Request (tentative) for changes to Voice Colours

I’m sitting here entering notes into solo piano, and the scheme I use is Up-stem Voice 1 for Soprano, Down-stem Voice 2 for Alto, Up-stem Voice 3 for Tenor and Down-stem Voice 4 for Bass.

After setting voice colours, the result isn’t all that good - voice 1 and voice 4 are virtually the same shade of blue. After fiddling with the Voice Colours in Preferences, the results are very hit and miss.

Would it be possible to have the Preferences to say
Up-stem Voice 1 colour = X
Down-stem Voice 1 colour = Y
Up-stem Voice 2 colour = Z

The reason I put “tentative” in the topic subject is because I’m probably taking the wrong approach. I’d be grateful for comments on whether this is a good idea, or I’m not entering notes in some standard sort of way.

Rob :thinking:

What about this does not work for you (in Dorico Pro 4.1)?


(I’m not sure why you are using four voices for the SATB parts, since they are presumably not all on the same staff. If you group SA, they could use voices 1 & 2 on their staff, and TB could use voices 1 & 2 on theirs.)

Well Derrek, there seems to be no discernible correlation between those colours and the actual notes with regard to Up-stem and Down-stem.

So, my “solution” would be to have just 4 voices in the dialogue screen; Up-stem Voice 1, Down-stem Voice 2 etc. Right now it goes up to Voice 8 so there is enough room to change to to 4 groups of 2 voices.

But, as I said, I’m probably not entering the notes with the proper, standard methodology. (is there one?)

Sorry Derek, didn’t see your comment. I’m putting S & A in the treble staff, and T & B in the bass staff with a view to “exploding” it out into a SATB choir layout later on. Hence each line must have it’s own voice (doesn’t it?)

Wait a sec. Why are you using Upstem Voice 3 and Downstem Voice 4?

Each instrument has its set of colours, but each staff has its own set of numbers (and Upstem voices have separate numbers to Downstem voices). The colors have to be shared across the whole instrument or you wouldn’t easily be able to tell which staff a cross-staffed voice belonged to.

The standard thing to do is to use Upstem Voice 1 for the highest voice on the top staff, Downstem Voice 1 for the lower voice on the top staff, Upstem Voice 1 for the highest voice on the bottom staff and Downstem Voice 1 for the lower voice on the bottom staff.

I guess the reason that it’s not possible for the preferences to say

is that colours are allocated dependent on what order the voices are created.

  • You can have 12 Upstem Voices on a staff without having any downstem voices.
  • Each instrument can have one staff or many staves, but the colours are shared across the instrument.
  • You can change the nominal stem direction of an entire voice, thus rebranding Upstem Voice X to Downstem Voice Y.

Such a statement in the Preferences dialog wouldn’t be accurate.

(The other thing to say is that if you really are using Upstem Voice 3 and Downstem Voice 4 without there being Upstem Voices 1+2 or Downstem Voices 1-3 on those staves, the next time you close and reopen the project you’ll likely find that the empty voices have automatically been removed and your existing voices have been renumbered.)


Thanks very much Leo for setting me straight. I’ll follow your advice and see what happens when I explode it to an SATB choir.

Having followed Leo’s advice, I now have the Soprano line as Up-stem Voice 1 and they’re light blue.
The Alto line is Down-stem Voice 1 and it’s a sort of strawberry reddish colour.
Tenor line in the bass clef is Up-stem Voice 2 and is a khaki colour
Bass line is Down-stem voice 2 and is green.

There seems to be no correlation with the colours in the Prefs dialogue - in fact the strawberry reddish colour isn’t there at all.

At least they’re all easily distinguishable now which is the main thing. (BTW, it was very easy to change voices en-masse using the excellent Filter command)

I’m still not sure why you’re using Upstem Voice 2 and Downstem Voice 2 at all.
Do you get the same numbers and the same colours if you save, close and reopen the project?

To make sure that my SATB short score explodes into 4 staffs (I think).

After closing down and re-opening, I now have an Up and Down stem Voice 1 in the treble clef, and an Up and Down stem Voice 1 in the bass clef. The colours have changed too;
Up-stem Voice 1 treble clef is now the same colour as Voice 1 in prefs
Down stem Voice 1 treble is Voice 5 in prefs
Up-stem Voice 1 bass clef is Voice 2 in prefs
Down-stem Voice 1 bass is Voice 3 in prefs
All the stems point the correct way for short score.

Anyhow, thanks for your help Leo. The aim was to get different colours for each up/down stem in each clef. The acid test will be to see how it explodes later on.

I don’t think the colours or the voice numbers actually make any difference to exploding.
I filled in the Sop voice first, then Tenor, then Bass, then Alto:

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Nearly tea time, it all exploded perfectly. Many thanks Leo for your kind help and advice. It’s much quicker entering notes into short score now too as no having to faff about with shift-V.