Flow Titles? Project Titles?

I’m finally trying to get serious with Dorico after dabbling with it at the beginning of its release several years ago. I’m aware of its potential and how it already blows the competition away in many respects.

I’ve just tried to set up two new opera projects: arranging Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore and Salieri’s Grotta di Trofonio for smaller ensembles. To be on the safe side, I also set up templates in Finale. Interestingly, setting them up took about the same amount of time in both programs, even taking my Dorico-newbie-ism into account. I set up the Salieri completely in Dorico whereas I exported the Donizetti template via XML into Dorico.

With the Salieri, I planned to make a new flow for each aria. I named the first flow Overture and Dorico placed 1. Ouverture as a sub header on the first page. Fine, although the header was still Untitled Project. I went to File/Project Info and in the Title field was Ouverture. Huh? That’s the flow title. I looked at the master page and project title was the token in the top text frame. The title should be the name of the opera, not the name of the flow. In addition, I added information to the fields in Project Info (composer, arranger, lyricist, copyright info, etc.) and despite the fact that the Master Page had all those text frames set up with tokens in them, none of this information appeared. Huh²?

The file of L’elisir which I imported via XML from Finale was called Act I with the name of the opera as the title. The import turned out fine for the instruments but Dorico put Act I as the project title and 1. L’elisir d’amore as the flow title (sub header). Again the File/Project Info showed L’elisir d’amore to be the title of the project and all other info I entered into the project info fields was ignored. Huh³?

I guess I just don’t understand Dorico’s whole paradigm of flows, titles, projects, tokens, etc. I’m reminded of my introduction to the Basic programming language when I bought my first Atari computer in 1987. A manual for learning Basic was provided with the computer and I thought it’d be a good idea to take advantage of it. I read the first chapter and was actually insulted by how simplistic it was. I then read the second chapter and understood not a single idea in it and this went for the subsequent chapters, as well. This experience basically poisoned my entire attitude not only to programming, but it also induced an allergy to instructions written by people for whom a paradigm is completely familiar and obvious. I haven’t quite got past this hurdle with Dorico yet…

Hi Vaughan,

If you haven’t seen this, it’s certainly worth watching.


For what it’s worth, I also struggled in the early stages with Dorico. It took 6 weeks or so to get up to speed and I think a lot of that down to was overfamiliarity with a different program. I got there in the end through persistence, videos like the ones above (theres loads of them and they’re excellent), the manual and help on this forum.

One problem with MusicXML is that it doesn’t know much about the semantic meaning of text, beyond “put this text in this font at this position on the page” (which perhaps isn’t surprising, considering the relationship between MusicXML and Finale, and how Finale handles text.) To some extent, Dorico has to “guess” what things mean in the MusicXML file, to decide “what sort of text” each item is.

I think the bottom line is, just go through the Project Info in Dorico and put the headings in the right boxes, so the tokens in the Master Pages pick them up consistently.

By introducing flow headers in version 2.2, we have rejigged the text tokens in the default master pages: it used to be the case, prior to 2.2, that the tokens in the frames on the ‘First’ master page were always flow-scope (e.g. {@flowTitle@}, {@flowComposer@}, etc.) rather than project-scope (e.g. {@projectTitle@}, etc.), but now that we have flow headings we have the proper (and always planned) way of handling work titles and movement titles.

However, when importing MusicXML files, things can get a bit wonky. MusicXML itself does provide a means of specifying both a work title and a movement title, but since none of the other major scoring programs have a proper semantic way of distinguishing between work titles and movement titles, it’s undefined which of those two titles will be defined in the MusicXML file. We do import the work-title element into the project-scope info (if it’s supplied), and the movement-title element into the first flow’s info (if it’s supplied), but if the work-title element is not supplied (which it will often not be), we import that as both the project title and the flow title, to be sure that it will appear.

We could potentially change this now that both the project title and the flow title are shown by default in the ‘First’ master page, which is something I’ll think about.

In the meantime, I would hope that making some adjustments in File > Project Info would quickly set things straight, but please let me know if not! Attaching your project would go a long way towards making it possible for me to offer more intelligent advice.