Help with condensing

I don’t understand condensing, and as much as I’ve read about it and tried to fix my issues without bothering the forum, I’ve still failed. I cannot figure out how to make homophonic rhythms have the same stem direction, either at the beginning or in the middle of a phrase. The attached file shows my lack of understanding. I would like for all instances of homophonic rhythm to have stems in the same direction. I appreciate your patience as you try to explain this!

Vermilion River Serenade (2.1 MB)

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Hi @David_Campo you can create manual Condensing Changes in Engrave mode, at the desired position, and set the desired instruments groups (after you checked them) as follow, so that they have common stem (assigning them to the same voice):

Here the corrected Dorico file:

Vermilion River Serenade v.2 WITH COND. CHANGE.dorico (2.1 MB)

That’s a horrible result, though. See the ties in bar 13, for instance, which frankly look like bad MIDI:


If I look at the original file, with Voice Colors turned on, I can see that there are multiple voices in use in the underlying staves. This is a big no-no where Condensing is concerned. Select the first bar of both Saxes, then go Edit > Select to End of Flow. Then right-click > Voices > Change Voice > Upstem Voice 1.

I think basically you’ll need a load of Condensing Changes to force Dorico to rethink. The way that Condensing is calculated is in phrases, where a phrase is defined as “everything between rests” (in both/all players in the condensing group). Your piece has very few rests, so Dorico’s making one decision that works unambiguously for great swathes of music. If you add strategic Condensing Changes, with nothing ticked apart from the relevant players in the left side of the dialog, you effectively force a new phrase and give Dorico the chance to make a new decision for the next chunk of music.

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Oh yes sorry :smiling_face:, in bar 13 should indeed go a Reset Condensing change for the parts that look like that…(I was just seeing the homophonic bars…)

Oh, also, one thing that often causes head scratching is dynamics that are almost but not quite identical. I’d recommend filtering all dynamics and unlinking, then working through methodically and copying and pasting dynamics (or whole sections of dynamics) from Alto Sax 1 to Alto Sax 2 (or vice-versa), obviously ignoring the sections when they’re supposed to be doing different things. Obviously rinse and repeat for the other instruments.

It’s a slow and boring process, but it serves as a good proofread…


Thanks, Leo. I think the problem stems from the fact that this was imported as an xml from an old Finale file that had the some of the voices combined. I’ll rework it; good proofreading isn’t a bad thing…