Divisi Procedure

Hi everyone!

I thought it would be smart to create the following cello section divisi at the start of my score:

  1. solo
  2. section 1
  3. section 2

because I could just write into whichever staff I needed without changing divisi all the time. Now I want to prepare the file for printing and don’t know how to go about it. How do I make sure as many empty staves as possible are avoided while maintaining the playback? (I’ve set 1) to solo cello…)

Here are two pages of how it looks now… Basically, the green voice is supposed to be what everyone in the section is playing unless there is something in the blue or purple voice…

Warm wishes,


Have you tried (in Layout options) turning condensing on and setting the Section Players to condense divisi?

Thank you for your suggestion which I hadn’t thought of! I attached a screenshot of what that resulted in. Unfortunately that’s not what I’m looking for because I don’t want the voices to be condensed, If two or three of my original staves are playing simultaneously I want them to have their own staff in the final product too…

OK. So try Layout Options>Vertical Spacing>Staff Visibility Hide Empty Staves (all systems).

Wouw! This is nearly perfect! (I had to tick the “Allow individual staves of multi-staff instruments to be hidden” otherwise nothing would change.) Thank you so much!

Any ideas how to make the first staff behave in the same way?

I don’t think you can get rid of the first systems here because of the Divisi signpost. (but I may be mistaken)

Could the divisi signpost be moved to the start of the second system?

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That makes the content disappear… :sweat_smile:

That’s what I often do - manually drag it in the Write Mode right until the bar where the divisi is supposed to start.

Why don’t you just create the correct divisi changes to unison and other divisions?
You would just have to copy up into the topmost staves, e.g. the unisono parts need to go all the way up into the Solo staff, but bc of the divisi change at this point, it becomes the section staff anyhow.

Will this not compromise playback? I mean the differentiation between solo sound and section sound.

But I will try this because I notice now that of course our previous solution would require me to enter the “unis.” “solo” labels manually. Also doable but not so elegant.

Yes that might be an issue, since the same voices will be used for solo and tutti.
I don’t know much about this, because I never cared for detailed playback. But I am sure other users might know the answer.

Thank you for the brainstorming! (All the experiments are in copies of the original file to avoid catastrophe…) So I copied section 1 into up stem voice 2 of the “solo” staff and section 2 into a new downstem voice of the “solo” staff. The good news is that the playback kept the intended solo cello vs tutti cello sounds. However having everything in the same staff messed up all the voice specific dynamics… I’m a bit confused at this stage… If I create “correct” divisi from here, all I get are new empty divisi staves.

What I really like about the “hide empty staves” solution is that I don’t risk not printing parts of my score because I didn’t insert the correct divisi. What is the deeper intention behind this phenomenon that incorrect divisi indications can quickly make parts of your score disappear?

Maybe you misunderstood, but you don’t need extra voices in the upper staff. Just always use the amounts of staves you need for this section, and paste in the appropriate staves. I think the best is to work in galley view, as you will see which staff is what at which point.

I will put together an example and upload it here, give me a second.

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Divisi Example.dorico (428.6 KB)

Here’s the example sketching what you have in the first flow and what I meant in the second flow. If you view it in galley view you maybe understand what I meant by “copy up into the topmost staves”, e.g. that Dorico doesn’t have a staff per divisi-group, but always creates the staves “downwards” from the topmost staff.
So in a 1.2.-Section, the upper staff is Desk 1, the lower is desk 2, but in a Solo-gli altri section, the topmost staff is the Solo and the second staff is all the others.

Again, I think it becomes self evident in galley view.

Edit: BTW, I was literally duplication the first flow and just copy-pasting the staves so the topmost staff is always filled, then adjusted the divisi changes. Took me 30 seconds.

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Yaaaaayyyy! Thank you so much klafkid! You’re an angel. This is the perfect solution!

To summarize:

  1. I create three staves as divisi (solo, section 1 & section 2) to not worry about notation while I compose. Enable “independent voice playback” in play mode so the playback of dynamics, and playing techniques are independent of what other divisi groups are doing. Click on “e” to override staff 1 to “solo section member” so it doesn’t use the tutti sound.
  2. Once I’m done writing, I go over the finished score (for instance galley view of cello score) and paste, segment by segment, up one staff as soon as one of the upper two staves is empty. IMPORTANT: I paste material from staff 2 into the SECOND up stem voice to maintain tutti sound. Enable voice colours to avoid confusion… (Anything that moves from staff 3 to staff 2 can just be selected + alt N since staff 2 and 3 use the same tutti sound.
  3. Go over the score BACKWARDS (in order to avoid content from vanishing) segment by segment to change the divisi accordingly.

RESULT: Divisi are automatically marked with 1 ,2 or “solo” or “unis.” accordingly. AND solo cello is played back with solo sounds. Wohoooo!

Thank you all! I like this way of working with divisi.


You are welcome! BTW the Divis change in bar 57 seems superflous to me.

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Ah yes, you’re right!