Marching Band/Playback Questions

Hi! Long-time finale user and I am trying Dorico for the trial period to see if it will fulfill all my needs. The software in itself seems much more organized and adaptable than finale but I am wondering if there are some work-arounds to get what I need to happen (used to doing a lot of those in finale). I write for competitive band and drum and bugle corps, one of the best features is having automatic object and layout spacing from a template perspective, so I spend way less time manually moving everything in each part. Another great feature is the ability to designate multiple scores (full score in 11x17, winds/battery/front/percussion score on 11 x 8 1/2). My parts are normally 8 1/2 x 11 so I haven’t had to mess with flip folder size things yet. Most bands get music early and are expected to have the show memorized by the time they are marching on the field.

1.) Multiple instruments with section players: I have instances in some documents where an entire section will change instrument (in a specific case, mellophone to trumpet). It seems this is not possible?

2.) Cross between pitched and unpitched percussion for single player: This would entail maybe a front ensemble “rack” player who plays xylophone/glockenspiel, as well as cymbals/toms/brake drum/etc. I have found the “kit” options and put together one but it displays as a giant “5-line staff” with each instrument i added to the kit listed in the layout the player is assigned to. where really all I need is the normal notated staff for pitched instruments with text instruction above the unpitched notation to designate what instrument is being played. (again, not necessary to have all instruments up front in the score or anything because the players will not be using any music for live performances)

3.) Hiding staves that are specifically used for playback: I see the option to hide staves globally for one part/score layout but I need it on a system-by-system basis. For instance, separate soloist staves that are hidden in the full/winds score and un-hidden when there is notation there. I have these staves listed as “single players” so it is no issue when changing instruments in the staff for a different soloist later on in the show.

4.) Noteperformer integration is much nicer in dorico than finale, especially with the option to set expression map playback overrides. I usually use a Mello sound + F horn sound to get playback of the mellophone part with that blend. Is it possible to just have 2 channels in the noteperformer mixer assigned to the single mellophone part staff? Another option would be to create a separate f horn staff and hide it throughout the document.

5.) Noteperformer works with the a1-a6 expressions to designate how many players are playing the given staff. Does this work the same in dorico? Seeing as how there is a separate designation for solo players/section players. In finale you would create a custom expression with a MIDICC effect that modifies the playback, but I believe that option is now in the “DAW” interface that is built into dorico?

Overall Dorico has a ton of features that make it ripe for the marching arts world. Great layout adjustment and default settings as well as ability to have complex scores notated exactly how you want them. The only thing not 100% is just the “play” tab with DAW functionality. I think people will still want to export midi/audio to logic to adjust it in that way, but if Dorico pairs with Cubase it could be unstoppable due to the windows integration there as well. Thanks!

You can have two section Players each holding one instrument and combine them into one layout while hiding empty staves. As long as you use system breaks carefully, the individual part will serve a single reader using both instruments.

This depends on exactly how quickly one uses the cross-overs. One can have a single percussion player hold both a unpitched kit and any number of pitched instruments, enter notes in Galley view and have Dorico take care of the switching. However, having a Xylophone player reach over from the xylophone in the middle of a measure and strike a wood block and a drum head would not work in this setup. You can of course add non-playing altered noteheaded notes into a pitched part to show where to interpolate an unpitched instrument.

You can customize show/hide/reset individual staves manually at any System Break.

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True, I figured out how to change the instrument number as well.

In this case the mellophone section is switching to trumpet. I created a trumpet staff which was originally numbered “Trumpet 4” and then edited the name with a space in front of it like: " Trumpet 4/5", " Tpt 4/5" as it is a split part that they will be reading divisi. I will have to hide staves within the systems there are no notes in the tpt part there however.

You caught me in the midst of answering your original post; so I added some potential additional answers while you were posting.

Thanks for the response, I haven’t fully figured out the percussion kit stuff yet, in finale I was just writing notes in layer 2 with playback for that layer turned off and all playback was in a hidden staff. The instrument changes are pretty quick, like going between splash/china/crash/suspended cymbals, concert bass drum, high-mid-low toms, triangle, etc. Most of the time when there are pitched notes, there is a pause or break in the phrase to allow the player time to set up mallet wise for that instrument.