Condensing: Music & Staves Mysteriously Disappear

Dorico 3.5 on MacOS 11.4
Issue with Condensing Feature.
(I did not find a solution searching the forum.)

I am working on re-engraving one of my scores to take advantage of the condensing feature. I’ve worked with it enough to have a good feel for how it works and how to manually change condensing options when I prefer a different grouping in a system. (For Example, Cl. 1, Cl. 2+3… or Cl. 1+2, Cl.3… or even Cl. 1, Cl. 2, Cl. 3, depending on musical context and complexity.)

I have entered a number of manual condensing changes to adjust grouping depending on current musical context. Here are some issues I’ve seen…

  1. I noticed some random bars that had disappeared from my Tpt 1 part when condensed with Tpt 2. Since Tpt. 2 wasn’t playing anything that system, I entered a manual condensing change to have separate staves. The empty Tpt. 2 part hid itself, and the Tpt. 1 part with all the music remained. Problem solved, and was a better solution anyway. But then…

  2. A similar thing happened with Trombone parts. Same problem, same solution.

  3. Then, it happened in the Oboes in a different context. Previous system had separate Oboe staves due to different music & rhythms, but needed to condense them again for the next system. I entered a manual condensing change to reflect this (Ob. 1 stems up, Ob. 2 stems down in the same stave.) Then… the Oboe stave disappeared! The music still exists, because I can see it in galley view. But it is not on the score. I tried double clicking the System Break and forcing the Oboe stave to show, but that didn’t work. The ONLY way to make the Oboe parts visible is to NOT have a manual condensing change, and leave them as separate staves. But that defeats the whole purpose of re-ingraving the score into a condensed score.

Is this a known issue? Is there a solution?

Welcome to the forum, @jaaronstanley. Can you make a copy of the project and cut it down to the minimal amount of music that would be required to reproduce the problem (e.g. just the affected bars in the affected instruments) and attach it here so we can take a look?

Huapango de los Muertos (WE).dorico (1.8 MB)

Hi Daniel,

I just uploaded the whole file. I’m not worried about anyone stealing. Two different versions of this work have already premiered, with video. The comments will take you to where the issues are happening. I just noticed a missing trombone solo, as well, and noted that. There may be others up to the Oboe issue–I’d have to do a more careful proofreading.

Thanks, Aaron. I’ve chopped this down to a more manageable size for investigation and passed it on to my colleague Andrew to ask him to take a look when he gets a chance.

Thank you, Daniel. Any word from Andrew?

The problem is caused by the fact that you have different independent time signatures between the two oboe instruments, and this means that they cannot be condensed. Unfortunately, the Condensing Change dialog doesn’t “know” that the music is actually uncondensable at that point, and so it presents the Oboe condensing group to you as if it will be able to condense the music. When it then tries to apply your specified manual condensing, it cannot.

So the trick is either to explicitly specify no condensing for that passage, or to remove the differing time signatures between the different instruments in the condensing group.

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Yep, that fixed it, though in the Oboe passage they were already both in 6/8. I had to manually input a hidden 6/8 at the beginning of the system to fix the issue. Maybe that would be a good feature request: at least some way of knowing when condensing will not work and why.

That brings up another question: is there an easier way to deal with constantly changing groupings (3/4 vs. 6/8, as in this work) without having to use different hidden time signatures? (This also messes up rehearsal marks as bar numbers, which I really wanted, but discovered was incompatible with independent time signatures.) In Sibelius, for example, you just enter the rhythmic values you want, but Dorico seems to be pretty stubborn about forcing the values to fit the time signature.

No, at the moment there’s no better way to handle this than with time signatures. There is certainly a case to be made for having some kind of explicit “beat grouping change” item in future, but it’s not something you’re likely to see imminently.