Create a part with an alternate transposition in Dorico


Recently I showed how, in Sibelius and in Finale, to create a part with an instrument that’s entirely different than what’s in the score. This is helpful, for instance, to make a clarinet part in a different transposition than the original part, or a treble clef baritone part linked to the bass clef euphonium part.

In the Sibelius post I described the general concept in a little more detail, so check it out if you haven’t read it already, and if you want to accomplish the task in Finale, read that post.

Here, we’ll jump right into Dorico and use a similar example — creating an additional A Clarinet part based a B♭ Clarinet part.

Duplicate Layout

Let’s have our source layout visible (the B♭ Clarinet 1 part in our example).

For best results, lock your original layout first before proceeding, by heading to Engrave mode (Command/Ctrl-3) and in Graphic Editing > Lock Layout, click the big lock on the Lock Layout button.

Most everything else with this task happens in Dorico’s Setup mode, so head over to that mode (Command/Ctrl-1), and open the Layouts panel on the right-hand side.

Select the existing part (layout) for which you want to create an alternative transposition. Right-click the layout and choose Duplicate Layout.

Duplicating the layout has the advantage of bringing all the adjustments you’ve made to system layout, formatting and, even individual Engrave mode adjustments over to the new one, rather than copying the formatting via Propagate Part Formatting.

Your new layout will appear at the bottom of the list of layouts, so you may wish to drag it up so that it appears right after the layout upon which it is based, although this is not strictly necessary.

Clef and Transposition Override

With the newly-duplicated layout selected, right-click it and choose Clef and Transposition Overrides…

In our example, we’ll adjust the setting named Written middle C sounds as: to A3. If you’re creating an alternative part that has a different clef than your original part (such as an alternative treble clef baritone horn part for a bass clef euphonium part), you’ll want to adjust the clef settings, as well.

When you do this, you’ll see the readout at the top of the dialog box update to reflect your change.

Click OK to exit the dialog.

One more step: Double-click the layout card in the Layouts panel to rename it as needed.

Congratulations! You now have a part with an alternative transposition, based on the same player as the original part.

Tidying up

Your A Clarinet player might appreciate some respelled notes that are written an augmented second higher than concert pitch, instead of strictly a minor third higher.

Fortunately, that’s easy to fix by going to Write mode (Command/Ctrl-2), and, in your alternative part, selecting the notes you’d like to transpose, and, in Write > Respell, choosing the appropriate respelling option.

As you can see, only the music in the active layout has changed; the music in the original layout is unaffected.

Of course, you can change the position of many elements in one part without affecting the other part or the score, to make fine adjustments.

And, even though you’ll probably want your new part to have the same layout as the original part (that’s why we went through these steps, after all), it’s not strictly necessary, so you can feel free to change the layout, if you like. For instance, you could use this technique to have two different layouts for the same instrument, if you needed to do that, for some reason.

There are lots of ways to make use of this feature. Band directors who need to create a treble clef baritone in B♭ part from a bass clef euphonium part, to choose just one of many examples, will find this capability extremely handy.

How are you using this? Did you find this helpful? Let us know in the comments. This post is long enough already, but the concept is similar in other software like Sibelius, and Finale, where we’ve already documented the processes there.


  1. Stephen Bashforth

    Excellent. Clear and easy to follow, and very useful for creating Bari sax parts from Euphonium.

  2. Shane

    Thanks for the clear, concise explanation. While these are the frequent types of tasks I have as a school band teacher, this is a cleaner way of doing so. More importantly, a week from now it will be easier to work with :^)

  3. Philip Rothman

    I’m glad you found it useful! I often write Scoring Notes blog posts so that I can recall how to do something later.

  4. Harry

    Hi Philip,

    A very useful crib sheet. Much appreciated.

    Best wishes,


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