Divisi Strings on separate staves

I’m trying to score for double string orchestra, with Vln 1 and Vlc of orch 2 divisi on separate staves for some of the time. I’m unclear how to setup the score for this.

Does anyone have any ideas, please?



Daniel has said divisi staves are coming down the road. By divisi staves I mean separate staves under one player that can be “rolled up” into a single stave with each stave on separate voices (I presume).

It doesn’t exist right now, so the only two ways I know to implement divisi now are:

(a) do it on a single staff with a separate voice for each part

(b) put each part on it’s own staff, which means creating a different player

Hope that helps. I’m sure someone from Dorico will chime in to clarify anything I may have said that’s not correct.

Thanks DaddyO.

I had missed Daniel’s comments on this, and they didn’t show in the search I did earlier.

Too many notes for a single stave, so I’ll go route B. I had already set up score with separate instruments, but stopped work for an hour to see if there was a better way. Back to the grind!

You can create another player (Tutti violins) and hide staves when empty — you just fill the right staves you want to see in the full score, and in the separate layouts (viol1 and viol2 I assume) add the Tutti violins instrument :wink:

Is there a way to create appropriate sub-brackets for this situation? I have a string score in which Vn I, Vn II, Va, and Vc are each div. on 2 staves throughout a movement. So I want a main bracket for the string section, and within that, a series of 2-staff brackets (with Cb having no sub-bracket). It’s easy to get one sub-bracket for the four violin staves, but I don’t see how to change that to what I need.

1 Like

I see there was no reply to Rinaldo’s last question, so I’ll echo and add to it:

In the attached screenshots from Ravel’s Alborada del Gracioso, from page 14 and page 16, there are divisi violin I’s and II’s. First in 2 then in 6. I can’t figure out how to do this at the moment. Any suggestions?
Is there a way to make individual sub-brackets for just violin I and just violin II? Right now, I can only find the option to to either turn sub-brackets on or off, but when it’s on the divisi in 6 from Violin I and II get grouped together - with 12 violins in the sub-bracket.

Screen Shot 2017-12-04 at 3.30.06 AM.png
Screen Shot 2017-12-04 at 3.30.49 AM.png

1 Like

I have problem with divisi too.
I’m working on a piece for string orchestra and percussion. I’m planning a lot of divisi.
Sometimes I need to have tutti, like:

Violini I (6)
Violini II (6)
Viole (4)
Violoncelli (4)
Contrabassi (2)
Batteria (3)

(string orchestra has to have common bracket)

Sometimes I need to have:

Violini I (1, 2)
Violini I (3, 4)
Violini I (5, 6)

(string orchestra has to have common bracket and e.g. violini I has to have common secondary bracket)

Sometimes I need to split Violini I even for 6 staves.

I’m trying to experiment with different kinds of chierarchy (groups, solo players, instruments). E.g.
– string orchestra is separate group
– violini I are separate group, and within this group there are players named violini I (1,2), etc.
– violini I are separate solo player and within it I have different instruments named violini I (1,2), etc.

I’m trying to experiment with different engraving options (brackets and braces). I’m trying to chose instruments from different sections, like: Violini I are real violins and Violini II are flutes, wchich are rename to Violini II. And still I don’t know how to do it.
It’s also important, that names should appear corectly, like this:
It’s hard to name everything how I want to, because Dorico has it’s own method to link the names to the instruments.

That kind of divisi writing is going to be hard to achieve in Dorico at the moment. We have a solid plan for how to make divisi work as smoothly as other aspects of Dorico, but obviously it’s not yet in the software. I don’t think there’s a much better option at the moment than having multiple sets of players for each divisi combination and allowing Dorico to hide the empty staves, but I think you’ll find this quite a tough approach.

Hi Daniel,

Can you please to my above post, when you have a moment. I am trying to find some way to “fake” divisi strings in Dorico, but I can’t find a way to create the layout for the Ravel score without Dorico fighting back.

My reply to Del_Gesu really applies equally to you, mountainmusic: you can’t produce that kind of divisi writing where the number of staves changes from system to system in a practical fashion in the current version. To be clear, it’s also a headache in Sibelius and Finale as well, but at least in those programs you can create extra staves for instruments etc. and then hide them with hide empty staves/optimisation. As I’ve said, we have a solid plan to solve all of these kinds of problems in one fell swoop, but our resistance to putting workarounds in the program means that there isn’t a lot of wiggle room for you to trick the program into doing it some other way. Sorry.

One trick could be (eventually) to “abuse” flows for this. You could choose the needed staves only in certain (short) flows, with the option “Allow on existing page”. Then hide the time sig, change the last barline to normal and use abbreviated instruments names (this is the not so nice side effect for the first flow).

Solve the problem with sub-brackets like this: use groups.

Just bought Dorico as I feel it’s growing very strong, an in a good direction. I have faith it will be the best music notation software in some time. So I’m beginning to practice it. Hopefully start to compose with it soon…

I’m a bit disappointed to know that it does not yet support divisi, different noteheads (should be simple to implement, IMHO), among other things. Any idea when will divisi be implemented?


Dear spin,

I do not think divisi is an easy thing to implement. Just read the threads written during those last 14 months for people trying to find workarounds — and they do exist. It proves to be something quite complicated actually.
This fiels is somewhat related to the possibility of automatically expanding or reducing scores. This is something that Dorico’s developers have in mind and in their roadmap, and hopefully will be as successful as their chords implementation, cues, and all those wonderful features they have created.
Daniel has made it quite clear he wants the team to work on very clever solutions, not on mere workarounds, that is why it might seem complicated by now.
Could you be more specific about noteheads ? Some different ones exist, just right-click on a note a choose a different notehead. If you need another one, you should describe it nicely for Daniel and his team to implement it !
Hope it helps !

Thanks Marc!

Yes, noteheads can be changed. I’m just starting to use Dorico so apologies for not knowing yet my way around. Hopefully I’ll become an expert just as I did with another widely known music notation app.

I’m not sure if divisi would be such a hard thing to implement. Anyway, it’s such an essential feature — especially in 20th and 21st century music — that the sooner the better. I was about to start an orchestral project with Dorico. Not having divisi implemented means using another scoring app straight away.


Dear spin,

Try and read the threads about divisi workarounds, because there is a lot of nice things that can be done. You can create a section for each division (i.e. Violin I a and violin I b), and another for when they play together (Violin I). In Layout options, you choose to hide empty staves and then the score will show the right “players”. It’s powerful, yet you have to be careful to put the system breaks accordingly to the divisions…

Thanks, Marc.

I don’t really think any of the current scoring applications have good solutions for things like divisi. You can add extra staves throughout the piece, sure, but it’s not really a proper solution for divisi. Obviously you cannot employ those kinds of workarounds in Dorico because you cannot add extra staves to existing instruments. But we will provide a proper, fully worked-through solution for divisi that will handle these situations natively without need for workarounds – unfortunately you will have to wait a little longer for this functionality to appear. It will be worth the wait.

My suspicion is that it might borrow from the percussion functionality, where multiple voices on one stave are proxies for other staves in the project. I’m looking forward to it!

Thanks for the reply, Daniel. I agree that an integrated solution for this would be the best thing. And pianoleo’s reply makes sense, at least at first sight!

I have a lot of faith in this development team and I’m sure it’ll come up with a nice and flexible solution.

Looking forward to native divisi, too. That is going to be a big leap forward as no notation software handles this gracefully (a complex issue, indeed…)