Violin sub bracket

I’m sure there is an easy way to do this but I am missing it. I want to use sub brackets in strings as I have a considerable amount of divisi. What I don’t want is Vln I and II sub-bracketed together (which is, IMHO, wrong). If I try to add a bracket change all of the bracketing disappears. What’s the proper way to do this?


I may be having a bad case of the Monday mornings, in which case somebody will correct me, but I don’t think Dorico provides an option to show separate secondary brackets for violin 1 and 2 at present. This is something that we have on our backlog for future implementation, as I agree it should be an option that is easily achievable.

For the time being, you’ll need to use a bracket and barline change. You shouldn’t find that existing brackets and barlines disappear when you add a secondary bracket, however.

there should be a single bracket for the entire string section.
then a single bracket for 1st and 2nd violins. this is not “wrong” in any way, shape, or form. It’s absolutely standard.

Then, if either 1st or 2nd or both violins (and any of the other sections) divide, they sub-sub bracket within their group, using a thin square bracket.

I’ve attached an image of just about the most standard way of doing this.


thanks for the reply @dspreadbury . Reopening the file helped - though adding the bracket change inexplicably unbracketed my piano! If I can repeat that I will follow up with some more info but for now everything is as planned. Thanks!

@Michel_Edward Thanks for the info. I’m not sure I would consider that standard. No publisher I work for wants it that way (nor does Elaine Gould, incidentally) but I can definitely see the reasoning for doing it. It would just be nice to have an easily set preference to match one’s desired approach.

violin 1 and 2 are always bracketed together. I don’t have a single orchestral score in my library that isn’t engraved that way (Except for a few hand-written published scores, and even there the bracketing is rather haphazard, being included on some pages but not others.)

I’m looking at my score of Firebird, and it’s bracketed exactly like my example above: square bracket for 1st and 2nd violins, square sub-bracket for subsequent divisis.

While I admire much of the work Gould has done in her book and do consider it a “Reference” book, she does make a few questionable statements about engraving here and there. So I would be loathe to use her as the absolute arbiter of correct notation.

@dspreadbury here is a quick screen capture to show what I mean. I am trying to add a sub bracket to divisi 1st violins and it causes all of the bracketing to go haywire. I am not at liberty to post the file on the public internet but can gladly send it to you if you are kind enough to take a look. Thanks either way!

I’d be very happy to take a look. Please feel free to send me the project via a private message and be sure to let me know where in the project the problem occurs.

I was having similar issues with uncooperative sub-brackets for divisi strings. I found that if I selected the notes in the 2nd measure over, instead of the first as you would normally do, it suddenly worked properly.

Dorico 5 has improved this - (layout options> brackets and braces> sub-brackets for adjacent violin players)
Just posting incase anyone else like me finds this post before finding the solution