FR: dealing with Piccolo/flute 2 in a score

I know this is probably somewhere on the to-do list, but let me reiterate how amazing it would be if Dorico could handle this with aplomb. Being able to do so would make Dorico the ONLY software that natively handles the complex issue of condensing staves that are not adjacent.

Generally, 2nd flute plays piccolo. And in proper engraving, one would want the piccolo to be the top staff of the group (ie: above flute 1).

it would be nice if Dorico let you simply enter the notes in the flute 2 staff (or flute 3 or 4, if you’re Mahler or Strawinski) and let you do instrument changes that automatically placed the piccolo part above the 1st flute, and back to the correct placement below when it returned to flute 2.

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That’s interesting. I still wouldn’t have the Piccolo above Flute 1 in this case - I would leave it below. Each to their own!

but that would, of course, be wrong.
the piccolo goes above. period.

That may be a rule for you. But there are plenty of published scores that do not follow it.


I’ve seen it done both ways so both should really be supported. Here’s the Boosey & Hawkes engraving of Arabella by Strauss, pg 91 where Piccolo (played by Flute 3) is under Flutes 1&2:

FWIW, Finale doesn’t support this natively, but you can reorder staves using TGTools/Layout/Staff List Manager, so you can change this on a system by system basis if you want. It would be cool if Dorico had a similar feature.

FWIW, I only have picc. at the top of the score if it plays throughout the piece without any change to flute. Otherwise, I add it as another player to flute 2 and show an instrument change in the flute 2 staff. An orchestral conductor once told me that it isn’t typical to see piccolo at the top of a score. To each their own, I suppose.:upside_down_face:

that conductor needs to look at to more orchestral scores, then.
I don’t have a single orchestral score in my library where the piccolo is below the 2nd (or 3rd) flute.

I just pulled out a bunch of random orchestral scores, alphabetically:
Bartok 3rd piano concerto
Debussy La Mer
Hanson Symphony #2
Hindemith violin concerto, symphonic metamorphoses
Holst the planets,
Korngold violin concerto
Lutosławski concerto for orchestra
Ravel Daphnis et Chloë
Strawinski Rite of Spring

and guess what?
yeah, not one of those scores places the piccolo part below the flutes, even when there are 2 piccolos and a single flute playing (one score has flutes 2 and 3 double on piccolo)

Now this doesn’t mean I haven’t seen ANY scores with piccolos below flutes… however, those that I HAVE seen were computer engraved, recent scores, that were obviously making do with the limitations of whatever engraving software they were using.
Making a correctly placed score with a flute 2/piccolo part generally involves having to resort to work-arounds.

There are plenty pre-computer that do it the other way too. I picked the Strauss example above just because it happened to be on the first page of Boosey’s perusal site. The Chinese Dance (Tea) from the Nutcracker has to be one of the more recognizable classical Flute and Picc themes among the general public, and it has Picc under the Flutes:

That said, I’m not arguing with your point that there needs to be an option for the Picc to take the normal score order. The fact that there are plenty of examples of both ways of handling this means that Dorico should really support both and give the user options with this. I’m definitely in favor of your feature request!


As am I. The most important thing for me is clarity. I have written orchestral scores where piccolo is at the top (it was one of my scores the afore-mentioned conductor made the comment on); and I’ll continue to do so every time I write a separate piccolo part as in your example. An easy option for the more common flute 2/piccolo would indeed be nice.