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.

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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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Hey Daniel, Also have similar issue with Music XML import similar to chriskrycho, but first wanted to say we met ages ago when you were still at Sibelius - at Frankfurt Musikmesse I think - (Michael Omer /film & TV composer) - congrats on all you have achieved!)…and I have just taken the plunge and purchased Dorico…finally! Still have legacy Sib 6, but want to transition.

My import issue is with importing a MusicXML file of a string orchestra score of the normal FIVE staves - and Dorico creates an extra part, resulting in SIX staves! Is there any way of specifying this doesn’t happen? Maybe I should create a five stave blank string orch score, and import the MusicXML directly into this? Would value your advice.

(As it happens, the reason for importing MusicXML in this project is to then reduce this score to 4 parts for a cello quartet, with some deft transpotions…:relaxed:)

Just a guess… Is there a divisi somewhere in your original?

You will probably find that one instrument has been setup as 2 stave rather than 1 stave in Dorico. Just go to Setup and change that instrument to 1 stave and all should be well.

Wow - that was a clever guess - you are right! Went back into the original PDF of the score (I had converted it using the incredible Playscore2 on iPad to a Musicxml file.). Strangely until the divisi in the celli, the viola was sitting in the 4th part, with a blank stave above (the extra stave), but jumps up a line when the divisi is detected by Dorico!

Must apologise as I have had Dorico only 10 days (though have been a Sibelius ninja…!) so a bit green - can’t see the stave assignment in ‘Setup’…

No need to apologise. I’ll admit this one is a bit of an oddity.

Go to Setup and select the player that seems to have the extra stave.
Click the little arrow to show the instrument, then the to show the change menu.
Select Change Instrument, but pick the same instrument(!). You will see it gives you options for 1 or 2 staves. Select 1 stave and click the Change button.

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Thanks - really appeciate the thoughtful support! Will check this out - nothing is obvious until you know where it is :relaxed: - will let you know how it works out J.

I’m glad Janus has been able to help you, Michael. Welcome to the forum here. I hope you will get a lot of enjoyment and utility out of Dorico for years to come, and I look forward to being able to be of assistance to you in future.