Best practice for starting a new big project

Hello, I’m about to start arranging a show with 20 songs and 8 instruments, and I’m looking for advice on the best way to set this up. Should I use different flows for different songs, or am I best splitting into different projects so the computer doesn’t run slow? Is there anything else that will make my life easier in setup, or any tutorials I should watch?

I’ve used Dorico for about two years but only written individual pieces and songs, and I’ve just upgraded from 3.5 to 4.


20 flows with 8 instruments should be fine. But you can always change your mind later (you can both export and import flows).

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Welcome to the forum @maddy.baron !

If you want to be able to assemble individual part layouts that contain that instrument’s music for all 20 songs, then keeping them in the same Dorico project will probably be easiest.

As it sounds like you’re unlikely to be using condensing, that will help keep things running quicker, but you could also do things like apply the Silence playback template whilst you’re working on bits that don’t require playback.

Probably the best thing to do is just make a start, and come back with questions or issues as and when they arise. As Janus says too, it’s fairly easy to shuffle music around by importing/exporting flows.

My best tip is to avoid the temptation to move things around too much before you’ve got most of the music in place, especially when it comes to staves – Dorico does a lot of clever positioning for you, provided you’ve got a bit of familiarity with how to customise these settings to suit your needs. E.g. there are some tips on this page about vertical spacing.


I normally work with one flow per song within one Dorico project. The best tip I’ve read is to remove all the flows from all layouts in the setup window except for the one you’re working on.

That helps a lot with CPU usage and to prevents general sluggishness. When you’re done writing and need to print the project you can add all that’s needed to the corresponding layouts.

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20 sings with 8 instruments will be absolutely fine, and not cause any sluggishness.

Problems with slowness are usually big orchestral scores with lots of Slash regions, Cues, percussion, Condensing, etc, etc, etc.

Creating instrumental parts with automatic Flow Headings (and tacets) is one of the biggest ‘killer’ features in Dorico, as far as I’m concerned.

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