Working with Percussion Kits

I’m currently working on my very first score in Dorico Pro 3 (a loud hurrah from Daniel??). Having trawled through several threads, I have a few newbie queries on percussion kits.

  1. I have two percussion players, each of whom play one pitched percussion instrument and four unpitched percussion instruments. I’ve combined the two groups of four unpitched instruments into two percussion kits using four line grids. This works especially well in the individual parts as the change from pitched to unpitched is made clearer by the parallel switch from a five line staff to a four line grid.

  2. In Write mode and Galley View, the individual names of the unpitched instruments appear on the left of the four-line grid in Full Score. However, their names do not appear in Page View, either in Full Score or in the individual part. How do I rectify this?

  3. I did think one solution might be to use a five-line stave instead of a four-line grid as I see there is a percussion legend function which is available with five line staffs but apparently not with grids. I have tried changing the two percussion kits from a grid layout to a five line staff using the Edit Percussion Kit window. Despite both kits displaying on four line grids, their Edit Percussion Kit windows have the five-line staff button selected. I’ve tried clicking on the four-line grid button in each case and back to the five line staff to force the change but the Apply button is unresponsive and it appears the kits are locked into a four line grid despite the five line staff button being selected for both. Is this a bug?

  4. Besides the absence of unpitched instrument names at the start of the full score and the parts, no information thereafter is provided on which particular unpitched instrument is to be played. The only text directions generated in the Full Score and the parts are “To Perc. I” and “To Perc. II”, the names I’ve given to the two percussion kits. While it should be possible for the performer to remember which instrument corresponds to each of the four lines in the grid, I prefer the belt-and-braces option of text indicating which instrument is to be played at any given time. If I understand Daniel’s reply to another thread on percussion, the only way to do this is to manually input text at the appropriate places. Is that correct?

I must close by saying that so far any frustration in learning Dorico is outweighed by the end result! Thanks, Daniel & Co.! :slight_smile:

If you want to view the names in blue at the left-hand side of the screen, as in galley view, then choose View > Bar Numbers > Page View. If you mean that you want the names to appear in the margin at the left-hand side of every system, see the options on the Staves and Systems page of Layout Options. The Edit Percussion KIt dialog doesn’t determine whether a percussion kit shows in a given layout as a grid, five-line staff or set of individual instruments: that choice is made on the Players page of Layout Options. If you do choose to use a five-line staff then you can use automatic percussion legends where you want to identify specific entries etc., but if you stick with the grid, I’d suggest labelling the start of each system with short, abbreviated names, or failing that to add text as needed via Shift+X.

Daniel, many thanks - I’ve now got the individual names of the unpitched instruments showing both in the full score and in the parts. I’m still puzzled why the Edit Percussion Kit dialogue displays an apparent choice between five-line staff and a grid when that choice is made on the Players page (which is where I made the choice). As the buttons for five-line staff and grid have no effect in the Edit Percussion Kit window, this seems a potential source of confusion, or have I missed something?

Have a great Sunday!

It’s sometimes desirable to be able to show different percussion representations in the score and part layouts.

Layout Options is layout-independent - it allows you to make different choices for different layouts - whereas the Edit Percussion Kit dialog is player-independent.

Thanks for coming back, pianoleo. I’ll confess that I’m still getting my head around such distinctions. As the buttons for five-line staff and grid have no effect in the Edit Percussion Kit window, once you’ve made a choice in Layout Options, shouldn’t they be greyed out? I ask as I can see myself using percussion kits again in future.

PS: I remember using Rhapsody on my Acorn for notating music…

…and I remember using Sibelius 7 on my (dad’s) Acorn :wink:

The buttons for five-line staff and grid in Edit Percussion Kit do have an effect. If you edit the labels for Grid representation, Dorico will respect those edits in any Layout that uses the Grid representation. If you edit the labels for Single Staves representation, Dorico will respect those edits in any Layout that uses the Single Staves representation.

If, after completing and printing your piece, your percussionist says “any chance I could have a part that uses a grid”, you can come back to Dorico, create a new Layout that uses a Grid representation.

Nothing should be greyed out in Edit Percussion Kit, because you might still need it at a later date.

Thanks again. I see I should really file this under the “Just in case” category. :slight_smile:

A workaround that might be useful, if it’s not been mentioned elsewhere. I’ve been editing the two percussion parts in Engrave mode. I’ve used the two pitched percussion instruments to input pitched cues. Dorico automatically creates a direction to go to these pitched percussion instruments even though their staves are only there to show the pitched cues. I was unable to find a way of deleting these directions as they’re needlessly confusing. To resolve this, I selected “To Xyl.” or “To Mar.” and in the Properties panel, deleted the prefix and replaced the text with a custom text - a full stop.

I believe I’ve sorted out most of the points that I’ve come across in notating the percussion parts, with one niggling exception. I have used the marimba and the xylophone staves to input pitched cues for entries by those two instruments as well as for entries by unpitched percussion. Where the marimba or xylophone staves’ only function is to display a pitched cue for unpitched percussion, is it possible to hide or delete the corresponding labels ‘Mar.’ or ‘Xyl.’ in the left hand margin, leaving the labels unchanged elsewhere where they do apply to a passage to be played by those pitched instruments. I’d like to sort this as there is the risk that the performer might read the cue as a passage to be played on the Marimba or the Xylophone. I’ve tried finding a way to do this in Engrave but the labels cannot be selected under Graphic Editing.

You can’t remove the staff label for just one instrument or player, I’m afraid: you would have to hide the staff labels for all instruments.

Thanks, Daniel. I’ll hopefully be able to brief the two performers so there is no confusion.