Music frames on blank page

Hi all,

I am trying to make a legend page for before my score within Dorico. I usually do this outside by exporting and cutting up pdfs but I though I would give it a go in house. I am afraid I cannot manage it. This is what I need to do.

  • Have a completely blank page.
  • Add separate text and music frames at will
  • Have each music frame be a separate line of music

My workflow is; make a new custom layout.
Add a new empty flow and add it to this layout (nothing will appear other wise).
Add a new phantom player for this layout only.
Add an empty page, not a master page, just a blank one.
Add text frames (no problem)
Add music frame - it says LA, layout frame
Add phantom player to this flow/layout
Input some notes., all good so far…

The confusion starts here… If I add another music frame, it is the repeat of the same flow. If I ‘unlink’ it, now a new master page appears on the right. This cannot be deleted and any attempts to do so will cause a new master page to appear on the right.

There seems to be no way back to the start here. It does seem like the frame and layout tools are immensely powerful in Dorico, but there is also something very confusing in the multiple interactions between Master pages, layouts and flows.

If anyone can point me in the right direction to achieve a blank page with text frames, separate music boxes that bear no relation to each other and do not mess up my existing flows, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks in advance,

When you assign a flow to a layout, Dorico automatically puts that flow into the Master Frame Chain. If you happen to use that flow within a Layout (LA) Frame, Dorico still assumes that you want that flow to also appear in the Master Frame Chain. You can tell Dorico not to do this by opening any of the pages that feature a regular (typically MA) Music Frame, such as the Default or First Master Pages, in the Master Page Editor. Then use the Flow Filter at the top of the Music Frame to exclude the relevant flows. Apply and Close.

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Thanks for the reply,

Yes I have tried that and can exclude the flows from the pages. But what would the simplest approach be to my task? As in should I have separate flows for each of the musical excerpts, ie frames? Having one for each excerpt? Or could my extra, excerpt flow have all the excerpts within it, but split to different frames? The logic is not clear from the outside in trying to understand how these parameters interact.

Thanks ,

You should do one flow per excerpt… that’s definitely easiest.

If you wanted to split up a single flow across multiple frames, you can do that but the frames must be in the same frame chain and set in the order you want. You can’t specify what part of a flow appears in a frame beyond using frame breaks to push material into the next frame (i.e. the first frame always shows the beginning of the flow, you can’t have a single frame and set it to show e.g. bars 4-8 of a flow).

Thanks so much Dan and Lillie, I will try these approaches.

Just a thought, the addition of a blank stave option was a fantastic idea. Perhaps adding an excerpt frame function might be good? Like a frame that is its own entity, untied to flows, masters etc. The chained frame functionality is very powerful I can see, but from an outside perspective, quite difficult to understand. This is a personal perspective of course, but it seems like a confusing aspect in an otherwise crystal clear software. And it might be extra so for beginners.

Thanks for your time,

If the frame is unchained from flows or master pages, what do you want to display in it? Musical material is “stored” in flows. I do appreciate that the master page/frames functionality can take some getting used to - it certainly took a while before I felt truly confident with it! But I do think that practice and familiarity will pay off and one day it will just “click” for you.

You can also use graphic slices, for example, to export a snippet of music as an SVG file then load that into a graphics frame if you prefer.

Thanks Lillie I will stick with it,

Ah, this solution with the graphic slices is perfect for now! Really streamlines the task, thanks!


A good start would be to add a custom blank page Master Page spread to your Master Page set. These can include headers and footers as you wish and then leave a space in the middle to add layout frames for any random music and text you wanted to add.

Thanks Derrek! Will do