Instrument Numbers...

• Jul 4, 2020 - 13:41

Not sure whether I have written about it before... But can we be able to easily assign instrument numbers in front of every stave as shown in the screenshot?

We could also be able to change them from page to page so we don't have to make a lot of instrument parts for that.


Guess I'll do it with frames for now... but what do you think about a more... "automatic" version? Besides not sure if frames can be placed perfectly where you want.

In reply to by [DELETED] 32872726

Let me mention, as a possibly unimportant aside, that I don't see any value in an instrument numbering system like this. I know it has been done this way for a long time, but so what. I have yet to see a printed part labeled in such a manner. If there are two flute parts on one page, the player's part is labeled flutes 1 & 2. Seems simple, straightforward and clean enough to me to label the part in the score the same way. I have seen scores where this has been done. I realize some people may want the option. It just seems to me that there are a host of other things more important.
Don't forget that for a lot of us, the score is not always the end notation product.

In reply to by bobjp

You're right that it's never done that way in the parts — each player gets their own part that only has their music on it. But it's very important for the score. It can make the difference between having 18 staves on a page and 30, meaning a staff size that's unreadably small, or a paper size that presents problems with printing, and is also unweildy for the conductor. There are definitely workarounds, but they don't always look how they should, and an actual solution for this would be very useful.

In reply to by hamsandwichnow

Yikes! That's a perfect example of why individual instruments shouldn't all be separated. That's a ridiculously small staff size, and 49 staffs crammed onto an A3 page at one point! That 2.5mm staff size is insane! 4mm is usually what's recommended as the smallest staff size for a conductor's score, and I've seen 3.7mm given as an absolute last resort, "only if you really have to", lower limit. I can't imagine a conductor putting that on the stand without insisting it's either enlarged at least to A2, or re-engraved to combine instruments and bring it down to 20ish staffs per system. And six horns, each with its own staff‽ Even on scores that are small enough that there's room to give each instrument its own staff, there's usually no reason horns shouldn't still be scored in pairs, unless they need to separate temporarily because of something very complex where they're playing different rhythms. Here's a good example of where there was more reason to have everything separated. It's a much more complex score, and there are some huge divisi staves at some points as well, but it still never goes over 38 in a system, and it's on A2, which was absolutely justified for systems of that size, otherwise some of the more dense pages would've been almost as hard to read as Fantasie Glorieuse was.

In reply to by hamsandwichnow

Are the numbers just in a staff text object linked to the first note or rest in the first bar? And what happens if the stretch of that bar changes? Also with other pages I'm sure it could cause problems if something moves and the first bar of the system isn't the first bar of the system anymore.
Looks good though; this is what I want mine to look like. But hopefully with a way of doing it automatically sometime in the future.

In reply to by jscaranomusic

I only find it necessary for the first system. Yes, I used staff text attached to the first rest or note. I disabled autoplace so that it wouldn’t make something weird happen. Section break will be definite. I would never move something from one movement of my mass ordinary setting to another. (The choir would be confused lol)

In reply to by jscaranomusic

I plan on keeping the alto (3rd) flute as the only extra. If anything, it will change to piccolo. Usually what I’d use to change the instrument abbreviation is the change instrument object. If you need another instrument, then use the same sound (4.2 has a helpful list of presets) but a different instrument with modified names. Then switch back later when the name needs to go back, maybe even twice so that the first staff says “Flts 1 & 2” then the next says “Flts” (or whatever the abbreviation is)

Uh, I still want to do something about this... I think specifying the numbers of the instruments playing in a stave is important in a big orchestral score especially when you want to save space AND want to use a stave for different instruments in each system.

In reply to by mike320

Not quite, because that still wouldn't make it possible to do things like having the numbers stacked vertically, with the instrument name centered between them, without leaving a gap for the extra line.

You can use
on the first page,
on the next page, and then
Fl. 1
if the second flute switches to piccolo and has it's own staff (or just isn't playing on that page), but this is also about having
without that huge gap in between them, so the numbers fit within the height of the staff. At the moment, that's only possible if you do something like
Flutes 1
but then the instrument name isn't centred.

In reply to by hamsandwichnow

I can't believe I didn't think of this before, but I just changed the line spacing in the instrument name text styles from 1.0 to 0.5, so the single staff instruments look how they should, and I added extra blank lines in the horns to make them look right.
half-spaced instrument numbers.png
Long instrument name is


Horns in F_____


and the short name is


F Hn._____


There's still the problem of what happens when the spacing changes from one system to the next, but I'm sure I can work out something to try and keep it pretty consistent so that's not an issue.

Do you still have an unanswered question? Please log in first to post your question.