Player types for Orchestra

I’m recreating an orchestral score (presumably from Finale or Sibelius) for an assignment. Started with a MIDI import, but trying to choose the correct player types. I noticed that all the orchestral templates have section players for the strings only, with single players for the horns, even when there is a section of them. Why is that?
The score I’m copying (see attached staff labels) has Horns as a pair of grouped staves, and I used the divisi feature there, which necessitated using section players.
But other brass and woodwinds are on single staves.
Are there conventions about certain instruments wanting to see what their compatriots are playing, and others not?
Is there any downside to making all brass and woodwinds section players?

A section player means the music is played by an entire section. This would be the case for Violin I, for example. The violin I part is played by many violinists, i.e., a section of violins.

A solo player is a single player on their own playing a part. This would be the case for Horn 1. The horn 1 part is played by a single horn player and no one else.

To replicate the score provided (and in general for orchestral music), use section players for the strings, and solo players for the wind and brass. To get the music for the four horns displayed on two staves, use Dorico’s condensing feature.

Thanks for that input. In this case, the horn pairs are playing in unison, so it was quite nice entering the line once. But I’ll change the horns to single players and copy paste unless there’s another way (besides divisi) to achieve that.

In orchestral practice, all wind players get their own individual parts, even if they (sometimes) play in unison.

Whoever extracts your parts will bless you for that! :smiley:

You can input into multiple staves at once, which makes entering two horns in unison quite easy.
This video explains it:

I would also recommend watching the video on condensing as well:

Thanks. Condensing is a killer feature and worked well on the French horns. But I’m having some trouble with a couple of measures of Trombones 1-3 which just play 3-note chords.



Note I lost the courtesy accidental and the chords didn’t condense properly. The other measures are fine.
I can start another thread if this seems like a bug, but maybe I missed something.

Unfortunately a picture is insufficient information to be able to help you efficiently. I imagine that the reason the third trombone isn’t condensed with the other two is because of something that happens to the right of the screenshot you have posted, such as a change in rhythm or a pitch cross that puts the third trombone above either the second or first. But unless you attach the project itself, it’s impossible to say.

As for the accidental, you can restore that in Engrave mode by selecting the note on which you want the accidental to appear and activating the ‘Accidental’ property.

Apologies for missing that instruction. But you are correct. I had slurs in the following two measures, and since I had created the parts from a single staff using filtered selection and Duplicate To Staff below, there was no slur on the middle voice, Trumpet 2. Condenses fine now.

Newbie here. Great forum post. I’m sorry to have to ask this but what’s the workaround if you don’t have the condensing feature? I unfortunately am running Dorico on an older MacBook Pro with an operating system that I’m told Dorico 3 probably won’t work with. So I’m using Dorico 2.2. I know, sucks for me and I should update the computer but I can’t afford it yet and besides, for now even 2.2 is miles above what I had before!

So, can anyone remember the way to get multiple solo players onto one staff in D2? Is it simply what I think it is: add a new section player called “Horn I, II” then paste the each solo part into its own voice in the new section? Or maybe something more elegant?

Also, unless I’m mistaken the replies didn’t really deal with things like a “Flute 1, 2” staff. These are two solo players by the definition given, but on one staff. Of course the two flutes might play in a variety of ways such as in unison, or a third apart, or in different rhythms with stems up/down. Then there could be times when the two flute lines become so different that they each need their own staff for part of the score.

Thanks, hoping there are others this will help.

Hi Finalished.
I’ve been where you are, using D2 and making real full scores without the condensing function. Well, the workflow is more “old school”. You need to have solo players, because you’ll need to export their layouts (so that they can play the piece, that’s the whole point of this app.) You won’t put those solo players in the full score, because you’re going to build their “full-score staves” from the solo ones. This involves a lot of “copy to the staff above”, and “paste into voice…” work, but it does work (exactly the way you’ve described. Note that you can use the Edit name window to make things look exactly the way it looks with condense, using the superscript thing, and well used spaces). Thing is you’ll be really doing a manual condensing, so the choices are up to you, whether you need one or two voices in some places, adding a label or not, etc. It’s a long work, that’s why we love the condense function. But it works. And eventually, you’ll get on the Dorico 3+ train when your finances allow :wink:

Thank you, Marc! Let me be sure I understand. The solo players (the wind and brass players in our imagined orchestral score example) remain and each of those layouts become the solo player parts. But these “players” in the setup will not be in the full score. I instead create full-score staves from the solo ones and these new staves are checked as shown for the score (and I don’t make parts from these).

