Continuous elements across flows: bar numbers, courtesy sigs

I would like bar numbers to run continuously across flows, instead of starting again, but I can’t find a setting for this.

Also, if I have a change of time sig or key, I don’t get courtesy sigs at the end of the previous flow. Nor divisi arrows, if the new flow has divisi.

I believe you may have misunderstood the concept of flows.

“The actual music that is played by the group in your score belongs to one or more flows. A flow is any span of music that stands alone, for example, a whole song, a movement of a sonata or symphony, a number in a musical show, or even a short scale or exercise. ”

From page 30 of the instruction manual, here:

Generally speaking, these things don’t need cautionary time signatures or key signatures, continuous bar numbers etc.

…or else a span of music that requires different courtesy settings to a previous bit…

Ok Steve. To put it slightly differently, I think the OP has misunderstood the concept of Flows as the developers envisaged.

You are too kind.

That leaves me in a dilemma about whether to use Flows or not. And how to achieve the benefits of Flows without using them!

What specific benefits are you referring to? Perhaps they can also be achieved within a single flow.


I’m having the same dilemma right now with a set of variations for large orchestra. In the original there are courtesy key and clef changes and instrument change labels at the end of the variations, but otherwise they’re treated as individual movements. I’ve decided to use flows anyway because it just feels like the logical thing to do here. I’ll probably add some space where necessary and add the key changes later in inkscape.
I understand that this may somewhat violate the concept as the developers have envisaged it, but… If I was asked I would strongly vote for relaxing the rules a bit.

There’s no setting for this but you can do it manually. Select the first note of the new flow and choose Bar Numbers > Add Bar Number Change from the context menu.

In my case it’s not least about performance in Dorico. Dorico still tends to be rather slower with large flows.

For bar numbers: Ctrl + Shift + B
Add a Bar Number change at the beginning of each flow and change the Primary number to what ever you need.
See “Adding bar number changes” in Doricos help

Yes, Leo…I was being a deliberate arse… but making a valid point (related to the OP) that I haven’t made for a few months.
Flows are there to organise separate movements. Using them shouldn’t be dictated by the need or not for ad hoc items such as cautionaries.
Conversely, using a new flow shouldn’t be needed when you only need a change in behaviour.

Thanks to all for the (now) obvious bar number editing command.

I also seem to have the opposite problem, I want to restate the same time signature within one flow (after a double bar and page break), but NOT have a cautionary (because it’s the same time!) Or must I use a new flow there?

I can’t think of a way to do this within one flow. Of course you could fake the time signature with text objects, but just splitting the flow is certainly less laborious.

Is it not the expected case that the more “Artificial Intelligence” is programmed into an application, the more said AI will tell us how to do things!

Alternatively, one might legitimately ask whether a new flow is an indication of a new separate section of the music (like a new movement) or whether it is a building block that is defined by its immutable behaviour – such as a time signature at the beginning and a cautionary key signature at the end of the previous flow. In certain cases, the division of the variations of a set into separate flows seems to me to be an excellent use of the concept. An relevant precedent is Brahms’ Haydn Variations (St Antoni Choral), op. 56a, where the different variations are separate movements. In the score that I have (Breitkopf), a cautionary key signature or change of time signature is only used where necessary. The artificial intelligence built into Dorico at present does not want to let the user over-ride the key signature and time signature requirement defined for a “normal” flow; but I think it would be wise, and would expand the usefulness of the concept. if this were to be an option.


benwiggy, you could use a new flow, or…
definitely a wild workaround, but you could print the file as a pdf and mask the cautionary with an opaque white rectangle, although the right system would be spaced a little less than others on the page unless you tweaked them all the same amount.

Thanks for the thought, but if I wanted to spend time manually tweaking stuff, I’d still be using Finale. :laughing:

I hear you loud and clear!!! :laughing:

At the moment it is this, but (as Leo stated) Dorico’s literature suggests the natural and useful idea of separate movements or pieces.
Flows as separate pieces in one file is revolutionary. Flows as a way to change cautionary behaviour is backwards and clunky as hell…

And while the approach of the Haydn-Variations can be realized with Dorico if you use a single flow, other “variations” on this subject can’t: I have a Henle edition of Mozart’s variations for piano in front of me, where the time signature is shown at the start of each variation – without a courtesy time signature at the end of the previous variation –, whereas key changes are also indicated at the end of the previous variation. Unless I’m mistaken this is not possible with Dorico.

What seems to be missing in Dorico, presumably on the grounds that it is an “unnecessary cludge”, is the “Hide” comnmand. In Sibelius this allows the user to hide clefs and key changes, and other things.


If I might get back to part of original question at top of page. Cautionary time sigs at end of flow are needed if some staves need to be hidden in the next system. Maybe I’ve missed something but the only way I’ve found to do this is by splitting the flow. Right now I’m working on the vocal score of an opera. Several scenes start with a page or two of piano (orchestra) only, and then twelve singers enter. If there is a change to time when they enter then I lose the cautionary sig which should be at the end of the previous flow

Actually, I’ve found a way to do it: add an empty bar at the ends of the first flow and hide the rest. Remove the barline. Enter the new time sig. Change the bar’s width to an appropriate size. I suspect it will screw up playback.

Is there an easier way of doing this? Changing layouts won’t work because any new layout starts at bar 1.

Apologies if I’ve missed something obvious