Requesting some Advice/Thoughts on how best to address orchestral score with multiple individual string parts

I was wondering if anyone had some thoughts on the best way to set this up. I’ve been in the process of re-doing an orchestral score in Dorico, previously in Finale.

At the beginning of the piece several violins have their own individual parts (four 1st violins and two 2nd violins) as well as 4 celli. At a certain point the individual string instruments join the main string section.

What this means for the parts is that these individual parts are each distinct, so aside from the violin I, violin II parts, there are individual parts for 6 individual violins and 4 celli and at a certain point their music is the same as everyone else’s.

What it means for the score is that once they join their main section, there’s no need to display their staves, so at that point I’d want to hide those staves. Now the staves aren’t empty, so I can’t use that function.

What’s the best way to do this in Dorico?

EDIT: Forgot to say, am on Dorico Pro 3

You could maybe use the divisi feature for this? If the soloists are drawn from their sections, then I think that would be the most natural way to tackle it.

If you really want separate parts to hand out to these soli players, you might use separate players, then when they join the tutti players, use the Cue function (Shift+U) to cue the tutti music into the soli part layouts. It’s easy enough to then use the Scale properties to return the cued music to regular size, and you can hide the Cue labels using the custom text property (I can’t remember exactly what it’s called off the top of my head). Your mileage may very, depending on how complex the writing is, and you may have some additional layout work to do in the soli part layouts, on the cued music - I believe that generally speaking cues can’t propagate properties from the source material.

Divisi into 4 parts for solo players is likely to give you impossible page turns in the parts, if you have all four staves in the parts.

If everybody joins together at the same point in the music you could make two separate flows, one containing the soloists as separate players (plus the string section) and the other only the string section.

Then you can make a part layout which contains “Solo Violin 1” from the first flow and “Violin 1” from the second, flow, and similarly for the other soloists.

That would force a system break at the point where the solos end, but that shouldn’t be an impossible formatting problem.

Thanks All for the replies.

Daniel, following your response I did start looking into the divisi feature, which does seem very powerful. The only thing as Rob pointed out is that it seems it would result in 5 staves on a single part, which wouldn’t be great. (unless there’s something I’m missing).

Rob: I did consider duplicating the flow and having one for the score and one for the parts, but since this effectively sparates score and parts, this would be my absolute last resort to do this.

As for the cue function, I need to look into that more.

Question: Does Dorico allow you to hide a staff or portion of a staff that isn’t empty? (has music in it)

You can exclude certain parts from the score. You could have soloist “parts” that would appear in the score but you wouldn’t print as a separate part, and those would be written up to the bar where they join the main ensemble, then they would be empty afterwards so you could hide them. Then you would have a separate actual part for the performer, which would not appear in the score. That would contain the solo part at the beginning and then the ensemble after they join. It shouldn’t be too much of a hassle to maintain since it would mostly just be a copy and paste.

Colin, I didn’t mean duplicating the flow, I mean splitting the score into two flows, the first with the soloists and the second where they join the rest of the orchestra.

Here’s a mock up. Actually it doesn’t work exactly like I was thinking, because the soloists’ parts also include the corresponding string section part, but that might be useful in real life.

If you go through it in setup mode and engrave mode you should be able to see what I’ve done.
colin broom (473 KB)

I was thinking about how I would do this in Finale and I realized the answer is probably the same for both programs. Create extra “players”, in Dorico speak, that is not included in the score layout and simply copy and paste the music from the solos up until a certain point and then the section part beyond that. In the score you’d have your soloist staves set to hide when empty of course. You would have to create these parts last though because they effectively won’t be linked to anything. In other words if you make changes later on in the section parts they won’t make their way into those special layouts. This is more or less how I would do this in Finale too with an extra linked part that’s hidden in the score.

Ah right, I see what you mean. I hadn’t thought of having separate flows that “flow” into each other as if they are one single movement. I’ll look into this, as that seems a strong contender for the best solution.

How I did it in Finale (which the score was originally in) was create all of the solo instruments then just hide them in the score when not needed.

It’s not the solution to every problem - for example you won’t automatically get cautionary key and time signature changes between flows. But it’s another tool in the toolbox.