Question about Players


I finally have found the time to read through the Dorico guide and I have a question.

If Solo players are single players that can play more than one instrument and Section players are players who represent the full section then if I load up one of the preloaded instrumentation templates why are certain instruments loaded as Solo players and others loaded as Section players? Is there a special technique when doing this from scratch?

Thanks in Advance,

Ian Hook

Taking a guess at the differences you’re seeing, and Dorico’s design in this respect:

Winds of the orchestra, although they are grouped in sections, often play individual lines, with unison treated as a special case; whereas strings default to unison per section, with divisi the special case. So e.g. there is only one Trumpet 1 part, but you’ll print maybe 8 copies of Violin I, including divisi and any solos, for all the players.

I’m sure this distinction has to do with sounds for playback as well.


I was actually wondering, why this distinction still exists. To be clear: I very much understand the difference between section and solo players.

But now that both condense, I could see the distinction becoming more and more a problem. What if I write for choir, and I both want Divisi in the sopranos but also I want them to pick up whistles at some point and whistle the hell out themselves.
Similarly, contemporary music often divides either the players actions or the instrument geographically on multiple staffs. Having the option to change that WITH labeling would be nice to have.
I know this is hard to change now, I am just thinking out loud here…

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For this particular example, I would put the whistle on a separate (hidden) staff and cue it in the players’ (P/V) score/layout.

The pre-defined ensembles are just lists of saved groups.
As Mark suggests, Wind are likely to be Players (aayyyyyy!); with Strings as Sections.

But ultimately, the distinction is there for you to use whatever is appropriate in your music.

If you’re not condensing or divisi-ing or switching instruments, then really it doesn’t matter – apart from whether your sample library gives you a solo violin vs a section, etc.

Forgive my ignorance and naiveness; still a newly at Dorico. :confused:

After reading this post, which I think addresses what I was going to ask (Use Solo players and condense them for section instruments, or use Divisi for these instruments?), I’m getting the idea that it’s all about what your project requires.
So in my case, where I have 10 Violas that play solo parts, as well as group and Tutti parts, I could use 10 solo players that then can be condensed for the conductor score, but still have the individual parts for print. I’m not too sure, though, about the Tutti parts. Can I still condense all as unison, when needed?
My thinking is based on what sample libraries I have for now, which are Halion and VSL VI Solo String library.
Any thoughts on this?

I think that’s a bad place to start if you are looking to produce parts and score for players. Whatever your instrumentation you can always create multiple instances of VSTs.

I would (probably) have 10 solo players (grouped together if needed) and a separate Tutti section. I would then add the tutti part to each solo layout, so each ‘part’ layout would be solo (n) + tutti.

Finally I would use staff visibility (in each layout) to hide empty staves as appropriate.
(I’m assuming that Soloist 7 need not see Soloist 1 (except perhaps as a cue), but would be part of the tutti when not playing solo)

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I agree with @Janus. Start by thinking about what parts you need to provide, and then work backwards from there.

OK. I’ll try that.
So far I started with Divisi this morning and just now, out of curiosity, I went to check out a viola part, only to find that all viola parts of the divisi show up in this layout option. When using divisi, is that how it’s supposed to work, when prepping to print parts for each player?

AFAIK there is no way to send just part of a divisi to a different layout. Hence my previous suggestion.
Divisi is used to allow a single (section) temporarily to go separate ways, but everyone under the divisi normally sees everyone else’s music.

For example (from Elgar Symphony 1)… A selection of different divisi representations!


One exception I can think of is some of the big Richard Strauss monsters like [the Alpensymphonie]*, where the divisis are so extensive that there are separate parts for the front and back of the section. But you’ll break Dorico’s divisi function long before reaching that point anyway :wink:

*edit: I meant Also sprach Zarathustra, of course…

Not to mention Elektra, where IIRC a third of the violas is supposed to grab a regular violin at some point, and become the fourth violin section.

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Ok, I started fresh with the modern orchestra template and then imported line by line, what I had done on the previous project.
I’ve used solo players to get the condense full score when done. (No divisi).
The template loaded the Halion string sounds, amongst others, and it all seemed to playback, initially.
Now after scoring violas and double bases, I tried, out of curiosity, to playback what I scored. Nothing plays. I’ve checked if tracks where muted; fixed that, turned on instrument sounds. Turned off condense in case that was the cause. Still no sound.
Any ideas?

First thing to try is reapply the Playback Template.

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@PjotrB Your memory is correct. Strauss scores for Violins I, II, III and Violas I, II, III, and then for one passage one of the Viola sections is directed to become Violin IV. I have no idea how the parts handle all that, but in any case I’m told (no idea how accurately) that there is an alternative “rationalized” set of string parts available that avoids all this.

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Wouldn’t that cause to loose the players I’ve added?

It will reset everything. So, if you have 3rd party VSTs or have made manual edits to Play Mode settings, those will be lost. But, if none of that is true, then no harm should be done.

I’ve added solo players to replace section players, which I then deleted.
Haven’t done any other modification to VST’s/play mode edits, etc.

Also, looking around I found Playback Template, but it was greyed out. Would you know why?

I don’t know what could be happening. I don’t mess with Play mode that much. If you can’t post the file publicly, you may want to send it to Daniel or Ulf.

I believe Norman Del Mar discusses this infamous passage in his book Anatomy of the Orchestra!