, released earlier this year (available as a PDF and webhelp pages). It’s like a tutorial, going step-by-step in order through creating a piano piece and then an excerpt of another song for additional common notations. There are supporting materials to make following the guide easier. It includes some philosophical asides about how Dorico approaches things, and how to add titles/hide unnecessary flow headings in projects with one flow etc.

Hey Lillie!

Thanks for graciously helping out Kelly here, much appreciated…
However: Since it is such a powerful feature and a clear manifestation of Dorico’s unique concept of players vs. instruments, I still feel that it should state in preferably multiple locations in the manual, that:

It is impossible to write music into the different instruments held by the same player if you are not in galley mode.

I know it is stated in one of your links about adding instruments, but frankly that passage in the manual needs to use clearer language (“recommend…”) and be linked back to the other areas that you provided the links to.

Warm regards,

It’s not impossible, though. You can grab music in Page View and use the Move To Staff Below/Above shortcuts (Alt-M/Alt-N) and Dorico will automatically show the stave as necessary.

Thank you so much, Lillie.

Since writing my email, I did go through that tutorial which you
mentioned, and I am very good at the rudimentary skills taught in
those. My trouble comes when I attempt to do anything beyond the
basics – which all of my projects are – but in the short time
between my sending you the previous email and now, I have already
learned many more complicated things – thanks in great measure to the
incredibly friendly and knowledgeable family of composers who use

What very little I have learned in just these few minutes –
continuing my surge onward and upward – it has become incredibly
obvious to me that Dorico TOWERS above all other programs, and it is
well worth my time to simply have the faith and courage to persevere
and learn all the ins and outs, however long it takes. It is really
quite amazing what it can do, and – LIKE learning a complicated new
language – I see that it will be worth it.

ONE THING YOU SAID which intrigued me, (incidentally, I did do SOME of
my research and was indeed using gallery view) you said that the
regular simple solutions of CUT & PASTE would also work. …THAT is
precisely what I attempted, and it did NOT work.

So, I went back to experiment with this again.

VERY STRANGE … I wonder if you can explain?

I now have the beginnings of a Flute II/Piccolo part, with music in
both places – on the flute and the piccolo line…

In Gallery View, when I cut notes from my Piccolo line and paste them
into my Flute II line, the music is now on the Flute line. HOWEVER,
when I attempt the reverse … if I cut music from my Flute II line,
then paste them into my Piccolo line, Dorico places that music, too,
back into the Flute II line.

I experimented with THIS as well:

If I cut music from the Piccolo line, then paste it BACK into the
Piccolo line – even into the same measure where I cut it out – the
music that I paste back will magically appear in the Flute II line,
NOT the Piccolo line.

It’s as though my Piccolo represents a child who is too young to be
allowed to be given notes via PASTE, so they are given to the “adult”
[with the lower voice, in this case] which is the Flute II. As I am
very new to this, I cannot predict much about the future, but I
imagine if this were an ongoing property with other instruments as
well, I will have a difficult time writing music, as I will not be
able to copy and paste into just any line… Does this sound like some
kind of bug I am experiencing?

Anyway, thanks for writing back. I’m sure that if I went through the
tutorial again it would answer many more questions, but as the time
comes to quit “learning” and actually work on a project, sometimes it
doesn’t make sense to stop working and “take the class again” on
Dorico. THANKFULLY, your team of experts AND all of the expert Dorico
composers out there are an incredibly supportive and helpful
community. I look forward to becoming an expert myself before too
terribly long.

Thanks again, Lillie, you have been very kind and helpful.

Best wishes,

Kelly Richardson
Quoting Lillie Harris via Steinberg Forums


Just a quick CORRECTION … I did NOT mean to say that I went through
that tutorial TODAY, “since I sent you that last email…” That came
out wrong, indeed!

Those six months I mentioned before involved my meticulously going
through that tutorial – very thoroughly – AND watching all of the
videos you mentioned. I meant that as an aside, but the sentence makes
it appear that I just went through that tutorial this afternoon/evening.

Sorry about that!

All my best,

Kelly Richardson

You certainly should be able to copy from any stave to any other stave. I know that your project originated as MusicXML; are bar rests appearing as expected, in each empty bar?

I really don’t want to argue with you, since that’s usually futile anyway :innocent:, and you’re right about music being able to be copied or moved into different instruments (if one can remember which ones reside on which staves in what order…), but you cannot write new music directly into a given instrument in page mode. That’s all I meant to say…


Kelly, I just googled your music, and I’m in awe. :astonished:


Hey, thanks, PianoLeo, for reading through all of that.

Yes – I believe – if I understand your question. (I just went back
to experiment again, how embarrassing, you can tell I am new since
I’ve been calling it Gallery View when the word is Galley – I’m
afraid I will have to look that word up!)

Because I have changing meters in plenty of places, I was able to try
it either way. But, within, say, a 4/4 passage, the moment I cut more
than a single measure, the blank measures immediately combine into

But my results are the same either way.

I have been quitting the program each time, these past few
experiments, because I do not want to risk losing the work I’ve
accomplished up to now.

Perhaps there is something funny about the way Dorico understands my
Flute II/Piccolo part because of the way it was created, as you
pointed out, from a MusicXML file.

(Obviously, too, I need to eventually figure out how to turn off
Multi-rests, if I am going to be able to work on a measure that occurs
within a multi-rest.

