Master pages and layouts. Prefatory staves success in 1.1

There’s more potential here than just in early music, but I’d like to share my success in adding prefatory staves via a second flow. In the attached score you’ll see that I’ve used two flows, one new master page set, and one new layout. Together with the extra features introduced in version 1.1 I can now score write in Dorico much of the vocal early music I do, which is fantastic!

The score probably speaks for itself, but a few words of explanation may be helpful, if you’d like to see where I’ve been travelling.


I wrote the prefatory staves in Flow 1, and the main score in Flow 2 in the familiar Full Score layout.

I could see that I also needed an additional layout, and it wasn’t hard to visualise what I wanted. However I had to go round the houses before realising that I could achieve it by first creating a new master page set that allowed me see the prefatory staves only where I wanted to see them. This was my break-through.

The new set was based on the Default Full Score master page set (select that and click +). Once created I could change the First master page in the new set to include only Flow 2 (the main score). Note that at first sight you can’t change the flows included in MA frames since they are “greyed out”. But if you double click a master set on the right of the Engrave Mode screen you get into the Master Page Editor where you can make changes. Changing the First master page automatically changed the Default master page in the same set to do the same.

Now the new master page set was in place I was ready to create a new custom layout, change to that layout at the top of the page, and allocate my new master page set to that layout.

Now to the bit that has become possible in version 1.1. In the new layout I indented the first system of the main score (Engrave Mode > Note Spacing), and overlaid a new music frame in the space created (Engrave Mode > Frames), allocating the prefatory staves flow to the frame. I then added player names via text frames to get round names appearing twice in this situation if set through Staff Labels in Layout Options > Staves and Systems.

Job pretty much done. The rest is detail.


In the new layout I set up the score with the size of staff and size and font of lyrics that I like, justified the last system, used Note Spacing of 3 spaces for crotchets/quarter notes (needed with so many breves/double whole notes), and various other formatting things. I was then ready to print from the new layout. (In case it’s not clear, btw, the attached score is my slightly idiosyncratic template for new editions. Titl, Composr, Playr and the like are place-holders only!)

In the prefatory staves I hid the 4/2 time signature, nudging the notes right in Engrave Mode > Note Spacing, and used Shift+X to insert C time signatures copied from the SMuFL webpage (needed enlarging), moving or copying them into the right place in Engrave Mode. Hurray for version 1.1, and for the free availability of that magnificent panoply of symbols.

I mentioned above that I indented the first system of the main score. Before I did that I added a System Break after 4 bars, so that when I did the indentation (which automatically adds system breaks) the bars were not compressed.


To end, I love the problem-solving aspect to exploring Dorico at this stage in its development, but I have to hope that I’m going in the right direction. Feel free to follow up with comments and suggestions.

Long live Dorico!
PrefatoryStaves_Dorico1.1.zip (717 KB)

Thanks for the Tutorial. I think it is not necessary to use a second master page set. On the default master page choose the music frame in engrave mode and say Flows:Flow2. Then create a new music frame and choose Flows:Flow1. That’s all :slight_smile:

I really like that I can look at the Full Score layout and see the bones of the music, and then look at the “Score + Prefatory” layout and see how it will be printed (with flesh on, if you like). Layouts are an extra dimension to the separating of concepts that the Dorico team have built in with Flows and Setup/Write/Engrave/Play/Print.

It may be, as you suggest, that you can do what’s needed by tweaking the Full Score layout and just seeing the prefatory music in a music frame - I’m not sure, does it limit you? I do know that now I understand a bit about how to use master page sets, and how quick and straightforward they are, I’ll move more and more towards separating bones and flesh, rather than trying to squeeze everything into one view.

Here are screenshots of the two views. What do you think?
Prefatory Bones.PNG
Prefatory Flesh.PNG

I think the approach to do it with a prefatory in a music frame is much easier to handle. Even more if you need prefatory staves not only one time but for every movement of the work (say Kyrie, Gloria etc.).