Problem with Instrument labels

I have a piece here with four timpani parts who are all doublers on other percussion instruments.

Somehow, both the third and fourth Percussionist were labeled Timpani 4, so I went into the “Edit name” panel and fixed that. But now I get this bizarre instrument label that says “Timp. + Timp.” instead of simply “Timp.” as Dorico is supposed to do with like instruments.

Here’s a screen shot including the Setup info showing that I have created and labeled these Timpani in order, 1 through 4, from top to bottom.

I must say that I find it so frustrating that Dorico makes the editing of text items, in situ, such as instrument labels so inaccessible. Maybe I haven’t plumbed the depths of Dorico’s 1600 page PDF manual sufficiently, nor have I had the time to watch all the tedious YouTube videos with a notebook in hand. (But, on the other hand, my hard copy manual for the Score program – which everyone always used to say had such a steep learning curve – is a mere 350 pages, all clear and completely comprehensible. In my experience, after several months inputting just as demanding work as I could do easily with Score, Dorico’s learning curve for sophisticated engraving is over the moon.)

The names have to match every character to avoid being concatenated with +. Check for a stray space on either side. (Are there other things that cause this?)

For copyists used to the more direct approach of manually putting many things on the page, as in Score and Finale, I can imagine how Dorico’s controls seem abstruse. But once you get used to their approach, it is faster and more efficient.

I need to check for a “stray space” where?

One of the things that I am so frustrated with is how unforgiving Dorico is about these sorts of “errors” that we make.

In Score, all I have to do is call up the item in question and enter a change in one of its parameters, Every notational element is under my control, but Dorico hasn’t gotten there yet. The Dorico Properties panels do not offer anything like the control that Score’s parameters lists do.

In the “Edit names” panel, accessible from the Timp instrument card - check that each instrument’s full name matches exactly. Often spaces are the culprit because you can’t see them.

Dorico works in more of a semantic way than Score (somewhat long in the tooth now!) which takes more of an object-first approach. It would be good if Dorico could recognise if something was only slightly different by mistake but would take some deep machine learning I think. Also - if you genuinely did want your instrument names to be subtly different it would be even more frustrating!

I like that names are edited separately like this - it prevents a lot of really bad decisions - I’ve had to deal with so many gammy S*%#*ius files with instrument names e.g deleted entirely and replaced with plain staff text…

Also may be wrong but if you call them all “Timpani” (no number) they should have an automatic number assigned…

If the 3rd and 4th percussionists are holding timpani instruments, then Dorico will indeed number them together and treat them like timpani instruments.

Our documentation comes out quite long in a PDF due to how its structured (in lots of small topics that aim to be as self-contained as possible, i.e. on the page that says “hiding/showing playing techniques”, you learn how to hide and show playing techniques and only anything that’s relevant to that).

If it helps, here are some useful links when it comes to instrument names and staff labels (although it sounds like you’re already comfortable with most of this functionality) -

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