Missing divisi staff

I encounter this during a recording session, where a divisi passage was visible in the conductor’s score but missing in the parts. I attach a Dorico file showing the issue. Please compare letter A in the score and in the parts. It looks like Dorico can’t handle a transition from one divisi change to another in the middle of a system. This is a fundamental problem, adding one more round of proofreading to the music prep stage.

Divisi problem.dorico (566.1 KB)

Dorico 3.5, Mac OS 12.3.1

I don’t know why it doesn’t work but a possible workaround. If a System Break at A is not possible, one way of handling it would be…

Put a System Break at the beginning and where you want one before A.
Add a gli altri to the first Divisi.
Use manual staff visibility to hide the gli altri where not wanted.

Divisi problem 2.dorico (1.0 MB)

Yes, it is the case that Dorico will only respect the first divisi transition on a given system, and this is clearly documented:

We do hope in the future to add an option to allow staves to appear/disappear mid-system, which would make it more feasible to allow the number of staves to change anywhere.

Just to clarify:

From this example it seems it would be more accurate to omit the word transition from that sentence. Since the system with Letter A is already one divisi, the one change 4 bars later is not shown on the same system.

I recently reviewed the wording of the warning about this in the documentation, to clarify that a prevailing divisi change is considered in the same way as an explicit divisi change ; e.g. if you add a divisi change in the first system, and then change divisi again halfway through the third system without restoring unison in between, the number of staves won’t change until the fourth system.

I think the point being missed here is that even if you insist that this “works as intended”, you created a case where notes can be missing and Dorico can no longer guarantee that the parts match the score. There should be a huge warning both in the manual and in the program, when inputing a second division change.

You could also force a system break on division change.

Those who keep up with the documentation understand the situation.

Yes, there is a lot of documentation. Reading the release notes as each comes out helps apprise one of what has changed and how. Jumping into a sophisticated program like Dorico in the middle is indeed difficult and requires doing some homework. Even those of us who have been on board since the beginning sometimes need to brush up by searching the help files.

A possibility of missing notes is not mentioned in the manual. Yes, it can be inferred, but it’s not explicit, so it doesn’t raise red flags which it should.

Casting off is generally different in each layout, and therefore exactly what staves appear around divisi changes is liable to be different in the score vs the parts, because system start/end points won’t be the same.

The manual talks about the number of staves not changing until the next system because this goes both ways (you might have more staves than you want for that system, before it comes down in number in the next system) and because it’s not the notes that aren’t visible, it’s the whole staff.

I will however make a note to review this again at some point and consider any further changes or additions.

@Lillie_Harris, I understand what you’re saying, but the fact that a stave may become invisible doesn’t necessarily imply that its content will be missing as well. It may be condensed into the available divisi staves. Dorico’s choice of simply “skipping some notes” without a warning is really problematic. With deadlines as tight as in film music, copyists do make mistakes from time to time, and the very possibility that something like this can slip through, makes using the whole divisi workflow very risky.

I think your expectation of a failsafe is unreasonable. The manual and the various videos about divisi make its possibilities and the limitations perfectly clear. Your personal deadlines are immaterial.

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I’m familiar with the schedules that accompany film music preparation, as a copyist myself.

I’ve understood your feedback, and made a note of it.

Thank you @Lillie_Harris, I appreciate this.