layout of default master page does not appear in part layout


I am a crossgrade customer from Sibelius and am having an enormous amount of difficulty grasping some of the basic concepts of Dorico. I specifically made the leap so that I could take advantage of the better layout capabilities that seem to obtain in Dorico, and specifically because of the potential to keep a multi-section book of tunes all in one master file (rather than the many multiples of files required in Sibelius). But I am totally flumoxed by the Engrave interface. The user manual states as follows:

You can apply a different master page set to each layout in your project.

PROCEDURE1.In the music area, open the layout to which you want to apply a master page set.
2.In the Master Pages section of the Pages panel, select a master page set from theCurrent set menu.

RESULTThe selected master page set is applied to the layout.

Really? Didn’t work for me. I can’t get the two pages of music I created to switch layouts via the master pages. I click here and there and nothing seems to change anything, and by clicking on the master pages, I end up in the dialogue area to change the layout of the master page.

Moving on from there, the question I would like to ask has to do with attempting to edit the master (full score) “Default” page, and after having done so finding that the engraved music in the full score “part” shows the correct elements but in a completely different order than what appears in what I had set up in the master page template.

I attempted to search for this questions and didn’t find anything that seemed relevant. I also have to say that I am completely baffled by the requirement of this forum that one is required to post a project rather than a screen shot. Is it really true that in order to be able to use this forum I will first have to figure out how to save a project according to the steps laid out in the “welcome” post? I really can’t just post the screen shot of what my master page default layout looks like and what is shows with the actual music in it?

I bootstrapped my way into Sibelius by using the online forums and the user manual. I never even had to post a screenshot because I was always able to find an answer or at least a clue in the forums. The setup here seems both arduous and unhelpful.

Can I get my money back if I give up after a couple of weeks at this?

Also, are all dorico files “huge” ? Sibelius files are tiny. Is there a way to keep files from being bloated?

If you could at least start with a couple of screenshots, of your master page (with the right panel of Engrave mode visible) and your page of music, that would give us a starting point. We’re a friendly bunch here, but the vast majority of us give our time freely, and it can get frustrating and waste people’s time if you just describe the problem with text. Of course, the fastest method is always to upload a project, but sometimes that’s not possible: it’s an open forum/copyright etc.

The vast bulk of most Dorico files is the playback engine data. You can reduce the file size by going into Play mode, then clicking the Play menu > Playback Template… Set that to Silence then hit OK, then save your file again.

Oh, and do give yourself some time; apart from anything else, there’s a bit of a brain-shift required in order to stop trying to make Dorico behave like Sibelius.

Lots of questions! I’ll try to address most of them:

1.- No, you can definitely post screenshots, on more difficult issue the devs themselves might ask you to post the file or send it directly to them.
2.- I can’t answer about money back, but as an ex Sibelius user I am never looking back. My personal suggestion is give it more time, it took me about 8 months to fall in love with Dorico.
3.- When working with master pages make sure that the correct templates are used on the correct page: Top right you have your pages, if you click on one it’ll highlight the Master page being used by that specific page.

I’ll be happy to help you more but check point 3 first…

Have you watched the tutorial videos? As well as the short tutorials, there is a series called “Discover Dorico” where one of the Dorico developers demonstrates how to solve “real life” problems, often using questions from users as the starting point. There are a few of those that have discussed document formatting. Each video is 45 to 60 minutes long, but there is a list of the contents on YouTube so you can skip the stuff that isn’t relevant.

Most likely, your problem is just a misunderstanding about what something is supposed to do, or how all the pieces (master pages, layout options, etc) fit together. As the others have said, don’t give up too quickly.

From your question it’s hard to work out exactly what you did, but if you could explain it clearly you probably wouldn’t have a problem anyway. If you can post a project with the (unformatted) music, and some pictures of what you want to achieve (maybe made in Sibelius) somebody here should be able to take you through the process step by step.

Hi Bollen,

thanks for the encouragement. I know the learning curve is steep between different platforms, and I know for a fact that dorico has the potential to make my workflow much easier. The primary purpose I want to use Dorico for is for creating tune books— music books that have lead sheets for trad. tunes – think irish tunes or contra dance tunes, though in this case I’m working with Moldavian material. I’m specifically interested in using the “flows” to allow me to establish different keys and time signatures for the different tunes within each book.

