Writing for choir


I have just bought Dorico, and I’m really looking forward to getting to know the program.

I’m a choir leader at a school and in a church, so naturally I arrange and write mostly choral music.

When writing a piece I often use a choir reduction, that is one staff for soprano and alto, and one for tenor and bass. When the music gets to cluttered I switch to one staff per part, often in the same piece.

Is there a way to do that in Dorico? I’m Sibelius I create six staves, bracketed two and four, and hide the staves which are not in use.


You can use the same approach that you use in Sibelius for now, but in the future we hope to be able to handle the creation of a short score dynamically, after you input the music onto a separate staff for each of the voice parts.

I’d like to be sure I understand the recommended workaround for now. If I understand correctly, I can

  1. Create six Players: one for each performer type (e.g., Soprano), one for the top two parts’ staff (SA) and one for the bottom two parts’ staff (TB)
  2. Write and proofread my work on a layout that shows the one-part staves only
  3. Copy/paste each performer onto the appropriate two-part staff
  4. Create a layout that shows only the two two-part staves
  5. Use the latter layout for adjusting engraving and doing the final printouts

Is that correct? And, will I need to do anything like setting the Voice of each Player’s notes (which I’m used to from my Sibelius workflow), before copying to the two-staff Players, to get uniform stem directions for each part?

I look forward to seeing a version that will support creating a layout that merges multiple players to a staff; it seems like the Dorico team have already done a fair bit of the legwork for that, just by separating the concepts of Player, Flow, and Layout — which is encouraging.


If your choral arrangement is straightforward enough, you can go directly to a two-stave solution by putting S & A on separate voices on the top staff and T & B in the bottom staff. Daniel M’s question was about splitting off into four staves for more complicated voice-leading. He would need to work carefully with layout (systems and frames) to make the transition from 2-stave to 4-stave sections smooth.

(One situation to consider is that the Tenor sound in HALion transposes down an octave automatically. So either you would have to transpose it in HALion or select a different sound when you put it on the Bass clef should you want playback to be representative.)

I’ll try that on the next project I start, so I can see what it feels like to navigate when multiple voices are on a staff. (I never was comfortable with it in Finale or Sibelius, so if Dorico’s interface is an improvement in that regard, great!)

Oh, foo. I was switching among threads after I’d found a few relevant-seeming ones, and posted this reply under the wrong one; I should’ve posted in this thread about choral reductions, which is really the feature I was after. That should explain the aim of the procedure I listed above, I hope.