Adding/removing pages without reset of vertical staff spacing

Hi everyone!

I have one single flow in my project, and every time I add one single page in front of this flow (e.g. explenations about the piece) Dorico resets my manuel vertical spacing of the flow. Is this a known bug or is there a way to prevent this from happening?
I think this happens, because the left page becomes the right page and vice versa…

In my case, I added a text page and a one-page flow in front of the main flow, which now I need to remove. Technically the Left pages stays the left page, but as this are two steps, Dorico will always attempt to rearrange the staves. I already searched for a “locking” function, but it does not seem like Dorico provides such a thing?

Thank you very much!

Hi. Yes it’s a known limitation : such changes are linked to the page and not to the music… Either add your pages (via new custom masterpages and a masterpage change) before you edit the music, or add those pages in an external app, after export.

Hi Marc, thank you very much for your fast reply!

That means, it is not possible to add flows to a finished score without messing up everything which comes later? That’s quiet a big limitation. So they really should add a function, which enables “locking” the frames, as there are still tons of things, which may mess up your score, and I usually do a lot of changes to my music after the first performance.
For this score this means, I will never be able to remove that flow, unless I am willing to spent another weekend reformatting the score… :frowning:

Best regards

Well, you can add page number changes, if that helps… and put everything back in order in a pdf app.
Actually, it’s a limitation you need to know when you engrave big scores, so that you know that you need to keep overrides (or this kind of stuff that is linked to the pages) for the end of the work. It simply requires a different workflow, and optimized settings. I just engraved an opera (vocal score) imported in xml in less than two days, 130 pages, one override in the whole work, 17 flows.

Yeah, I thought about this, too. But you also need to change the master page to add a second Project title, or do this manually. In the end, it’s a lot of unnecessary work.
But the vertical allignment problem is everywhere anyway. Every little change on a page tends to reset the vertical spacing, even if you don’t want it to. Copying the spacing from left to right and right to left helps a lot, but it really slows down thinks. I hope there will be a locking mechanism for this in a future update.
An optimized workflow helps for shure when engraving, but Dorico explicity advertises the freedom for the composing process, and the composing process rarely is completed with the first engraving. :slight_smile:

Thank you and best regards!

You don’t know you will have a title page until after you compose?

If so, the logical thing to do is not to format your work until after you are finished and have added the title page(s). Dorico’s workflow expectations are different than Finale’s. Many users compose in Galley View and only go to page view to format after finishing the composition process.

@MusiChronos please feel free to share examples of the sorts of things you’re working on, as generally Dorico’s staff spacing overrides are intended to be the last available tweaks after all the other options have been set as required. If we have some of your examples to refer to, we might be able to make some recommendations that will help you in the long run.

The per-layout vertical spacing options are very powerful once you get familiar with them, and adjusting these to suit a project better is much more reliable than moving individual staves, and also produces a better result much more quickly.

Additionally, adjusting the settings in Engraving Options for the minimum gaps between various notation options and the staff and other items can be very useful in auto-producing well-spaced layouts too. Likewise, making sure the page margins and music frame margins are set appropriately helps too.

It’s not only about not knowing what pages to add, but also how many - composition often is a very collaborative process, so you need to share scores with musicians in the process, and they have to be readable. Things like fingering diagrams etc. mess up the score and need manual vertical alignment. Then, when everything is finished, you might want to add one or more explanatory pages. It’s in the nature of things, that you don’t know what the exact content will be and how many pages you need, but surely you don’t want to undo all the previous spacing work.

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I am confused by this. What spacing are you changing?

We all do. So why are you trying to fix layouts for the first performance??? The players won’t be upset if the initial layout is not perfect - they just want something that is easy to read and has sensible page breaks!

Published layouts are different. Yes, they require elegance, perfection and clear performance instructions.

As others have said (many times on this forum) - Don’t override until the last possible moment. Let Dorico do the hard work first. Most times it will make the best decisions!

Hi! Thank you very much for your reply!

I will try to clarify, what I’m doing:

I am mostly writing for concert band, which means I need a minimum of 24 staves (after condensing), most of the time even more. Also, being from Germany, it is expected to deliver scores in either Din A3 or Din A4. A3 (in my opinion) is too big for a score, so my default scores (besides a custom 4:3-format) are in A4. For better readability I will try to have a space size not less than 1mm, which means, Dorico won’t be able to handle all the colissions properly in the first place.
In addition, my customers whish the staves on the left page to have the same vertical alignment as on the right side. (after a page turn, the eye has to reorientate itself anyway)

As Dorico always will aim for the best result one one side, I need to adjust everything manually. So I move dynamics and text by hand, to achieve more density and try to find compromises between both pages. As this varies from double page to double page, the per-layout vertical spacing option won’t help me there.
While having Dorico looking for compromises itself would be a very great feature, I appreciate the work it does, which gives me the foundation of my detailled work in the first place. All the more it’s quiet frustrating, when Dorico tries to force the “single page compromise” on me, each time I make a more or less significant change.

I added an example from a work with additional choirs, where I had to reduce the sacing even further to 0.92mm, but still have to manage pages, beeing filled up to 120%.

Besides the page breaks, I mostly don’t feel like I’d have to alter anything for the parts, as Dorico manages this nearly perfect. But a well-readable score for a performance is essential and (from my perspective) no purely esthetic aspect, so I put a lot of effort in there. As in this case, I sent the piece in for a competition, even before the first performance, and therefor the score needs to be piccobello. :slight_smile: And as klafkid mentioned, I often just don’t know, how many explanatory pages I will need in the end. In this case, I run out of space for text and even added a little Prelude to the piece.