In Sibelius the best way I could come up with to work to layout a book was this:

  • create a tune file for each tune/track in sibelius and engrave.
    — output to .eps file
    — input into indesign layout
    — export drafts as pdf from Indesign for copy edit/proof reading

that was fine as far as it goes, but making corrections and (omg) creating B-flat and E-flat books is completely fraught when you have so many files and versions to keep track of.

I’m attracted by the idea that I can keep one master file with all of the tunes for a particular project in it, and to save versions periodically for archival purposes. I’m hopeful that Dorico will provide enough graphic design flexibility that I can get away with outputting the musical portion of a given book as a pdf straight from Dorico.

So this layout part is something I want to be able to understand on a deep level right from the very beginning, since I have a desire to work closely with flows and page layout and title position and all that.

The additional questions I have will come with time and experimentation I know – I taught myself how to use Sibelius back in 2012 and though it was brutal at first I know it gets better.

I wonder if Dorico has created some kind of tutorial called “dorico for sibelius users?”

woudja? couldja?

Thanks jakeysworld


The videos are long, there are ton of them, and they are mostly designed to show you how to do specific things (that is if you can figure out which video you’re supposed to watch). For obvious reasons, they can’t help you out when you’ve tried to do things the way you’ve been asked but it hasn’t worked. In this case, I mirrored the layouts and don’t have any page overrides - but still no joy. I’m trying to use the user guide and forums (as I did when learning Sibelius), but find that the Sternberg technical writing is challenging.

the two screen shots here show what I see in the page layout and actual layout. zip file of project also attached.

thanks much, jw
Moldavian Tune Book for forum (383 KB)

Hmm… when I open the attached score in Dorico pro 2.2.20 on Windows, I get the attached pictures. They might not be exactly what you want but at least the music is being displayed.

The reason you have the strange second page in the violin part is because you have done something that created a page override on page 2 (notice the red triangle marker on the page, in the right hand panel). There isn’t enough music to put anything on page 2, hence you get page headers where the tokens for the titles etc aren’t set to anything, and there is no music. If you right-click on the page in the right hand margin and select “remove page override”, page 2 disappears completely (as expected).

I would guess the most likely cause is that you aren’t actually running the latest version 2.2.20 for some reason. Maybe you downloaded an older version by mistake somehow. Help / About Dorico should say “version 2.2.20.nnnn”.

If that isn’t the reason, then since your score displays as expected for me (and is not the same as your screen shots) I can’t think what the problem might be.

For what it’s worth, I see the same as Rob when I view the Violin part. I’ve already answered the question about the score on your other thread, here:

Hey Jakey, I’m working on something very similar, etudes instead of folks songs, but the format is very similar. Dorico is ten times better than anything I have ever used and once you get used to the way it works you’ll find it incredibly powerful! I have even used it for writing out graphic scores!

I suppose the answer above from Leo is pretty much what I was going to say. If you still need help let us know!

PS: The majority of Dorico videos have a timecode of the different things they talk about in the description (sometimes in the comments), well worth checking out on a different day, NOT when you’re working. I watch at least one every Sunday with my cup of coffee… :smiley:

Try this one:

This shows some more “advanced” features, but it might help to find your way around even if you don’t need the details :

Watching the Discover Dorico playlists will teach lots of useful things apart from the main topic of the video, simply by watching an expert using the program to do things that are similar to “real work” rather than just demonstrating all the features in a particular topic.

I also would encourage you to invest the time viewing the videos. As a longtime Sibelius user/lover (20 years), it took me quite awhile to wrap my head around the total change in philosophy to Dorico. It also took many months of dabbling with non-critical projects before I understood many concepts, especially related to layouts (and am still learning). But from what I grok and am doing already, the potential is amazing. I’ve since discontinued my Sibelius upgrade path and now do everything in Dorico. It’s that different, and that remarkable. Not looking back.

Watch the videos. Read the Help file. Then watch the videos again. And keep asking questions here. The time invested in learning will be FAR outweighed by the hours of frustration you’ll experience by trial and error / stumbling through to learn the program. Don’t think of it as transitioning from Sibelius - think “learning a new program from scratch” instead. There are not enough similarities from other programs to be helpful.

Hang in there. It WILL get better! :+1:

You’re definitely not using Sibelius to its best advantage. I’m not trying to discourage you from learning Dorico because it’s the only serious notation program that’s in active and excellent development, but you can make your life in Sibelius a whole lot easier while you learn Dorico.

