Dorico for musical theatre (instrument changes and vamps)

So I do musical theatre scoring, and there are some things (that come up a lot in musical theatre) that I am trying to work out how to do in Dorico. Apologies if this is slightly too broad as a forum post but I feel like it does make sense to group these requests together. I recognise that some of these might not be possible but I’d love some advice if any of the following are possible:

  1. Position instrument change label at start of flow at the first bit of music that is played by the player (rather than at the very beginning of the flow)?
  2. Box instrument change text but not ‘To [next instrument]’ text (I can’t seem to edit these as separate paragraph styles)?
  3. How do I deal with VAMP text and Tempo markings at the same time. I’ve been using Shift-Alt-X and just entering ‘VAMP’ in order to make this text and this looks fine except where there is a Tempo marking as well. In Sibelius, I used to just enter as a metronome mark the tempo and then just enter VAMP on a new line in the same text. Does anyone have any tips on vamps in Dorico (I don’t care about playback, I just want the text that says VAMP to look good in all parts without too much manual work)?
  4. For each flow, have a list of the instruments that a player is going to play in that flow in the top left hand corner (particularly useful for percussionists to know that in a given flow they’re only going to play a few of their instruments)?
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I use the line tool as a System Line (confirmed with ALT/OPT + ENTER ) to indicate the vamp.

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For number 4: You can dislpay all instruments a percussionist is playing. This can be either at a very specific spot or over a custom period of music. Just select the whole flow here and it gives you all the heavy duty machinery a percussionst needs for this flow.

AFAIK, you can’t. I typically place it at the beginning though so the player knows what instrument they need to grab. You can always add it at the entrance with Shift-X text too.

This has been requested before, as it’s a fairly common house style to box instrument labels, but as of now these are linked, so you can’t. You can manually hide the label by changing it to a space in Engrave, and then enter the name using boxed Shift-X text. This is obviously a pain if you have a lot of them to do, but you can Alt-click them around too.

I usually just use a page override. If there’s an easy way to automate this look, I haven’t found it.

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@Derrek I know it’s not what I asked for but the System Line is absolutely beautiful and I love it. Thanks so much for that. For the text below the stave that you have in your example is there a setting to make it appear so close to the bottom of the stave without altering the global Vertical Position in Engraving Options and affecting all my other text in the project?

@Estigy Apologies but I don’t understand what you mean, could you elaborate please?

@FredGUnn Well I guess you’re the bringer of bad news in the case of this thread but thanks very much nonetheless for letting me know what is and isn’t possible. I find that showing Staff labels instead of instrument change labels (at the start of flows) looks lovely but the issue with that is then you get instrument numbers (e.g. ‘Alto Saxophone 1’, see Do not show instrument numbers in parts?), but perhaps this is something I’m going to have to live with…

In D5, you can now show the player name instead of the instrument name on the first system only if you want. If you then turn on the “show instrument change label at the start of flow” you can get something like this:

If I have that turned on for the part layout too, it looks like this:

Or am I not understanding what you are requesting?

I’m certain that (if not in the case shown, then elsewhere) I did a lot of repositioning in Engrave mode to put all the text where I needed it. Some things are so idiosyncratic that there is no way (at least yet) to have these things automated.

See here: Percussion legends

@FredGUnn I was thinking perhaps to make the first instrument that a player plays appear like this (as a Staff label):
Screenshot 2023-09-01 at 11.38.26
However as you can see there is then a number.

But I think you’re correct that the usual musical theatre styling is just to have the instrument change labels as you’ve shown (and accept that some manual positioning may be required if there’s other stuff going on at the same time).

Also (as I can see that you’ve done from your screenshots) decreasing the distance of instrument change labels from the staff (in Engraving options) actually generally makes them look much cleaner on the part, so thanks for that tip!

@Derrek No worries thanks for letting me know!

@Estigy I was actually after a list of instruments that the percussionist plays in the entire flow (like the ‘Reed 1’ example in @FredGUnn 's post) but thanks anyway.

Dorico only numbers instruments that are in the same Group and whose names match exactly. If I start with this …

… then I can get the number removed either by adding a Group in Setup …

… or by adding a space before the name, so the names no longer match exactly:


Wonderful, thank you so much for those workarounds!

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