Pitched cues in unpitched part

Pitched cues cannot be directly added to an unpitched part. The advice when they are required is to add an arbitrary pitched instrument to the unpitched player, to make a five-line staff available, and add the pitched cues to that (fictitious) pitched player in galley view. I’m attaching an example of the unedited result in a snare drum part. I added a violin to the snare drum player, for no better reason than that the first cue is in the solo violin.


(1) Each passage for snare drum is labelled ‘S. D.’ and is followed by ‘To Vln’; the subsequent cue is labelled ‘Vln’. This is of course inappropriate and points clearly to the workaround nature of the solution, but getting rid of the unwanted labels is straightforward if tedious.

(2) More seriously: the score is mostly in three flats. Correctly, no key signature appears in the S.D. part. But the pitched cues are displayed as if the key signature was visible. Note the superfluous naturals in the first cue. And in b71, the apparent As are A flats, and the apparent E in b72 is an E flat. This is absolutely wrong, though once again it is fixable by painstakingly hiding and showing accidentals as required. Fortunately there were only about half a dozen cues in the part!

(3) Although the snare drum uses a single-line staff, more than half of the part has a five-line staff — not just the cues, but all the bars leading up to them. I could not find any way to fix this.

Hoping that a better solution may be in the pipeline.

We do hope to come up with a proper way to add pitched cues to unpitched instruments in the future, but it’s by no means straightforward.

Thanks Daniel!

Since posting the above I have realised that the problem with the accidentals can be solved by adding a pitched instrument (in C) that doesn’t use a key signature. Changing the violin held by the S.D. player to a C Trumpet (no key signature) caused the accidentals to display correctly.

Might this be worth adding to the documentation? As well as a caution about the superfluous instrument change labels.

[Edit] ‘Instrument changes. When a percussion player is switching back and forth
between unpitched and pitched instruments, Dorico now shows the prevailing key
signature as well as the prevailing clef when switching from an unpitched
instrument to a pitched instrument. (STEAM-8751)’ (Dorico_2.2.10_Version_History/.pdf)

The key signature is apparently not displayed with cues, as reported above.

Maybe things have changed since the previous post, but I was foxed by this one, too. However, since my percussion group (one player) includes timpani, and the cue was for snare drum, I cued into the timpani staff. Because of the way Dorico works, it showed ‘Timp.’ as an instrument change above the cue, so I moved it off the page in Engrave mode. I’m hoping that’ll work.

You can also edit the text of instrument changes, and replace the text with an empty space to hide them.

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Ah! Now that’s something I’d never have thought of. Thanks!