Flow locking issue


I am starting work on a small chamber opera. I set up my flows as different Acts. However, now I can’t find a way to “lock” the individual flows so the later ones aren’t affected by work I am doing in the in earlier ones. I tried locking Frames and Systems but this doesn’t work.

I made an example of the problem: In the attached screenshots, you will see in that I have “Act 3” as a flow title, with a subtitle of ‘the last’ and with a scene description of ‘the future’. Then, when I add notes to the tenor line, they push onto the next page and Act 3 is replaces by Act 2.

Anyway around this? I sometimes start composing the end of the composition first, so I need to figure this out.

(and apologies if there was another post about this in the forum, I just couldn’t find the thread that answered this.)
2 - flow lock issue.jpg
1 - flow lock issue.png

Have you allowed flows to start on existing pages in layout options…?

It seems to me that you’ve created text frames in the page itself — is this correct? Could you show us the same screenshots but in Engrave mode?

Both the title and the blocking should be in the correct master page, so as to only appear in a flow’s first page. As for other types of text, you should (at least provisionally) use Text (Shift-X) so it has a rhythmic position and thus the ability to flow with the music.

Yes. The options in Layout ‘Always start on new page’ or ‘Allow on existing page’ do not make a difference in this case.

Here are the Engrave mode screenshots
2 - flow lock issue - engrave.png
1 - flow lock issue - engrave.png

Then i’d leave it Always start on new… remove all page overrides in engrave and add other text as LSalgueiro suggests…

It seems I created a bug by adding the subtitle ‘the last’ to Act 3 by double clicking and adding text to the title of the flow.

And I forgot that text boxes do not stick or lock onto a system in Dorico yet.

Yes, the best option will be to use shift-X for now for text.


It seems my intuition was correct. You have changed the pages directly, and created overrides. This is certainly how one would do it in other softwares. In Dorico, however, you have to think in a higher level of abstraction, leaving lower level implementation details to the software. This is will not be obvious to most, and hopefully the documentation will help everyone. You say that text boxes do not stick onto a system yet, but I suspect they will in fact never do.

What do I mean by abstraction? Well, you think that the blocking should be present on the first page of each act. And this is absolutely correct! But that means you should specify what “the first page of each act” is, by way of the master pages, which are a way of describing what a page of music is or does, instead of acting on a concrete page.

I’m not sure I’m making myself clear, so if you’re unsure of what to do next or how to setup master pages, let us know!

I am starting to understand master pages yes, but the ‘bug’ I created by adding subtitles is still there, and I can’t seem to reset it

You should be able to remove the overrides on the pages by selecting them in the Pages panel on the right-hand side in Engrave mode, then right-clicking and choosing Remove Page Overrides.

Try deleting all overrides and/or applying the master page again: it should reset the text you entered.

Ok, I reset everything, and made new master pages.

However, if I make a master page based on “First” then any new changes I make to this new master page (i.e. font size of title) in the master page editor seem to be affecting the master page “First”. This causes issues since I want to be able to lay out my new master page (for other beginning pages of Flows that aren’t the first Flow) in specific ways.

Also, how can I insert measures before a master page and have it not push forward what I composed onto this new master page? It seems the only way to do this is to create a new Flow? Is there no way to change the properties of a new master page to make the program think that it is a new Flow?

I’m not sure why you have to make new master pages at this stage…
Imagine you have 2 flows each with a single bar of music, and that flows are set to always start on new pages.

Each flow will now show their starting page which are based on the MP First (left and right respectively - that’s the reason they come in pairs)
Let’s say you now add 100 bars to flow 1, which most certainly will need one or two pages BEFORE flow 2. These new pages are based on the MP Default and all subsequent pages/flows will be pushed neatly to the right (and back left if you delete any music “somewhere in the middle”.)

When you’re done composing and the layout remains, you can replace pages with your own master pages, or just modify pages directly as needed, which will produce page overrides (marked in red in the Pages pane.)

(If you want to use first and default MPs of own design in the same way, first make a new Master Page Set…)

But in each Master Page Set only one MP can fulfil the role as FIRST. Even if you model a new MP on the ‘first’ doesn’t mean that it inherits its behaviour. You can select Custom and thus mimic its frame layout, but if you select first, it will just replace the current first…

I think you are falling into the trap of trying to make Dorico work like your previous notation program, which was built round how the pages of the score look, not what the music on the page means.

There’s a well known saying in computer programming; “Premature optimization is the root of all evil.” It also applies big-time to WYSIWYG document creation. Dorico tries hard not to go there - so don’t try to subvert it!

The best time to make “all your recits and arias” look like a published score is after you have composed them all. That way, you only have to do the formatting ONCE. Dorico’s default layout should give you something readable (if not necessarily ultra-beautiful) for minimal effort - e.g. set the staff size and spacing in the engraving rules to get a sensible about of music on each page, and the get to work writing the music!

Tweaking the low level (and not so low-level) formatting sometimes is a way to apparently be “doing something useful” when actually composing needs too much mental energy - but going for a walk round the block is probably just as useful in the long run, and/or more physically beneficial in the short term!

Hello, people!
I’m posting as a reply here, as my question seems very relevant and I had hope that someone would help me.

I’ll attach two images.
In the first, the two pages are (more or less) exactly how I’d like them to be. However, I need to add one, and probably more, flows to the project, in front of this one.

In the second image, I’ve done that, and now all the music has been pushed ahead, but the text frames are still on the same two pages, project-wide.

My question is if there’s a way to let the text frames know to stay at that exact position, locked to a specific page in a flow, rather than on a given page project-wide, like it is now.

Thanks in advance!
Text frame lock 2.png
Text frame lock 1.png

I’m afraid the answer to your question is no, these edits are locked to the page and not to the flow.

However, you should be able to solve it fairly simple by right-clicking the pages with overrides (red corner) and using ‘Move page’. This will get awkward in bigger projects, though, and especially if you have to add or remove bars prior to the text frame, so you should try to do this kind of layout work at the very end of the process if possible.

Anders G

Hi, Anders!
I’ve seen your name around this forum. Hope you’re well!

Thanks for answering! I’ll try to do the layout work as late as possible.
I feel like this would be a very handy feature, though. I wonder if I should suggest it to the Dorico team.
I feel like I’ve seen somewhere on this forum where on can make suggestions.

All the best!

No need to look for it, this forum is one of the best places. You can be quite sure the Dorico team will notice your suggestions. They read everything, and often react, too. It’s amazing, really.