I’ve created lots of files with different sections like your separate tunes, different meters (some with pickups, some without), different keys, different song titles, all within the same file in Sibelius. No need to use .eps files or outside page layout programs. It can all be done within Sibelius in a single file quite easily. And that makes creating Bb or Eb books very easy – simply create parts in those keys. As the music in the full score changes with edits, those changes will reflect automatically in the Bb and Eb parts.

But to get back on track with Dorico, when learning any new software it’s best not to try to jump right in with complex projects (in my humble opinion). I’ve always found it easiest to learn new software by beginning with simple projects, which aren’t on any sort of deadline, and to follow along any tutorials you can find and work them through. As you do that you will find that you start to understand better how the concepts of the new software will allow you to work most efficiently on your real projects.

The good people here in the Dorico forum are very knowledgeable and can help guide you – when they suggest that you view the videos on youtube, you should definitely do that.

Best of luck to you in your projects!

Isn’t it pretty much a rule of thumb not to change/upgrade programs when working to a deadline? (I guess people’s thumbs vary.)

Well, it depends where you start from, but the OP’s project of “creating a book of tunes for a solo instrument” IS a simple Dorico project, once you know the basics of how to approach it. Most people don’t learn as fast by “reading manuals” as by “trying to do something.”

You will get a useable result (but maybe not exactly what you want) simply by making each tune a separate flow and filling in the fields in the Project Info dialog.

Once you have got that far, you can explore the Layout Options, and then start editing the Master Pages if you still don’t have exactly what you want.

The old adage about developing software applies to this - “premature optimization is the root of all evil”. Don’t start tweaking the details of the document format until you see what you get for free with the default options for everything :slight_smile:

Thank you Rob, DHBailey, and dwlarson for thoughtful replies.

I am kind of coming from the perspective that the note input I’m doing for my tunes is actually pretty straightforward and quite simple within the bigger picture of the capabilities of Dorico. — single instrument, no complex time signatures or other features (though I’m excited about unusual key signature support). For the layout part, I have very specific needs and figure the best way to learn my way around Dorico is to jump in and figure out how to get the program to do what I want it to do. I’m not on deadline as such, but am using this learning period to do a test project so as to see what is and isn’t achievable in Dorico so that by the time I get to doing an actual dedline project I’ll have a better sense of what kind of a work flow I can reasonably expect to bring to the project.

Another user here walked me through the difference between the default page master page and the flow heading master page elements yesterday. I had seen them but didn’t understand how they fit together so that was a big help. Since then I’ve been nosing around pulling out all of the little “drawers” stacked around the main viewing windows and poking around the dropdown menus.

Thanks much for the responses.

To get the layout you want, the “big decisions” about the format will push you towards which options to use in engrave mode.

The basic decision is whether you want each flow (i.e. tune) to start a new page.

If you don’t want to force tunes to start on new pages, display the flow header for each tune, and reformat it to include all the details you want. You can use the “first” master page to put an overall title at the start, or create a separate title page that doesn’t use a master page at all - just one or more text boxes. The “default” master page (for every page after the first) probably won’t contain anything except the page number and a running heading for each page.

If you want to start a new page for each tune, then you have a choice of using flow headers or starting each flow with the “first” master page. You might wonder why there are two ways to do almost the same thing. The reason is that Dorico 1 didn’t have flow headers at all, and therefore there wasn’t a nice way start flows part way down the page and automatically create titles for them. If you use flow headers, again you can use the “first” master page to add a global title to the first page of the score. Otherwise, the first page of every flow will have the same format. Of course the most common use case for starting every flow on a new page is when each flow is several pages long, which probably doesn’t apply to your tune book.

If you don’t care about backwards compatibility with projects that were originally formatted in Dorico 1, I would use flow headers rather than “first” master pages.

First, work through the Layout Options in setup mode to get the right master pages and/or flow headers displayed on each page. Then edit the master pages themselves in engrave mode to get the right information in the headers.

You can use frame breaks to force the start of a new page where necessary - put the frame break at the start of the flow on the new page, not at the end of the previous flow.

One tip that isn’t directly related to flow headers etc: If you want to stretch or compress the music in a flow to occupy a different number of systems, to fit better onto complete pages, try using a Note Spacing Change for the whole flow rather than manually inserting system breaks. It’s less work, and if you change your mind later there is only one thing to redo.

Consider overwriting the format of specific pages as a last resort - if you edit the score and change the way the flows fit on the pages, you will probably have to redo the work!

Hopefully this will get you on the right track for achieving what you want.