Cross staff beaming on non-grand staff instruments

I need cross staff beaming. When I looked up forum pages on cross staff beaming, it says I can only do it with grand staff instruments. I don’t care about playback, so I am happy to make the staves whatever I need to to make Dorico let me do cross staff beaming. I need the beaming to cross 4 staves, how can I wrangle it to do this? If I was just writing for piano it’d be no problem…

If my memory serves, you can create cross-staff beams on any number of staves, provided they all belong to the same player. So if you added three extra staves to a violin, you should be able to create cross-staff beams across any or all of those.

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Ah ok, I can see how that might work. I’m now retrospectively moving the four separate staves to one player, but now Dorico is automatically trying to rewrite things onto one stave in some places (and adding direction to switch to another instruments). Can I stop it from doing this and just leave everything on four separate staves? Thanks for your help?

If the same player is holding multiple instruments, then by default you’ll get instrument changes. (In Dorico, “instrument” is not necessarily synonymous with “staff”/“stave” – an instrument is, well, an instrument, and it can have one or multiple staves, like for a piano.)

You can disable instrument changes, but do you perhaps instead want one instrument with extra staves, to which you can move material as required?

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Please don’t think this is a criticism, I’m genuinely curious. Why do you need cross-staff beaming over 4 staves? I’ve never seen this for any instruments other than grand-staff instruments and would love to know what it offers musically? I love learning new notation devices and would appreciate any insights.

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I’m actually transcribing a piece of contemporary Balinese music, and as you can see from this photo, the musicians are playing across to other instruments. Their default playing setup is to only play the set of pencon (knobbed pot gongs) to their right, almost entirely except for this moment. To make things more complicated, they’re playing an identical RH/LH pattern that they have just played on their default pencon, and I want my transcription to reflect this, by showing how each player is playing the same rhythm, but across to another player’s pencon. Also, the tuning of each of the sets of 4 pencon are different, and I’ve used multiple key signatures to reflect that, so when they play across, you can read the different tunings easily.

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Thank you for the explanation – that makes sense now. I was trying to imagine it in the context of a western ensemble but now it’s clear.
Thank you!

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