Suggestion for new instrument

I’m writing for nyckelharpa, and think it would be great if Dorico added the instrument to its list of string “players.” There are several different types, but the one most commonly used in Sweden is the three-rowed chromatic. New ones are being built in violin and viola tuning/range; for those one can use the violin or viola “player” but it’d be nice to have the traditional harpa as an option.

You have to buy a vst-instrument, I think.
Nyckelharpas | Soniccouture

At present there is no way to create new instruments in Dorico (search the forum and see the earlier debates on the topic).
If you want to write a score for nyckelharpa, just use a violin/viola and rename it.

Yeah, thanks, Janus, that’s what I’m doing…I’m just a little lazy and would like to use the “notes outa range” feature so I don’t get myself in trouble.

Jon, I don’t care much about playback, so that’s not a concern.

I’ve not tried it myself, but I understand you can repurpose another instrument and set its range by editing the instruments.xml file. Search the forum.

A suggestion here. It would be very helpful to Daniel if you would supply this information. Otherwise, Daniel has to research the instrument and make guesses as to what the ranges should be. Actually you should supply all the relevant information for the instrument…

  • Full name
  • Abbreviated Name
  • Number of staves
  • Clef(s)
  • Transposition
  • Standard Range
  • Advanced Range
  • Desired sound patch

If you don’t mind a little hacking, you can take an instrument you aren’t likely to ever use and edit the range in your instruments.xml file. Definitely back up the file first, and be prepared for the file to be written over with any update, so then back up your edited file too.

After you’ve picked an unneeded instrument, just enter whatever range you want:

If you’re up for a bit more hacking, you can completely create a new custom instrument too. You’ll need to edit not only instruments.xml but also instrumentFamiliesDefinitions.xml and instrumentnames_en.xml. Back all of them up first so you can revert if you get some syntax wrong and Dorico won’t start! For example, I’ve added a bunch of percussion instruments, 0-line and 1-line non-percussion staves, etc to mine.


I can be done, it’s just a bit of a pain. There are walkthroughs on how to do this on the forum if you search for them.

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Thanks, I will do that, Craig.