Is it possible to create a layout that includes its players only on some flows?

I’m sorry in advance for what might be a garbled explanation…

I know I can have players only perform in certain flows. I know I can show only certain flows in a layout. And I know I can have only certain performers show up in certain layouts. But is further granularity possible — can I have a player, who has music in several flows, only represented for some of those flows in a layout?

I’m engraving a Baroque dramatic work, and creating an instrumental layout for the 'cello that trades off between basso continuo and violone. This allows the cello player to play the occasional violone part (there’s a small string orchestra that shows up from time to time), but in all other flows, they’ll see the basso continuo part and concurrent voice parts, and double the bass line if we need.

There’s a tenor role, and he has an extended solo (one flow) during which the cellist should play a few short violone passages with the string orchestra, and otherwise remain tacet for dozens of bars at a time. But in many of the other flows (movements), the same tenor soloist has short passages, the string orchestra is silent, and the 'cellist should play basso continuo, for which he’ll need the tenor’s vocal material on the staff above.

You can probably see where I’m going with this. If I include the tenor in this layout, I get all his flows, including the long one where the 'cellist really only needs cues — forcing the 'cellist to read along with dozens of bars of vocal tenor solo before he (the 'cellist) gets a chance to play. But if I exclude the tenor “player” from this layout, I lose the ability to show the bass line and tenor vocal line together in all the other flows where the 'cello player needs to see the vocal part to play well.

So what I need is to show the tenor “player” in this layout but only for certain of his flows (all of them except the long movement). Is that possible?

My current solution is to actually split the tenor role up into two “players,” which gets around the problem. But I already engraved the full score for the entire work using just one “player” for the tenor, and am afraid of losing hours of careful note-spacing work if I had to remove that staff.

There’s another, even simpler, version of this problem baked right in: forget the tenor and just imagine the cello part by itself. Sometimes the layout I’m making needs to show the basso continuo line and sometimes the violone line. The basso continuo has music for all flows. On flows where a violone part does exist (it’s maybe 25% of the piece), I need to show violone instead of basso continuo, so the layout only shows one instrumental line at any time.

If I include the basso continuo player in this layout, once again I get all their flows, but the layout only needs to show some of them. What to do?

It’s not very elegant, but if you input a Break at the very beginning of a flow and double click the signpost (or select it and press enter) it will open the visibility settings window. You can hide staves until the end of the flow (or make it reappear later, at a further break).

The solution for both the tenor and the cello/b.c. part is to have several Dorico players alternating. So you create one tenor for the arias, and a separate one for the recitatives. The score and the singer’s part show both (but never at the same time). In the basso (cello) part, you only include the recitative tenor, but not the aria tenor.
Basically the same applies to the basso part: two or even more players alternating:

  • the actual ever-present basso continuo (to be shown in the score, but not in the cello part)
  • a violone, for the orchestral movements only (in practce, it will often have slightly different music than the b.c)
  • a dedicated b.c. for the recitatives only, intended for the cello part, but not shown in the score.

You need to think of this as two situations.

  1. The first is the trade-off between the cello and continuo.
  2. The second is the combination of the tenor singer and the cello player.
  • For situation 1 you may need to have two cello players as @PjotrB suggests (or have two instruments in the cello/violone Player).
  • For the second, you may be able to add a staff to the cello part and cue the tenor into that added staff.

All good solutions. It seems your recommendations generally match what I came to the hard way: multiple players. (Derrek, I can see your added-staff idea working “backwards”: if I exclude the tenor solo from the layout I’m making, I can add a staff to the violone-continuo line for all movements besides the long solo, and copy the soloist’s recits onto it. Silly, but it would work.)

If only I hadn’t done so much engraving work already!

If it helps anybody reading this, here’s what I’ll do next time:

  1. Figure out where situations like this could arise, and set up the project with multiple players in the first place.
  2. If I do have a layout I need to protect from engraving changes: create new players as necessary, but, each time, pressing ESCAPE after clicking the New Player button but before assigning them any instruments. That gives us a chance to remove each new player from any layouts before we create staves for them, sparing those layouts from altered spacing.

Thanks, y’all, and remember to travel by rail whenever possible!

Oh, and Marc Larcher, I’d originally neglected the manual-staff-visibility approach because I was, earlier, working with a layout that had a thousand custom system breaks, and I would have had to set as many manual-staff-hide markers. When I started making this combination continuo-violone part from scratch, and realized that those markers persist until a manual system or frame break, they became a viable option. Good idea!

So the ahead-of-time solution to the “granularity” I’m looking for is “specify as many players as you need flow-and-layout inclusion options.” The solution once staves exist is manual visibility.