Flexible orchestra like scores

I have a situation (perhaps atypical) similar to flex-band arrangements. I have 4-parts roughly corresponding to the instrumental equivalent of SATB choral parts along with piano. For each of the 4-parts I need parts for every typical orchestra instrument that might play in that range (and possibly some up or down an octave for instruments like flute or tuba). Yes, I know, lots of doubling and not ideal orchestration, but it’s for a couple of amateur beginning to intermediate groups whose instrumentation may change on a weekly basis and would never have all the parts. If anyone has done this, do you recommend having the score have just the 4 parts with piano and then in setup create layouts for all the instruments needed? Or would you recommend a typical orchestra score where you cut/paste from the 4 core parts when doing the arrangement? To make things interesting, some of the harmony parts (alto & tenor) might have two notes. If doing the first method, is there a way for some of those parts to just show the stems up or stems down voice but not both?

I’ve done a few of these. It usually ends up being a mixture of both methods but I would keep the score to the 4 basic parts for simplicity. If, say, you’re doing a flute part, you often find the top part sits too low for it to cut through a whole orchestra. You may want to add extra octaves in but your score and parts can end up looking quite messy doing that, and beginners often find multiple notes/octaves harder to read. So depending on the complexity I might copy/paste a separate flute part (not shown in score) and adjust to taste.

To your last question: no, not that I know of.

I’ve never made such a score, but I imagine I would:

  1. Have the Full Score layout contain the music on four staves with generic labels like:
    SOP
    ALTO
    TEN
    BASS
    I would also include a performance note of some kind explaining which instrumental parts are on each line and which will have the music 8va/8vb written pitch.

  2. Add players for all of the potential instruments and copy (and adjust octave as necessary) the appropriate music to those staves. (This would even let you make separate parts such as CLAR. (SOP) or CLAR. (ALTO) to have your (ahem) bases really covered.)

Then each actual instrumental layout (part) would be “clean” and clear: instrument name indicated, single pitches (see below), everything in the correct playing octave.

Your sudden divisi moments seem more problematic. You can obviously indicate the divisions, but can you depend on having two or more players on each instrumental part?