Manually merge instruments after MusicXML import?

Background: I imported a MusicXML document exported from Staffpad, as I’m using Staffpad for on-the-go composition but treating Dorico as the “source of truth” for the project I’m working on.

Problem: Dorico successfully identified some but not all players as they exist in the score (fair enough!). As a result I ended up with a bunch of extra players.

Desired solution: At this point, I would like to not just move the extra instruments from those players but actually combine the instruments entirely. I don’t want, for example, to end up with two separate French Horns assigned to Horn (F) 1; I just want a single instrument! Neither a search through the docs and messing with the UI showed me how to do that particular thing.

(Feel free to tell me I’m thinking about the solution wrong!)

There isn’t an automatic way of combining two instruments (apart from condensing, which is more a graphical representation of combining than what you’re after) but you might find the commands for moving notes/items to staves above/below a relatively efficient way of bumping the 2nd Horn 1 player’s music up onto the 1st player’s staff, leaving you with an empty Horn 1 (2) player you can then delete.

If any of the instruments came through wrong, you can change them to the right instrument.

Additionally, as @pianoleo often recommends, there might well be alternative MusicXML import settings that would produce a better result initially - in Preferences > MusicXML Import.

Thanks, @Lillie_Harris – that matches what I had come up with, so good to know I hadn’t missed anything. I imagine this is a relatively unusual workflow, but I expect to be using it extensively going forward, so iiiif it happened to get put in a feature backlog somewhere… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

If you want the team to consider the context and workflow for potential changes to the app, it might be helpful if you can share some example XML files that produce the results you describe.

I will absolutely add reproductions here as I hit them! I’m currently trying to get to a point where the exports do work as desired; it should be trivial to supply the exports which didn’t.

Here are a sample project and the MusicXML file which show the import not working (this is the smallest reproduction I have managed so far, and while I could probably get to a smaller one I want to get back to actually working on this project):

Note that upon import, many of the instruments merge, but a number of them don’t, despite in some cases having exactly the same name from an authoring POV in Staffpad as in Dorico:

  • Piccolo 2
  • Horn (F) 1–6
  • Snare Drum
  • Cymbals

In the end it all comes down to the heuristics Dorico is using to match up the instrument descriptions in the MusicXML file with the instrument descriptions in the Dorico project. I think the piccolo won’t import to the existing Flute + Piccolo player because that isn’t a good match for that player (i.e. it can’t handle multiple instruments in that way), and the Horns simply because of a name mismatch (if you use “Horn” rather than “French Horn” in Dorico, you get better results). Percussion is trickier because there is a further analysis of the musical material in addition to the names.

Until we provide a means of directly intervening in the import process, and mapping the instruments yourself, a certain amount of fixing up after an import will be required.

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