Melodram - how to insert longer texts

I am just wondering what would be the best method to input some longer texts into a score which is one piece of music (melodram).
The flow of music is “interrupted” by spoken text, example:

What is the best way to do so? I’d like to keep the music in one flow, just need these spaces to add the whole texts - or at least the last words as cue. I am trying with System Text Shift-Alt-X. This would mean, I have to shift the bar lines in each layout and at each occurrence.
There might be a cleverer way by inputting empty bars or hidden voices, I don’t know… Any tips are very welcome.

One way to make the process of manually adjusting note spacing quicker could be to use note spacing changes: once you’ve worked out what values you need to set the first change at the start of the “text” bar to for it to work in the parts, and added the reset change at the next bar, you can copy/paste those signposts to other parts.

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Thanks Lillie, this sounds promising, although I would probably have to put actual Notes into the empty “text” bars to be able to change Note Spacing?
I’ll give it a try once I am back at the computer tomorrow…

Would you though? Guess again!

I gave it a try, result with mixed feelings…
Note Spacing Change works in the Score layout - if at least one rest in one of the systems is visible. Inserting a Note Spacing Change only works in Engrave Mode, copying and pasting them only works in Write Mode…
If I go to the part layouts: they don’t respond to Note Spacing Changes, if there is a bar with a system rest. Everything seem totally unpredictable, I need to find a better workflow for this.
Mind you, I am still on Dorico version 4.

I had a look into a print from the year 1780, it looks quite neat - I try to get something similar:

To produce a visibly empty bar with for which I can determine the width, I usually add some notes and then hide their noteheads and stems (and also suppress their playback) in Properties. The number of notes and their durations requires some experimentation. For example, to end up with a fairly narrow “empty” bar I might use one whole note, whereas for a wider “empty” bar I would fill it with quarter notes, eighth notes, or a mixture. In the example below, the lower staff started as seen in the upper staff. The hidden notes do not print - Dorico shades them lightly so that we know they are there.


Hi @k_b besides of the options suggested by @StevenJones01 I have 2 more suggestion for the workflow with Note Spacing Changes and text

I use Keyboard Maestro on Mac (there are probably similar programs for windows…) where I programmed a macro, and with a simple shortcut it makes all for me:

if I am in Write mode I select something where I want to insert a NSC, press the shortcut and it automatically switches to engrave mode, inserts a (reset) NSC, confirms this (return), and automatically switches back to write mode
(from where you can change the properties of your NTCs by clicking on them and pressing Enter, copy or move them etc… (I even programed different NSCs with different amounts of "change"and assigned them on buttons in the Stream Deck app: it is very comfortable). If you are already in engrave mode it works the same.
I share here my macro for Keyboard Maestro if someone is interested. This creates a reset NSC even from write mode (in Dorico set a key command for NSC as shift+control+alt+command+N, then after importing the macro in Keyboard Maestro, to use it from Dorico just use the shortcut control+alt+command+N):
dorico note spacing change (reset) (25.5 KB)

If you put a fermata on the bar rest, the note spacing change will work (you can drag then the single fermatas that you don’t want to see, outside the page in engrave mode)

Thank you Christian for your helpful hints.
In the mean time I tried Stevens suggestions and I am getting there…

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thank you Steven, this was really helpful. Good that one can now (since when?) hide noteheads as well as the stems (and ledger lines…)
Now things start to look promising, I will do the complete score this way.


I’m glad you found it helpful. I know that many users do not like to use workarounds for situations where Dorico does not (yet) have a built-in “proper” way of doing things. From my point of view, if a workaround gives the results I want and it is a procedure which is easy to understand and to implement, then it is at least worth having a look at.