Change Instrument name in Engrave Mode?

How do I change an instrument name in Engrave Mode? Double clicking their names in the score simply sends you back to write mode.

You set the instrument name in Setup mode.


Here’s the relevant information from the Operation Manual:

hi there,

I’ve a similar question but can’t seem to find a way around my issue.
I’m working on a Big Band score, and would like to name the saxes Reed 1 / Reed 2 / and so on, due to multiple doublings.
In Setup Mode, on the Layouts section, I successfully changed the name. However, I can’t do the same for the score, which will take the name of the first instrument starting in the score (i.e., Clarinet instead of Alto Sax).

Is there a way to solve this issue?
Thanks in advance!

Yes: Layout Options > Staves and Systems > Show player name instead of instrument names

This is per-layout, of course.


Player Name doesn’t really work for this with Reed parts IMO due to Dorico’s insistence of adding the dumb “(B Flat)” that has never been used in any published score ever. If there’s a way to completely get rid of that with Player Names, I haven’t figured it out.

I simply manually change the instrument names in Setup. It only takes a few seconds to get a setup like this:

I always like to show the instrument on subsequent pages, so page 2 onward will be setup like this, or whatever reeds are being played:

EDIT: You’ll need to use Instrument Changes / Custom Text then in the Properties panel of course as the name of the first instrument being played will be wrong. It sure beats having this though:

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I don’t know why the {@flat@} token doesn’t resolve in the Player name. As long as you’re using a font that has reasonable accidentals (e.g. Academico here), unicode U+266D works here just fine:

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Add some more bars and you’ll see the problem is with the abbreviated name. When using the Player Name, Dorico insists on appending the “(B Flat)” text.

I’ve never been able to figure out why the “(B Flat)” label is there or how to get rid of it. For some instruments like Tenor and Baritone Saxophones, that parenthesized transposition label is completely unnecessary as there are no other possible transpositions. For other instruments, like Alto Saxophone, the label isn’t there. Obviously this data has to be stored somewhere, but if it’s in instruments.xml I haven’t found a way to turn it off. The label obviously populates the Layout Name too, so this is an annoying edit that must be made every time I start a file from File/New rather than a template I’ve already set up. In Jazz, trumpets and clarinets are assumed to be in Bb unless specified otherwise, so I would love to be able to globally turn off all of the unnecessary “(B Flat)” and “(E Flat)” labels.

I’m not really sure what I’m looking at here. Dorico doesn’t show “(B Flat)” in staff labels by default: it uses “in B♭” or equivalent, as determined by the options on the Staves and Systems page of Layout Options.

If you’re using player names instead of instrument names, right-click the player’s card and choose Rename Player…, which shows a dialog in which you can edit both the full and abbreviated player name:

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Ah, right, I had forgotten that was possible for the abbreviated name. That does allow the user to get rid of the “(B Flat)”. Is there no way to turn that off globally? I’ve never ever seen that used in published music, and it’s pretty safe to assume I’m going to never want that. Also, that parenthesized transposition label doesn’t show for Alto Sax. for me. Is that something I’ve somehow managed to globally edit, or is the behavior different with that instrument? If it’s something I did, can you remind me how I might have done it?

EDIT: Sorry, I’m a little slow this morning and haven’t had coffee yet. Editing the abbreviated name isn’t an option here, because then the abbreviated labels in the score won’t reflect the instrument changes.

The point, Todd, is that for staff labels in the score, you either use the player name, or the instrument’s name.

The name that appears in the instrument card in the Players panel is never used directly in the score.

The player name is defaulted to the names that appear on the instrument card, appended together with an ampersand if you have multiple instruments held by the same player. But you can edit both the long and short form of that name freely, and if you specify that player names should be used for that player, it won’t directly use the name from the instrument. It uses the name (and pardon me for pointing out the obvious) from the player.

I feel like I must be missing something here, because I don’t understand what you’re getting so exercised about.

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Unless I’m mistaken, you can either show the Instrument names (full and abbreviated) on all systems or you can show the Player names (full and abbreviated) on all systems. There’s no mechanism to use the full Player name, such as “Reed 1,” on the first system, and then show the abbreviated Instrument name, such as “Fl.” or “Cl.” on all subsequent systems. If you look at any of the perusal scores here, you’ll see that’s how jazz orchestra and musical theater scores are typically set up.

It’s important for the abbreviated instrument names to continue to be able to change and reflect the instrument being played. “Reed 3” isn’t helpful for the conductor and they need to know the instruments being played on that page. If I use the Player name, then the abbreviated name is fixed as to whatever I’ve specified it to be in the Rename Player dialog, so it no longer changes as the instruments change. As such, using the Player name isn’t really an option for Reed doublers.

The “(B Flat)” thing is just an annoyance, as it serves no discernable purpose for instruments such as Tenor and Bari. saxes, and must always be edited if not starting from a template.

OK, now we’re getting somewhere. You want an option that will show the player name only for the first system, and then revert to using regular instrument-based staff labels thereafter?


Yep, that would be a very useful feature!