Isolated staff playback is dodgy?

Man, Dorico 3 is fantastic, it’s an amazing user experience, but there’s one thing that’s really bugging me: playback of single staves is rather inconsistent in Write mode.

If I select a single note on a staff, and then press P, the entire system plays starting at that time in the score. This is consistent, so it’s fine.

However, if I select a bar then hit P, then either only that instrument will play (notably, not just that staff; if the instrument has two staves, then both staves will play), or the entire system will play.

I thought that I could at least predict the conditions that would result in either solo or tutti playback when a bar was selected, but so far I’m baffled. It does seem to have something to do with notation, though, because certain notation always seems to yield the same result, regardless of the staff to which I copy it.

see page 60 of the d3.0 release notes. they revamped this.

The documentation isn’t helpful. It reads:

Playback from a selection. > When starting playback by selecting a note or other item and typing > P> , Dorico is now more lenient about the precise nature of the selection, and will play back all instruments even if more than one item at the same rhythmic position on a single instrument is selected. This means that if you accidentally select, say, a note and a slur at the same time and type > P> , Dorico will still play back the whole ensemble rather than just that staff.

As I wrote, the score consistently plays every staff in the system if I select a single note and then press P. That’s not my problem.

My problem is that, when selecting a bar instead of an element within a bar, I cannot predict whether just that staff or all staves will play.

When selecting a single bar of music (i.e. I click on an empty area in a bar, thereby highlighting everything in it except for staff lines, note stems, fermatas, and maybe a few other things), how can I predict whether the staff or the ensemble will play?

My understanding is that only the instrument selected should play and not the whole system. I did not cross that problem, but probably other people will chime in when the issue arises. However, I’ll be careful with that behavior and report it back when/if it happens to me.

Dorico doesn’t have a concept of whether a whole bar is selected, because bars aren’t a first order concept. So it uses a heuristic to count the number of selected items and then tries to determine whether it thinks you were trying to select a single item, in which case you want to hear everything play back, or whether you were trying to select a single staff to solo it. If you select e.g. a bar with just one or two notes in it by clicking in a blank bit of the staff, you’ll hear everything. If you select a bar with more than a few notes in it, you’ll hear that staff.

You can also use the Alt+P, Space method, which moves the playhead to the start of the selection and then starts playback for all instruments.


OK thanks, it does seem to work that way. It’s fuzzy on the number of notes, but for me, the cutoff is two or three different notes in a bar.

I will say that this strikes me as unintuitive, and it’s often annoying. If I’m working on a particular staff, it’s nice to audition it as I go, and I’d expect to be able to do so without having to isolate it from the rest of the score (i.e. select the instrument in the parts drop-down, or set the instrument to solo playback, effectively muting all of the other instruments) to ensure that I won’t hear anything else.