Custom Instruments/Transposition

I’m currently arranging a piece for windband with a great Highland bagpipe (GHP). Dorico has a bagpipe, but it’s a non-transposing instrument. For the GHP I’d need an instrument in Db (the reality is more complicated but this works for notational purposes). Is there or will there be a way to either create a custom instrument or to change the transposition of an existing one?

Thank you

Wouldn’t it work to transpose the whole bagpipe part?

Bagpipe notation doesn’t quite follow the normal “rules”, because the natural scale is D major, but the music is written without accidentals or key signature. (In traditional piping, the other semitones in a full chromatic scale are never used).

You can create a different key signature on one staff using the K popover and pressing Alt-Enter instead of Enter.

You can also tweak the playback pitch of an instrument by a semitone in the HALion player. Select the instrument and hit the “Edit” button.

Actually, if you go into the MIDI tab in HALion, you could probably tweak the playback so that F and C naturals play as F and C sharp, by playing the bagpipe patch on two different MIDI channels and switching the notes to the appropriate one. That would be a bit messy to set up, but at least the total range of the pipes is fairly small which limits the amout of work to do it.

Thank you, I will try your suggestion of tweaking the playback.

EDIT: tried it and it works very well :slight_smile: Changing the key signature of just the bagpipes and then transposing it up one semitone in the MIDI-tab of HALion seems to be the solution, thank you!

Hello everybody :slight_smile:

I’m working on a large piece with rather complex unspecified orchestration (something like in The Art of the Fugue by J.S.B.), where each part may be played by a number of different instruments. Of course, things couldn’t be that simple… frequently each instrument has a different transposition. This is just for one single part! Multiplying by 10 (the number of unspecified parts I plan to use) can lead to a real mess in a complex symphonic score… Tackling this task is certainly possible right now, but it’s rather cumbersome… In my ideal scenario, I should be able to create, in Setup, several Part Layouts of the same Player/s, each with its own independent transposition, selectable in Layout options. Is this the direction Dorico will go toward, or will it go somewhere else entirely? Is there something useful coming in the next version of the program? (When exactly is the new version coming? :smiley: )

Congratulations Dorico team for this wonderfully thought out (and hopefully future-proof) program! Keep up the good work! :smiley: :smiley:
Thank you

We do intend to make it possible to have layouts that are identical in every way apart from in transposition, since this is a common need for lots of different kinds of music, including band music.

Hi Daniel,
this would indeed be very useful. Since your post here, a year with lots of other great new features has passed, so I hope this one here may come along in forseeable future - it does not seem that complicated compared to the ones you already tackled… by the way it would be great to be able to custom transpose an instrument in the score as well, so maybe you can add some kind of “custom transposition” selection to instruments as well as layouts. Any news on this front will be appreciated! :slight_smile:

Any news on this front?
I am writing for double bass in solo tuning (in D plus the regular octave lower) and it would be nice to be able to set the transposition without having to tweak anything

No, there is no news on this front. (April 19, 2019, I would like to remind you, was just five days before the last update we released, Dorico 2.2.20, and there have been no updates since then.)

Daniel, it would be useful to be able to override differently transposed identical parts to (for example) change a note that is out of range in that particular transposition.

What, you want to be able to change a note in such a way that it won’t affect the original part or the full score? Sorry, not going to happen. When you need actual different music for a player, they need to be a separate player with their own music.

Yes that was what I meant. Often an alternative part might need a note or two to change because of range issues. In fact this is more common than not.

I’ve had this happen with instruments like contralto clarinet with contrabassoon as an alternate instrument (or vice versa). It seems like you could create the alternate part, but not include it in the conductor score layout, yes?

That’s what I do at the moment. Copy/paste/fix/hide. I think eventually Dorico will make this quicker. It’s not too onerous at the moment.

I have the following issue:
I’m leading a school Big Band and my 1st trombone player normally used to play tuba. We gave him a valve trombone in Bb to play the 1st trombone part. He is used to read in bass clef. So I need a 1st trombone in Bb bass clef transposition. As well, I want to keep the trombone sound in my arrangement to make listening samples for my students.
So here is the question:
Can I transpose my trombone to Bb in the player layout and keep it in bass clef as well as keeping the trombone sound?

You can easily change the sound that is used for any instrument in Play mode, described here.

I don’t think we have a ready-made trombone part with the right transposition, so you should probably change to another instrument with the appropriate transposition (here’s how), then edit the name so that the staff is still labeled as a trombone (like this).