Setting up condensed orchestral template question

I bought the orchestral score by the composer Bruce Broughton from the movie True Woman. The score is hand written and uses a condensed score approach which is great when composing.
I would like to engrave the score in Dorico to get more insight in the orchestration and, well, just for the fun of it :slight_smile: However, it uses different instruments on a single staff, like for example the flutes and oboes are on a single staff with flutes stems up and oboes stems down. There is no way to get these instruments sounds as flutes and oboes when notating this way of course, but is there maybe a work around to get a correct playback and also still an engraved score that follows the way it was written? Here is the score setup:

The idiosyncrasy is darling, I do concede that, but it’s more a shortcut – to reduce the amount of work involved in handwriting, as well as the “distance” between brain and paper – than anything. Final materials would not look like the composer’s manuscript; this kind of thing is evened out. As you recognized, there is – as of now – no way to route different voices to different endpoints, so you can’t have different instruments in playback unless you create an alternative, “conventional” layout just for playback.

Even when Dorico provides automatic condensing, it won’t condense music for dissimilar instruments – it will happily condense e.g. two flutes or two oboes, but you won’t be able to condense flutes and oboes onto the same staff.

Especially in music for youth wind bands you find low instruments like bassoon, bass clarinet, and baritone saxophon being combined into “Low Woods”, since they most commonly play the same bass line.
And in those pieces you often see Flute and Obote combined, and maybe Euphonium and Tuba as well.

So there really is a use case for this.

There are certainly a couple of exceptional cases in orchestral music – tuba and trombone being the obvious one – and of course in choral music you will often find sopranos and altos or tenors and basses sharing a staff, and we will accommodate those cases. But we don’t anticipate supporting every arbitrary combination of instruments for condensing.

When different voices can have different MIDI/instrument assignments, users should be able to “fake”/work-around this problem when absolutely necessary.

Will support for typical classical combinations be supported? Wasn’t unusual in 18th century works for Cello/Bass to play off the same part, often tripled with Bassoon.

I wonder, is this a question about condensing or is it about naming parts? :wink:
It sounds to me as if there is one part (maybe in different transpositions or clefs) many different players play from.

You will be able to force cello and double bass to share a staff if you wish, but the music will end up written in octaves (because, of course, double bass sounds an octave lower than cello), which may not be what you want. As Estigy suggests, you can already produce this result easily enough by having the cello or bass instrument named appropriately in the score layout, and then have copies of that line for the other two parts when it comes to make the part layouts. (In future we also plan to make it possible to have a new layout that uses an existing instrument but changes its transposition, too, which will help with cases like needing parts in different transpositions for wind/concert band brass parts.)

How about condensing a few instruments into a piano grand staff? So if you change one, it changes both?

No, there will be no condensing of multiple instruments onto a grand staff instrument like a piano. To produce a playable reduction, you can’t simply just force the material from a bunch of instruments onto two staves.

Bruce Broughton is fantastic - check out his score for Silverado, an absolutely classic (score published by Omni Publishing) - but the setup of his sketches is very idiosyncratic, and was developed way back when there were no computer programs. He’d just write it all out on paper, and give it to the copyists. See this video:

https://youtu.be/GUiGtbA2jdw

at 8:20 he goes into how he sets up his sketches, the organization of instruments.

If you are picking apart his score, my suggestion would be to follow the current convention for film music which tracks that of the traditional setup, ww - brass - percussion - strings. Transcribe what Bruce did in his sketches, into a modern day program.

Bruce Broughton is fantastic - check out his score for Silverado, an absolutely classic (score published by Omni Publishing) - but the setup of his sketches is very idiosyncratic, and was developed way back when there were no computer programs. He’d just write it all out on paper, and give it to the copyists. See this video:

https://youtu.be/GUiGtbA2jdw

at 8:20 he goes into how he sets up his sketches, the organization of instruments.

If you are picking apart his score, my suggestion would be to follow the current convention for film music which tracks that of the traditional setup, ww - brass - percussion - strings. Transcribe what Bruce did in his sketches, into a modern day program.

I saw this movie when I bought the score, I believe it was included in the purchase or as a link on their web site. V very interesting to watch it.

And great idea to indeed transcribe his score into a modern one, that is actually a better way to learn about the score than to literarily copy it.

thanks!

Today I wanted to do exactly that again. I’m writing contrapuntal music that can work with single player instruments, but am making sure it fits in a pianist’s hands. I wonder if others do piano reductions like this? I’ve done it a bunch of times, but maybe it’s just my weird music!

I tried cues, but Dorico will only copy one instrument’s cue at a time. Maybe there’s another trick to have music automatically show up on a grand staff?

I would suggest you try Edit > Paste Special > Reduce, though you’ll still need to take care of cleaning it up and removing notes that are outside the span of the player’s hands.

Thanks Daniel, I tried Reduce, which works fine. Only problem is the notes are not linked, so if I change the oboe, it doesn’t also change on the piano. Anyway, this is probably not a critical issue for Dorico as it’s not common enough.

A dynamically-linked intelligently-produced piano reduction would be a great feature, but very difficult to build.