Divisi, playback, and sounds

Hello everyone!!

A former heavy Sibelius user and recent (5-6 months) convert to Dorico. I am very happy with the switch as it has allowed me to finally use my sample libraries in a notation-software-context with out going crazy!! (Not the only reason I switched but the main one!!)

In preface; yes I searched the forum, sorry in advance if I walked right past the answer!!!

A question about playback and divisi:

What I would like to do is set up a score so the (for example) horns all play the “a4” patch when in unison with one stave showing in the score but once they are divided notes play the solo patch not both.

Currently the first stave once I create a divisi section always plays back the “A4” patch. I end up with 5 staves, one for the section and one for the four solo horns. I would like it to work with just one stave in unison and four staves in divisi but playing back the correct sounds and no “extra” stave for the unison sound.

Hopefully I’ve explained it properly!!

Take care!!


The way this works in Dorico conceptually is by working at the level of individual voices on a staff. Specific components of a part, such as a4 passage or upper/lower divisi or solo/gli altri are each written in different voices (e.g. Up-Stem Voice 1, 2, 3 etc)

Then each voice is routed to a different MIDI or VST output in Play Mode. The output assignment by voice becomes active once you enable Independent Voice Playback in play mode and write notes in that voice on the given staff.

So you might decide to write a4 horns in Up-stem Voice 1 and route it accordingly in Play mode and then write the solo horn voice that shares the stame staff in Up-Stem Voice 2. It’s very useful to use coloring option for voices so that you can easily tell them apart and to write down your voice allocation if you want to use it consistently. If I remember correctly, only the top voice assignment is remembered by Dorico (someone will hopefully correct me if I’m wrong).


Thank you so much for your reply!!!

That makes sense, and it took some trial and error but got it working thanks!!!

was struggling with the voices concept as it applied to playback but your insight helped a lot!!!

Take care


So - brains think differently. What came across to me from your post is that (vst and sounds aside) What you really want is four horn parts that condense into one stave - again if you can get the sound you want. But from a writing perspective, if you wrote them on four staves, which gives you 4 separate and complete parts when printing parts, and then those 4 horns condense into one staff in the score with Dorico’s condense feature, is that about optimal?

For me personally, bonus is that it is a lot faster to write that way, easy to assign different vst instruments to different parts. That just leaves the unison sound to deal with if you want a different sample for that.

There are different ways to do that and probably a lot of preferences here. You may not NEED the unison patch. But if so, I would tend to use a pt to change the solo patch on all 4 horns to 4 different unison vst instances. I would do that so that the individual horn panning stayed the same, so it doesn’t sound like they suddenly jumped to a different part of the stage - unless you want that effect I suppose. Prolly have to lower the gain on the 4 unison patches.


Yes, I probably wrote that too quickly (and in the middle of writing for strings and not horns, which clearly shows!). The pt method is quite elegant and maybe a better solution for the OP @Patt_Shore .

Although personally, I get so lost in all the custom playing techniques meant as workarounds, I’d rather avoid a4 samples! :wink:

gdball and ebrooks:

Thank you for your ideas!! gives me something to think about!!!

I appreciate the help!!!