PERHAPS, too, I have taken something for granted that I ought not to
have. What I’m talking about occurs while I am looking at the Flute
II/Piccolo part (in Galley* view [*which, incidentally, is a kitchen
on an airplane or some kind of war ship?]). NATURALLY, if I am looking
at the full score, using Galley view, there is no problem. I have no
trouble cutting and pasting my music ANYWHERE.

(Although, as I said, within the part it works perfectly well to cut
anything from the Piccolo part and give it to Flute II … And,
obviously, it is very useful to be able to change things from either
the individual part or the part as it appears on the full score. I’m
sure that is possible, right?)

I promise, eventually [as soon as possible] I will have learned much
more about the seemingly infinite details involved in learning Dorico.
It certainly has the potential to do ANYTHING, just as its creators
have set it up to do. It’s something of a miracle, really. I apologize
for being such a beginner (but, we all start out that way, I suppose).

Thank you for your patience,

Kelly Richardson
Quoting pianoleo via Steinberg Forums


I hope that wasn’t too wordy to answer your question.

YES, where there were not multi rests (with the number of rests
appearing above a black bar), each measure did have the proper rest in

The phenomenon was the same no matter how or where I did the experiment.

And, the other part of all that gibberish was: If I am looking at the
Full Score, not just a single part, and I am in Galley View, I can
copy, cut or paste at will and everything works out perfectly as it
ought to.

Thank you again for your patience and expertise!

Best wishes,

Kelly Richardson
Quoting pianoleo via Steinberg Forums

Sometimes, in such cases, I find I save time by copy/pasting between the staves and then erasing the original. The time taken by going back to erase is worth not having the measures collapse into a multi-measure rest.

In Galley View,

  1. Select the passage.
  2. shift-N to invoke the caret.
  3. Cmd/Ctrl-X to cut.
  4. Up/down arrows to whichever stave.
  5. Paste.

This works fine even with multibar rests set to consolidate.

Thanks, Derrek!

Actually, that was the first thing I thought of – so I definitely did
that first.

When it wouldn’t allow me to paste anything into the Piccolo part,
however, I assumed Dorico was telling me, “This player can’t play two
instruments at once,” so I tried it the other way.

As neither of them worked – I searched through the many questions and
answers in the community and just HAPPENED, as I was about to give up,
to find someone with the same question. That is when I learned about
the keyboard shortcut.

It was the keyboard shortcut that ultimately worked.

I believe there simply may be a bug in my file – it may very well
have something to do with the fact that the file was created by
opening a rather huge Sibelius file with lots of orchestral
instruments on it, 1,117 measure (about an hour of full orchestral
music) and the file Dorico had to begin with was a MusicXML file. I
can only guess. It sounds as though what is happening (the piccolo
part can be pasted into the flute part but the flute part can’t be
pasted into the piccolo part) is not the way the program is supposed
to work.

YOU DID INSPIRE ME, however to try it IN REVERSE: You are absolutely
right! With the existing section where (by means of the keyboard
shortcut) I was able to move music into the Piccolo part, I tried your
solution – pasting the music that is NOW in the piccolo part INTO the
Flute II part and, VOILA, Dorico DOES, INDEED allow me to have music
on both staves at once!

I am certain this is something wrong with my file.

I had an idea, which I think would be a good one, since my goal is to
LEARN how to use Dorico as thoroughly and quickly as possible, and
this would probably help me do it:

That is to save ONE part (perhaps the Flute I part – or the Solo
Viola part, this is a massive work for solo viola and orchestra) then,
begin entirely from scratch. ENTER each “player” individually,
building up my orchestra as I would create a new file. The exception
is that I do not want to enter 1,117 measures, with all the many
changes of meter, keys, tempo markings, etc. That is why I would keep
one of the parts.

I could then paste the music into my freshly-created orchestra, an
instrument at a time, from the file I am using now. On the other hand,
to begin with, it may only be the quirky Flute II/Piccolo part that
has the problem. The only other instruments in the orchestra which
double anything are the percussion parts.

This may not be as difficult to fix as I imagine.

It seems to me that there simply must be something “broken” about this part.

I certainly appreciate all the help. Thank you, Derrek.

Best wishes,

Kelly Richardson
Quoting Derrek via Steinberg Forums

Some posters got to the crux of the matter for me, that is, why I searched and found this post. The OP (and I, I might add!) might not have had the head-scratching problem of how to locate and use the instrument-change feature if it were better explained in the documentation or the online help.

If you search “Instrument change” or “insert instrument change” or “switch” or any variety of terms, you certainly find out about labels and adding instruments to players, all of which are great. But you do not (again, unless I’m missing it somewhere and if so please point it out) get a page saying how to insert—that is how to pick a place and begin—an instrument change. It turns out you have to be in Galley View is all, I just wasn’t; I’ve probably even done this before and forgot how! This particular use of Galley View is a brilliant feature, I love it, and I was already familiar with alt-N/M from other uses, in fact I made another set of shortcuts alt-shift-N/M for when I want to copy instead of move music from one instrument to another (obviously not used for instrument changes but for copying say violin I to II). But how to do the actual entry of the change needs to be in the online help and operations manual plainly, something like “Insert Instrument Change: to insert an instrument change, first add the instrument to Player [describe all that or provide hyperlink] then go to Galley View and…” etc.

I love Dorico, so much is totally intuitive, and I am not complaining unduly. It’s just that if this had been said plainly I wouldn’t have wasted so much time. Even ol’ Ludwig had trouble, as he wrote earlier this thread, and I don’t know if you’ve heard of him but he’s a pretty good composer! :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks to all, especially Mr. Spreadbury (ought to be Sir Spreadbury, if you ask me).