Voice separation in Dorico is a bit unclear

Hello Dorico team,
I have a request for small improvement in the voice separation area.
In Dorico the voice parts are named: Up-stem Voice 1, Down-stem Voice 1, Up-stem Voice 2, Down-stem Voice 2 etc…
This is not very theoretically correct.
There are two common ways in the theory - by names S.A.T.B., and by numbers 1, 2, 3, 4…
Down-stem Voice 1 actually should be Voice 2, Up-stem Voice 2 = Voice 3 and Down-stem Voice 2 = Voice 4, etc…

Would be nice if we are able to have this Voice numbering way with option to increase, or decrease the number of
voices per instrument, staff, track and per project! :slight_smile:

Probably there are people who are fine with the current Voice separation, but personally I prefer to have
at least an Option in the Preferences to switch to the more correct numbering method. :slight_smile:

I hope you’ll think about to make this improvement!

Thank you in advance! :slight_smile:

Best regards,

I disagree. Often I have only two upstem voices in a staff, and no downstem voices. Should those really be Voice 1 and Voice 3?

The point is that the current names actually convey meaning, not necessarily sequential order. Upstem and downstem voices behave differently.

It’s not my call, of course, but I don’t see this changing.

How on earth does SATB relate to multiple voices on e.g. a single organ stave? What makes Voices 1-4 more “theoretically correct” than Dorico’s current system?

We don’t intend to make any changes to the way we name or number voices in Dorico, but we thank you for your feedback.

Thank you, Daniel.

I don’t see any value in this idea either, but if Dorico was going to change, I propose the Lilypond method of letting the user assign arbitrary names to voices, not some fixed numbering system left over from the last century in Sibelius or Finale.

Then, if you wanted to create a complicated playback configuration for different voices on a staff, you could give them meaningful names.

Hello Dan,
You could have more than one notes assigned to a single voice, of course! :slight_smile:
But in case you would like to dedicate every note to separate voice, then the method I suggest is the best
and it’s used in the theory books in all schools…
Actually I’ve never seen the current Dorico method in any book, nor in English, nor in Russian, or Bulgarian…
Voices 1 and 3 are up-stem and Voices 2 and 4 are down-stem… but what if you have more voices?! Then the stems may change their direction…
You may decide to combine two voices into single stem direction depending on their rhythm… then the Voice number will be the only correct identification.

Probably I wasn’t enough clear, and you didn’t understand my point here. :slight_smile:

Best regards,

Dear colleagues,
Here is a possible scenario when we have two voices assigned to a single stem direction. Check the screenshot (unfortunately I haven’t found a way
to put the notehead of on the right of the stem in Voice 2

I such cases, which aren’t uncommon, the Down-stem Voice 1 will be actually Voice 3, not Voice 2. If we also decide Voices 5 and 6 to be Up-stem?! When you have to map them to different channels and different sounds in the Play Mode… the Big Mess comes, because the Naming scheme doesn’t correspond to the actual situation on the score sheet.

The voice naming should always correspond to what is written on score sheet, which means the stems to be excluded and Voice numbering to be adopted! :slight_smile:

Best regards,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:

Thurisaz, I really think you’re missing the point all together. Dorico doesn’t force any voice into any structure. All it does is tell you whether it’s up or down, and how many there may be. This system is perfectly flexible and can work in any scenario you throw at it. I have a feeling this is a vestige of old working habits from Sibelius (and every other scoring program for that matter).

I love the dorico way and found it an immediate revelation compared to the old way. It’s so flexible (I’m an organist; I’m sure I stretch this feature more than most). I absolutely fail to see how forcing us to think in terms of satb would be an improvement. I also fail to see how turning downstem 1 into voice 3 is a good idea just because it’s downstem. In your example it’s still voice 3, it just changes stem direction because of context. It doesn’t change voice. There’s a difference between manually changing stem direction and actually changing voice. I think you just need to soak in the Dorico air a little more and then it will feel perfectly comfortable.

I’ll add that you may need certain voices at different times especially when voices cross staves in keyboards; there’s no sense forcing a 3rd or 4th voice to be called “voice 5” (or whatever you like) when it might simply be the second downstem voice on that particular stave. Voices also come in and out of existence (fugues). How do you handle strict voicing then? What happens when your voice 3 drops out for 15 measures? If you look at the score there may still be be 3 voices in the fugue but “voice 3” is silent. All these peculiarities are why the dorico way is more practical. It doesn’t matter to dorico —strictly speaking— which voice is chosen to enter each line, as long as it follows the general stem direction preferences.

