Feature Request: Condensing for Grand Staff Instruments

Sorry if this has been requested before (I looked all over before posting), but it would be great if Dorico’s Condensing feature had the ability to combine instruments that use the grand staff (like the piano). I can achieve this manually but an automatic feature would save so much time.


A score with 2 pianos combined into a single piece.

One idea for enhancement here is for Dorico to read the music and the user can dictate what should happen to music that is in a greater interval than the user can play. For example, should Dorico re-write tenths or drop them? This could be a user option that is similar to Dorico’s existing Condensing controls for other instruments.

Thanks for your time!

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We have discussed condensing for grand staff instruments, but only to the extent that it should produce a single displayed grand staff if the two instruments are playing in unison, otherwise it would show two separate grand staff instruments. I can’t recall ever seeing any other configuration in published scores (and we did look for examples), but I am always happy to be corrected.

I have the feeling it’s more about a “reduction” than a condensation. Am I right?

I think Marc’s right. The thing is, making a good piano reduction is a great skill and requires considerable knowledge and experience. In addition, the transcriber needs to be able to look at a score and see what the listener experiences, which is not necessarily simply what one sees in the score. An example: many scores have busy string parts which are difficult to include in a piano reduction whereas the listener (and the singer trying to learn the vocal part) is actually hearing the brass parts, which form much more useful auditive cues. I don’t see how Dorico could be expected to make decisions like these, including what might or might not be pianistic.

In case it needs saying, Dorico’s condensing features are not intended for (nor are they at all suitable for) producing reductions.

A very particular case are some arrangements written for a tango orchestra, where there are usually four bandoneons. I’ve seen some arrangements where A and D are condensed in one grand staff and B and C in another grand staff, or all four in one grand staff. I have attached an example from a score published in Argentina.

I just came across this challenge in Holst’s “The Planets” with the dual harp parts (in Jupiter" while I was trying to cobble together the “I Vow To Thee, My Country” section). The two harps are duplicates, presumably for volume.

I’m engraving on an orchestra score from a composers manuscript with multiple grand staff instruments (celesta, piano, organ, two harps). It would be really helpful to collapse any of them down to a single staff, for notated music or tacit (this score is not “optimized” i.e. all instruments stay on the page). Having the option to select staff visibility, or in this case partial staff visibility for grand staff instruments would be helpful IMO.

This is also a great idea. For orchestra pieces with 2 harps for example. I’m currently working with a separate player/grand staff that is used for display in the score only.