Is there any option to tell Dorico to force e.g. 5 into 4 pages?
Not so far – only single page forcing.
If you find you have more than a couple of pages you want tighter, see how the note spacing rule and the ideal gaps affect your layout. I like to reduce those smaller than the defaults, and make breaks to loosen pages that are too tight. That way you won’t risk collisions by forcing music into a smaller space.
First setting to try: layout options >note spacing. The default is 4, I find 3.5 still gives very good results (ymmv).
If it’s not enough, try reducing the space size (everything will be smaller) or tweak the ideal (minimal) gaps in Layout options >vertical spacing
Thank you both. That‘s what I do already. But it‘s all trial and error. I thought maybe I was missing something. It would be a really nice and helpful tool to be able to tell Dorico on how many pages the music should be spread out. But Dorico rather thinking in frames than in pages makes ist a lot more complicated, I guess.
This is just my opinion, but I don’t think ”make into n pages” would be the best. I think you would almost certainly end up with some disparity in systems or note spacing.
The existing note spacing tool is very flexible. Avoid adding system or frame breaks, and allow Dorico to do the spacing. Then add manual breaks only at the end.
I nearly always add a Note Spacing change for every flow, and for changes in metre. You very quickly get an eye for what value you need: if you’ve just got a couple of bars at the top of page 5, then may be 2 fraction steps smaller will bring them back.
I agree with Dan: sometimes I desperately want to get down to a multiple of 4, but like an old pair of trousers, no matter how much I squeeze everything, it’s not going to fit, and I have go to the next multiple of 4. Casting off is as much an art as an algorithm.
I wonder what a hypothetical “make into n-frames” feature would do?
Surely, it could just do that - make into some amount of frames. But if the user is inexperienced and the expectations wrong, there would be collisions. A whole bunch of forum posts about Dorico “not laying out things nicely as promised” would sweep in. And then what? Should vertical spacing be changed automatically? Should Staff size be changed automatically? Or Notespacing adjusted? Who decides what’s best? And in which way?
This feature would just make no sense… There is no “auto-engrave”, one has to make these decisions by oneself.
I agree; there are multiple ways it could be approached. Squish note spacing? People will complain it’s too cramped. Minimize rastral size? People will complain it’s too small to read. Brute force an even number of measures and/or systems per page? Collisions.
I suppose a combination of these together would provide the ideal results, but that’s why we have the option of tinkering with these values ourselves, at which point, why bother?