Condensing bug/weirdness

I’m blown away by the condensing feature (and much else in Dorico 3) - hats off to the team!

However, I’ve run into a weird problem: I have a Big Band piece with (among others, four trumpets). The piece is in C minor (3 flats), D minor in transposed view (1 flat).

Here’s the uncondensed score in transposed view.

However, when I condense that score, several strange things happen:

  1. The correct key signature is still shown in the first system, but on all further systems, three flats are displayed. The notes remain in their proper position, but have gained the necessary accidentals to compensate.

  1. The choices for voice distribution are strange (grouping 1+3 and 2+4 would have made more sense, since they are unison, but even so it’s strange that the noteheads are not merged - or is this intended behaviour?)

When I specify condensing groups manually (1+2/3+4 or 1+3/2+4), the key signature “changes” don’t occur.

I’m attaching a reduced version (only the trumpet parts, renamed from Condensing.dorico to - can you take a look at what might be going wrong here?

Tim (517 KB)

When you have single unison notes, Dorico will happily allow them to be superimposed on each other, so you see a single notehead with stems pointing out on both sides. But when you have unison chords, Dorico won’t superimpose them, because then you would have stems running all the way along both sides of the extent of the chord. This is nothing to do with condensing – it just won’t do it under any circumstances. You can force the notes into the same voice column in Engrave mode, but I’d advise against it. You mmight really find that two condensing groups of Trumpets 1/2 and 3/4 would produce a more optimal result in this project.

As for the problem with the transposing instruments ending up with the wrong key signature, this sounds like another issue we’re currently looking at, and I’m reasonably sure it’ll be fixed in the first maintenance update when it comes.

Excellent, thanks!

It appears that the order of players matters to Dorico when condensing:

Result when players are sorted 1-2-3-4:

Result when players are sorted 1-3-2-4 (by dragging in setup mode):

So it’s not really “under any circumstances” that Dorico can’t find a visually pleasing result. I can’t judge if Dorico can be expected to try different permutations of players for determination of the optimal result - but I wouldn’t be surprised if it can’t (just imagine 8 horns and all the possible combinations).

I hadn’t seen this thread before I posted, but I too have encountered the issue with incorrect transposing key sigs in condensed scores.

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I’d need to see the original, uncondensed source music to provide you with any insight over the impact that the order of the players has on the condensing you’re getting with your trumpets. If you want to attach a minimal project containing just those four trumpets for those six bars, I’d be happy to look at it.

Daniel, its already attached to the first post (

Here’s an example where my file was exhibiting this. (1.45 MB)

Re: Tim’s original project in this thread, if Trumpets 1/3 and 2/4 are the better pairings, you should create custom condensing groups consisting of those two pairs of instruments in the Players page of Layout Options.

Ok, but how can we do if we need condensing 4 trumpets in one bloc and 2 X 2 in another one, I mean in Configuration preferences condensing create a group with four trumpets and I use Condensing change to create two groups (trumpet 1&2/3&4) but in this case chords won’t superimpose …

You will indeed need to have a single condensing group of four trumpets and then use condensing changes. The same instrument cannot appear in different condensing groups over time in the same project.

Ok thanks that’s perfectly clear but in this case when I use condensing change to create two groups (trumpets 1&2/3&4) is it possible to make chords surimpose ?

When you say “superimpose”, do you mean show them both on the same staff? If so, yes, you can, but you may need to specify that using manual condensing if Dorico doesn’t think the music should be shown on a single staff.

I’m trying to explain with illustrations
I created 4 Violins I and sometimes I need condensing 4 of them and sometimes 1&2 and 3&4 so first I created a condensing group including all Violins I and sometimes I use Condensing change to create two staffes with 1&2 and 3&4.

in this case when I want to condense all violins in one chord the result is

So I would like notes to be superimposed … Is it possible ?

I tried to reproduce this issue in a new project and wasn’t able to. Would you be able to attach your project, or at least (say) just the violin players (you can delete everything else in Setup mode) so I can take a closer look?

here is the challenge
Condensing challenge.dorico (508.0 KB)
and thanks again for your help

You don’t need to create a custom condensing group in your project: go to the Players page of Layout Options and delete the custom condensing group you’ve created. You should then find you get the expected result in bars 11–15.

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