Experiences with large scores...

Hello community,

i have the opportunity to again reconstruct a big silent movie music. Music from the 20s for mid-size orchestra. The score is about 70 minutes long, has around 2000 bars of music in a single manuscript, is quite densly orchestrated and should be my first big project that i want to engrave in Dorico. :confused:

Has anyone experiences with such large scores in Dorico?
How is the overall program speed when scores are getting larger and larger;
would you split the file at a certain point or is it all no problem…?
Anything that might cause problems at some point in time…?

I remember my reconstruction work on the score of Fritz Langs Metropolis which i did in Finale (2009?) some years ago. This was around 140 minutes of music for large orchestra and at some point in time it was nearly impossible to edit in Finale. So i had to tediously split it up in 3 parts which was a lot of extra logistic work with the parts afterwards and the files were still very laggy in handling.
And it was not the last time i drove Finale to its logical end of holding capacity. The is a point where you get just graphical errors, white screens and you can’t add any items anymore.

I don’t want to come to this point in Dorico…

There’s a somewhat easy way to test: create a score of the size you want, put in all the symbols you think you might need into the first 4 bars, then copy and paste a whole lot until you get to your estimated size and see what happens.

I’m not sure why you’d want to create a single score of an entire film score, though. The original would be broken into smaller cues anyway.

That’s a good idea! I will try out Doricos limits…

The score has no cues :wink: 70 minutes film — 70 minutes music
Would be a stopgap to split the file at some point…

I don’t have any answers, but would love to see/hear this movie!

The movie must have some structure of “scenes” within the 70 minutes, so there ought to be some natural subdivisions of the score, even if it plays continuously.

Sure it has dividable structures but there is only one final barline;
but that’s not the point. The question is, do i have to do it?

Can Dorico handle that large files? Is there a need to work with multiple flows or even multiple files…

Dorico can handle large files. By the looks of things you have a capable computer so there’s really not much to worry about. If anything, the fewer flows the better.

Things that slow things down: having multiple layouts open (or even cached; you need to close each window/tab, save, close and reopen the project to clear the cache). Having the System Track turned on (Alt+T toggles it on and off). Adding/removing players/instruments/flows to big projects. Flows that start midway down a page.

Whatever you do, get the notes input in a score layout, not straight into part layouts. Respelt accidentals in parts constitute an override and don’t automatically propagate back to the score (even in C instruments). Now that we have Propagate Properties it’s quicker to fix, but still a pain in the proverbial.

From my experience, you won’t have to worry with rendering glitches like the ones Finale produces. But it will get laggy, so be ready. In addition to leo’s tips, who pretty much said it all, I would suggest trying to find the final Engraving options and master page layouts beforehand, because working on those after you have large amounts of music in will be a drag. In essence, you want to avoid anything that will force the layout to be recalculated. This means that note input might be affected at some point.

Further to what Luís has said (about page layout and Engraving Options) it can’t hurt to also get your Notation Options as close as possible in the first instance. My understanding is that overrides (of any kind) slow Dorico down. If you can get Dorico to do the heavy lifting by default, it’ll speed Dorico up. By happy coincidence, it’ll also speed you up :wink:

“The question is, do i have to do it?”

If you split your score into multiple flows, you can then work on a single flow without having Dorico update everything that comes after it.
Keep that in mind.

Thanks for your insights…
Well, i have to test how performant my system is with lots of music in a single file.
As i have quite some amount of RAM (64) but “only” a 2 year old 6-Core processor an a medium standard GPU it would be interesting if one of these parameters has significant impact on Doricos performance… and what ist the most benificial … any experience?

Cores are the most important bit, generally. You should be fine.

4 cores good, 2 cores bad, to misquote George Orwell.