Multi instrument staves

Happy Saturday everyone!

A question for the gurus (Claude Lapalme, John Barron, and whoever wishes to pitch in). I’m setting up a film score, and I noticed that all the instruments are displayed as individual instruments on separate staves. See picture attached. That is cool, but as you know it’s customary to combine instruments on one staff to save space, e.g., flutes 1 and 2 on one staff, oboes on one staff, etc.

How do I do this? If this currently not possible, what is the workaround - Claude, how do you deal with this? It’s obviously not specific to film scores, and I know you created many orchestral scores for performance with the Red Deer Orchestra.

John - maybe a topic for the next Discover Dorico session?

Happy Chinese New Year to everyone! Go hung fat choy!

Hi, Peter.

That is actually not possible yet, if you look for automated solutions.
There was a thread once where someone did it using a new staff and Cues (set size to 100%, activate all dynamics, articulations etc.), but this is by far no standard procedure.

Please search before you post. Here are two relevant threads both of which are still on the first page of this very forum:

Thanks - I liked the solution that Marc Larcher suggested in the second thread, but a couple of follow questions. Let’s take an example, creating two combined staves for Horns 1/2 and Horns 3/4. The idea is to copy and paste the notes from Horns 1 and 2 to the combined staff, in different voices, and then finally just print the combined staves.


  1. I created two new session players and added those under the existing 4 FH staves, see picture. How can I rename the instrument name to “Horns 1, 2” or “Horns 1/2” or whatever? The names are correct in the player pane, but in the score layout it says “French Horn in F I” and “French Horn in F II”.

  2. Next, in the layout pane in setup mode I created a new “print score” layout, and added my new FH staves. When I go to the print mode however, and I select the “print score” for printing, I don’t see anything (blank page). Am I missing something?

  3. When it comes time to print everything, what do I do to print the individual parts for individual players, but only the combined parts for the conductor score?

  4. Is there any merit in setting up a second flow, with “print” added to the name, or am I making things too complex?

I just really don’t get it … Thanks!

How about using the Edit Names pull-down in the Player set-up.

I wouldn’t use a second flow. I would create a separate “full score” layout (which I usually call Conductor) which omits (leaves unchecked) the individual player parts and shows only the combined horn parts. Similarly I would probably get rid of the combined hor Part layouts and only save (and print) the individual horn layouts for the players.

I hardly ever print my original “Full Score” which is really just a working score and contains all sorts of extra things like piano reductions and the like; I just keep it around to make sure I don’t accidentally delete any music and use it to generate other layouts that I eventually print for the conductor and players.

Thanks Derrek, very helpful.

Is there a way to omit the “in F” in the instrument name? Horns are typically in F, seems a waste of space to include that specifically. There’ll be an instrument page up front anyway.

It’s in Layout options > Staves & Systems. Untick the transposition — but Dorico won’t show any transposition (clarinet in Bb…).
Or in Edit instrument names (where you created Horns 1 & 2 as Derrek showed you), choose Never for Show transposition. Hope it helps !

Thanks Marc - very helpful.

For my own benefit, and for future reference, I include a screenshot to show how to change the default.