Laying out a score

I’d appreciate some advice on working methods

  1. Create a score and use Staff spacing to get the formatting as you want it. Then decide you need a new page somewhere within the written music but doing so, you lose your Staff spacing. Daniel has said this is working according to spec because formatting is attached to a page, not to music. OK, I really, really don’t like that but it’s not something the team are changing soon. So, how do you get around this limitation?

  2. Having input all the music, I’m now looking at optimising page turns in individual parts. I’ve found a way to compact music on one page without it being illegible, so I’ve used Staff spacing to make room. However, that’s not enough to get the music to move from the following page, I have to use breaks but that doesn’t move music on all subsequent pages.

I’m guessing I’m just doing this wrong but I can’t find a “reflow” command or similar. I understand that the frame in which I’ve made room has a large margin at the bottom. Inputting new music and deleting bars both reflow automatically so the code is there somewhere :wink:

1.simple - formatting staves should be the last step. if you cannot hold yourself, your staves spacing isn’t gone, so you can simply reflow it using the “copy staff spacing” command.

  1. Use the spacing options in Layout Options if you can, instead of fixing each individual page. If you manually change the Staff Spacing in Engrave mode, you prevent Dorico from doing anything except “exactly what you told it to do.” That is probably what is stopping the music flowing to new pages. When you change the staff spacing, Dorico will insert system and frame breaks to “freeze” the amount of music on the staves you respaced - otherwise, your manual respacing might not make sense.

  2. There is nothing “sacred” about the default note spacing of 4 spaces per quarter note. If you don’t have many 16th or 32nd notes, you can reduce it a lot (e.g. to 2.0 or 2.5) to get more music on a page, and you can insert note spacing changes anywhere you like in the parts. For a fairly short parts (2 or 3 pages) you can just change it one “click” at a time and keep hitting “apply”, till the music fits on the number of pages you want with Dorico’s “best” automatic horizontal spacing within those pages.

  1. I disagree with qanunji - Copy Staff Spacing only does one page at a time. This means that in a 10 page score, if you have to remove a flow that takes up a page, on page 2, pages 2-9 (previously referred to as pages 3-10) will lose their formatting. Even if Copy Staff Spacing was used, before deleting music, it only works on pages with the same numbers of systems. As far as I’m aware there’s no easy way round this at the moment (and if you search this forum you’ll see I’ve tried!).

  2. The “reflow” command you’re looking for can be achieved in multiple ways, including changing default spacing (as Rob’s mentioned). Here are two other ways:
    a) “Make into Frame” or “Make into System” - both of these can be found on the left pane in Engrave mode. Click the first note/rest you want on the system, then Cmd/Ctrl-click the last barline you want on the system (or the note AFTER the last note you want on the system), then click “Make into System”.
    b) Insert a System Break where you want the system to start, then another System Break where you want the next system to start. Select the first of these System Break and in the bottom panel flick the “Wait for next system break” switch.
    For either of these methods, substitute “Frame” for “System” if that’s what you want.

@qanunji: Oh that I could. If I’m told the score changes, then it changes. This is not uncommon in my area…

@pianoleo: The problem with multiple system/frame breaks is that you end up controlling every morsel of music yourself. It’s that world that I’m trying to escape!

@Rob Tuley: Yes, this worked for me, thank you. Flow and spacing were sorted. I’ll certainly employ this and, if necessary, use it on the occasional system break signpost when absolutely required.

Thank you all for your help. Very much appreciated!

I completely agree with you, it’s a pretty normal workflow in my area too.

  1. I agree that in principle it should not be necessary for staff spacing adjustments made on a page to be removed if the contents of the page stays the same but the page moves earlier or later in the layout due to changes elsewhere. Whether or not we can do anything about it in the immediate future is another matter!

  2. Even when you change the staff spacing by hand, Dorico does not reconsider how much music it thinks can fit into each frame, so it will not start pulling music from the following frame back into the one in which you’ve squished things up to make more room. If you want Dorico to consider that it can fit more into each frame, change the settings on the Vertical Spacing page of Layout Options to reduce the default staff/system gaps, or consider fixing the casting off such that you tell Dorico to always put (say) 11 systems into a frame.

Thank you, Daniel - very much appreciated. And it’s in the spirit of admiration and thanks that I write the following.

Is it possible that the the desire to combine page publishing and music publishing that compromises have been made to the function of music? It certainly feels sometimes that the God of the page overrules the God of notation, as least when it comes to usability.

Caution - heretical thoughts coming up. At this stage, when the code is new, there will be very few concessions made to backward compatibility. Anyone who has worked on large projects will recognise your upcoming dilemma. The complexity of maintenance code starts to overwhelm the ability to add new function. However, it’s the clean sheet you’ve started with that so many of us welcome.

How about being prepared to turn volte face and drop or change function radically? Do what others developers do and deprecate certain functions, even if there is a potential to drop backwards compatibility. Apple’s new version of Final Cut Pro is a joy compared to the old one but they took a lot of flak in doing so.

I would vote for a little pain over a couple of years, were it to allow you to refine your architecture taking into account the voluminous feedback from these forums and elsewhere. Don’t build code alternates for old versus new. Don’t build complex “Would you like me to update your file to the new standards?” code. Highlight the deprecations or design changes and let us fix them. Allow Dorico V1 to run alongside V2, V3 etc. If need be, I’ll open an old file in the appropriate version.

I guess this is where I have to say to the other contributors: “Your mileage may vary”. As one who worked for Acorn before Ben and Jonathan first released “Sibelius 7”, and having worked for IBM, for a major ISP and through it all been a pro musician, I’ve seen what the nightmare of maintenance code can do to Finale and Sibelius. It’s no surprise that their updates are trivial. It’s the under-the-cover changes that consume much of their creative energy.


No tin hat required, at least from my point of view.

At the moment we are taking a somewhat laissez faire attitude towards maintaining backwards compatibility for the reasons that you outline, though I don’t think we will be able to maintain this approach forever.

I have discussed this week with Andrew, the developer who has done the majority of the work on note spacing and page layout to date, about how we might allow staff spacing adjustments to be maintained even when the page in question moves forwards or backwards in the layout, provided no other changes occur to the range of music on the page. We have identified at least the bones of a plan, but we’re not sure when we’ll be able to actually try it out. Certainly at the moment we are deep in the implementation of a number of other significant features, and it’s not something we can do right now.