Master page performance issues on a large file

I have completed editing a large score for full orchestra which consists of one piece of mine followed by six other movements by another composer. At 15MB, it’s a very large Dorico project! I offered to do the editing because I wanted to use (and show others that we can use) flows to organize the music. This was a very good decision on many counts and I am thrilled with the results and the ease with which it was accomplished. However, while the file itself did not trigger any speed issues in terms of normal note entering and editing (with attachment lines turned off), there were several slow-downs in engrave and setup modes which I did not notice on smaller files.

As the show in question will have numbers where orchestra is tacet, I created a couple of tacet master pages. This was done after all files had been imported and reviewed from music xml files provide by the composer (my piece was done on Dorico from scratch). Since the music was basically “done” at that point, the file was already very large and creating a new master page was exceedingly slow. Every time a frame was added or modified, I had to wait a good minute before it drew. If the new page was “based” on another master page, it would take considerably longer than that.
Deleting a master page was very slow also.

Deleting a layout was remarkably slow, as was deleting players.

Changing space size, even on a part, on a system or frame break took several minutes

On the other hand, engrave mode work on the pages themselves, resizing frames, inserting breaks, inserting master page changes etc … was as fast as ever.

I’ll be very glad to share the file with the team, as it is a bit of a monster and could help uncovering things.
A couple of unrelated issues:

With orchestra, after using “hide staves” there are occasional system to system collisions/overlaps.

I noticed recently that ornaments have a property in engrave modes which reads “inside slurs, tuplets and octave lines”. It would be great to make this available for playing techniques; for natural harmonics alone, it would be a godsend!

Cheers all!

The problem with editing master pages is that each change you make currently has to be reflected in the actual project in real time, rather than being saved up and then applied when you close the editor. We do plan to change this, but it’s complicated and needs some careful planning and a bit of time to work on it.

Thanks for the reply and explanation

So a possible workround could be to copy the master page to a new page that isn’t used in the score, edit it, and then make it the new master?

I’m afraid this won’t work as a workaround, because it’s the master page set as a whole rather than the individual master page pairs that affects the scope of the invalidation.

Well, that explains why it took me half a day to edit the master pages for my 50-flow film orchestra project… that plus the inability to copy and paste frames, or even to copy one frame’s text to another with the formatting intact.

Daniel, are you by chance in touch with engineers from Adobe? I wonder if they could share any insights about how they accomplished this in InDesign &c. I used to know one of their engineers, if it will be of interest to you I can try to find his contact.

I’m not sure Adobe would be too fond of Dorico copying their technology for free. :wink:

Since then, for my current project, I have created my master pages in advance (as best as I could, anyway), and saved a great deal of time that way.

We know what we need to do to improve the performance of editing master pages, Thiago, we just haven’t yet been able to prioritise it highly enough for it to get done. It’s not an insignificant amount of work.

I found a workaround guys! Take the full score layout, remove all flows except one. Then fix the layout—it will work through the changes much faster! Then, add the flows back.

This has helped me greatly with Act II of my score…

Daniel: I imagine it’s a crazy amount of work, and you guys are really doing an amazing job at keeping track of all these moving parts—it shows!

That helped with a large score I’m working on. Thank you!


Note that when you remove a flow from a layout, all of the layout-specific edits you made to that flow are removed, so don’t attempt this after you’ve done e.g. a lot of tweaking in Engrave mode.

In that case, it’s best having a separate full score or part layout with a dummy flow with no music and one player, since the master page sets are shared, no?

Salgueiro, what good would this do? (I admit I’m completely exhausted right now and maybe that’s why I can’t think of a use case for this!)

Daniel, is there any documentation on what is layout-specific and what is not? Or some reasoning behind it that would allow us to instinctively know?

After spending a bunch of time setting properties on certain items while in the full score layout, I noticed that many of the fixes did not transfer to the instrument part layouts and I had to redo them…


I’ll admit I’ve not tried it, but I suspect Thiago has a good point - we know that the reason master page changes get slow is that each change is applied throughout the project in real time. A separate full score or part layout would merely add to the work that Dorico has to do when applying master page changes, and thus slow it down further.

Just an idea I had away from the computer, but that I’ve been able to test just now. The changes made in any master page didn’t quite seem to affect all the music or all the layouts synchronically at first, but further testing with more combinations proved the difference negligible. I was under the impression that all tweaks were applied in real time at launch, but that the team had somewhat relaxed that behaviour, but I must be confusing that information with some other procedure. There is obviously some heavy lifting being done, but I first thought perhaps not everything was being reflowed right off the bat, with some calculations maybe being postponed. I’ve tried it on my biggest Dorico project so far, and editing the default master page while on a layout with no music (and running off the MBP’s battery) seemed faster than usual at first, but now I don’t know. What I tentatively suggested would be a workaround to speed things up and keep all layout-specific edits and properties, but, alas, it doesn’t seem to work.

This is something the team will hopefully be able to tackle in the future. I recall wasting a significant part of the time I had to pull parts from this project just trying to adjust the master page layout instead of taking better care of the specific content (though, admittedly, I trusted Dorico more to handle the bulk than I would trust any other software). We’re talking about minutes between I could move another frame.

Yes, minutes was not unusual for moving a frame in my project. Then I figured out the workaround and it sped things up greatly — and since I had not even touched flows 2—end, I was able to get away with it (see Daniel’s message, above).

Daniel, perhaps getting the software to keep layout-specific edits even when you remove the flow from the layout would be easy to do? That might mitigate this issue for a little while at least? We can always reset the layouts via menu command, although the reset probably works across flows so maybe that’s a terrible idea…

I’ve just thought of a hack that hasn’t been posted here yet:

File > Export flows. Select all apart from first one. Make sure the new file (containing exported flows) has actually been made - generally this is very quick.
Delete all flows apart from first one, from original project.
Edit master pages at lightning speed.
File > Import flows.

This is tried and tested, and the exporting and importing really doesn’t take more than a few seconds.

Caveats: You’ll lose ALL tweaking you’ve done along the way, so it’s not a step to take lightly…

Thanks for your insights, Daniel.
This also explains why the delay also makes me wait when I edit master pages that are not even used anywhere yet (but in the same Master Page Set).

Looking forward to whatever you guys will come up with eventually :wink: