Move or fix instrument change

I’m preparing a percussion part that switches between vibraphone and snare. Dorico Pro 4 (MacOS) automatically creates the instrument change, but in doing so is hiding the dynamics because they automatically link to the following bar when created.

Ideally I’d like to just move the instrument change. Is there a way to do that? Searching the forum looks like this still isn’t possible. Is there a good workaround to force it to move?

Even better, is there a setting to make dynamics at the end of hairpins appear in and attach to the bar they’re created in rather than automatically attaching to the following bar? I usually prefer to have them just before the barline anyway. I haven’t found anything in engraving.

Any advice or solutions would be appreciated! I’ve attached screenshots from Write and Engrave to show the missing piano dynamic. This situation will probably occur 50-100 times in this score so I may just put the snare on the 5-line vibraphone staff if I can’t figure something out.

You could add a chord symbol region in the vibes staff up to the point where you want the instrument change to happen. One caveat is that this will break a multimeasure rest.


I don’t know of a setting, but it is easy to use shift-alt-left to shorten the dynamic. It will move by the grid setting.
(If your dynamics are linked between instruments, you might want to unlink the one you are moving)

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I’m afraid there are definitely a few rough edges in this area of the program. You should find that if you select the piano marking and move it leftwards in Write mode, it will look as you expect: I recommend setting the rhythmic grid to the smallest possible resolution before you do so, to move it as little as possible.

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Thanks so much everyone! I really appreciate it.
I’d completely forgotten about shift+alt+left. That will work well and I’m glad to be reminded that that exists.

I’m hoping to solve this issue in the case where there is no dynamic marking that can be moved (as in attached screenshot. I need the new clef to appear right at the new instrument change. Is there a way to do this? Many thanks
Screen Shot 2022-10-29 at 2.36.49 pm

Have you tried adding a chord symbol region?

Brilliant. That worked a treat.
Thank you Daniel!

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I’m working on parts at the moment, and now the chord region gets rid of multi-bar rests. Any tips on how to keep multi-bar rests in the parts and not full score?

Here’s a percussion example which would be great to have multi-bar rests:
Screen Shot 2022-11-28 at 10.29.02 am

Many thanks!

Don’t use a chord symbol region. If you need to consolidate rests, use clefs and independent key signatures. Basically you need to make these in the part you are switching to match the part you are switching from, up until the point of entry. This can be a PITA, especially with key sigs involved, but basically I would do something like this in your example.

  1. Starting from this in a part. The default way Dorico (and Gould) does it is wrong as the clef and any needed key sig should be at the entrance of the new instrument.

  2. The above of course looks like this in the score layout in Galley view.

  3. Make the clefs and key sigs match. Since there is no key sig, and neither instrument is transposing, this is easy. If you were going from Flute to Alto Sax for example, you would need to use an independent key sig to make the Alto Sax key sig match the Flute. (The treble clef in the Cymbals in m4 is unnecessary in this case, but would be required if the music continues and there was a switch back to the Cyms.)

  4. Now when I switch to the part in Page view, I have this, where the clef change is correct and the multibar rest is created.

Dorico only draws clefs and key sigs for instrument changes if they are needed. As they matched up until the first notes of the Xylophone entrance, Dorico doesn’t draw them until then. It sure would be nice not to have to deal with this workaround and have Dorico do a “late” instrument change as is standard in many genres of music.


Great info @FredGUnn. I didn’t know about this procedure.

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As I mentioned above, it does get trickier when key sigs are involved. If I have a player doubling Flute and Alto Sax., I could have this in the part (which is wrong by default):

To fix it and make the key sigs match in the transposed score, I’d do this:

Which means the concert score in Galley would look like this:

Anyway, after all that I would have this in the part, with the key sigs correctly at the point of entrance:


Thank you for the great suggestion! It worked perfectly well on one percussion part, but on my second percussion part, it doesn’t seem to work at all—which is very strange!

This first shot is in gallery view:

And in page view (treble clef still shows up at beginning of multi-rest)

I can’t see to the left off the image obviously, do the clefs for the top and bottom staves match? If not, then it will draw the clef 4 before O as that’s when Dorico is making the change. I’m assuming that they aren’t actually matching there, but it’s entirely possible that they are and there are quirks with using percussion staves.

Thanks for the quick response—and yes, problem solved!!!
Many thanks!

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I’ve come across another variation of this issue! I have an instrument change that swtiches from a single line staff (in this case, bass clef) to a grand staff (treble and bass). I can’t seem to resolve it using the same suggestions … !

Screenshot 2023-01-16 at 3.55.59 pm

Here’s the same moment in Gallery View:

This is a case where using a chord symbol region, as suggested above, would be helpful. Simply adding a chord symbol region to the grand staff in the bar with the fermata gets me to here:

The switch from grand staff to single staff still looks odd though, and I’m not sure there’s anything that can be done with that. Bass Guitar doesn’t ever use the octave transposing bass clef, so that’s unnecessary, and your octave line (or whatever that line is) is extending past the final note into the next instrument. The bass clef obviously needs to be stated as otherwise it’s unclear what the clef is, so there’s not really a need to use the matching clef trick here.

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In her examples of instrument changes in Behind Bars, Gould seems to show the new key signature immediately, but the new clef only at the entrance of the new instrument. I find this to be a little odd as it is not entirely consistent. For instance, if you are going from unpitched single-staff to pitched percussion, how are you supposed to show the key signature immediately with a single stave but only move from percussion clef to treble clef at the entrance of the pitched percussion? It doesn’t make sense, so perhaps I am not understanding something, or there is something that wasn’t explained very clearly.

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I think Gould is simply wrong with her advice here. I’ve ranted about this before, but if you have an instrument that needs a clef change following rests, you always place it at the entrance, not at the first available opportunity. Why? Because the player could overlook it, and not realize there was a change. From the B&H style guide, pg 22:

The exact same rationale holds true for instrument changes. By placing the key sig at the entrance, it is a more conspicuous alert to the player that something is different. It’s saved me before, and I’ve had to elbow reed players sitting next to me a zillion times when they are about to play an entrance on the wrong instrument. Any change of staff, clef, and key should all appear at the entrance of the new instrument. (Obviously sometimes a cue immediately preceding can complicate matters.)


The chord scale region worked well in this case—thank you!

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