Multiple sounds on one instrument.

I am trying to have a synth player changing sounds mid-performance. I want him to have a piano sound, bass guitar sound, and a strings sound. Is there a way to have all these sounds be changed mid-playback in Dorico without having to give the player multiple instruments and having him switch instruments which adds another staff and text that I don’t want?


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You could use independent voice playback if you make sure each section with a different sound is in a different voice. For example, you could have the piano in Up-stem voice 1, bass guitar in Down-stem voice 1, and strings in Up-stem voice 2. Input the notes you want. Then in Play mode, enable independent voice playback for that player/instrument - this loads endpoints for each voice. You can then manually change the sounds loaded in the relevant slots in the VST instrument you’re using for playback.

I’ve not yet published the documentation for this, but you can read more about independent voice playback in the Version History (starts at the bottom of p44).

That should work well in this case.

For usage like that, it would be nice for the user to be able to label the voices instead of having to keep track of what “Up stem voice 3” is used for.

If one were only using three voices for the different instrument, it should be easy enough to keep track of the voice colors or use a Comment as a reminder.

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Hi everyone

I have a similar requirement as @Demolite_STM. To be specific, I’m writing a typical musical theatre score. There, Keyboard players often play a ton of different sounds, sometimes changing mid-measure, sometimes different sounds at different times.

The following is a simple example (written in Finale):

For the actual production, this can be easily programmed in Apple Mainstage, but for the writing process, I would like to have a setup that allows me to have a more or less appropriate sound.

I have been a Finale user since 2003 and I’m currently switching to Dorico (if it works out for my use cases).

If I get @Lillie_Harris right, if I could limit myself to a maximum of four instruments, it would work well using independent voice playback for upper/lower steam on two voices. However, I will work with a template and need more than four instruments (as it also includes pitched percussion etc.).

In Finale, it works but it is quite cumbersome as I need to change MIDI channels using expressions (which doesn’t work well when using Kontakt for playback).

Is there a way to achieve this in Dorico?

There is no limit to the number of voices you can have on a single staff. You could also add all the instruments to the same solo player, and use instrument changes (by inputting the required music on the corresponding staff) but that would result in separate staves if the parts overlap.

Thanks for your quick reaction, Lillie. Just to confirm I got your suggestions right: I can create a players group containing two players, one for the left hand and one for the right. I assign the instruments needed for each hand to the respective player.

The only drawback is that I cannot limit it to two staves if e.g. I would like to have an Organ in the right hand (defaulting to two staves) and an E-Piano in the left stave.

Is there any way to work around this?

If you always want exactly two staves, then your initial idea of using e.g. a piano with lots of different voices, which you load sounds for manually with independent voice playback enabled, might be best.

You can also hide staves manually or e.g. remove one staff from the organ if you only want to show the treble staff but not the bass. It really depends on how much fiddling you want/need to do, and what makes most sense to you.

I am afraid this is a bit too complicated for me. I’d like to assing some other sound (a xylophone) to the Down-stem Voice 1 of a violin part — what am I to do to achieve this?


If you want e.g. a xylophone sound on the same staff as a violin instrument, you have to use independent voice playback as I described in my post earlier in this thread. Once you’ve done that, you can go into the window for the playback device you’ve got loaded (e.g. HALion Sonic SE that comes with Dorico Pro) which you can access by clicking this button “Edit Instrument” edit_instrument_track_header in the track header, and manually load the sound you want into the channel that corresponds to the down-stem voice.


Dear Rune,
The answer given by Lillie #2 still applies, and is not that complicated.
Edit: Lillie beat me to it :wink:

Are you surprised? Just her usual excellent support to help us mortals.

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Hi Lillie, I know I’m a late comer to wonderful post, but has Anthony created a video to demonstrate this? I’m using EastWest Opus and want to switch back and forth between their ‘Effects’ Flute to use things like trills and flutter tongue and their keyswitch Flute, which of course has a limited set of articulations and does not include trills etc.

I don’t think there is a recent video since Dorico 4’s release showing precisely how to do this. Perhaps you could let us know what you have tried and where you are running into problems, and we will be able to help you.

Hi, all!

I’ve read through this thread as I too would like to be able have the synth player change sound during playback of the music I’m working on.
The solution Lillie proposes probably works well, but seems very “work-around-y” to me. Especially since using multiple voices to achieve multiple rhythms in the same staff is quite common when writing for keyboard/piano.

Is there no way to instruct Dorico/HALion to change sound at a specific point in time? I’m imagining something along the lines of connecting the text you’ll input to instruct the musician to change sound to HALion, triggering the sound change.
If this is not currently possible, can we please have that in the future?


In some cases I have found the easiest solution to multiple sounds assigned to a single keyboard is to have invisible staves to produce the sounds required and then to arrange the notes as one wishes on the keyboard part but use the Suppress Playback property on the keyboard notes.

Thanks for replying.

That is a good solution. I like that, and I suppose that’s the soultion I’ll use. That and simply not changing the sound.
It’s still a workaround, however. I’m hoping for a nice solution for this in future versions.

It is possible to do this with Expression Maps. Create a switch to send the appropriate cc/channel/program change to your synth and connect that to a custom playing technique with the text to write in the score.


For sure - though when a vst/synth allows you to assign different instruments/sounds/samples to different notes - I sometimes find it really playable to just do all of the mapping inside the synth itself. I could put in text/comments in the score about instrument changes, and I definitely will the first time. I also describe the synth set up in the front matter. But when it works, it means the keyboard player may not have to think about it as much; just play what they see before them.

I understand all situations are different. - that it is not always a great idea to do it this way.

I’m having a typical ditzy day, so, this is going in one ear and bouncing around a bit before coming out one of my nostrils…

I have Noteperformer sounds.

I have a viola section track, and a cello section track.
I would like each of those to also have a solo of that instrument.

Is there a way of doing this with NotePerformer?

I simply am not seeing what I have to press, where I have to press it, nor what anything has to be set to.

Can someone explain to a somewhat dim-ish person how (if) it can be done?