Switched to Dorico | First doubts


I recently switched from Sibelius to Dorico, I’m still getting to know Dorico but already came across with two limitations (I don’t know if they are limitations or it’s just me that doesn’t know how to achieve what I want).

In Sibelius, I could have two instruments of the same category sharing the same staff (i.e. 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 French Horns, etc) and write each one in separate voices. I just can’t find this option In Dorico, what I can find is the Condensing feature that allows us to group the instruments but doesn’t allow to write in that mode.
Having just one instrument per staff makes it difficult to read and have a clear idea of the entire score, especially in large orchestral pieces (working on a piece with woodwinds in 4, Brass in 6,4,4,1, two harps, piano, perc, strings, is a pain to be constantly scrolling vertically).
Is this a limitation with Dorico or am I missing something?

I also find a little strange the way Dorico handles an instrument change. I have to create another player (for instance, Picc. to Flute 2) but that second instrument is not visible in the Page mode. In order to add notes to the second instrument, I need to choose the Galley view. Is this right?
Regarding the instrument change text (or any staff text), is not possible to edit the text? Instead of having the English text “To Picc.” if I would like to have “muta in Picc.” what should I do?


You can definitely write two voices in one staff (or as many voices as you wish!). When you’re in Note Input, press Shift-V to create a new downstem voice.

That’s correct that you need to switch to Galley view to see the instrument changes. That is by design. Page View automatically hides the unused staves for you.

To edit the text of the instrument change label, select it and switch to Engrave mode, and edit it via the Properties Panel at the bottom.

Check Layout Options->Players->Instrument change


  1. There’s certainly a difference between the way that Dorico handles Condensing and the way that Sibelius does, in that Sibelius can’t really automate good results in these circumstances at all - you’re always going to have to split the condensed stave out to two separate staves for the players’ parts, and if you then make changes you have to make them in two separate staves. Dorico’s developers thought long and hard about how best to achieve Condensing, and decided that it really isn’t possible to start with a single condensed stave and then automatically split out to separate part staves, with no ambiguity ever. This is why you have to write into two separate staves and then let Dorico do the condensing. As Dan’s already said, you can start with two voices on one stave, but it’s then your job to split out the voices to two staves (and Dorico can Filter Voices, or Select More, or Explode, which can speed this process up).

  2. Alt-N moves selected material to the stave above, and Alt-M moves selected material to the stave below. As long as you know that the Flute 2 player also holds a Piccolo instrument (yes, that’s one player holding two instruments, not two players), you can write into Flute 2’s stave in Page view, select the material and then type either Alt-N or Alt-M (depending on whether the player has the Piccolo above the Flute or the Flute above the Piccolo). If the stave is hidden, Dorico will automatically show or change to it. As such, you don’t need to be in Galley view for this.

As Leo said, you can’t write in Page view with Condensing turned on, you have to write in Galley or turn off condensing. From this page in the manual:
“In order to ensure unambiguous results when condensing is enabled, in Dorico Pro you must input the music for each player separately. Unlike inputting music onto condensed staves and then exploding them as separate instrumental parts, this method ensures that Dorico Pro always understands exactly how you want the music to be divided and therefore allows Dorico Pro to condense even complicated music.”

You are correct that you can only view one instrument per staff while writing in Galley. This can indeed get very cumbersome. I too would like a feature like Finale’s Staff Sets so the user can specify the staves being shown, but Dorico doesn’t have anything like this yet.

For instrument changes, you add another instrument to that player, not create another player. You can easily change the text in the Properties panel in Engrave as Dan pointed out, or specify a more global change to the prefix in Layout Options/Players/Instrument Changes.

If you want to see all staves when working, you can disallow instrument changes in the full score - this shows all staves held by all players. You can always re-enable instrument changes later once you get to the engraving stage.

Thank you Dan and Jesper for your quick replies.

Yes, I can write two voices in one staff but how can I have , for instance, Flute 1 and 2 in the same staff in Write mode?
In Setup mode, when I add an instrument Dorico creates a staff dedicated to that instrument. If I have Flute 1 in my score and add a 2nd Flute, Dorico adds a staff to Flute 2. What I was asking initially is if it’s possible to have two players in one staff.

No, not in Galley. If you want to keep them in one staff while writing to save screen space, you can do it with voices on one staff, then once you are done writing add the additional instrument, filter by voice and move it to the new staff using the shortcuts Leo described above. Dorico will then combine the staves in Page view if you have Condensing turned on.

You can use two Voices for Flute 1 and 2, as already mentioned here, and rename the staff accordingly, if you don’t mind distributing a single “Flute 1-2” part to both players, and leaving it to them to play only their own line.