How do I work with open/condensed choral music?

I’m planning on orchestrating an old choral arrangement of Gesu Bambino that I did several years ago, and I’d like to use this as a opportunity to use Dorico’s divisi feature for the choral parts.

Score is attached. But I’m a bit confused as to how this works. You can see it jumps back and forth between condensed score and open score, depending on the complexity of the section.

How does this work with divisi? If the point is for it to automatically duplicate staves for the sake of system breaks, wouldn’t this just duplicate the women’s parts and create a doubling? Or is this more a function of condensing, which I understand isn’t available yet?

If divisi isn’t the solution, what’s the most efficient way to navigate the changes between open and condensed score as they affect systems? My choral score will obviously have different system breaks than my full orchestra score.
Gesu Bambino - Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus_choral - (123 KB)

A quick experiment using the Choir Reduction Instrument shows that you can’t divide the lower staff using Divisi. You can split the upper line into three staves, but I don’t know whether the “unison doubling” feature of divisi works with splitting different voices, to say nothing of the Tenor line.

If you make a “Single Player Choir”, then you can add staves Above and Below each line. Though you don’t get staff labelling, nor doubling before and after the divisi. (And when you change the Bass clef to a Tenor G clef, it’s off by an octave.)

Going between short score (SA on one staff, TB on the other) and full four- (or more-) part choir on separate staves isn’t really a job for the divisi feature: more, it’s a job for the not-yet-included condensing feature, i.e. you should write the music on separate staves and then allow Dorico to condense it down into short score for you. I hope that this will be part of the initial version of the condensing feature, but until we’re actively working on it and it’s getting close to done, it’s impossible to say whether or not we will achieve it exactly as planned. (Software development is hard, etc.)

Thanks Daniel.

Being able to switch between closed and open score for choral music, with lyrics only appearing where they need to, would be amazing (after entering their parts on individual staves).

It seems there are different scenarios to account for:

  1. Rhythm of the text is the same between SATB: one line of text between staves.
  2. Rhythm of the text is very close to the same: one line of text between staves with some lyrics being adjusted horizontally when needed, for example, when the sopranos have their word on beat 2, altos have the same word on beat 2.5, tenors and basses have the same word on beat 2 (with the sopranos): moving the word to be placed between beats 2 and 2.5 is common notation practice for choral music.
  3. Sopranos have different words and rhythm: lyrics appear above the staff for their line and ATB follow the lyrics in the middle of the staff

There are many other instances. If Dorico could analyze the music and present the most simple presentation along with the ability to adjust when condensing occurs (and how) - choral music composers/arrangers would rejoice.

As compared to instrumental parts, the lyrics really add complexity but I could see how it might be resolved through some good programming, taking all kinds of instances into account.

We certainly intend to more fully support choral music in Dorico’s condensing feature as it matures.