Player numbering and labeling question

As a way to learn Dorico to see if I want to switch I’m transcribing some scores I have. I have a score with multiple Alto Sax players. The 1st doubles on clarinet and starts off on clarinet. In the full score it is displayed as “Clarinet in Bb 1.” I later added a solo clarinet part as the top most staff. Now I have Clarinet 2 above Clarinet 1 in the score. It looks funny. Two questions. Can I change the numbering? (Setup, renumber layouts does nothing). Shouldn’t the alto sax 1 part, even though it starts on clarinet, be labeled as Alto 1 at the start of the score?

Also, I know it’s a bit odd, but if I were using pencil and paper I could simply not have any numbers at the start of the score for any of the parts but put them in on the parts. Is turning off the numbers in the score an option? (I can’t find it).

Navigating the interface of this area of the setup tab (i.e. in saettng and formatting instrument numbers and keys) is not intuitive for me either and I think it would benefit from a rethink.


There are a few things in play here –

  • Automatic instrument numbering occurs when multiple players of the same type (i.e. single / section) hold the same instrument. Do you want the “solo clarinet” to be numbered with the other clarinets? You could in Dorico 4 mark it as a “soloist” which removes it from automatic numbering and positions it above the strings (like for a concerto). Or if it’s simply a matter of changing which player is holding the “clarinet 1” and “clarinet 2” instruments (e.g. if you haven’t given either any notes yet) you can drag instruments to other players to change who is holding which.

  • The staff label will show the first instrument the player plays – you can change this by “forcing an instrument change” (adding something to the alto sax staff like notes or a chord symbol region that tells Dorico ‘this is the active instrument’, although the chord symbol region will split a multi-bar rest) ; alternatively, you could show the player name in its staff label instead (but then it wouldn’t switch to clarinet later), or if the full instrument name only appears on this very first system, you could edit the Clarinet’s full instrument name to include “Alto Sax” as well.

  • Numbering layouts won’t affect staff labels or what appears on the first page in each part because that refers to the internal “ID” of the layout – you can see the layout number when you expand layout cards in the Layouts panel (on the right in Setup mode). There are a few names associated with staves/instruments/players/parts, see here for more info.

You can generally find options controlling the appearance of staff labels in Layout Options > Staves and Systems and Engraving Options > Staff Labels (Pro-only).

Setup > Reset Instrument Names

I’ll keep a copy of your reply for future reference. For right now, you sort of lost me. I’m still wrapping my head around terminology like player, soloist, section, bar and not measure, etc… I did review all the options in the layout and engraving options but couldn’t find what I was after. While the documentation is some of the better documentation I’ve seen for such a complex program, not knowing the exact terminology to search for (in the PDF) it is time consuming to find what I’m after. Also with the settings split among so many places and not necessarily in the category I think it would be in, it can be time consuming too. For example, looking for settings for my midi controller I went to note input. Not there. It was in play settings even though input has little to do with playback.

It turns out that Setup->Reset Instrument Names did the trick. I could swear I didn’t see that when I was trying to figure this out.


I would strongly recommend giving searching the webhelp version of the documentation a go – not only does that ensure you’re definitely using the latest version, the webhelp benefits from all sorts of additional metadata that isn’t in the PDF. A lot of this comes from search terms that real users have used when asking questions, including lots of alternative phrases/words that aren’t in the “official” documentation.

If you would like to share your project, or a cut-down version of it, I’d be happy to take a look and give you more specific advice/information. Speaking in the abstract can be harder than referring to a specific project.

Understandable. Dorico is complex with a lot of places where settings can be changed. It can be quite daunting to a novice user.

I have an extremely slow internet connection (<3Mbps) so anything I can do offline is often faster. Thanks for the offer to look at the project. After finally getting all the music entered - still have engraving to try - I’m getting a good feel for it. I might take you up on the offer later this week. Thanks.