How to load divisi string samples

When using ‘divisi’ to create a Solo + gli altri situation for the first violins, one wants a solo violin sample to play the Solo part and a violin section sample to play gli altri. As well, one doesn’t necessarily want the articulations that are assigned to one part to apply to both parts.

My (limited) understanding of how to do this is — in Play mode — to divide Violin 1 into ‘Voices’, and assign Upstem Voice 1 to one of the parts (i.e., ‘solo’ or ‘gli altri’) and Upstem Voice 2 to the other, and then – for each – to choose a separate channel in one’s VST instrument and load the appropriate samples (Violin solo and violins). Is this the proper method? (If it isn’t, is there a video tutorial around anywhere?)

(Note: I’m on Dorico 3.5!)


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As soon as you have a divisi passage and you enable Independent Voice Playback, you will see a Staff (a) upstem voice 1 and a Staff (b) upstem voice 1. the staff (a) would be your solo part. The staff (b) is the gli altri.
If you play unison it will use the staff (a) upstem 1.

So you need a second voice for the solo violin or the tutti (not gli altri).

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Thank-you, Nukkul!

I’ve been reading about “independent Voice Playback”, but I can’t find it in Dorico. I’m using Dorico 3.5 – I wonder if anyone knows whether this exists in that version?

This is the part that I don’t understand. Would one use this method (independent staves for the soloist and the rest of the violins 1, rather than a solo/gli altri split) in order to let the solo be part of tutti passages? Would solo/gli altri be an appropriate method if the soloist is never called upon to be part of the tutti?

Thanks again!

Yes it does exist

I believe the GUI is quite differen but the symbol should be similar?

Short answer: Probably no.
The divisi exist do divide a section into subsection (two groups, Solo-gli altri, etc.). The layout created will include all divisi you created.
If your soloist will never play with the section. You probably should create a “Single Player” (i guess those are Solo Players in 3.5) and a “Section Player”.

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If the soloist is never part of the tutti, most folks would use an entirely separate, designated staff and hide it (or not) when not needed.

Thanks, Nukkal. But I still can’t find that feature.
Here’s what the VST instrument panel (in Play) looks like:

. . . and the left-hand panel, in Play:

I am using 3.5.12 – tho’ the audio engine is


the small switch.

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Ah . . . if what you mean is the “voices” toggle there, then that’s what I’ve been using all along.

This is the setting (voice, and HSSE channel) I’ve used for the ‘solo’ vn:

. . . and this for the vn section:

Big thanks to you both, for this! I’ll have to look into these conventions more closely.

If you have a solo violin (who never plays the tutti) as @Derrek and @Nukkul say, you should use a separate player, not least because you want the soloist to have their own part layout, rather than appear in the tutti violin 1 part layout.

Great point, Janus – thank-you!

Ah, yes, i explained more or less the same. In later versions it looks a bit different. It seems like you don’t have the Staff (a)/(b).

For explanation:

  1. Bar: Tutti
  2. Bar: Violin solo
  3. Bar: gli altri

That’s the reason why you need to write the Tutti and solo into different voices or they’ll use the same samples.

Yes, it looks quite different – but better! :grinning:

How to then end the division into “Solo” and “gli altri”, both notationally and in terms of playback?
Here’s an example – it’s not really proper string writing, I know!

Edit > Notations > Staff > restore unison

or use the jump bar:
“J” > type “change divisi”

“J” > type “restore unison”

Thanks, Nukkal . . .

Not sure why, but when I do that, Dorico does this:

. . . It deletes the Vln 1 music in bars 5 and 6, and maintains the divisi’s solo & gli altri staves. (Also duplicates the text, which says something – not sure what.

When you restore unison, the music has to go on the staff that remains, which is the upper staff.* Then in page view the unison music automatically appears on both staves until the end of the system.

*) So, unless I’m mistaken, the line for the rest of the section has to jump from one staff to the other and back. To the team: I encountered this situation in a score just today, and it felt wrong. The solo staff goes above gli altri, but there’s no way to add the solo staff above. (Is there?)

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Thank-you, Mark! That does seem to work, albeit via a very strange route. Here’s a quick sample:

It’s very counter-intuitive that one must enter the subsequent non-divisi passages into the upper staff, which of course is the Solo part.

Do the related Dorico manuals/help/videos give a heads-up about this important bit of information?