Feature Request: Alternative divisi appearance

Hi Dorico team,
The Divisi feature is absolutely fantastic and probably the main reason why I am switching from Sibelius to Dorico. However, I think there are a lot of things that you could improve.

  1. I would love to have an option to make my divisi sections look like this example from the Elaine Gould’s book:

Though probably I’d prefer brackets instead of braces here

  1. Whenever there is a divisi change, instrument names above the staves appears immediately even if there are rests in some of the divisi parts. It would be much nicer to have these labels above the first notes of the parts.

I know most likely I can do most of this manually, but Dorico is about doing things automatically, right?


Thanks for your feedback, Prokhor, and welcome to the forum. You are not the first person to suggest allowing divisi staves to start and stop mid-system in page view and this is something that we may well implement in a future version of the software, though I can’t say exactly when this will be.


My layman’s guess is that this would occur along with or sometime after cutaway scores have been implemented, since the routines would seem to be related.


Thank you for your reply! There’s one more thing that I noticed when I started working with parts. If I have unison restored mid-system, the “unis.” marks appear right there above every stave with duplicated music. I think it would be better to have it on the next system, where there’s only one staff… This is my first large project in Dorico, so I apologize if I missed something.
…just found a “bug” with divisi. I have 2 soloists and “gli altri”. Then I restore divisi, but the music I have entered in the section staff (“gli altri”) disappears, because the upper staff is actually a solo staff:
Screen Shot 2021-03-24 at 4.01.18 AM

The unison placement might be better moved to the next system in the score, but it would look funny in the parts. Perhaps one day Dorico can resolve what now is a compromise, but for now, if one had to choose one placement or the other–score or parts–putting the unison where the instruments actually return to unison, even if they retain multiple staves till the next system, seems the more reasonable course.

The divisi change label that shows either e.g. 1 / 2 or “unis” appears at the position of the divisi change. If you want that to appear elsewhere, either input another divisi change there or move the first one.

The duplicated music is a unison range. Only one divisi change can take effect within each system, so Dorico automatically shows unison music on all staves either before/after a divisi change that occurs mid-system.

Your screenshot shows a “unis” signpost, which indicates that you restored unison - that applies to all staves in the divisi change, not just e.g. 2 divisions when there are 3 overall. Make sure you’re adding a divisi change, not restoring unison.

Hi Lillie, thanks for answer!

I can do that, the problem is that I’ll need to create separate labels for parts and score, but I think that having more control of the automatic appearance of these labels would make life easier. The whole point of having divisi function in Dorico (as I think of it) is that software will do things automatically.

Not sure if I was clear… What I mean is that in my view it makes much more sense if “restoring unison” continues the upper group staff, not solo.

Very convincing mockup! For a moment I thought I’d missed the update where this had become possible, as I’ve been arguing for this pretty much since the divisi functionality was introduced in the first place. Sadly, the way it currently works seems to be unlikely to change.


Hello @prokhor . I’ve been using the divisi function for strings lately. The way I see it, when you use soloists in a divisi, these are players which usually play within the section and are temporarily detached from the section. If that is not the case, i.e., the soloist always plays a different part, then it’s best, generally speaking, to give them their own part, in a separate player.

With this said, it doesn’t really matter to which stave the music converges. Whether it is the first solo or gli altri, they are all going to play the same thing. Obviously, it looks logical that the staves converge into the gli altri stave because, in the end, the soloists are the “exceptions”. However, it doesn’t really matter.

The problem in your score is that, even if the unis was restored into the gli altri stave, there is a note ongoing at the point of the unis start, so the soloist do not have the start note. If I were you, I would put a whole note in teh solo 1 and 2 parts, and then, in the next bar, restore the unis. Nevertheless, if they are actually asked to remain silent until the next note, then it’s not unis. The unis is only restored when the next common note comes in.

This is how I understand divisi. I hope I have been helpful.

The problem is that in a case like this, you are forced to either keep the empty solo staves where they aren’t necessary anymore, perhaps into a new system, or change the music semantically by introducing some kind of rearticulation of the note, because obviously you can’t tie across a divisi change. The tied C in the altri could continue for a very long time, and then it would be generally understood for the soloists to just “sort themselves out” and rejoin the tutti when they see fit. I think @prokhor already understands quite well how Dorico’s divisi works currently, and has accurately pinpointed one of its severe limitations.


Hi Lucas, you’re absolutely right. But the other approach (and as a conductor I think it’s nicer) to have just “tutti” or “con gli altri” instruction instead of “extra” doubling notes. It’s also space-saving. Here are some more examples from Elaine Gould’s book (which also brings the original request of having divisi staves start and stop mid-system).

All of that can be done in Dorico with it’s “+1 staff”/"-1 staff" manually. But I’m lazy, I want it automatically :grinning:

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My bad! I didn’t read the whole thread. Of course, what I was saying was without saying that I don’t agree with your original request, with which I strongly agree.

and, in that case, which stave you divide from/to actually really matters, so what I’ve said doesn’t apply.

The order of staves also applies if you have a system break along with “unison” (because that’s where the number of staves changes)… The main problem is with notes tied across the barline, as Hugo @hrnbouma said

Is there a way (in the parts) to put a single div label on the left side of the system just like Gould’s example?

I can’t think of a good way to do that using automatic staff labels, no, because divisi section labels are shared between layouts, and if you needed to show those labels in the full score as well as in the part at that point, you’d end up showing the same label in both places. You could add “div.” as a Shift+X text item that is shown only in the part layout.

Dear Daniel,
well, every notation app has its limitations, and Dorico already gives us a lot of features that other apps don’t. Though it would be nice to have a brace as an option in vertical lines. :wink:

just finished my first big score in Dorico. Overall, inputting notes is sometimes harder than Sib or Finale. But editing them is absolutely fantastic.

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