Divisi cross staff beaming?

I don’t see anything in the forum or the manual on beaming between two staves which are divisi. I’m guessing it’s not currently possible; if so, could I please make a request for this? I do think there are workarounds, but they’re not elegant.

One of the “least inelegant” workaround is to have a solo instrument playing two cellos (that way they can both be labelled the way you want). Since Dorico understands it as the same player holding both cellos, you can do cross-staff. Then you can hide those staves until they are needed. It’s not as good as a native capability, but it’s not that fussy, especially since this notation, though very elegant, is not used that often.

Thanks Claude - it’s working just fine!

Or you could have a solo player with a single cello instrument, and add/remove staves wherever needed - if you only need one staff label (and not 1/2 next to each staff for example) that should work fine too.

What does that actually represent? 1st playing the first two quavers and 2nds playing the next two, but beamed together just to look nice, or something else?

It certainly means 1st and 2nd playing 2 notes alternately.

I guess the reason for the beaming is that it is really one musical line, split between two players for practical reasons not musical ones.

There are three pitches a fifth apart (B F# C#). Stopping two adjacent strings with at the same position with one finger is hard to play in tune on any stringed instrument, and is harder on bigger instruments. Three strings at once is impossible.

We don’t know the tempo, but there is also a limit to how fast you can play pizzicato for many consecutive notes.

We do know the tempo in this case as it is “Cercles mystérieux des adolescentes” form Stravisnky’s Sacre du printemps. It’s a quarter note to 60, which is very manageable. So here, the reason is more musical than practical.

Would the player parts contain both staves or single staves with rests inserted?

Actually, stopping 3 or even 4 adjacent strings with one finger in a kind of barré is more or less possible on a cello (in neck positions only), with a flat finger, but it’s hard to combine with ordinary (fingertip) fingering, and most of all, it has a weak resonance because of the flesh on the side of your finger, which doesn’t stop the strings tightly enough. (Note: ‘flat’ refers to finger placement here, not pitch…).
It’s true that stopping more than 2 strings with the same finger is impossible on a violin or viola, because a viol(in)ist will always use their fingertips, also for double stops of a fifth, which are possible because the strings aren’t that far apart. On a cello, you can only play a stopped fifth with a flat finger (or a thumb).

Apart from a fast tempo that could make continuous pizzicato quite awkward and tiring, dividing them over 2 divisi parts makes this passage way more resonant, as both parts can leave their finger(tips) on two strings in a double stop and let both strings ring freely for an extra crotchet/quarter note. It will sound more harp-like this way. The double stop ninth C#-B in the lower part is stopped at the same string position. The players may apply a flat first finger, or, if they care about resonance (or the conductor or group leader instructs them to), use two different fingers for it, avoiding a dull-sounding barré.

I’m pretty sure the player part is notated like the score. I think I have an old cello part of it at home…

I thought it looked like the Rite, but I didn’t recognize exactly where.

So the tempo isn’t an issue for the pizzicato, but as written you will get all four notes “undamped” by left hand fingering changes, which wouldn’t be the case if one cello played all the notes. All the other parts are either slurred legato or marked “tenuto sempre”.

That is consistent with the violas and cellos later on (rehearsal mark 97) at the same tempo.

Thanks Rob - I am just about to get to that next section at rehearsal 97! The orchestration at rehearsal 91 is amazingly harp-like, using solo cellos and basses to sustain each of the four plucked notes. And sorry I didn’t say where the example was from. Claude (or Marc and other Francophones), here is a question if it’s not too off-topic. My Dover score calls this section “Mystic Circle of the Young Girls,” but your French is plural (cercles mystérieux). I’m wondering if my English translation is wrong. I have found a few other typos here and there…

In string section “divisi a 2”, the two players at each desk usually take one part each, so the part will include both staves.

If there are more than two staves, there might be separate parts for different desks, but I have seen string parts published with 5 or 6 divisi staves on one part. Having separate parts might make page turning easier, but it makes the orchestra librarian’s job harder, and if the number of players is not exactly what the composer specified, the divisi might need to be rearranged in any case.

There is no question the word is plural in French. I have seen it translated in English both in singular and plural. My guess - and it’s only a guess - is that the idea is of a single circle of girls dancing and creating many rotations (or circles). It could therefore be translated either way. Nevertheless, I don’t see any real reasons why the plural should not be upheld in English.