Split windows and condensing

Today I realized it’s possible to work with split windows, complete oversight on my part.

And that got me thinking: is it possible to have a different layout of the score in one of the windows that basically condenses instrument families? Something like all woodwinds, all strings, and all brass. As a composition aid basically.

I did some initial attempts with condensing groups but wasn’t able to make the condensing work in such a way.

I generally use two full score layouts for orchestral work. One I call my Working Score, and it is in concert pitch and not condensed. The second is a Conductor’s Score, transposed and condensed. I find this very helpful.

It is possible that you could use split windows to view both on one screen once you set up the two layouts. The ability to create multiple layouts for all sorts of things, including temporary layouts for testing or viewing just a few instruments together, is one of Dorico’s most powerful features.


Thanks a lot for the answer Derrek,

Is it possible to condense whole instrument families? As in all of the brass together? Instead of just condensing 4 horns into horns a4, etc.

You can create condensing groups… It’s up to you what you put there! (Layout options > Players > condensing)


Apparently it is possible, but since condensing automatically splits out parts based on crossing and diverse rhythms, it may or may not give you what you are looking for. Here I have put all brass instruments into a single condensing group (but only for proof-of-concept).

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Thanks again Derrek and Marc. Yes, I see, I wonder why it doesn’t condense all horns and trumpets together since they share the same rhythm. I’ll have to explore condensing more.

They would need to share everything: dynamics, slurs, playing techniques… And be careful with voice crossings, etc… Yes, this needs to be carefully studied with the manual, because it’s really complex.
What you would really use in such case is brass-sketching staves. I have never seen such condensing on a real-life score.

Yes, I use the sketches staves at the beginning of the composition, but sometimes as I start orchestrating I feel it’d be awesome to see condensed versions to navigate the composition in case I add more stuff.

Yes, I’ve never seen anything like that on a real-life score either, I think of it more as a composition tool.

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Chances are the Horns diverged somewhere after what is shown on the screen, and that could dictate separate staves for them. (I have to admit I would never use this extensive a condensing model as I end up not knowing who plays what.)

Yes, I think I’ll stick to reducing to piano staves when needed in order to check voice leading and so on.

Thanks, everyone for the replies.