Orchestral Reduction to 10 Line Staff


I’ve been scouring the web and forums for some more detailed approaches to achieving an orchestral reduction to a 10 line staff. Are there any new features in the latest Dorico 5 that can help with this?

I’m wondering if condensing is now powerful enough to automatically handle this, or if someone could explain a good approach using the Paste Special > Reduce, and how to write instrument labels for which notes belong to which instruments. Can this be done automatically in any way, or, are our only options still to manually input this?


Reduce is a great feature, and I often use it to make score reductions. The catch is that it will create independent voices for any selection that’s isn’t homorhythmic, so you’ll get terrible results if you just Select All and Reduce. The key is to plan how you want the voices and stem directions to look in the final reduction before you Reduce.

For example, if I start with this …

… if I simply Select All and Reduce, I get this:

Maybe that’s what you want or maybe not, but with a little planning and doing the reduction in 2 steps I can get this, where the first few notes now can share a stem:

Orchestral reductions obviously take more manual planning than a simple example like this, but the process is basically the same. I would probably create a custom Paragraph Style for the labels. After you’ve input a few, they are easy to Alt-click around to add elsewhere.


Thank you so much @FredGUnn, this is exactly the guidance and examples I needed to get started.


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I thought this was a reduction to a 10-line staff:


My brain hurts!

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LOL!!! I thought about going in that direction but figured he probably meant a grand staff. I did post a doricolib file for an 11-line monster staff, complete with it’s own custom C clef that actually functions, back in this thread.


like here, 9-line staff:
from: Biber - Harmonia Artificiosa VII

This Biber 9-line staff doesn’t actually represent a (wide) scale. It’s a tablature, to be read by a violin/viola player. All the apparent fifths double stops are open strings, tuned only thirds and fourths apart (the C minor chord at the beginning). String players have the ‘natural’ reflex to play those fifths as open strings on some sort of multi-string viola. Notes in between aren’t really pitches, but violin fingering.
BTW, I think no clef is ever placed on a space between staff lines.

Just for completeness: Some choral scores place a C-clef on the space above the middle line for Tenor staves, perhaps thinking it is less ambiguous than the usual treble ottava clef.

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Yes this Biber is very cleverly notated. As a player you can almost sightread this piece: on the lower strings you read it like an alto C-clef and on the upper strings like a violin G-clef. It is really easy.