Condensing for score analysis (two line condensing)

To practice with Dorico I’m by ear analyzing a Star Wars piece. People do these kinds of things on YouTube, what you want to end up with two bars usually showing the main parts, and then doing a “Add Staff Above/Below” for extra bits. All fine and Dorico is perfect for this kind of thing. Even better due to it’s powerful condensing feature you should be able to write it out full score, then have it do all the dirty work to condense.

So with this practice piece I picked a Hollywood orchestra template, got rid of the guitars and what not, added a Tuba (Hollywood orchestras don’t use Tubas??) and maybe one or two other missings. Then I created a condensed score with two custom condensing groups

  • Flutes, Picc, Oboes, Clarinets, Horns, Trumpets, Violin and Viola
  • Bassoon, Trombone, Tuba, Celli and Bass

This is the results I’m getting


It’s pulling out some horns (not others) and the trombone, but leaving the double bass up on the main bass clef. Can somebody explain the logic behind this, is there something I’m doing wrong? It looks like it will condense but it’s still trying to keep parts on their own line, I want it to use two staves only.

This really isn’t what Condensing is designed for. Dorico’s limited in terms of how many instruments you can reasonably expect it to condense onto a single stave. I could probably give you a reasonable guess it exactly why it’s not working if you shared the project file, but I suspect you’re going to come up with all manner of problems if you attempt to proceed with this.

I mean, for a start, you can’t mix and match section and solo players within a single condensing group. In the underlying layout the section players have to be adjacent in order to be allowed to condense.

Read pages 40-43 of the Version History.

…and note that the topic last came up a matter of hours ago, here: https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=246&t=153979

Thanks, linked is the project file if you care to take a peek. Yes I stripped out the grand staff players, and section players in favor of solo players. Thanks for the thread pointer, Daniel explicitly states that condensing to Grand Staff isn’t supported. I wonder how far I can get, and what the best approach is? It looks like doing a big Edit > Paste Special > Reduce is the best approach, which is fine with me as I don’t need dynamic linking for such a thing.

If you turn off the pitch crossing limitation (in Notation Options > Condensing, or adjustable locally from the Condensing Change dialog), and adjust the way that inactive players are handled (same places) you’ll get a little further with the Horns.

The reality, though, is that Condensed staves can handle a maximum of two voices, one with stems up and one with stems down (see the documentation here. It might be that three French Horns are playing the same rhythm, so they can take up one voice and something else can use the other voice, but you’re not going to get anywhere close to what you want with this approach.

You can do a lot more with Cues into a grand staff, but I still don’t know that it’s much less laborious than doing the reducing work manually.

And, as mentioned in the discussion that was linked a few comments above, a helpful tool in manual reduction is Paste Special > Reduce. I’ve resorted to this for a similar short excerpt, reducing pairs of similar staves together, cleaning up the result, and using the result to repeat the process, again and again.