"Late" instrument change workaround

I was taught that key changes for instrument changes always occur right at the entry of the new instrument, rather than at the “to” indication as Dorico does it. Putting the change at the entrance of the new instrument is helpful as it is an added visual aid to the performer that something is different. Personally this has saved me on gigs many times, when I’ve looked ahead to the next entrance and missed the “to” instruction, so this is the way I’d like it to display in Dorico.

This workaround certainly isn’t the “Dorico way,” but it’s not too difficult to achieve. I don’t think I’ve seen a similar walkthrough posted so here’s a step-by-step if anyone else wants to do instrument changes the same way. The change will display and play back correctly, but the catch is that it likely needs to be done after all notes are input, as the Concert display will no longer be accurate (unless someone knows a workaround for that too).

  1. In Setup, add the main instrument and double the normal Dorico way while composing. The doubling instrument will be removed at the end. For this example Reed 1 is starting on Alto Sax, going to Flute, then back to Alto.
  2. After all notes are input, copy the Flute music up to the Alto Sax staff. It will obviously transpose into the Alto Sax key.
  3. Using Alt-Enter, change the key sig independently so the notes appear correctly. For this Alto/Flute double it will be down a major 6th, so Eb if the piece is in C. Make other key changes as needed.
  4. After the Flute notes appear correctly in the Alto staff, delete the Flute instrument in Setup.
  5. Create Playing Techniques for Alto Sax and Flute.
  6. Alto Sax and Flute patches should already be loaded into your VST player, but double check that deleting the Flute didn’t remove it and note the channels.
  7. Duplicate whatever Expression Map you are using, and call it something that reflects this staff, like “Reed 1.”
  8. Add a Base Switch to the Reed 1 Expression map called Alto Sax that sets the channel to your Alto Sax sound.
  9. Add a Base Switch called Flute that sets the channel to your Flute sound and fixes the transposition to correct for the independent key sig input in step 3. Here’s a pic:

  1. Apply your Alto Sax and Flute playing techniques in the appropriate bars which will create the instrument labels.
  2. Use Shift-X text to create the “to” indications.
  3. The instrument changes now appear correctly in the “late” location, and play back correctly as well.

Oops, I forgot to mention you also need to assign the Expression Map you created to the instrument in your Endpoint Setup too.

My wife was channel flipping tonight and briefly landed on the PBS broadcast of Irving Berlin’s “Holiday Inn.” They had a camera in the pit right on the Reed players, so I had to check out who was playing, and noticed lots of shots of the music during the overture (I assume Emily Grishman’s Finale work). Anyway, the “late” instrument change shown here is the way I’ve always seen it done with jazz and Broadway. There’s a “to Alto Sax” indication in the lower left corner, then the rests, then the change of key and the new instrument label. Sorry for the crummy cell pic of a TV screen, but it does show how instrument changes are actually handled in this style.