These new full-score staves I take it get added in the left panel of the Layout. Should these be “solo” or “section” players I’m adding? Do I add as many as I anticipate needing along the way—for example one “Flute 1, 2” plus one each “Flute 1” and “Flute 2”—or just one? If one, how do I choose say 90 measures into a piece to show a second flute staff for series of measures while it’s needed, and then how do I take it away when no longer needed? (Less important, do I just delete the layouts of these new score-purpose “players” in the right panel?)


can you get a Version 3 trial and test it on your MacBook Pro?
Even if it does say it will not run on that machine, may be it will after all…

I ran the full version 2 trial almost exactly when 3 first launched. I spoke with Dorico and explained my situation and I technically bought 3 on cross-grade from Finale, but am actually running 2 (I guess that’s how they wanted to go about licensing me). I’m frankly rather leery of putting software of a questionable match on this ol’ betsy, could cause more problems than it’s worth. Am I wrong to think that?

Might have just found the answer to one of the implications of my follow up questions to Marc.

From the online 2.2.20 help, Edit Instrument Names dialog:
“Editing” Allows you to switch between editing the Singular names and Plural names of the selected instrument. Singular Names is used when staff labels are shown by default, Plural Names is used when the staff contains multiple players.

So for instance, using short names here: singular name Hn. I, plural name Hn. I, II; singular name Hn. III, plural name Hn. III, IV.

Dear Finalished,
As far as I know, this singular/plural option is not active yet, it should solve issues in labelling stuff but is not relevant here.
As you’ve guessed, you create solo players that will hold the condensed instruments for the full score. You probably won’t need their associated part layout, so you might as well delete it. I would keep them at the bottom of the pile.
I must say I don’t understand your licensing issues. If you’ve bought Dorico pro when version 3 was out (or somewhere in the grace period) you should own a Dorico 3 license.

Dear Marc,

You’re very kind. My worry with running 3 is really with running it on the computer at all and possibly causing problems for the computer/OS, causing crashes etc. D2 works, some actions slowly (especially in this big score) but that’s just this computer.

One other question area of mine remains unanswered, if I may rephrase it. Do I add as many of these new score-purpose solo players as I anticipate needing along the way—for example one “Flute 1, 2” plus one each for “Flute 1” and “Flute 2” because they will show up at times as separate—or just do I just add one regardless?

If only one is recommended, then how do I manage it those times when two are actually needed? Say for example measures 90-110 I have to show “Flute 1” and “Flute 2” staves because they are very different for that period, then return at measure 111 (let’s say 111 is also a new system but not a page turn) to having just one “Flute 1, 2” staff? How will I add that periodic extra staff and then take it away. Looking at the score for other problems, there are three trombones and though usually “Trombone 1, 2” can be together and “3” alone, there are pages in the score where each of the three will just have to have their own staves and there is just no way notationally around it.

(I hope these questions also help others in the same position; I can’t be the only one.)

Dan Kreider wrote a really helpful post on how to manually condense in Dorico 2, here.

You might try installing Dorico 3. It doesn’t overwrite Dorico 2; it runs as a separate application, so there’s no harm in trying. Also, with the exception of automatic condensing (which is really computationally hungry), Dorico 3 is better optimised than Dorico 2 - you may actually find that the actions that run slowly in Dorico 2 run more quickly in Dorico 3.

You do it the hard way. For the trombones you probably need to define separate staves for Tr 1, Tr 2, Tr3, Tr 1+2, Tr 2+3, and Tr 1+2+3.

Then, you have to decide how to split up the music on each system. Finally, “hide empty staves” will clean up the score.

That’s as good as it gets in Sibelius, Finale, or Dorico before version 3.

Expect creating a large condensed score by hand to take weeks, not minutes. Just be thankful you don’t have a score like “The Rite of Spring” where the violins are divided every which way up to about “div a6”!

In real life, people often just used to produce uncondensed scores with a smaller staff size.

Even if condensing runs very slowly on your PC, it’s probably going to be quicker than doing it manually.

In response to the last two posts: gulp… wow.

Will check out Dan Kreider’s post now, and look into the possibility of D3 later.