Please forgive me if Dorico already supports this as a feature, but I haven’t figured it out yet!
As I continue to write sketches of music and figure out orchestrations, I’d like to be able to use the same workflow that I see in many of the courses that I take, namely annotating sections of notes in my sketches and assigning instruments, doublings, etc. to them inline.
The way that I’d like to think about this is that the staves are not for any particular instrument (or instrument family) at all, but maybe one is for the main melody, and the others are for other functions like accompaniment or texture. I’d like to think of the staves as to how they function in the music.
Then, I’d like to be able to assign instruments to the notes, much like assigning text-based articulations. So, one articulation would be “trombones”. Another might be “flute” with perhaps a modifier “8va”. For playback, Dorico would interpret the articulations and send the notes to the appropriate instruments.
Here is an example of this kind of notation (it’s new to me) from a class that I’m taking:
You can see the notes on the staves and the annotations next to them indicating which instruments are to play those notes. This is obviously very rough, but hopefully, it shows what I mean.
In this proposed feature, I should be able to change the “VN+FL” annotation to something like “VN+CL” to indicate that I want Violins and Clarinets to play those notes. Dorico would adjust to this in playback.
This would be an invaluable tool for using Dorico as a composition and orchestration tool. I could focus not on the instruments and staves, but the different groupings of notes and their function and assign instruments after the fact as I think about timbre and color and make adjustments. A bonus would be to blow that up into an actual score with a stave for each instrument.
It seems like a hard problem and I’ve no doubt it is, but even a few steps toward something like this could make Dorico really stand out as a compositional tool. I don’t know if other notation programs are capable of this because the last one I used was Finale from 91-96.
Thanks for reading!