Issues with condensing not working as expected (or perhaps intended)

I’m trying to create a nice-looking large ensemble score and it seems that condensing is not working as I expect nor would ever possibly want it to. Most issues with condensing I have been able to solve by ensuring dynamic markings are exactly the same between two parts I want to share a staff, but this seems to not be solving my problem.

The first issue is parts sporadically deciding to switch between a2 unison and multi-stem unison. In the example I’m thinking of, I have a unison between two bassoons which moves from a2 to multi-stem unison despite nothing changing.

This certainly seems suboptimal. I have ensured that settings like “mid-phrase unisons” are set to allowed and that “a2” markings are allowed rather than the multi-stem alternative. This particular moment doesn’t have dynamic markings andthe parts are identical (unless there’s some tom-foolery going on behind the scenes). It’s particularly puzzling that the bassoons would move to multi-stem unison here rather than a2 if there was an issue because the bassoons are in perfect unison for a few measures before the a2 marking.

The second issue that I’m having is parts deciding to un-condense themselves entirely for seemingly no reason. I have set pitch crossings to unlimited in order to try and fix it, but there’s still one particular place that just won’t match up with it’s partner. The expected behavior is that horns 1 & 2 should always share a staff and horns 3 & 4 should also always share a staff, but the horns have simply dropped out of condensing. I naturally assumed, at first, that it was the dynamics being different. So I removed the dynamics entirely to no benefit.

The horns do not play for the remainder of the system so it is not an issue of them preparing for some issue which occurs later on. Oddly enough, the horns remain improperly condensed for pages, still for seemingly no reason, until they randomly decide to match up again. What’s interesting is that for a lot of this time, the horns have literally no music and should have no reason to be uncondensed.

I’m happy to provide screenshots or even a copy of the Dorico file to play around in, but the forum will only let me attach a single screenshot because I am a new user and no links to download the file.


Welcome to the forum, @shakesbeare. Maybe this reply and a like will elevate your user trust level a bit.
My experience is that there’s always a reason for a condensing problem, but it may be really difficult to find. Occasionally I simply re-input (or copy-paste) a few bars, just to eliminate something invisible that I don’t care to find out. I guess it’s dynamics most of the time. Even being grouped or not makes a difference.

Thanks for your response! I have had a similar experience with condensing and can usually get it under control, but these particular issues have proven too nasty for my own tinkering skills. I’ve edited my post to add a single screenshot of the first issue, unfortunately the reply and like did not solve the new user problem. But I figured that I can put on screenshot there and another in this reply.

Regarding the first issue, I have just tried to delete the bassoon 2 part and recreate it by copy pasting the bassoon 1 part to no success. The screenshot now in the OP is from after that process.

Here’s a picture of the problem spot for the second issue. What’s odd is that horns 1 & 2 share a stave initially until the second page of the screenshot where they are split off. I’ve attached the picture with dynamics completely removed. My only thought is that it is either a bug or that Dorico has, for some reason, decided that the rhythms are different enough that they deserve their own staves which wouldn’t make sense to me. Another thought is that. maybe its the slurs that are interfering, but I deliberately have it set not to try to amalgamate slurs anyway, so I would be fairly off put if that was the issue.

In this image, horns 3 & 4 begin playing on the first page with the condensed staff of horns 1 & 2 above them. By the second page, all horns have their own staff.

Very hard to tell without trying it with the Dorico file itself. Could it be the breath mark?

Aha! Well, it seems one of my issues is solved. It does track that competing breath marks should not be placed on the same staff. Thanks for your help! Got any idea what’s up with the bassoons in the first problem?

Nevermind. I have found it myself. Apparently I had mismatched dynamic marking in a place after the unison had ended so I hadn’t previously thought to check there. It’s always the stupid stuff, it seems.

Thanks again for your help.

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I find condensing to be a remarkable proof-reader, as a side-effect :wink: