Default System Break and Casting

On a project I’ve been working on, the default system layout has been very good, but at some point one page changed, and I’m trying to understand if it’s something I did or not. On page 5 there are 11 measures, then on page 6 there are 4 measures, then on page 7 (final page) there are 8 measures. In the context of the rest of the score, this one page sticks out a lot.

Some of the obvious things I’ve looked at already:

There are no system or frame breaks. I haven’t done any page layout, or engraving on this.
If I change the casting rules, I can force the pages to have more measures, which becomes consistent.
If I allow empty staves to be hidden, the layout “fixes” itself, and is consistent across the whole score.

Any thoughts on why this might be happening, or ways to prevent this from happening? The only thing I can really see is that the vertical spacing is potentially causing issues, where some of the slurs are overlapping, and the high woodwinds need more space because of their current range.

Can you zip up and attach the project here so we can take a look at it? It’s almost impossible to diagnose this kind of problem from a picture, but considerably easier (that is to say, at least possible) if we have the project file itself. Thanks!

Of course. Here is the file.


One other thing I noticed while generating PDFs, all of my parts are formatted to US Letter (8.5x11) and I was exporting them using the 2-up function on to tabloid (11x17) pdfs. When I open the actual PDFs, they appear to be A2 (14.25x11) size formatting. I’ve included those PDFs in the file as well.

Thanks for taking a look at it.

I can add that I find the penultimate system of the majority of flows I write is far too empty and spread out. It really seems to be a general issue with my work. Easy to fix, but unfortunate.

Sorry to take a few days to come back to you on this.

The emptiness of the penultimate page is caused by the approach to casting off. Dorico tries to ensure that the final systems are not significantly emptier than the ones that come before it, and depending on the number of staves in the system it looks at a different range of music: for single-staff systems, like parts, then it is allowed to shuffle bars around quite a few systems; for systems with more staves, like in your score, then it’s really only allowed to go back one or two systems. This is really a poor man’s version of a globally optimal solution for casting off, which unfortunately is computationally unfeasible given Dorico’s sophisticated design.

Perhaps in the future we might be able to allow you to tweak some of the values that Dorico uses internally, but I’m not sure we could expose them in a way that would make a lot of sense to the average person!

As for your parts, did you definitely choose the Tabloid paper size on the right-hand side in Print mode?

Thank you for getting back to me. I was under the impression that it was related to the casting off features, and of course with a little work, I was able to make the score look quite nice. I was just surprised to see it happen by “default” when normally everything else looks so good. :slight_smile: I’m definitely happy with the end results after I kept working with the layout.

I questioned this myself, the first time it happened, and went back to double check that the settings were correct. The PDF files I attached were from the second attempt at exporting the files. The first thing I noticed was that when I switch to Graphics mode for the destination, the ability to change the Page Setup is no longer capable of being switched. It still read “Tabloid” in that field, but I switched back to Printer destination, changed the setting to letter, then back to tabloid, and then went back to Graphics mode, and exported them again, with the same results.

So, just to be sure, I have tried doing it again. I tried changing to Tabloid then export, then US Letter and export, then A3 and export, and all three choices had the same page size. When I then tried switching back to Tabloid, Dorico unexpectedly quit.

Edit: I just want to reiterate that this works properly with normal tabloid layouts, and only is an issue when doing 2-up printing.

Thanks for a glance into the internals, Daniel. I thought we could look forward to a future without the Sibelius-like-juggle through the score (pushing a measure forward from one system, and another measure from the next system)—but this seems to imply that in full scores, at least, those days will never end?

In parts, Dorico’s layout logic is beautiful and I can see how much time it could save me in the future. It would be amazing if there’s some way to expose this mechanism to full scores, even if it has to be explicitly applied somehow…