Thank you all and best regards!

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I’m very confused why you claim dorico only aims to correctly space ‘one side’… it most certainly does not. It aims to space every page the best it knows how. The only difference is between the “first” master page and then the rest of the pages that don’t include the title. If I have similar material on various pages, I get the same results on those pages without any manual intervention.

Because as far as I know, it does. Dorico will look at one single page and aim for the best possible result for this single page according to your preferences, but won’t compromise between two pages. And of course, if the material is similar on both pages chances are, that I get a similar result, even with overloaded pages, but to be honest, I almost never have the situation of similar material on two consecutive pages.
I admit Dorico does a fine job, if the pages are very “white” and a very small staff size is chosen, but as I mentioned, that’s not what my customers want. (and as a conductor, I do neither).

I added a screenshot of the two pages you saw before with doricos default spacing:

The closest I think you can come–and it would be a highly labor-intensive work-around-- would be to use appropriately oversized landscape layouts and Coda breaks to separate them into facing pages.

It might give you the appearance you want, but it is very awkward and would need to be manually inserted and spaced on each page.

Clearly not what you really want.

You’re right in that Dorico calculates staff spacing on a per-page basis, meaning facing pages won’t necessarily have staves at exactly the same heights. However, in situations where there is sufficient room, that is a likely outcome - all staves will be consistently spaced.

I suspect part of the problem is that your pages are very full, which distorts the results - in your latest picture, you can see that the left page is 118% full. Likewise, both pages in your previous screenshot are >100% full. When some staves need extra space and you force facing pages to have the same staff spacing, that can leave excessive gaps on some pages - e.g. the beginning of the 3rd page in your previous screenshot shows trumpet staves with large gaps that look wide given that they’re empty on that page but yes follow on from the previous page. You could comb through the condensing results and system-by-system tweak them to reduce instances of two voices per staff where the meaning would still be clear, as this would reduce the number of duplicate dynamics etc.

I understand what you were saying about the page size and staff requirements you’re working to, but in that situation there are going to be compromises: either increase the page size and/or reduce the staff size to allow more breathing room and get more consistent spacing results automatically, or rely on manual overrides that are fixed to specific pages and therefore are best left as late as possible, or require the addition of placeholder pages at the start of the layout, that you can “fill in” later.

By “automatically”, I mean finding a staff size and minimum gap settings that, in combination with vertical justification, mean that even in systems with high/low notes or extra notations, staves aren’t forced much further apart than they are in systems with no extra material above/below staves.

A3 paper is a commonly-used size for large scores here in the UK, and it’s certainly the size I would personally opt for in most cases. To the best of my knowledge, conductors in performance contexts are very used to A3 scores with a staff size of even c. 4mm for dense scores; for study purposes, A3-formatted scores printed on A4 can be a little small but still readable.

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@Lillie_Harris , thank you very much for your reply.
As I said, reducing the staff size or increasing the page size is not really an option for me*, but as Dorico provides me with the tools to overcome this, I don’t see any needs to do so and I am fine with this being a lot of additional work.
And this is my point (and request): You added that wonderful function to alter vertical spacing
manually, so please make it possible to keep that manual changes up, like a frame-break checkmark, which disables automatic vertical spacing from this point on.

*Some composers and I really had long discussions about this topic and agreed on various standards, and it was clear pretty fast, that of the three big notation-softwares only Dorico would be able to meet our requirements with a reasonable work-load. From my perspective, I can create perfect scores now. I would just like Dorico to acknowledge this by maintaining my personal taste. :slight_smile: (and searching the forums, I am not the only one whishing for that feature)

Even if this won’t be the case in near or far future, I thank you anyway for your advice!

@Derrek Is this a creative and cool suggestion on how to have Dorico achieve this by itself? I quiet frankly love your idea, as Dorico for shure would create a better result than I do. But yeah, that would be a lot more work than spacing everything manually for sure… But thank you anyway. I will think about this, maybe this might lead somewhere. :smiley:

In Layout Options > Vertical Spacing there are options for Automatically Resolving Collisions between staves and systems. They’re on by default, but you can turn them off if you want to handle this stuff yourself.

There’s also the possibility of telling Text objects not to Avoid Collisions, either locally with a property or globally (Engraving Options > Text > Use Default Positions).

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@pianoleo Very good idea! Sadly this will also result in Dorico recalculating all the spacing, just without considering the collisions.

Sure. These sorts of global decisions are definitely ones to make before one sets about making micro adjustments.

Hm, but even if I make those decisions beforehand, each time I make a significant change (like adding a page), Dorico will delete my changes, just this time without considering collisions…

My guess is that, to minimize the manual changes that lead to problems when you modify the file, you need to optimize the automatic settings. By judging how dense are those pages (I’ve done some of this style too), ideal gaps must be reduced like a lot (4 spaces between staves, 5,5 between groups), gaps between staff and lyrics too (less than 1 space should do) and the vertical space of text objects should be reduced as much as possible… I know this won’t solve all the problems, but it should get you closer to a good layout.
I agree there should be a way to freeze an engraved chunk of the score to avoid any loss of work, because… You never know what a commissioner will ask you to add once the job is done!
Interesting thread, thank you.