Condensing moves hairpins

What can I do to prevent hairpins from moving, both vertically and horizontally, when condensed, please? Here is an example:

I also have problems where woodwinds condense, when both have a single note at the beginning of the bar, and the rest of the bar has rests. Sometimes one or more staves at the same place condense with rests in only the first voice (as expected), whereas other staves will have rests for two voices.



I believe local properties set locally don’t transfer to condensed staves – condensed vs uncondensed staves are different and can have different properties.

When you select individual hairpins, what properties are set, if any?

What did these hairpins look like on uncondensed staves? I wouldn’t recommend moving anything around graphically for staves you’re intending to condense, because the staves you’re moving them on aren’t the staves they will end up appearing on in the condensed score.

In a previous post of yours, it sounded distinctly like you were inputting hairpins that didn’t have the full rhythmic duration you wanted, and you were graphically moving their endpoints in Engrave mode rather than lengthening them rhythmically by increments of the rhythmic grid. You never replied to my comments there – are these hairpins the correct length in Write mode or only in Engrave mode? This difference will affect what you get when you activate condensing.

If you can’t identify the problem, you’ll need to share a project file – that can be a saved-as, cut-down version if you don’t want to share everything. Condensing is incredibly context-dependent and screenshots will never tell the whole story.


Properties set: Type Cresc. or dim.

The top graphic depicts the uncondensed state.

In uncondensed state, hairpins are the correct length and position in both Write and Engrave modes.

I will try positioninig them in Write mode by using the rhythmic grid.


Sorry, I should have been clearer: when you select them in Engrave mode, are any of the offset properties active?

PS if you want dynamics to be closer to the staff generally, i.e. all dynamics in the project, change the relevant Engraving Option rather than moving each individual dynamic the same amount. Same applies to all other notation items.

Yes. There are offset properties in Engrave Mode.

I have tried adjusting the hairpins in Write mode, with the grid. I can move the cresc one a limited amount left by one application of alt arrow; the second application moves it back two bars to the previous note! I also seem to have to use Engrave mode to adjust the length of the hairpins.

The problem with the vertical position of dynamics is that they need to be different, according to the position of the note on the stave, and any slurs. Not all need adjustment.


Here’s the link again that describes how to move items in Write mode: you can move dynamics by the rhythmic grid, rather than to noteheads, by pressing Ctrl/Cmd-Alt/Opt-left or right arrows.

Here again is also the link about how to lengthen/shorten items rhythmically, including hairpins to positions other than noteheads.

(When I embed links in my replies, I do try to make them relevant and I do a little bit hope that sometimes people read them!)

In Engraving Options > Dynamics > Vertical Position, there are separate settings for minimum distance from the staff, and then minimum distance from protruding items. Of course sometimes you may need to add graphical offsets, but these are graphical and not semantic. They shouldn’t be used to change when in time an item exists. They also won’t necessarily cross over from uncondensed staves to condensed ones – I really wouldn’t recommend doing graphical adjustments prior to enabling condensing, if you know you’re going to enable condensing.

Thank you: I will read the manual again.

What do I do about the rests in second voices, mentioned in my first message above, please?

Also, I have looked in Engraving options under condensing and can find no switch to turn off the name of the instrument in examples like this. All I need is “1.” Does provision for this exist in another options panel, please?


No need to read the whole manual, just the pages I’ve picked out to help you will do :slight_smile:

Have you checked what options are set in Notation Options > Condensing? I can’t say much else without access to a project file rather than a picture.

Are those instrument names overridden, i.e. have you renamed them in the Edit Instrument Names dialog? I think if the underlying instrument names aren’t the same and you therefore aren’t using Dorico’s automatic numbering, the player label will use the short instrument name in full, not just the number. Because as far as Dorico’s concerned, they might well be different instruments entirely.

See this example: it uses default names, and the player labels only show numbers.

I remember us discussing staff labelling before – did I point you to the options that now exist in Dorico 4 for instrument names/transpositions in staff labels? If so, did you look and see if any of those suits your requirements better than manual names?

The point is that they are inconsistent between instruments.


That’s not inconsistent, you’re getting 2 sets of rests where the condensing result uses 2 voices.

Add a condensing change at beat 2 in the 4th bar in that screenshot, tick the checkbox for the top two condensing groups in that picture, and click OK. Including them in the change starts a new phrase, allowing Dorico to consider the notes to the left and right of the change separately from each other.

The bottom staff looks like it should be a single-voice unison, but it’s not: are there differences with the dynamics? Try switching to galley view and deleting one of the instruments’ music and copying it back from the other, to make sure they’re exactly the same.

These are general condensing points about the considerations that factor into condensing, to which the answer is generally “check music and notations really are identical if they should be, including checking whether dynamics are grouped identically; use condensing changes to restart phrases mid-system where necessary” etc. You should be able to find similar discussions on the forum (about music not condensing into one voice where you might expect it to, how to achieve that etc). I can’t say much more without a project file.

The question is probably, then: why are the notes not sharing a common tail, as in the clarinet parts? There is nothing fancy about the extract. Indeed, these are some of the simplest bars in the piece.


They can’t share a common tail because in the previous three bars the lower flute has slurs and the upper flute doesn’t. The purpose of a condensing change on the second beat of the fourth bar (as Lillie suggested) is to force Dorico to start a new condensing phrase there, thus allowing it to make a new decision as to how to treat the following material.

Different rhythms = different voices in condensing. This is explained on the page about condensing results.


I will look into these references; but it seems to me that whatever the justification of the condensing rule applied in this case, it is perhaps a little strict. What I expected, without having to intervene in the condensing process myself, is actually what I now find is the standard at Breitkopf & Härtel. The extract below is reproduced from their latest edition of the piece I am working on.

Condensing is a unique feature to Dorico. No other notation software can do anything like it, because it’s incredibly complicated.

In order to function as an automated process, there have to be some rules for the process to follow. Depending on the context of the project, you may well find corners with unexpected results but there are almost always diagnosable reasons for this.

Hopefully, the most important contributing factors to condensing results are sufficiently documented in the manual (mostly in the Condensing section in Page formatting) to point you towards the tools you can use to overrule them should you need to.

Like bracket and brace overrides, manually intervening in condensing works best if you can start at the beginning of flows and work left to right.

I’ve followed this up today, and it is indeed the case that for condensed staves where the instruments included in the staff do not have identical instrument names (whether that’s because you’re condensing a trombone and a tuba, or two similar instruments but with manually-overridden instrument names), then player labels show the abbreviated instrument name.

Player labels can only show just the corresponding instrument number when the instrument names of condensed players are identical.

I’ve reviewed the documentation accordingly to make this clearer and that will be updated in due course.