Hello Romanos401,
I accept your point of view… Of course for the purposes of fugue we are not going to change the stem directions. They are vital in this situation.
Let me show you some educational examples from the “Principles Of Orchestration”, by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov:

Example 1.

In this case the stems are not of vital importance. Here the voices are important. In order to create such educational example you should
be able to combine voices under single stem direction. But to create playback, you have to map every voice to it’s own channel and instrument.
This could be a whole orchestral Tutti example reduced to piano staff.

Example 2.

Here even we don’t have stems… Again the voices are important in order to map every note to separate channel and sound. Please, have in mind the use of serious libraries like Orchestral Tools - Berlin, Spitfire Audio… not NotePerformer, nor HSO.
The traditional Voice Numbering(with option to have as much voices as we need) is the only useful way to do the things correctly faster and without headache…

Functions that are not able to match any situation on the score can’t be called flexible. Sorry! :slight_smile: The voice numbering exists for centuries and it’s still the ultimate method, and there is a reason! :slight_smile:
I hope now my point is more clear! :slight_smile:

Best regards,

I think we all understood you clearly from the start.

I guess you haven’t discovered “condensing” yet.

Your example of wanting lots of voices on one staff just for playback purposes isn’t how Dorico handles this - but you can do it that way in Play mode if you really want to.

Rob hello,
In such situations, as shown on the examples (especially the first one), condensing probably won’t help. To reduce whole orchestral piece to
piano staff. :slight_smile:
Thank you for the reply! :slight_smile:

Best regards,

Neat idea!

I was very confused with the voice system in Dorico when starting to use Dorico because I had been accustomed to Finale.

After having finished more than 20 projects in Dorico, I am sure the voice system in Dorico is very practical for music engraving. Distinguishing up-voices and down-voices is tiptop feature!

Naming voice using numbers is reasonable.
Thinking S-A-T-B as a more correct system would be accepted only for some restricted circumstances.

Thurisaz, let’s say you have a piano reduction of an orchestral score and you want independent voice playback. Let’s then say you want the flute line to cross the oboe line, and the clarinet to cross the bassoon line, and the cello line to cross the first violin line. Your idea of dynamically reordering voices immediately falls down, because what started off as Voice 1 (Flute) is now Voice 2, what was Voice 3 (Clarinet) is now Voice 4, and what was Voice I dunno, 20? (Cello) is now Voice 16.

The same goes for a fugue, or choral music, or for that matter pretty much any keyboard music where there are passing notes or passing voices - it’s quite normal for notes in one voice to cross the notes in another voice.

We all understood you perfectly; you just haven’t explained how it’s an improvement in general.

The other thing is that most of Dorico’s development team formerly worked for Sibelius, which uses Voices 1-4 as you’ve described in the OP. Do you really think they would have implemented a new voice numbering system without thinking long and hard about it?

Leo hello,
Thank you for the reply! :slight_smile:
When it comes to Voice crossing, I have very positive experience with Overture 5 in this area. You can freely assign whichever note you would like, to whichever Voice, also you can freely assign notes from single voice to different channels (to rout them to different sounds). So, no problem to create
complex Voice crossing lines as explained by you. If need to additionally mark the these crossings by different stem directions, you can do it.
The orchestral chords in Example 1 are not prepared for piano performance. And we also can use colors to indicate lines.
So, Voice 1 (Flute) will always be Voice 1 no matter if it happens to move below Voice 2 (Oboe). If the Cello is set to Voice 16, doesn’t matter if it goes above Voice 15 (Viola), it will always be Voice 16.
When I first tried to work with voices in Dorico at the very beginning I had difficulties with the sample libraries assignment, something that I’ve never experienced with Overture 5 (because the it works with Voice numbering systems, more than 4).
So, if you have whole notes, or longer there is no stems, in examples like these from the “Principles of Orchestration”, multiple Voices may share the same stem direction… then the current Dorico naming system is useless because doesn’t correspond to real situation on the score sheet and assignment of libraries becomes a headache.

Best regards,

This just reads like another Overture 5 advert. If you want Overture 5’s behaviour, use Overture 5.

If you can’t figure out what voice you’re in, turn on Note Colors and pay attention to what the status bar tells you.

Nope, I’m not advertising Overture! Just giving it as well working example in this area and uses the most common Voice naming method around the World.
Yes, I’m always activating the colors when using the Voices, otherwise no way to understand what actually happens. :slight_smile:

Best regards,