Explaining Voices...

Hi all
I teach classical guitar, and until now I’ve been using Cubase to typeset music in 2 voices (tune and bass) or sometimes more than two. The mapping from voice to stem direction to Midi channel was easy and intuitive.

However… I’m struggling to understand the difference in Dorico between

a) “Up-stem Voice 1 and Down-stem Voice 2” (which is what I thought I should be using)


b) “Up-stem Voice 1 and Down-stem Voice 1” (which looks identical).

Is there any difference? Does one offer advantages over the other - which and why?

When writing in 3 voices should I use two stem directions on voice 1 and use voice 2 for the middle voice, or 3 different voices?

As I’m still learning Dorico, I want to make sure that I work the “best” way, rather than trying make Dorico work the way I used to work!

The documentation seems to shed no light, so I’m hoping an expert will point me in the right direction :smiley:

Dorico numbers the voices in each stem direction. So you could have a staff with 3 up-stem voices, numbered 1 to 3. Or, you could have a staff with 2 down-stem voices, numbered 1 to 2. Or a staff with all of those together: in which case they would keep their numbering and not be 1 to 5.

Down-stem Voice 2 suggests you’ve also got a down-stem voice 1 somewhere. I think Dorico’s voices are only created when used: if you press Shift V to create 6 more voices, but don’t enter notes into them, then they won’t exist when you leave Note Entry.

Of course, you can flip the stems of a given voice, if you want to confuse matters! For a 3-voice staff, you’ll need to have a middle voice, in either direction, which you flip as required.

This boy will go far! :slight_smile:

Dorico uses one set of numbers for Up-stem voices and another set of numbers for Down-stem voices. Up-stem Voice 1 is an entirely separate voice from Down-stem Voice 1.

If you’re writing with three voices, it’s not a case of using “two stem directions on voice 1 and use voice 2 for the middle voice) - these are three separate voices.

One thing to remember is that when you close and reopen a project, Dorico clears unused voices. It may be that if you start with Up-stem Voice 1 and Down-stem Voice 2, but don’t use Down-Stem Voice 1, Dorico automatically relabels Down-Stem Voice 2 as Down-Stem Voice 1 on reopening the project.

(ninja’d by Ben - not sure I’m saying anything different to him, but the last paragraph may offer additional clarity, or perhaps just confusion…)

In Dorico, up-stem voices and down-stem voices are numbered independently of each other. So, “up-stem voice 1” would be your first voice, and “down-stem voice 1” would be your second voice - that is, the second voice overall but the first voice that is down-stem.

How they appear and their stem directions is entirely context-sensitive - if there’s only one voice in a bar, the stems follow their “normal” directions according to the pitches of notes by default. There are notation options for hiding/showing bar rests in additional voices if you want to have consistent ‘voice presentation’.

If you want to change the stem direction of voices (as I realise other users have now already said!) you can change the voice of specific notes.

Ah right - that makes a lot of sense - so I think you’re saying that “Down-stem Voice 1” does not mean “This bit of Voice 1 has its stems down” (as you say you can flip stems anyway). Rather, I think you’re saying it means “1st Down-stem Voice” which is a subtle yet massive distinction.

I think I was looking at right angles to where I should have been looking - many thanks BW…
I do believe some fog has lifted :slight_smile:

And thanks pianoleo - your reply came in as I was typing the above… You’ve confirmed what I’ve written!
And thanks Lillie - your reply came in as I posted the above!