Condensing dissimilar instruments using notated pitch


While working on a symphonic wind band arrangement, I stumbled on multiple condensing issues (using the Dorico 3 Condensing feature). All of them can be traced back to the same thing, I think.

The issue: I’d like to have condensed the Bassoon 1, Bassoon 2 and Contrabassoon parts in the full score to just one staff. The notated parts of the Bassoon 2 and Contrabassoon are almost identical (same notated pitch). When condensing, the Contrabassoon part is notated one octave lower.

I understand Dorico uses the transposition of the first instrument (please correct me if I’m wrong) of the custom condensing group, so the behaviour is as designed. What I’m hoping to achieve is one staff with the Bassoon 1 part, the Bassoon 2 part plus a label ‘+ C.Bsn’ (or something like that).

The same issue I’m having is with the Bass Clarinet and Contra Alt Clarinet and with the Piccolo and Flute.

Is there a way to let Dorico know to use the notated pitch when condensing dissimilar instruments?

When browsing through my paper wind band score archive, I’m seeing this practice a lot. It gives the score a much cleaner look (in my opinion).

No, at present there’s no way to tell Dorico that you want to use an instrument’s written pitch. A similar situation arises with Classical era orchestral writing, in which cellos and basses very often play the same music, written at the same pitch. In that case, the basses can usually play from the same part as the cellos, so there’s actually no need for a separate bass part. Is that also the case in your wind band examples, i.e. that you could give the bassoon 2 part to the contrabassoonist?

Yes, that’s exactly the same case. I’ve attached an example from a random score on my computer.

When I enter this example in Dorico (using three solo players: Bassoon 1, Bassoon 2 and Contrabassoon) and use the Condense feature with a custom condensing group, Dorico displays this example in three octaves.

I really don’t know how common this way of condensing scores is, but I hope you’d consider this to add in a future version of Dorico.

In the meanwhile, to work around this, I came up with this idea: add a third bassoon instead of a contrabassoon, write the contrabassoon part on it and rename the part to Contrabassoon. Is this feasible?

Yes, that would work. But, as I say, if the contrabassoon part really is identical to the bassoon 2 part throughout, then you don’t need an actual contrabassoon player at all, do you?

Unfortunately it’s not 100% identical throughout the piece, sometimes it has an octave jump and in softer arranged passages it’s having tacet.