Dorico 2 divisi troubles

Hi everyone

After reading about Dorico’s new fantastic divisi features, I went ahead and purchased (it was just a matter of time anyway) and started working on one of my old pieces. I exported it as MusicXML from Sibelius and opened it up into Dorico.

I had quite a lot of trouble getting the staves into groupings that I wanted, in terms of divisi, solo/gli altri etc.

Firstly, one of the sections was imported as a solo player (rather than a section), so no matter how I tried, the staff -> change divisi would do nothing. It would be helpful to pop a dialog saying you can’t do that to a solo player rather than just silence. Once I figured out the player was defined as a single rather than section player, I added a section, and copied everything over, and the divisi worked. However there are a number of problems with the current divisi implementation.

  1. Can’t change divisi changes. If you change divisi options at a point in a stave, you can’t go back in and change it again, it always seems to want to start with a bare tutti.

  2. It always seems to add the extra staff below. The input score had 2 staves, one for section and one for solo. If I select the section, and change divisi, and add a solo part, it adds a staff below, and deems the existing section part to now be solo. I also found it would delete the lower stave (altri) stave if i set at some point back to tutti, so you need to copy the altri to the solo line before doing this. I’d suggest that divisi be section-line-centric, rather than solo-centric.

  3. It seems to only have 1 midi track for every collection of divisi over however many staves. So, if I have a solo violin going over pizz section, it plays the solo as pizz as well even if I add arco. It doesn’t show up as a separate midi track in the play window. On that note, I have a bunch of arranged russian ballet music where on 1 stave I have divisi pizz and arco. MuseScore plays this fine, SIbelius doesn’t, what does Dorico do? I think if Dorico doesn’t have a midi channel per voice per stave there is going to be problems getting proper rendering without horrible workarounds (e.g. extra hidden staves which you need to keep in sync).



Post 2.0, we have already added a message if you try to create a divisi on a solo player: we didn’t do this before release because we couldn’t get the string localised in time and we are trying to avoid having English strings show up in non-English versions where possible.

To edit an existing divisi change, simply double-click the signpost and the dialog will open up with all of the right settings in there.

It’s correct that divisi always adds extra staves below the main staff. We don’t intend to change this. It should in practical terms make no difference to how you arrive at the groupings you want, since the main staff itself can also be presented as anything it needs to be.

For the time being, divisi material is all played back using a single end point, but this is definitely something we will address in future.

Hi Daniel

thanks, I thought I’d tried double clicking the signpost, but obviously not.

I’m not sure putting the extra bars under the stave is a great idea.

In any sheet music I’ve ever seen, the solo stave was above the section stave, and there are a great many pieces where the solo comes and goes throughout the piece. So the partial staves in this case would need to be above the main stave which is the sectional line.

A lot of people will be importing old music they worked on before, which will have the solo in a separate staff to the section, and grouped somehow. I don’t think the behaviour I witnessed would be desired if you saw it.

Selecting a sectional staff and changing divisi to add solo, makes the current notes on the solo line. This is most likely not what is intended. After you fix this up and select back to tutti, it’s probably not desired behaviour to delete all the music from the sectional line (which is what it did to me) and force you to move the sectional music into the solo line to stop it from being deleted (surely that can’t be desired). Maybe the change divisi dialog could allow the user to specify what the current stave becomes in the final result. Or maybe there could be some way to group existing staves into a divisi group. That could solve the multiple midi track issue as well, which at the moment would force us to choose between correct notation and correct playback if we want to use the very cool divisi config. It’s so promising, to finally have the software understand that sometimes you want to show 2 staves in an orchestral part, one for the occasional soloist (who is in the section), and one for the section, and occasionally divisi in 2 or more staves. I can’t imagine what a part would look like with the partial staff used for gli altri rather than solo.

The solo staff of course appears above the section staff, and that’s how it works in Dorico, as well. Because the change always occurs at a system break it really shouldn’t matter to you which staff is which. I understand that when you’re copying and pasting existing material from a score that was produced before the divisi feature was added, you have to think about it as you go through to move the material, but that’s a transitory problem as you migrate your project to the new way of doing things.

p.s. I also had some weird behaviour when I pasted music into a multi-bar rest. It pasted it into a different staff entirely. This is what I was getting at before about cutting and pasting to move stuff, if you cut the music, you make a multi-bar rest, if you try to paste into that, it goes into the wrong staff. I had to copy then paste then clean up to prevent the multi-bar rests so the paste would work. If you want to try to repro this, I had a violin 1 part with a section stave (instrument) and a solo stave (instrument). I altered divisi on the section stave to create a solo / gli altri divisi. Then I was moving stuff from the old solo line into the new (divisi) solo line. Since the solo and the section had a conversation going on, when I cut from the old solo line, all 3 lines would go to a multi-bar rest, then pasting into the new divisi solo line just pasted back into the old solo line. Most odd.

OK, I think maybe I need to do a video.

In the full score, in galley view, it’s odd to see the section line appear and disappear below the solo line, which actually is the section line most of the time, but stops being the section line when it’s the solo line. I’d much rather see the partial solo stave above the main sectional stave rather than the sectional dropping to a partial lower stave. then conceptually the sectional part is always staying on the same stave as well rather than jumping back and forth.

I’d really like to use partial staves for some of this, e.g. if there’s literally only a 2 bar solo, I’d want to see just a short stave for solo, so it wouldn’t be aligned on a section break (or most of the staff would need to be empty).

Also if we take the view that stave -> divisi group -> single stave, then the gli altri rather than the solo should map to the tutti on the second transition. You’re conceptually adding a temporary solo section and taking it away. The remainder of the staff can be extremely long and it can be a real trouble to copy it to the solo line before choosing back to tutti to avoid losing it. I did it several times (back to tutti), and each time it deleted all my notes and showed me a heap of rest bars since the solo had stopped.

I fully agree with adrien here. The solo staff should be a new staff popping up above the tutti staff. In a score, divisi staves may now start and end in the middle of a page, which is great, but it’s very confusing if the existing (i.e. continuous) staff suddenly has a new role (soloist), while the tutti section (gli altri) shifts to a different staff in the middle of the page. The soloist detaches him/herself from the group, not the other way round.
As a workaround (if playback is not an issue) I think I would consider notating a solo passage as an ossia, above the section.