How to create a new instrument?

How to create a new instrument in Dorico?
The easiest way is to copy all properties from an existing instrument, modify some parameters, then rename it as a new instrument. How to do this in Dorico? :wink:

Best regards,

I’m afraid there’s no good way to do this at present: we do intend to add then necessary user interface elements to allow you to edit and add to Dorico’s instrument definitions, but I’m afraid I don’t have an ETA for when that might be done at the moment.

What you can do for now, which is a poor man’s version of the feature, is to assign whichever instrument is the closest to the one you want to add to a player, then change its name by expanding the card for the player holding the instrument in Setup mode, then clicking the instrument within the player card, and choosing Edit Names from the menu that appears there.

Well, until that is available how about adding some instruments to the inbuilt definitions?
You may not know the recorder orchestra repertoire, but that needs the deeper instruments.
great bass in C3 ©
contrabass in F2 (F)
sub-great bass in C2 ©
sub-contrabass in F1 (FF)

then for completeness at the top end
garklein in C6 (c‴)


Just hopping in on this subject.
Is there a no-poor man’s way by now?
I’d like to add some bell plates…

Love D3 so far!

Daniel’s “poor man’s version” from February 2017 still works fine.

You can also hack the instruments.xml file to modify instrument definitions.

Thanks, now I know I don’t have to look further to do it in an “official” way :slight_smile:

The same questions arised today, as a fried of mine said that he needs to have a zither not on a single score stave, but on two like with a piano. So editing some instruments.xml file would be the way forward atm.?

You don’t need to create a new instrument by hacking the instrument definition files for this.

You can add an extra staff to the existing zither instrument (select something on the staff, right click / Staff / add staff above), and add a brace in Engrave Engrave mode if you want.

I suppose Engrave mode wouldn‘t work for Dorico Elements, though?
Page 677 on ‚Extra Staves‘ says as well: In Dorico Elements, you cannot add extra staves.
The create Kit option in instruments setup seems to be just to add new percussion only.

Nothing in the thread mentioned Dorico Elements. In fact your signature says Dorico 3 Pro. Sorry, but I’m not a mind reader.

Apologies Rob, I could have been more specific instead of just writing …a friend of mine… had a question.
I‘d see this as a general topic for all versions, as it‘s a quite basic request.

Speaking as someone with regular commissions to write for guzheng, I +1 this feature request. :slight_smile:

Speaking as someone who regularly writes for oud, I +1 this request

Also… Speaking as someone who needs an endless variety of Percussion instruments, 1 +1 this request

Can you also create an instrument which Dorico does not have at present - like Northumbrian pipes ?

No, bill, this is currently not possible.
You can take an existing instrument that is similar in Notation to the one you need, change its name in Setup mode and its sound in play mode in the VST you use as playback.

i regularly write for guitar in the Guitar Craft tuning. do i have to redefine the tuning every time i begin a new score? is it possible to save a template, or alter the guitar tuning and save it as a new instrument that i can put into a new project? i see that i can save a tuning, is it possible to add this tuning to the list of tuning presets?

Welcome to the forum, tonycore. You can export your tuning, but you cannot save it as a preset that will always be available when you start a new project. In the fullness of time we expect to make it possible both to save templates and indeed to create your own instrument definitions, but for the time being I suggest you create a project containing your custom guitar and save it somewhere handy (on Mac you can also mark it as read-only so that you won’t inadvertently overwrite it), then start your new projects by opening that project.

Got it. But since I never play back my scores on the computer, how about a way to change the color of the out-of-range notes from red to black? I would do that for everything.