Grand staff wrongly assigned on MIDI import

Once in a while, on a MIDI import into Dorico, a single staff instrument (a viola in my case today) will import into Dorico on a grand staff. As a result, some notes of the part will be placed in the treble clef and some in bass clef. I’m assuming this is because a split point was set on my import. But it was my understanding that the split should only apply to grand staff instruments, and for some reason, Dorico is interpreting the track name “vla” as requiring a grand staff on import.

This wouldn’t be such an issue if I could simply assign the correct staff afterwards in setup mode, but if I change this “grand-staved viola” instrument to a proper “viola” in setup mode, Dorico will merge all the notes onto a single alto clef, but distribute them between two voices (the ones that came from the bass clef will be assigned to a down-stemmed voice, while the notes that were in treble clef are placed in an up-stem voice.

Alternately, I can import this midi file without “split-point for grand staff instruments” checked, and all the instruments will import correctly, except for the piano. So I have the choice of importing twice, and cutting and pasting between flows, or selecting and re-voicing notes in my viola staff section by section. Both take a fair amount of time for me to correct.

Anybody dealing with this? What’s your recommended work-around? Thanks.

Also the MIDI tracks names “Vln1, Vln2, Vla, Vc, Cb” always import into Dorico as ‘single player’, ‘unrecognized’ treble clef instruments. I would love for these parts to import into Dorico as their corresponding string section instruments. What names should I be using in my midi file for Dorico to properly recognize these on import? And in the meantime, how can I change a single player to a section player after the fact? Is this possible? Thanks in advance.

I don’t use MIDI. It’s horrible as an interchange format. Is MusicXML not an option?

Anyway, some thoughts…

  • Change all the instrument names to their full names, e.g. Violin 1 instead of Vln1.
  • On the Viola track, make sure you aren’t using more than one MIDI channel. I know some VSTs use different patches for different sounds on different MIDI channels.
  • Create an empty Section Player, then drag the instrument from the Solo Player to the Section Player.

I’ve been using SMFs because my main DAW has been ProTools for the last 20 years. I just experimented with exporting MusicXML from Logic, and I agree, it’s producing a much better starting point for cleaning up, so thanks for the tip, however tempo changes don’t seem to be exported with MusicXML. I suppose I could export just the tempo map as a midi file and copy that into the Flow after the fact.

The viola track in question occupies a single midi channel that’s why it was puzzling to me. Anyway I’m going to start using MusicXML and see if Dorico has an easier time recognizing my instrument names.

Yep, this is what I’ve been doing. Still, I think it would be infinitely easier to allow the user to change a wrongly assigned ‘single player’ staff into an ‘ensemble player’ staff in setup mode. Creating a new staff and dragging into it is tedious, especially when you’re talking about five or more staves. Vln 1 (or “Violin 1” for that matter) could be interpreted as a section or single player, so even if Dorico gets the instrument right, 50% of the time the software is going to guess the ‘single’ or ‘section’ assignment wrong. That means 50% of the time, the user will have to create new staves and drag music to them to correct an import recognition problem. Seems there is room for improvement here either way. Thanks for the help. I appreciate it.

Based on your wording, I’m not sure you understood. I dug up an old post with a pic to illustrate.

You’re absolute right. I assumed you meant dragging the music from one staff to another (that’s what I’d been doing.) I didn’t know this was possible – and now I do! Thanks a million!