Player vs. Ensemble Player

Hello, my question is about a modifier key when creating players.
I have a score, a .musicxml import.
The staves are ”Part 1”, “Part 2” and so on.
Now I would like to “Change Instrument” on these staves. It is easy to change a staff to - let us say - “Violin”, which would be a solo player. I guess there must be a modifier key to change a system to an ensemble instead, f.e. “Violins”. I suspect one has to use a key like the Alt-key when changing instrument. So far I have not found the appropriate key. It has to be set up first, probably. Any help welcome.

“Section” and “Single” players is something you set at the player-level, not the instrument level. It’s not possible to change the type of an existing player, but you can add a new player of the required type and move existing instruments to the new player. This was a recent Tips Tuesday.

You can change individual instruments into another type of instrument at any time, whilst retaining any notes on the staff; this is the same for both types of players.

Thank you Lillie, I know about these possibilities. They are a bit laborious though, and I was thinking of an easier way…
If I import a musicxml file to Dorico, staves are always interpreted as Players.
I can change these staves to the right instruments and just leave it that way :thinking:
That is not how Dorico expects me to leave a file, when I want to do things like divisi later on…
Another use case: I have set up an orchestra in a Dorico project and import a new movement from a musicxml file, despite choosing “use the same instrument, when possible” Sections will always be interpreted as Players with the need to paste staves afterwards.
[edit] I tagged my thread as feature-request

The ability to change a player’s type after it’s been added (from section → single or single → section) has been requested before.

Instruments are always held by a player, regardless of its type. You can’t have a “free-floating” instrument that’s not held by a player. I can’t imagine that structure changing, realistically.

XML import often requires some level of fix-up as it’s translating between software with different approaches to handling various concepts and notations.


Lillie, yes, I unterstand.
It would be nice though to have something like a script: to create a Section and move an Instrument to it. Preferably triggered by a key combination.

Or an option to have all xml imported instruments be section players?

James, if I understand the logic correctly, Doricos’ Section in the programming hierarchy is the container containing the section players (who hold the instruments). Because of that hierarchy it seems difficult to replace one with another (a container with part of its content).

In general you can’t change a single player to a section player or vice versa because of the different restrictions about the number and kind of instruments they can hold. If you tried to change a single player with two instruments into a section player, Dorico would have to do something to the second and subsequent instruments held by that player – remove them? Create new players for them? Similarly, if you tried to turn a section player with divisi into a single player, what should it do to the divisi material? Remove it entirely?

For these reasons, it’s unlikely that we will have features to change the type of an existing player any time soon. You can sort it out for yourself using the features already provided.

However, the issue of whether Dorico chooses a single or section player when importing MusicXML is one that we certainly can solve in future, by providing you with an opportunity during import to influence what Dorico does with each part in the MusicXML file.

It would still be helpful if a user could change a player with music in only a single voice from a solo to a section player or vice versa if this was practical from a software programming perspective.

fantastic :+1:t2:

1 Like

That’s not something we’re likely to do. There are too many (entirely pragmatic and realistic) restrictions that mean it would very often refuse to do it.

Indeed, this would be very helpful.
I do understand, after Daniel’s explanations, why changing from solo to section player is difficult / undesirable, but being able to import players as section players would really be of great help.
Our current workaround is to create for the strings an empty ensemble of section players, and the copy all the single players into the respective ensembles, and then delete the original imported tracks. Not very practical if different flows are involved.

Rather than copying and deleting, you should be able to simply drag the instruments from one player to another.

So for a string section that’s come through via XML as single players, add 5 section players but don’t give them an instrument to hold (resulting in 5 empty-handed section players). Then drag the violin I instrument to an empty-handed section player, then the violin II, and so on.

1 Like

Note that you can edit the XML file before import, if you remember in time!

You have to add an <ensemble/> tag in side the <score-instrument> tag.

Excellent, I didn’t know it. Thank you so much Lillie!

1 Like

Hello Ben,
I didn’t know, thanks for the tip. Indeed, I do have a lot of stuff coming from Finale, and know who to do not too difficult edits in an XML editor. Thanks!