Staff labels' adaptability

(Please forgive me for bringing up this topic again. But after finishing a project I really wonder if there is no solution to my needs.)

The following screenshot shows a score-excerpt where I need the correct staff labeling for an upcoming instrument entrance after a switch from an alternative instrument (piccolo → flute). In order to achieve this I entered a manual chord region in the bars after the page break.

The problem is that this causes a multibar-rest break in the part layouts. In order to avoid this I had to create a 2nd document without chord regions as a source for the parts only.

Is there a better way to handle this within a single document for score and parts?

The following Layout options are set:

“Allow instrument changes”
Instrument transition position: “before 1st note in new instrument”

Changing the latter to “after last note in old instrument” solves the label issue, but causes other troubles such as an all too early appearence of clef changes in the midst of empty bars or of new percussion’s (empty) staves before a page break.

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I’m afraid there’s no automatic option for this at the moment, but I agree it’s something that Dorico should be able to do. You should be able to specify that the staff label at the start of the system should reflect whichever instrument held by the player is the first to actually play on that system. This is on our backlog for future implementation.


I am very glad of this feedback and looking forward to this improvement. For the moment I can live with separate documents for score and parts. Thank you for your support!

If Dorico becomes smart enough to know what instrument is playing first on a system, any chance it could also know what instrument is playing first on a page? For doublers in jazz and musical theater, it’s really common to show both the player name and the instrument that begins the page in the header:

The obvious advantage to this is that when the conductor says “let’s try it from bar 368,” the player doesn’t have to scan through the entire piece up until that point to see what instrument they are playing. They only need to look at the top of that page and scan forward to the entry. I always just change these manually, but a token to automate it would be amazing!


Isn’t the option “Show player names instead of instruments” what you are looking for?

No, Todd wants something that will adapt to which instrument is first playing on each page, which isn’t possible at the moment. But it’s an interesting idea, and we’ll think about how we might do it.


No, because it needs to be smart enough to update. If the Reed 1 player is playing Flute at the start of page 2, then on page 2 switches to Alto Sax., and is still playing Alto on page 3, then in the part I’ll have the page 2 header be “Reed 1 (Flute)” and the page 3 header be “Reed 1 (Alto Sax.)” This way the player knows what instrument to play without having to search for instructions further back than the current page.

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Well, I thought you would name the header “Reed 1 (Flute, Alto-Sax)”.

I was referring to staff labels. You obviously wish a header-automatism. Those are two different issues, aren’t they?

Yes, they are two different issues. If Dorico could become aware enough to recognize the instrument being played at the beginning of the system to fix the label for your request (which I agree with), I was curious if it could also be aware enough to know the instrument at the beginning of the page.

This is unhelpful, as then there’s no way to know what instrument is to be played on that page at a rehearsal. Unless playing chronologically straight through a piece, the player will need to search backwards, often through several pages, until they find an instrument change, just to know what instrument they are supposed to be playing. I always edit the header to show the instrument at the start of the page. That way the player only needs to scan the current page for any instrument changes.

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OK, couldn’t you display the player on the left side/in front of the staves as in the parts? (This is what I addressed).

Parts don’t show the instrument in the margin to the left of the staff as it’s generally unnecessary and eats up too much horizontal space. Simply stating the instrument at the beginning is enough if there are no instrument changes, or stating at the top of each page when there are instrument changes is preferrable. Having “Reed 1” in the header with no instrument information at all is helpful for the librarian, but not for the player.