Please allow assigning brackets/braces by player group in setup as default for all layouts

Editing braces and brackets in Engrave mode is not a good workaround when the project doesn’t fit one of the preset “ensembles.” (And none of my projects fit the preset “ensembles.”) Hiding empty staves, condensing, etc. all seem to require multiple manual engrave mode bracket adjustments per layout to get expected results. It would be so much easier if we could, in setup, indicate whether a particular player group should be bracketed or braced (Or treated as a condensing group, for that matter!) in selected layouts. Or at least allow us to enter custom bracketing/bracing groups on the dialog where the preset ensembles are (similar to the way custom condensing groups are created).

I’d be interested to know what kinds of square pegs you’re finding don’t fit into Dorico’s round holes: perhaps we’re missing some necessary presets. Can you provide a few specific examples to illustrate the sorts of situations you’re encountering?

  1. In musical theater, lead vocalists get their own unbracketed staves while chorus parts are separate bracketed consolidated staves for men and women that may each expand/contract into multiple staves as needed. They are not labeled with the orchestral consolidation convention that is currently the only option. Empty staves are hidden.

  2. Electronic keyboards may switch “instruments”(patches) independently in left and right hands, still notated with a brace like piano. In order to play back correctly, left and right hands need to be configured as separate players.


I noticed (maybe not as serious an issue as debiemer’s, but nonetheless) that when setting an instrument as “concertante” (for example, the solo violin in my violin concerto), it brackets them together with like-instruments. In my case, it included the soloist as part of the string section.

I’m probably missing a way of setting this up when making my initial file… I’m going to be working on a viola concerto next, and I don’t really look forward to dragging staves (in the set-up window) and adjusting the brackets (in engrave mode).

Dorico 3.5 does not have support for identifying soloists for concertos and similar works automatically, but that is something that is already implemented in Dorico for iPad, and will be coming to Dorico 4 in due course.


No, I don’t think this is correct. Use independent voice playback instead.

awesome! thank-you.
(it’s so nice to actually get feedback for feature requests, instead of just tossing them into the air and HOPING by some miracle that one of the devs gets wind of it… re: the notation software that shall remain unnamed)

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You’re welcome. We are working hard to address user requests every day.


Here is another scenario:

I am working on a multi movement work for 2 Clarinets, 2 Horns and 2 Bassoons (18th C. harmonie ensemble).

All six staves need to be bracketed together and each pair of identical instruments needs a secondary bracket.

None of the preset ensembles seem able to accomplish this. Orchestral comes close but is not quite correct.

Independent voice playback seems more oriented to one “instrument” triggering multiple articulations than switching between “instruments”. Treating right hand and left hand as separate players switching instruments allows me to enter notes for the different patches on different staves in galley view (e.g. piano, organ, synth strings) then see them elegantly combined with automatic labels in page view. Everything about it works well except being unable to globally specify a brace instead of a bracket.

The tools for bracketing in Engrave mode (left panel) should handle this situation quite easily. Chime in if you don’t manage this.

I am aware of this.

However, it would be nice to be able to set brackets on a project-wide basis rather than per flow.

At least the layout option “Instruments of the same kind within a bracketed group: Use secondary brackets” should work when “small ensemble” is selected.

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The Duplicate Flow command doesn’t handle this?

I suppose it does, but that would entail changing my work flow, since I prefer to complete one flow before starting another.

However, I just discovered that if I use the Orchestral option for brackets I can just drag the top bracket down, saving a few clicks.

I also felt this behaviour a bit strange.
I wonder why secondary brackets do not appear at all when Ensemble type is Small ensemble or Wind band, even though Use secondary brackets is selected.
I’d like to ask Dorico team if this is a intended behavior.

I found a similar discussion.

I think there’s a case for having the assignment of brackets and sub-brackets available within Setup mode, while setting up. The relegation of this process to Engrave mode has sometimes meant that the brackets on page 1 of a flow might disappear on a later page, after players change instruments. And the rectification of this with new bracket assignments leaves the worry that this in turn might not survive a change in page breaks. The ability to specify bracketed groupings as part of setup, encompassing all instruments whether they play right away or not, could eliminate all this.