Instrument change display

I have a percussion part with glockenspiel for a few pages, then no percussion for a number of pages, and then a tam-tam.

but the percussion staff is showing the change to tam-tam immediately after the last note of the glockenspiel, which is way too soon.

other than simply removing all the percussion from one player and making them all individual players who will appear and disappear when needed, is there a way of telling Dorico NOT to show such an instrument change so fast?

It’s not such a problem with auxiliary instruments in the woodwinds, where at least they use the same type of staff, but with glock to tam-tam, it goes from a 5-line staff, to a 1-line with percussion clef, and it looks wonky.

I’m unaware if this method is possible, but can you set a treble clef on the tam-tam staff at the very beginning (Galley view), and only have the unpitched clef appear before the first entry?

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I could do that, yes.

not a bad work-around.


ah poop… tried it, the percussion clef is gone, but the tam-tam is a one-line staff. so it switches too early to a 1-line from a 5-line.

because it’s percussion, with 3 players, and a bunch of instruments that need to be allocated between them (along with a few double versions of certain instruments for the “ballet of the percussionists”), I’ll wait a bit longer before I concentrate on this issue. Maybe it will work itself out as I re-assign the various instruments to the 3 players.

Probably not very helpful for your needs, but just as FYI - in this message Richard said that at least for condensing purposes the actual instrument change happens at new instrument entry.

I don’t know, all I can tell you is that in my condensed score, the percussionist is showing the instrument change pages before it actually happens.
In this particular case, it’s the printed page that matters for this specific issue.

but like I said, I’m going to fiddle around with it (drum around with it?) and see how I can better handle this while preparing the percussion parts.

I have to find a way of showing “percussion 1”, “percussion 2”, and “percussion 3” rather than the specific instrument name at the start of each percussion staff.

You’ll likely have to change the Instrument names in Setup mode.

Dorico currently only supports “early” instrument changes rather than “late.” Personally, I think this is just wrong and a “late” change is always appropriate. It sounds like you also want a “late” change here. You can easily fix it in the score by adding a chord symbol region to the last bar of Glock rests before the tam-tam entrance. Because there is something in the Glock part, even though it won’t appear, the switch won’t happen until after the invisible chord symbol region. This will unfortunately break a multibar rest in the part, but perhaps you’ll need to use a cue there anyway.

This is easier with woodwind doublers, because it can be faked with independent key sigs. With percussion where the staff changes, the chord symbol region is really the only way I know to do it.

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I’m trying, I get “percussion 1” and 2 and 3 on the very first page of the score,
but I must be doing something wrong.
It’s showing me the whole list of what each percussionist is playing on subsequent pages, instead of “percussion 1”, 2, 3, etc…

Also, there doesn’t seem to be a place to input an abbreviated name for Percussion?
That would be the only instrument that uses its full name on each page?
And HOW do I get the actual name of whatever instrument that percussionist is playing to now show as a label when there are notes? When I tried this, all the labels disappeared.

like I said, I MUST be doing something wrong.

brain not work… can not music…

In Setup, create a Player name. You can right-click and hit Rename Player to enter the abbreviated name. Then check Layout Options / Staves and Systems / Staff Labels / “Show player name instead of instrument name” and click that Player.

If you have a setup like this …

… it can then display like this in the score:

EDIT: Just realized you want the actual abbreviated instrument name to display on subsequent systems. I think Daniel’s suggestion is best then, just change the full name of the first instrument being played to “Percussion 1” or whatever player. You’ll then get the regular abbreviated names after.

no no! you actually had everything before your “edit” right!!!

for some bizarre reason (like I said: “Brain no work. Music make not.” I was NOT seeing the abbreviated name. it calls it “short name” which must have short-circuited my brain, I wasn’t seeing that as “abbreviated name”.

Thank-you, problem solved! (until I hit another road block LOL!!!)

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OK! got it to work… now… roadblock time!

how to I now get labels to appear on the 3 percussion staves to identify the instruments playing?

it’s not putting the little staff labels that indicate which percussion instrument is meant to be playing.

2nd roadblock question: is there any way to have Dorico display the instrument label on the staff after a percussion instrument has been quiet for a bit?

I have multiple instances of 10-20 measures of silence, with no actual change in instrument for that player, but the staff has been missing for a few pages due to removal of unused staves, and condensing.
It is confusing to have notes and no identifier that tells us what the instrument playing is.

Is this in innate drawback of using “percussion 1”, “percussion 2”, etc… as staff names for the percussionists?

I just enter the text using Shift-X and then adjust the paragraph style to Instrument Label. I can’t remember if this is standard or a custom paragraph style, sorry.

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