Orchestration advice needed for indicating "en dehors" vs. solo in orchestral parts?

Hello all!
This is probably more of a general orchestration question than a Dorico question, though there may be implications for playback. I’m working on a small orchestral score where there are many single instruments (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, harp) in addition to some grouped players. In the course of the piece, I’d like to indicate where a particular instrument needs to “bring out” their line a bit. I’ve always thought the French term “en dehors” (as used by Debussy, etc.) is particularly useful, and wished we had an English equivalent.

The problem of course is that marking something “solo” technically implies one is playing alone, which isn’t happening here. And regardless, how does one “cancel” a solo and inform the player that their part is now “background” again? Obviously a “tutti” marking is wrong if you’re the only oboist in the pit.

“En dehors” could indeed work, but is there a way to cancel it and inform the player that their part is no longer the priority?

I suppose ultimately I could just write a louder dynamic at the spot where a player needs to be heard. But it’s not just a dynamic I want to indicate; I also want the player to know that a particular phrase or passage is central to the piece at that moment. Lastly, from a purely practical perspective, as an orchestral harpist myself, when I first receive my part in the mail for a gig, I immediately look for anything marked “solo” so I know where to practice first (always a time-crunch with music!).

You get the idea. I’d truly love any thoughts people might have on this; it’s a question I’ve had for a long time.

Thank you in advance for any suggestions!

You could create it as a custom playing technique with a continuation line that covers the passage that you would like to be brought out. That would probably the clearest way to notate it.

I would write the directive “bring out” followed by a hooked line indicating the duration of the bringing out.


Thank you for these suggestions! I’d thought about using lines before, but hadn’t explored adding text to them… great idea.

I usually simply use “bring out” as well. I think en dehors is common enough for orchestral work, but I wouldn’t use it in other genres. Depending on how prominent the excerpt is a simple espr. may be enough too. Gould recommends (pg 544) in rilievo, but in all honesty that’s a new one to me. I imagine quite a few players would need to look that one up.

Are the Schoenberg principal voice and secondary voice signs often used? That could potentially be another option too although I’m not sure how commonly understood they are.

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At the end of a solo passage, I usually write ord. (ordinario) or nat. (natural).

One final question – when I create the continuation bracket (with text “bring out”), is there a way I can get this to only show up in the player’s part? I don’t want it cluttering the full score. Sorry if I’m missing something obvious.

Why would it ‘clutter’ the Score? If it is not in the score, it may confuse the conductor if a part suddenly decides to step forward unprompted. Further, the marking tells something about the structure of the piece - a conductor would probably mark up his score anyway to bring out certain phrases.

More generally, en dehors, or espressivo (espr.) is commonly used without a continuation line. For a good example of the latter, see Strauss Metamorphosen (available on IMSLP)

I see your point; I think I was wondering about how the score might look with “bring outs” all over the page in various staves? I’ve never encountered that before.

Regardless of the merits, is there some way to make lines (and their accompanying texts) only appear in a part?

Thank you,

Playing Techniques and Text objects yes: there’s a Hide property that can be set locally (or indeed globally) from the properties panel. Lines (by which I mean Line objects from the Lines section of the right panel): no.

Ah, I see. Thank you Leo.
So based on the fact that these lines MUST appear in the full score, I will have to keep my usage of them to the bare minimum. I was thinking of it more as a nudge from the composer to the player (“hey, pay attention here!”) than as a directive to the conductor. Since the conductor has the benefit of the full score, he or she will have a better sense (in this piece at any rate) of what instrument has the melodic interest.

My initial query arose from the many times I’ve encountered a harp part for a new piece (not in the repertory, where I can go have a listen), and as I practice, I’m wondering, “now, I wonder if this passage is important or not? Would be great if the composer could somehow have given me an indication.” Which is why I usually end up consulting the full score just to see what else is happening in that moment.

If you follow Robin’s suggestion to use a custom playing technique with a continuation line you should be able to hide it in the score.

That did it! Brilliant!
Thank you!