I'm writing a piece where there is like a bass line which is made up of all 5 string section parts (orchestra) that each have a similar rhythm, and that all together makes a cool sound.

I want to add a sort of melody that bounces around the ensemble, but only one player per section plays. I feel like making it divisi might work, but that would be for multiple players. It is also a pizzicato part and I'm not sure if there is a way to have divisi, with the top part pizz and the bottom part arco.

For reference, this is what all five parts look like together:
Score for 1st and 2nd violins, viola, cello, and contrabass

I want to add pizz for the notes "E" and "F" for violin parts, and notes "A" and "G" for cello with the first note being a grace note for the second which will be a quarter note thrown in, in a couple spots.

I'm aware I could just add another part and have it only be given to one player, but that is a lot more paper for just a few notes.

  • 2
    So what is the question you are asking? Jul 30, 2023 at 18:11
  • I think the question is how to notate two parts (solo player and the rest of the section) on one staff. Is that right?
    – Edward
    Jul 30, 2023 at 18:43

2 Answers 2


Each of the sections with a soloist should split into two staves for the solo. Connect these staves with a thin margin bracket. Mark the solo staff solo, and the other staff gli altri (the others). These extra staves collapse away when the solo is over, mark this with tutti (everyone).

It looks neatest when the splitting and merging coincides with a system break (line break/page break).

NB-1: "Viola" is a feminine noun in Italian, so sola and le altre are used for this part instead.
NB-2: If you want say 2 soloist playing the same part, use the plural soli e.g. 2 soli, (2 sole for violas).

If each of the string sections has the solo at the same time, it should look something like this:

Each of the five string sections' staves splitting into a "solo" staff and "gli altri" staff at a page break, and joining again the next page break with "tutti."

Then you can add pizz. and arco to the respective staves.

Don't worry about taking a little extra paper; it's more important that the music is easy to read.


You can write divisi and mark the "melody" parts as "solo pizz."

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