Engraving quirks

Hi all,

I’ve run into some strange quirks while trying to engrave my condensed symphonic score in Dorico 3.5:

I wanted to bracket all percussion instruments together (Dorico by default uses different brackets for unpitched and pitched percussion), but in doing so ended up messing with all subsequent bracketing in other instrument groups, seemingly at random (instrument staves from all groups would just suddenly become un-bracketed on the following pages, and in one place the bracket for the string section just completely disappeared. For some reason I’m not even allowed to input the bracket again).

Then with regards to whole-phrase unison, I can’t get a consistent solution. If I choose “allow single-stem unison” in the Notation Options, Dorico still shows the first 2-3 measures of whole-phrase unison with 2 stems and then changes to a single stem, and if I choose to “prevent single-stem unison” I still end up getting single-stem unisons with “a2” in some places, especially right before the unison splits into 2 voices again. I just want it to be consistent.

I also have a passage where I have solo viola and solo cello, but the empty “gli altri” staves are still showing, even though I’ve chosen to hide empty staves. If I try to hide them manually, the solo staves no longer show as solo staves, but simply as “viola” and “cello”, which is misleading.

Am I missing something? Has anyone experienced similar problems, and is there a workaround for them?

Hi @jonasbove – if you can share the project file itself, or a cut-down version that still demonstrates these issues, someone might be able to look at the contexts involved and offer some feedback. As condensing is very context-dependent, it’s hard to identify causes/solutions in the abstract.

That said, here’s some information about the calculations that go into condensing – particularly things like phrases being “notes between rests” and those needing to be exactly rhythmically and notation-ally the same in order to get a single-voice result. E.g. if the two parts have slightly different dynamics (including the same dynamics but they’re grouped on one staff and ungrouped on the other) they won’t condense into the same voice.

For the brackets, bracket/bracing overrides apply from a position onwards – if you already had existing bracket/barline changes later on and then change them at the beginning of a flow, the results can end up conflicting. It’s best to work left-to-right when overriding brackets/braces, and I’d recommend in the first instance making sure your Layout Options are set to as close to the end result you want as possible.

Further, regarding brackets and braces, if you override this with a bracket and barline change, be aware that only those staves that are actually visible will be covered by the change. In a condensed score, the same instrument can of course appear on any one of several different staves, and each different combination really is a different staff. As such, you may find that you need bracket/barline changes reasonably often, and I would advise only creating them once everything else is done.

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Hi Lillie and Daniel,

Thanks for your replies. I ended up simply going with 2 bracketed groups of percussion instruments to avoid the bug where it affected the bracket of the strings (I believe it to be a bug since what happened seemed very irrational).
Also made peace with the empty “gli altri” staves showing and opted for up- and down stem unison for consistency.

One more question has arisen that I haven’t been able to find an answer to in the forums:

In this example I would like to have the e and g# in the stacked notes be on the left side and thereby vertically in line with the first note of the other staves, and the f be on the right side. The current stacking with the f on the left side results in an unnecessarily large gap between the barline and the first beat.

Is there a way to switch this? Ideally as a global setting, but alternatively as a property setting. Can the notes be “flipped” vertically, so to speak?

Is this what you mean / are looking for?

The offer to look at a project file to give you more tailored feedback, and to help you handle similar situations in future projects, stands.

Hi Lillie,

Thank you for replying. It seems to be what I’m looking for, however it doesn’t do anything in my specific situation - it should be noted that I’m working in the condensed score, and that the stacked notes appear in a staff where I’ve condensed 3 clarinets into “upstem voice 1”.

I’m sending you my project file, thank you for being willing to take a look at it. As mentioned it’s the layout titled “condensed score” in which all of my issues have presented themselves.

To flip the “back note” of that cluster, all notes in the same voice, select a note and hit F to flip the “stem” (that it would have if it were a shorter note value). The tied-over whole notes have to be flipped separately in Engrave mode.

Hi Mark, thanks for replying.
My first instinct was to hit F to flip the stem, but it doesn’t do anything.
I suspect that the issue arises from the fact that it is a condensed staff and therefore doesn’t allow me to edit it directly, but rather wants me to edit the individual instruments in the full score - but I can’t flip it there either, because the stack only appears in the condensed score.

(I can’t test it this morning but) ISTR you can still flip them in Engrave mode, even on a condensed staff.

You’re absolutely right, Mark! Thanks for insisting :wink:
I think I’d only selected the note I wanted to flip, but selecting the whole stack did the trick.
Thanks a lot!