String writing: div. AND pizz. at the same time

I’m engraving a string orchestra score, and am running into repeated scenarios in which I need BOTH div. and pizz. at the same moment. I’m wondering how more experienced Dorico engravers are tackling this.

Pizz is obviously an articulation and easily added via the articulation panel. Div is not really an articulation, though I did add a custom “div.” articulation, but then I find that a note can only have one or the other.

I could create a custom articulation called “div. pizz.” I suppose. It is at this juncture that I wonder what other engravers are doing, and if there’s a better way of solving this issue.

I would add the div. as text unless the divisi feature covers this automatically. I can’t remember if it will sorry but I assume so?!

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Pizz. is not an articulation, it’s a playing technique. But maybe you use Dorico in another language, and the translation is vague?
If this divisi passage won’t need splitting onto 2 staves, just write the double stops and add ‘div.’ as text.

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What’s the fundamental difference? I play cello and I was taught that pizzicato is an articulation just the same way something like spiccato might be. I think for most musicians an articulation merely refers to how an instrument is played. (FWIW I’m not the OP and I’m a Native English speaker, just curious what you mean by the distinction).

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I’m not a native English speaker (but I am a fellow cellist, hi!), but I use Dorico in English (as it’s not available in Dutch). At least in Dorico lingo, pizzicato is considered a playing technique, entered via shift-P. I didn’t know that, in English, it’s sometimes called an articulation.

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Dorico thinks of both spiccato and pizzicato as Playing Techniques. Articulations are symbols such as accents, staccato, tenuto. These are found in the left panel. Anything textual or instrument-specific (or instrument-family-specific) is a Playing Technique - these are found in the right panel.

In answer to the original poster:
If you need to be able to show multiple staves in the part but condense to a single stave in the part, use Dorico’s divisi functionality and then use condensing in the score.
If you’re going to use a single staff in both the score and the parts, you don’t need anything more complicated than “div.” as a custom Playing Technique.

Set up “div.” as a custom Playing Technique, then input that on the page. In order to show both “pizz.” and “div.” on the page, one above the other, you need to input one of them, then either show the caret (type Shift-N) or select the note and input the other one. If the only thing selected when you input the second playing technique is the first playing technique, the first playing technique will be replaced by the second playing technique.

Thank you for all these replies. I think there might have been a bit of minor confusion since Dorico thinks “articulations” and “playing techniques” are two different things, while most orchestral players see them as the same thing. So we’re arguing over nomenclature, not actual features/implementation.

@pianoleo, as the most authoritative response, I’d like to ask you: are there pros/cons to making “div.” a playing technique as opposed to staff text? Any reason to use one or the other?

I think I was confused earlier because I did try and add div. and pizz. (both playing techniques) and one replaced the other. But according to what you’re saying, this shouldn’t happen if I have the note selected (as opposed to having the first playing technique selected). I just tried it and it appears to work as you said - so I think I’m good - as long as I’m not misunderstanding something further.

Also, one last question related to div.: if I write two notes in a stave, and put “div.” above it, is it necessary to put the two notes into separate voices? Does it confuse the player to have two notes both in the up-stem voice with “div.” above it? Or, from a perfectionist standpoint, is it preferred to put the lower note into a down-stem voice?

The obvious pro is that if you have it as a Playing Technique it’ll stack nicely with other Playing Techniques (and if you later choose to adjust the size or font for Playing Techniques it’ll adapt along with the others). I can’t really think of a pro of using Staff Text for this, except it’s quicker if you haven’t already setup a custom “div.” Playing Technique.

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Very helpful. OK, I’m going to go back through my score (I’ve been working on this project for months) and make sure all the div’s are playing techniques, so that it can all be standardized.

I’m not doubting the truth of this in your experience, but I can say that in my own experience (orchestrating, and teaching orchestration, including dealing with instrumentalists) players make the same distinction Dorico does.


Articulation used to mean shaping the note by changing its attack and duration. So - staccato, marcato. Playing technique used to mean the method of sound generation - plucking, bowing, etc.

In the world of sample libraries, everything is an articulation, of course (deeply sampled :laughing:).

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Ah ok, I actually never knew that. TIL something new. Thanks :slight_smile:

The other downside of Shift-X text is the excessive vertical space that it automatically adds in unnecessary situations, definitely larger than for playing techniques. This can cause vertical spacing between staves to be expanded in situations where it is completely unnecessary.

You can toggle Avoid Collisions on staff text.