Condensing for colla voce parts?

I have a large concertato work, in which the instruments alternate between doubling the vocal lines and having independent lines. This occurs per flow, e.g. in one flow the instruments double the voices; in another they don’t.

I’ve made a “Vocal Score” layout, in which I don’t want to show separate staves for the instruments in the colla voce Flows. I can’t remove the instruments from the Flow, because I need them for the Parts and Full Score. I can’t remove them from the Layout, because I need to show them in other Flows.

So, I’ve been thinking about using Condensing: this would involve as many as 3 Players being condensed with the Vocal staff. But I don’t seem to be able to condense Flute 1, Trumpet 1, Violin 1 and Soprano 1 together. Is this possible?

Or do I have to create a whole bunch of dummy Players for the Vocal Score?

I suppose you could put Flute 1, Trumpet 1, Violin 1 and Soprano in a custom condensing group, but then they would have to appear together in the non-doubling flows as well, messing up the score order. Also, assuming the vocal staves have lyrics, Dorico will have trouble condensing them together with the instrumental parts. If you want to make a full score, yes, go for dummy players to have full control. But for the Vocal Score you could just keep the vocal staves as they are, no need to indicate doublings there I’d say.

I’ve noticed a possible bug, where it’s difficult to add instruments to custom condensing groups. I have about 1 second to select them all before they become un-selected. But Dorico still won’t condense them all when they are non-adjacent.

Looks like I’ll have to make dummy players to show in the Vocal Score, which I can exclude in the doubling Flows, leaving the true instruments included in the Flow in the Full Score and Instrumental Parts, and hidden in the VS…!

If you are never going to condense the solo vocal parts with each other, one trick is to make them section players, and then put a divisi change at the start of the flow to change the player name.

Set the divisi options to show the staff label but not the divisi change label.

Sadly, the project was imported as XML, and all players are Solo Players. It may well come to changing them all to Section Players in order to change the labels.

I’ve already got 40 Players, of which about 8 are ‘for visual effect only’.