How do staff spacing overrides work when casting changes?

Hi All,

I ran into an issue last night that I am sure there is a solution for (or an explanation for) that I haven’t yet been able to find. Since I was more focused on fixing it to hit a deadline, I don’t have screenshots, but I’m sure I could reproduce the problem if screenshots would be helpful.

How does Dorico handle manual staff spacing overrides when a system is moved onto another page? Any time music was pushed onto a different page, even if it was just one system (and the layout of that page didn’t need to change at all), I found that I had to completely re-do all of the changes I had previously made. This occurred whether I changed a page from two systems to one (i.e., page 30 became 30 and 31, forcing the remaining pages back a page), but also occurred when I inserted blank pages at the beginning of the document to make the cover and front matter. The latter was especially problematic, since I then went through and had to re-check the whole document!

I’m sure the hope is that Dorico users would rarely have to override the staff spacing and layout, but since this was an opera project there was a lot of text above systems that it didn’t accommodate automatically, hence the large number of manual overrides.

So - how does Dorico think about these manual changes? Is there a way to not change the spacing when things are pushed back by a few pages? What am I doing wrong here?

Thank you in advance for the explanation!!

You aren’t missing anything, unfortunately. Manual staff spacing is dependent on casting off. When you add breaks or make changes, those manual adjustments are lost.

That’s right, staff spacing overrides (red staff spacing handles) are tied to the frame/page, not the music. There are some cases where the changes can be preserved but in general, it’s probably safest to assume they won’t be. Dorico does preserve changes when the bar at the start of the system changes (e.g. if the 3rd system now starts with bar 12, when before it was bar 11).

There’s a warning in the manual to this effect.

If you’re moving staves by a substantial amount to accommodate text, you might find that changing the height of the music frame is a better alternative - it’s an easier change to replicate if needed, it’s more dynamic (that is, if the frame becomes so much shorter that one fewer system can fit, the last system bumps onto the next page automatically; not so with staff spacing), and you can swap these types of overrides with neighbouring pages. Also, if you have to accommodate the same amount of text in multiple layouts, you can create a custom master page that you can set up with the correct frames/frame proportions once, then apply to any and all pages that need that template - e.g. if all orchestral parts need to have the top half of a page saved for text.

Got it, thank you both! Will be more careful from now on with this type of thing.