Keeping all staffs on one page

I have a simple project, but the last line starts on a new page. There are only 8 lines (4 bars each) and I want to keep them all on one page, but I don’t know how to move the last line back to the end of the first page where there is still plenty of room.

I uploaded a copy of the project.

Donna Lee Etude.dorico (1.0 MB)

Welcome to the forum, @lsiden .

One way is to alter page size, margins, note spacing, or rastral size (the space between the five lines of the staff). These are all Layout Options.

in Layout Options_ Staves and Systems _Casting Off - the file is currently set for only 8 systems per page

Welcome to the forum @lsiden !

Dorico works a bit differently to other notation software you might be familiar with. The Staff Spacing tool in Engrave mode (where you can drag staves up/down) won’t ever cause Dorico to change which systems appear on each page, that’s only really for minor graphical nudging to perfect spacing.

A real benefit to how Dorico works is that once you’ve got a feel for how to adjust these global settings, you can produce really nicely and consistently spaced music without many manual interventions at all, which saves a lot of time and effort!

In this project, the culprit was that for your fixed casting off in Layout Options > Staves and Systems > Casting Off, you’d set a fixed number of systems per frame, and activated “Scale number of systems by frame height”. The latter option tells Dorico to knock one system off the fixed count on pages with smaller music frames, i.e. on the First page where there’s the project title, composer etc. That’s why there was only 7 systems on page 1.

If you want systems to get closer together in other circumstances, go to Layout Options > Vertical Spacing and reduce the following settings, either or both:

  • in the Ideal Gaps section, the “Inter-system gap”
  • in the Minimum Gaps section, the “Minimum inter-system gap with content”

Here’s your project back with your staff spacing overrides removed, and those settings adjusted. I also slightly reduced the minimum note spacing so that the first system was no longer calculated as over-full.

Donna Lee Etude_LH.dorico (1.0 MB)

You might also want to watch the following Discover Dorico sessions on vertical spacing:


Thank you so much for your help. I’ll check this out later when I finish work (my day job, not music :weary:)

Thank you again, Lillie. I finally had time to go over your message and found the “Scale Number of System Per Frame” checkbox and unchecked it and voila’.

I think I’m good with the other settings.

Thanks for the video recommendations. I’ve watched a series of shorter videos on the Steinberg channel about Layouts. The best thing I discovered so far wasn’t covered in the video: set the number of bars per system to 4 and the number of systems per frame to 8.

A 4x8 layout is ideal for most of the music I study. I study jazz guitar and 99% of the jazz ballads I’ve played all have 32 bars with (usually) a pickup and (maybe) a coda ending.

My teacher started me out composing my own solos which meant I needed to either write them out by hand or use some music notation software. I penmanship is awful, so software is really a necessity for me. When I started with this teacher, he had my using Sibelius which is what he was using for this PhD thesis, but we both got fed up with it and switched to Dorico which I find easier to use, but it still has its quirks. He does his work on a MacBook, but I use an iPad Pro for my personal (non work) stuff, and of course, the iOS UI poses a different beast for developers.

Right now my biggest complaint is that I have no control over when and where Dorico saves my work, so I can easily mess something up before I realize it and not be able to get it back again. I do know how to export projects, so that does provide a way for me to checkpoint work, but I have to remember. A few days ago, I discovered that half the etude I composed for Donna Lee was missing and the layout messed up. No idea how that happened (it was almost certainly something I did without realizing it). Fortunately, I printed it to PDF to share with my teacher so I can always put it back in. That’s when I had to start mucking with the layout to get it to look normal again.

Also, I found that if I tell it to start a new project on my iPad, I don’t know how to get it to move it to my iCloud account and visa versa. Mostly, I want to keep everything on iCloud so I won’t lose it if anything happens to my device - I just have to remember to tell it when I start a new project.

Now my teacher has me transcribing a solo Herb Ellis did with Oscar Peterson in 1956 (which makes it as old as me). Composing was easier although I expect it will get easier with experience.

If I can get this etude worked up to speed I’ll make a recording and share it with you. But that may take a while, given that I still have my day job and don’t feel like practicing much once my wife and I get settled in the evening.

Best and thanks again!

-Larry Siden