Condensing vocal lines in musical theatre

Take a look at this score. There are two characters, one titled “One of three men”, one titled “Another”.

These two characters share a stave (at this point in the show). Additionally, they’re part of the chorus, so are meant to sing in sections labelled “All” or “All Men”.

I’d love to have a way to represent this in Dorico where the chorus was a section player, the soloists treated as a ‘divisi’, and then using condensing to combine them onto one stave. (There may be other soloists who exist as a Solo Player, since they play a recurring character throughout and don’t meld into the chorus very often.)

But crucially, in the example shown, I wouldn’t want a line of rests above (or below) the line labelled “Another”, indicating that “One of three men” is now silent. The fact that we’ve got text telling us who is singing is enough to know that they don’t sing at the same time. If I try to use condensing in Dorico to do this, I always end up with it putting in those rests, thus:

Is this a thing that Dorico just can’t support through the condensing feature? Or (more likely) am I doing it wrong?

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I’d say this is something Dorico does not support yet. As of yet, I use additional staves that I show and hide using the new show/hide feature embedded with breaks. But granted, it’s totally manual control and not Doricoish at all. I hope there will be support for this kind of (very common) situation in vocal works.

Thanks Marc. I’ve not actually dived in switching from Sibelius yet, although I’ve kept a Dorico licence up to date in order to play around from time to time. In Sibelius I do it all manually of course, so I guess I wouldn’t be any worse off. It just seems worse to do it that way in Dorico while everything else is so semantic and elegant :slight_smile:

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I believe you could create a generic “voice” stave, and then enter the parts you want in their own dedicated staves, but hide them from the layout, and then cue them into the voice part. This way you’d have a standard staff lable (misc. character / voices / whatever) with little cue labels each time.

Unless you need different staff arrangements in different layouts, then I wouldn’t bother using Condensing for voices. Just use one Section Player with a suitable name, and use Voices and staff text. Then you can add additional staves with Divisi, if needed.

There is a trick using Divisi to create a Divisi of “1”, in order to change the Staff Label.

The thing that attracted me to the concept was because I might not know in advance when I’d want things on the same staff vs split. I liked the idea that I could move them around without having to just cut/paste sections of music.

Ooooh, I just found this option. May have to explore it!

It seems to nearly do what I want… apart from positioning lyrics above the staff if there’s another part condensed onto the same staff. If I had a way to force the lyrics to always be below unless there’s a clash in the same rhythmic position, rather than doing it per staff, I’d be happy!

What if you put in a Condensing Change and set Manual Condensing to “everyone on Staff 1, Up-stem Voice 1”?

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For some reason this makes the lyrics for Man 2 entirely disappear!

Well that’s brought back memories of causing MIDI lock on my one and only dep on the Jekyll and Hyde tour…

IMO Condensing really isn’t ready for vocal staves yet, for all the reasons you’re mentioned. Use divisi and handle the stave sharing manually.

(And yes, you can change the staff label anywhere even on a single-staff-divisi - see Flow title position - #4 by pianoleo)

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As a follow-up to this question: Currently, I should take care of condensing voices for a Piano/Conductor score myself?

In the “ideal world”, when writing a musical score, I would have a player for each leading role (and a generic one for supporting roles solo parts) and then four more staves for a four-part ensemble. But I guess that wouldn’t be easy to condense…

In general vocal music doesn’t condense particularly convincingly at the moment, because Dorico doesn’t have especially sophisticated handling of lyrics when condensing. This is something we intend to improve in future.

@Amy_Worrall May I ask how you handle the situation currently? Do you have separate tracks per leading actor or do you just write it the way it should be printed later? What was your conclusion based on the current state of Dorico?

Hi Amy, I am solving a similar situation with creating a new generic vocal staff, then paste the entire part 1) (in your case One of three men), then paste special part 2) (Another) into a new upstem voice to avoid the rests when the other is silent and manually copy/paste the text labels to each entry. So far it seemed like the most versatile solution, particularly when I want this new “condensed” part to be present in other layouts or cues. I originally thought the cue function would work but in this case I found it is elegant for what it is meant to do rather than being used as a workaround.