hi dorico team and everyone,
In most of my recent projects, I’ve needed to switch from a 5-line staff to a single-line staff in instances where a player (a string or wind/brass player for example) is playing an unpitched technique–or sometimes multiple unpitched techniques, in which case a 2- or 3- line staff would be helpful.
In order to do this in Dorico, I’ve been using instrument changes, which works ok in many cases, however it also creates some problems:
- You can’t currently do instrument changes for section players, which is a case where I often need to switch to a 1, 2, or 3, lined staff.
- Secondary instruments currently can’t condense, so if I need a single-line staff for wind and brass players in an orchestra, I need to figure out a way around that.
- I don’t need the instrument change labels for this situation, and they can be fussy to get rid of.
- The instrument often changes sooner than I want it to (for example, if I have normal pitched notes on a 5-line staff and then 20 bars of rest followed by an unpitched technique on a single-line staff, the instrument will switch to the single-line staff as soon as the 20 bars of rest starts, which makes total sense for an actual instrument change but looks strange and confusing for these purposes.)
- It seems that 2- and 3- line staves don’t currently exist in Dorico?
To get around this in the past, I’ve sometimes chosen the middle line of the staff instead of actually switching staves, but I’ve found that often musicians will try to finger that pitch (even when there’s text above stating not to). And the feedback I’ve gotten from the performers is that they prefer to see a non-5-lined staff for unpitched techniques because it’s less confusing.
So I would love to see a way to switch the number of staff lines for these purposes as an actual feature in a future version of Dorico!
(But also please let me know if there are better solutions for any of these things than I’ve currently figured out.)
There are so many reasons I really love Dorcio, so thank you team for all the hard work you’ve put into it!!