Feature Request: Sketching Staves with Inline Instrument Assignments (Short Score Mode)

Hello Dorico,

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!

_ michael

Thanks for the suggestion. I agree that a workflow that allows you to go quickly from a short score sketch to something more concrete would be very useful.


Thank you. Yes! I forgot that it’s called “Short Score”. I updated the title.

I’ve taken Scoreclub courses too =). Great stuff!

In case you’re not doing it already: when sketching on Dorico I start with a few sketching staves for the 4 main families (Woodwinds, Brass, Perc, and Strings) and when done I explode the notation to the particular instruments and start adding detail.

Sometimes I even sketch with 2 pianos and add text just like that on top for remembering which instruments I want to use for each part or ideas. That way you’re only missing the real playback but it’s all there.

I think it’s a great compromise between what you’re wanting to do and what Dorico is currently able to do by default.

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Well, you can certainly add some scratch players (generic whatevers) and simply un-assign them from the full score once you’ve exploded everything properly. Doesn’t even really require a workaround. Just add them, and hide them once you’re done with them.

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I appreciate the ideas everyone! The reason for my feature request is because I’d like to keep the music in place and just assign instruments to notes (no copying around) and having Dorico interpret the instrument assignments for playback is a key part of the feature request. It would make it fast to change instruments and hear the difference as a way to improve audiation (mine is not great).

I realize there are ways to approximate this, but I think it would be really fantastic to have a workflow for short scores.

I’ve thought about making custom articulations that would tell Divisimate to use different performances, but it’s not designed in a way that you can just add an instrument here or there (as far as I know).

Anyway, I’ll keep writing with the text annotations and sketching staves in the meantime!

Each voice on a staff or grand staff can be assigned/routed to its own, individual VI.

For example, voice 1 can be routed to the flute, voice 2 can be routed to the violin 1, voice 3 to the violas, etc.

Would that help?