Staves for music box compositions?

Hi, newbie user here.

I like music boxes and was wondering if I can design staves for music box compositions in Dorico. This should be a variable number of lines (depending on the size of the music box). Notes are not necessarily sequential since chromatics and some base notes are usually omitted from the music box. See the example picture.

I was thinking about adding several staves together and attributing different notes to the various lines. Is something like that possible?

Welcome to the forum @Mark1974!

I’m not sure how to help you but it looks really cool!

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What you really need is to print a midi roll. Those punch cards are identical in concept to the midi roll. Dorico can’t print that. There probably is a program somewhere that can.

Ultimately, you could just use a single stave and go to town with ledger lines, or use a custom stave that has, say, 30 lines on it. It would be useless to a human, but dorico could do both.

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Here is a Dorico project demonstrating the pitches on a 30 note music box:
30 Note Music Box Demo.dorico (615.9 KB)

I started with six single players, each holding the instrument Roto-toms. Each instance of the Roto-toms was assigned a different percussion map to associate the staff lines with the different pitches. The playback sounds in HALion were changed to [GM 011]Music Box. The notes are all quarter notes with their stems hidden. While preparing this demo, I learned that written E1 equals concert A4.


@johnkprice Thank you so much for your help and ingenuity. @Romanos thank you as well for your helpful suggestions.

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I imagine that this could ultimately be done within one single percussion kit, making the vertical spacing overrides unnecessary. Or am I missing something?

Yes, but the percussion kit would need 30 different instruments in it.

Here is a Dorico project playing Silent Night on a 30 note music box:
Music Box Silent Night.dorico (1.2 MB)

As @Alexander_Ploetz suggested, this project uses a single percussion kit for the music box. The notation mimics the appearance of a paper strip with holes punched in it:


By significantly overfilling each system, I was able to move each notehead onto the following barline while maintaining a consistent measure width.


Not nearly as much fun as cutting paper and punching holes, but it the end result is going to be recording, there are many VST instruments.

For example:

The WavesFactory one comes complete with rotating Ballerina.

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It’s such a pity that there are so many free VST’s that are locked into the Kontakt system. I’m sure it’s lovely, but it is frustrating when you find something that is great, but is kontakt only, alas. (Not your fault, just commenting in general.)

That’s because it is a very very good sampler. Unfortunately somewhat expensive.

That was my issue. I once found a nice VST that I really liked that cost $150, but then I discovered it was only compatible with the full version of Kontakt which itself cost $300. (It specified that it was not compatible with the free Kontakt player.) I ended up with neither because I couldn’t justify the extra $300 for that project. And I know, once I have it, I’ll have it and can use other things… etc. etc. But it’s an awful big ask to pay $300 just for the platform to host your sounds. Then again, I’m sure the sample devs. were happy to make it compatible with a ubiquitous sampler that is wildly popular, which is understandable. I’m just the grumpy neighbor seeing the green grass on the other side… (lol) I’ll stop harping about this now; it’s OT. (my apologies)

Apparently the full Kontakt is offered on sale from time to time.