Percussionist's Parts

A conductor of a major symphony is interested in doing one of my tone poems. He asked if it would be possible to reduce the number of percussionists to allow the piece to be performed in more venues. Of course I agreed and I edited the score so it only needs the following percussionists:

  • Percussionist 1
    • Bass Drum
    • Snare Drum
  • Percussionist 2
    • Triangle
    • Clash Cymbals
    • Suspended Cymbal
  • Mallets (One Musician)
    • Glockenspiel
    • Xylophone

In the full score, the percussion parts look like this:

  1. How do you normally group individual percussion parts since you don’t know whom the conductor may assign to various instruments? He may not like the way I have the parts assigned?
  2. Do you just produce a pdf that has all the percussion parts on it and just let each percussionist choose which line(s) he/she is playing? For this piece, that would seem reasonable.
  3. Do you normally leave each percussion part on a separate staff as shown in the full score?


  1. You don’t. That is up to the principal percussionist. Even when a composer divides the percussion into a certain number of players, I usually produce a percussion score, for reference purposes if nothing else. The tricky part is arranging the score to have decent page turns in case they want to use that for performance.

  2. Yes, but see No.1 above.

  3. Yes, generally


Excellent, thank you!

Unfortunately, I don’t see a way to make Dorico produce a percussion part with all five lines. It seems just to want create separate pages: one for bass drum, one for snare, etc.

This video is old, but it’ll steer you in the right direction:

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Thank you!

@dspreadbury , The percussion kit is a great option, but it would also be good if I could just tell Dorico, “Take those five percussion lines and create a percussion part I can print.”

I originally had this as a kit, but when the conductor asked for a revision and I deleted an instrument, I somehow thought it would be better to have each instrument separate. I guess that is not ideal.

Just create (in Setup mode) a new empty Instrumental Part Layout (on the right panel, down) and activate (on the left panel) the players that you want to include. You can then customize the appearence of the instruments that are organized as kits, if any, in Layout Options/Players/Percussion to show them as grid, or five lines or singkle lines.
(I hope I understand right what you whant to achieve)

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Thank you, @Christian_R . The people on this forum are the best.

I’m on the way to the Symphony, but I’ll check your suggestion at home later. (I have decades of studio and pit work, but prepping stuff for conductors is a new world.)

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