Percussion instrument change - how do we control where it happens?

I have Tubular Bells being sustained by the pedal for three measures after the last attack, and two measures later the percussionist will play the suspended cymbals. However, the instrument change defaults to changing right after the last note of the tubular bells, and not after the pedal. See attached screenshot.
Is there anyway to control where there instrument change happens? Is there someway to make it a specific measure?

Perhaps, putting a tie on the last note and extending it the length of the measures. That would be my thought.

Robby

There’s no way to influence where the instrument change happens, but I guess it’s happening in the right place in this instance, because I imagine you have dragged the pedal line graphically in Engrave mode rather than moving it in Write mode (because there’s nothing for it to attach to in Write mode). I agree with Robby that extending the note so that it matches the duration of the pedal line is probably the clearest (and I think most correct) solution in this case.

Hi Daniel,

I attached a picture from page 76 of Samuel Solomon’s “How to write for percussion.” As you can see from the first line of the vibraphone figure/example, it is very normal and correct notation for percussion with pedals to have a pedal marking over bars of rests. And Dorico allows me to do this in Write mode; I did not extend the pedal line in Engrave mode.
I supposed then that it’s a bug or an oversight that the instrument change ignores the pedal line?


Thanks for posting the example from the Solomon book, and for confirming that you adjusted the rhythmic duration of the pedal line in Write mode. In the New Year when the team is all back together again I will ask the developer responsible for this area of the code how he thinks we might handle this situation better in future. For now, you could consider putting in a note in another voice at the position of the end of the pedal line, shortening its stem to zero, and making it transparent by editing its colour, as that should allow Dorico to do what you want.

I am a percussionist, and studied a lot of music (years ago, albeit). The one thing that I will say is that percussion music has its own unique ways of notating things, and that changes from composer to composer, arranger to arranger, etc. This example is one of those instances of unique notation, as I have never seen this before. That does not mean it is invalid. Just that I have never seen that before. I looked into “The Art and Language of Jazz Vibes” by Jon Metzger, and that form of notation does not appear to be in use. While I personally feel that a tied note would serve better, the book and example you reference isn’t confusing for the performer.

Just adding my 2 cents into the discussion.

Robby

Hello,

I am wondering if there have been any development on this front.
Is it possible to control where instrument changes occur?
This would be extremely helpful in writing for percussion.

My personal situation involves switching between timpani and crotales, but the treble clef appears immediately after the last note of the timpani part, then there is a 3-bar rest. I would prefer to move the treble clef to after the rest and right before the crotales enter.

A workaround would be to ignore “instruments” altogether (and ignoring playback) and just adding my own treble clefs and bass clefs.

I am hoping, though, that the development team has plans for something, before I make those large changes to the score.

Thank you,
– Morgan

IIRC This is still on the to-do list.

The way you described is the way I have always seen instrument changes done in jazz and Broadway as well. The change right before the entrance is an added visual clue that something is different, is definitely my preference, and is the standard way of doing it in those fields. The way Dorico does it would simply be considered wrong in a Broadway show context, but as of now there is now “early” or “late” setting for instrument changes.

You can still get what you want, it’s just a few added steps. You have to ignore adding another instrument to the player and just do it on a single staff as you pointed out, but that doesn’t mean you have to ignore playback. In Play mode, you can assign different sounds to different voices. Move the crotales to a different voice, and assign a different playback sound.
play

If you are using the same VST Instrument for both sounds, you can also do this with a Playing Technique set to change the MIDI channel. Instead of using text, you can create PTs for “Timpani” and “Crotales” that will change the channel to get the correct playback. Either way you’ll get lots of “Notes out of range” so I would just turn that signpost off as you won’t care about it.

You can still get what you want, it’s just a few added steps. You have to ignore adding another instrument to the player and just do it on a single staff as you pointed out, but that doesn’t mean you have to ignore playback. In Play mode, you can assign different sounds to different voices. Move the crotales to a different voice, and assign a different playback sound.

Ooh, that’s sounds like an awesome workaround!
Thank you, Fred!
I’ll put this to use until we get some kind of “Edit Instrument Change Entrance” setting.
(Individual Hide/Show Instrument Change Text AND Hide/Show Instrument Change Warning Text would be pretty cool, too, but I digress.)

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