Custom Instrument Numbering

As in the picture,


I have two horns played by the same player, and I want the horn I circled in the picture numbered 2. With the settings Engraving OptionsStaff LabelsNumbering currently provide, when I choose Number together, it is numberd 3; when I choose Number separately, it is not numbered at all. It seems there is no workaround with other numbers.

Furthermore, there may be many more situations with the same problem. If the instrument can be numbered as I wish, it will suit similar situations like this one.

Thank you all for considering! With you all good luck.

@Gnusmas, welcome to the forum. You can adjust this without much difficulty. If you place an instrument within its own group in Setup mode–Players panel, Dorico will remove the automatic numbering. Then you can add numbering manually to the instrument name.

That will make it ‘Horn 3 in E’ rather than ‘Horn in E 3’, which is in harmony with other numbered instruments.

This can also be adjusted. You can set “Show transposition” to “Never,” and add the transposition to the name exactly as you want it.

For what it’s worth, we fully intend to add further options for determining the relative order of the instrument name, number and transposition in future versions of the software.


I’m afraid that this will make other things in a mess, like the consistency of positioning of instrument `numbers’ and so on, and will raise difficulty in further maintenance. I think everything in any project should be what they are and be logically correct, the same as what I understand the intention of Dorico’s design should be, shouldn’t they?

FWIW, I’ve complained about this before. Dorico is just going about this wrong and neither option handles it right. The player should be numbered, not the instrument - they’re Horn 3 regardless of which horn they’re holding. This is universally what is done in published scores.

Yes, I know you can edit the names by hand, but it’s a pain, especially when dealing with classical scores that might use 3 or 4 different horns.

Edit: A simpler to implement solution might be to allow us to override the numbering, so it isn’t a choice between using the bad default numbering OR throwing out all the automatic labeling.

I’ll also reiterate another of my suggestions… that would should be able to toggle instruments by flow, and not just players, for the very common case where it’s e.g. Horn in D in Mvt 1 and 3 and Horn in E in Mvt 2.

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An alternative for the meantime when it comes to horn players with different transpositions: give all the horn players the same instrument variations (F, D, E) and number them separately using the engraving option. Then all the horns held by Horn 1 should be automatically numbered 1, and 2 for Horn 2 and so on. You don’t have to use all the horns (if e.g. Horn 3 never actually uses the horn in D) but they “fill the gap” as it were.


This is a clever workaround! Thank you for pointing it out.

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Hi all. I’m copying some music with

  • 2 Clarinets, changing between B♭ and A
  • 4 Horns, two in C and two in F (not switching)

The Clarinets should always be 1 & 2, but the Horns are 1 through 4, so the instrument numbering setting can’t number both right at once. It’s not coming clear to me from reading the docs and this thread whether there is another setting that handles this, or a workaround, or it cannot be done at all.

I am using the settings that group labels between staves, and place the transposition below the name, which I much prefer. So I think renaming the instruments would prevent that.

Mark unless I’m not picturing the scenario correctly, the advice I gave in my previous reply in this thread should stand: number different transpositions separately, and give both clarinet players a Bb and A clarinet each, and all horn players a horn in C and F each. Then simply only input notes on the required staves (ie the horn players end up each holding an instrument they don’t use, but which “pads” out the automatic numbering).

I see. Okay, when I’ve finished entry I will add the extra unused Horn instruments in.
Thanks for your patience.