Multiple “Lanes”/Staves per instrument

Happy New Year! Just wanted to request a feature that exists in Cubase but that I would love in Dorico. I’d love to be able to have multiple staves that fold below the current one for an instrument in Write Mode, in order to try different versions of a harmony or melody that I’m currently composing without having to add additional players. I’m liking it to the lane concept in Cubase as an idea but not to the extent they take it. I would just want to be able to activate one of the alternate staves so that I can hear it with the rest of the instrumentation without having to erase what I previously had. Hope I explained it correctly. Thanks for a great product!



Hi Frank, is this what you’re looking for?

I think he is rather referring to something like an ossia staff which you could switch with the underplaying bars in playback. Interesting idea.

With normal additional staves like in the video, both would play back.

Thanks Dan and klafkid. What I’m suggesting isn’t an alternate staff or additional staff at playback but rather a way to try different sections of music without erasing what I originally wrote. Real world example: let’s say you’re writing an orchestral piece and the main theme is played by the Violins. You’ve also written a harmonic accompaniment for the woodwinds but now wonder if adding the flutes to the main theme might give it a different tonal color. Normally, I would have to overwrite the staves with the music I already wrote for the flutes with the new music. I would have to either move the old music to some other part of the score (maybe further out, temporarily) or save another version of the score and work with the new version. What I would like is to have a way to fold down another staff (as if it was another player but indented in the score) to try another passage and be able to switch between them to play them back and determine what sounds best. Only one is active at a time. It will let me try different ideas and tweak them until I feel I have the right composition for that passage and I can select the one I want displayed. Thanks for the help and I hope this helps clarify the request.

Yeah I get it. Useful for sketching ideas. Philosophically however I don’t think that makes sense for Dorico, which is canonically a notation program versus a DAW as in your example, which is a sequencer plus a kitchen sink of other tools. The goal of Dorico is not to help you sketch music (though it’s great for that!) but to end up with a score and MIDI files.

Best thing I think is to get good at hearing what that will sound without having to play it. What I’d suggest is to gain some facility with this. If you’re on Mac an easy way to do this is with MainStage which has a nice keyboard splitting facility. With it, assuming you’re a good pianist, you can easily play the violin in one hand and the flute in the other. If your keyboard has native split capability you can easily get Cubase to do this for you too. Set up a bunch of different combinations, then when you want to try out an idea go over there and give it a whack. Over time your brain will know the result without having to do that.

I don’t think it’s impossible that we could add something along the lines of Cubase’s Track Versions feature in Dorico in the future, but it’s not something we’re likely to be adding imminently.

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I understand. Thanks for taking the time to respond. Have a great weekend.

I do think that Dan’s suggestion of creating an extra staff, probably below, is the best work around for this situation. As long as your player is a solo player you can create as many extra staves below or above as you want. You can write your other ideas into these extra staves and simply suppress playback to any specific notes on the other staves that you don’t want to hear. You can either use ‘remove staff’ to hide it, the music will remain and still be there if you then create the staff again, or you can use the staff visibility function to hide and show these extra staves. Once you have made your choice you can delete the redundant music and remove the staff, or just keep it there for future reference as long as it is muted (suppressed).

Thanks Grainger2001. I’ll review Dan’s suggestion again. I appreciate all of the help!

It’s worth noting that on the Dorico marketing page, the very first item under the heading “What you can do with Dorico” is “Compose.” I hope that Daniel and team realize the potential that Dorico has to assist with the creative side of things for writers and arrangers, in addition to being an excellent engraving tool. Many of us prefer to use notation vs piano roll, and compositional tools like the one proposed by OP would be very helpful. If that sort of thing is truly in conflict with Dorico’s philosophy, I would like to know - but so far I’ve heard that sentiment primarily from engravers, and not from Daniel himself.

Anyway, as far as a hopefully helpful reply to @fdezmero, I believe your best bet is to use multiple flows to hold the different variations. I have tried all manners of other approaches: multiple staves, multiple layouts, cue notes, ossia - and I can tell you that they are definitely not intended to be used that way. The concept in Dorico that best represents a musical idea (of any size) is the Flow, so get comfortable working with them.

One other suggestion: depending on how much draft work you have, you can either add your finished flows to a specific layout within that document, or import it to a new document. The main reason to use a separate document is that it gives you better control over the ordering of flows, particularly with playback. Lets say you have a single project with flows “Draft 1.1, Draft 1.2, Final 1, Draft 2.1, Draft 2.2, Final 2” representing two pieces of music with two drafts each. For presentation purposes, you may create a layout that only includes the final pieces. But when you play it back, Dorico will “play” silence for the drafts flows in between the two pieces. So if you want to play them one after the other, you have to reorder them in the flow list, and lose the relationship between them and the drafts. For small projects / a couple pieces / few drafts that’s not much of a problem, but when I have more draft flows I often find it’s better to have a clean project where I import the finished pieces.

Basically I use one Dorico project as the messy stack of papers sitting on the piano, and a separate project as the neatly rewritten score.

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Thanks @pat1 that’s pretty much what I’m doing now. I save a copy and change the music. It makes sense to do this for all the reasons you pointed out. What becomes tedious, and thus the request, is that if I need to switch between versions, I have to pay the price of the load time if just to copy a few staves of music. I hadn’t considered your idea of the flows, which I think will work perfectly. Thank you very much!

You’re assuming you hear this “from engravers”, my impression that like myself most people here are composers. Regardless its irrelevant, the actual point is that there are as many ways to compose as there are composers, and as a general purpose tool meant for composers, arrangers, engravers, teachers and students, Dorico has to appeal to them all.

but so far I’ve heard that sentiment primarily from engravers, and not from Daniel himself.

Again with the engravers nonesense … i f you would actually read the thread Daniel posts right after mine making the point that this is something they could possibly do.

I’ve been following Dorico for a couple years, and my impression is that ~3/4 of the people who post on the forum are primarily engraving existing compositions and arrangements, not creating their own. That’s not everybody, of course, and there are certainly lots of composers here as well. Plus, I could always be wrong - I haven’t done a poll or anything - it’s just my impression. Have a good day :slight_smile:

My guess is a take on yours: I think there are a lot of engravers on the forum, but I suspect many of us are composers and arrangers as well, even if it’s not what our primary reason for using dorico.