Dorico methodology - Flows vs Layouts for score reduction

I’m not sure I understand when to create a new Flow vs a new Layout… or if I’ve even approached this first project correctly relative to my end-goals. :wink:

I want a “Hymn style” final product; women in treble and men in bass clef with stem directions to indicate parts and divisi. I wanted to use this as a learning exercise relative to Dorico’s flexibility and intelligent score management. From demos or discussions I’ve seen… it seemed like Dorico would be able to take a multi-stave project (SATB unaccompanied preset) and reduce it into this grand-staff Hymn presentation.

So… Flow or Layout? My guess is layout, but I can’t find a method of collapsing these staves. While looking at the manual, I find under Layout-Custom Score that a new flow may be needed. Or perhaps I misunderstand this process in Dorico completely?

Any advice on how to move from one format into another? Perhaps something as simple as “collapse system” or similar? Maybe a reference to the manual for additional reading? Any help appreciated…

Your instinct is right: when this functionality is properly implemented in Dorico, it will be done by way of setting up a layout. Unfortunately, Dorico does not yet have the kind of functionality needed to produce an automatic reduction of an open score choral piece into a short score. However, this is absolutely the kind of thing we intend to build as the application matures, and it’s the kind of smart score management feature that we have designed into the capabilities of the application from the start. I hope you’re not too disappointed that this is not yet available in the software.

Not disappointed. It’s an easy fix manually… copy/paste/done (fingers crossed… that’s my hope!)

I have quite a few of these to complete, and am using this first one to iron the kinks and workflow. For now, I guess the better method would be to input using a Grand Staff and div layers per staff. I’m curious how that would handle the lyrics though?

Anyway… thanks for the reply. Glad to cut to the chase, and not spend too many hours puzzling this.
Looking forward to the future updates/versions!

Copying and pasting will be a bit difficult with things as they stand, unfortunately, as you currently can’t e.g. take the alto part that is presumably written in an up-stem voice and paste it into a new down-stem voice on the new combined soprano-alto staff without overwriting the existing soprano music. Coming soon, hopefully in the next update, will be more features to help manage voices in these kinds of situations.

Another good “heads up”

Will soldier onward… will post back if a solution/hack occurs. Otherwise… thx again for the tip!

I would think that all tools for doing this by copy-and-paste should already be there. To copy two voices (let’s say Soprano and Altos) together into a single stave later, you have to take care that you enter the later-to-be-downstemmed voice as exactly that, a downstemmed voice. As in the SATB environment this should be a single-stemmed voice, there will be no difference in notational appearance.

But even the Alto and Bass voices that you might have already put in (presumably as upstemmed voices) should be adjusted easily by Rightclick>Voices>Default Stems Up/Down. This will have to be done for both voices in each Flow.

I think there is a difference between stem direction and voice allocation via divisi. Forcing stems down would be a graphical change, whereas having two independent voices operating in the same stave is a more complicated matter… being that not just stem direction, but also rhythm and lyrics may require separate spacing or midi engine manipulations.

The direction of the stems is only tip of the iceberg!

Yes. Whether it’s an non-“a2” passage for a pair of instruments, or a hymn-style staff for two voice-groups, separate stem direction is only an issue when the voices cross or when the rhythms are different. Otherwise, the two voices are shown as “chords” with a single stem, the stem direction determined by vertical position of the noteheads on the staff. (Yes, yes, I know there’s really no such thing as a two-note ‘chord,’ but you know what I mean!)

That was my primary complaint about every ‘solution’ ever offered by Sibelius for dealing with this issue. None of the proposed solutions ever came to grips with this issue in accord with established publishing practice. There were always ‘exceptions’ that had to be dealt with manually on an individual basis. (At least up to version 8, which I never used.)

Not being a Dorico owner/user yet, I don’t know how the new software is dealing (or will deal) with this point, but my hopes are high.


See attached file.

I put in the SATB choir first, then I just copied the music int the two-stave system. Note the three different Layouts, dividing the Players appropriately.

Is this what you meant?
SATB & (423 KB)

DING DING DING! We have a winner!

Very nice! When copying the music did you select both staves at once, then copy, then paste? Or did you do the process one stave at a time? Also… were you copying lyrics too?


Hi all, total Dorico newb here. +1 for this question, as for the life of me I can’t find a way to cut and paste into the two-stave system. Can anyone offer a simple step-by-step method? Thanks.

If you’re trying to copy and paste into the two staves of the piano, try copying and pasting one staff at a time: Dorico copies and pastes by instrument, rather than by staff, so if you copy music from e.g. separate soprano and alto instruments and paste them to the piano, you’ll find that the soprano music goes into the right hand staff of the piano, but the alto music goes into the instrument below the piano (if there is one). To paste e.g. the alto music into the left-hand staff of the piano, make a selection that contains only that single staff, and then paste it onto the left-hand staff directly.

Thanks Daniel. Sure, I can manage that, but what I need to do is paste two notes in each staff, ie S and A in the treble and T and B in the bass. I can’t find a way to do that with stems pointing in separate directions — it inputs only as chords, and trying to force the stems doesn’t seem to make a difference. I’m pasting from individual instrument staffs, with pre-forced stems, but to no avail. Other users seem to have found the trick, but it is still eluding me. Anyone?

EDIT: I worked it out. The trick was to open a NEW file with a piano part. I was trying to paste into piano staves that had been added below the separate SATB staves. Then a bit of stem forcing tidied things up. All is well…


What you can do is select one of the notes in the alto staff, right-click, and choose Voices > Default Stems Down. This will take the existing music for alto and make it use a stem-down voice, which won’t affect the notation on the individual staff provided there’s only one voice there. Then you can select and copy that to the RH piano staff, and it should coexist with the music you’ve already copied from the soprano staff, which will be in a stems-up voice. Repeat the same trick with the basses to copy and paste their music onto the LH staff along with the tenor music.

All sorted out — see my edit in post above and thanks again for your advice. Will a simpler way to achieve this be incorporated in future releases? I really hope so.

Now I shall go and RTFM cover to cover :slight_smile:

Yes, all of these sorts of edits will be made easier in future, but we need some time as we have an enormous amount of ground to cover.

The other thing that jumps out to me is to simply input what you want from the get-go; ie- use a piano grand staff (as is typical for hymnody, simply hide the instrument name) and use the voices (read: layers) feature. Input the S, add a voice and input the A. Same for T&B.

It just so happens I set a hymn this weekend. I used two generic “voice” instruments in my score. I put S in first, added a down stem voice to input A; I repeated this process for T&B after changing the second line to bass clef. The whole process took me a matter of minutes. Drop in my text and it was all said and done rather quickly, all opposing stems, looking just the way it was supposed to. (NB: I found using two “voice” instruments better as the barline does not extend through where your verse text should go but they are still bracketed together at the beginning of each line. I did it in a piano grand staff first but ended up copying and pasting the music into the vocal lines that I added after the fact and then I deleted the piano.)

I’m glad you found this workflow works for you. I too did some hymns and psalm chants in Dorico at the weekend, entering both in short score, and it took me much longer to type the pointing for the psalm verses than it did to input two hymns and the psalm chant itself in two voices per staff.