Page turn question

This is a general notation question - I have a string orchestra piece that is very…uh…busy. Many divisis and everyone playing a lot of notes. Page turns are going to be tough. But there are often times where the players are playing the same material for a few bars before the page turn and then the same material for a few bars on the new page. So in practice is there a way to handle this by writing “simile” or something similar to help the players know better what’s coming? Can anyone point me to any guides on this issue? Thanks!

For any page-turn info, I put a text box onto relevant pages down the bottom-right of the final stave. In fact, the text box is already in the Page Template but empty and I just add text when needed.

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this type of situation can be VERY problematic, and very annoying for the engraver.

if at all possible, try to find a spot where there are measures of rest, even if this means that half your page will be empty.

when leaving half a page empty of staves, include a text box with words to the effect that there is a page turn.
I’ve seen parts where there was a giant thin “X” through the bottom half of a page to indicate that there weren’t missing staves, but that the page was meant to be empty like that.

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Thanks for offering me perspective. It’s a minimalism piece so lots of notes and not a lot of rests. But I have not been so extreme to consider a half page being blank. Given that freedom, I could probably make it work. I’m checking with my schools music orchestra librarian to see what he recommends.

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If you feel like it, and can upload a PDF, maybe we can offer some suggestions about where to put the turn.

There is nothing extreme about leaving half a page blank, even more than a half page or a whole page. And there is also the possibility of fold-out pages when absolutely necessary. Do whatever is necessary, but provide a page turn at all costs, and make it a feasible one (with tempo taken into account.)

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Thanks! Fold out pages will not be an option here.

Half pages, 3/4 pages, or blank pages with text like “this page intentionally left blank to facilitate page turn” are all very common. Since exported Page Template Sets are simply doricolib files, I have all of these options already set up in any new file by adding the doricolib file with my desired Page Templates to my DefaultLibraryAdditions. (I made a few hacks to fix the duplicated font issue.)

I don’t typically use 1/4 pages as they can usually be avoided by moving a system to a previous page, but if you look at older hand-copied musical theater parts, these are pretty common too. Another option is starting with a title page, so the first page of music is on page 2 and the first page requiring a page turn would be page 3. Since you mentioned the piece is for strings, if you really can’t find a page turn you could have different parts staggered by desk, like Violins I (Desks 1-4) and Violins I (Desks 5-8), so in a worst case scenario you only lose 1/4 of the Violins I during a page turn. I think I’ve only had to use that last option once, as there’s almost always a better way to lay things out so you find a page turn somewhere.


I’ll have to investigate putting my custom page templates into the Default Library Additions folder. I have heard you mention this before, and it sounds like a useful move.

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There are a couple of edits to make to get them to work. When you export your Default Full Score template set, it will have a nonsense user entityID like this:

Change that to pageset.fullscore, and then in your Default Part doricolib file change that entityID to pageset.part. You may get duplicated Paragraph Styles too. For any paragraphStyleIDs with a long string like this …

… just peek in your userlibrary.xml file and see what it is actually called:

Make those entries match, then you can delete the entries at the bottom of the exported doricolib file like this one, and you won’t get duplicated Paragraph Styles:

Add the Score and Part doricolib templates to DefaultLibraryAdditions and any file from File/New will automatically have them ready to use!


Personally, I would avoid that in favor of a simple V.S. mark at the lower right. If there is a V.S. mark, the musician should acquaint themselves with what lies ahead. I guess it wouldn’t hurt to put “V.S. (simili)”, but I wouldn’t do any more than that. Too much information can be worse than not enough.

Of course, if there is any way to provide for page turns at rests (as many posts here suggest), that is even better.

Also, depending on the instrument, some page turns are manageable without rests. You can do a page turn on any sustained note on trumpet, tuba or euphonium if it isn’t in an extreme range, for example. That will work on trombone for any notes that can be played in first position. Some saxophone notes require only one hand on the instrument. And so on.

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A good page turn, by definition, takes place at a rest that is sufficiently long to accomplish the turn. I would settle for nothing less. One can find old parts that have no page turns and V. S. written at the bottom of every page. I would use a V. S. only in conjunction with a turn at a rest that is at the lower limit in terms of length, just to be on the safe side, otherwise it can become an excuse for a bad turn.


I use V.S. at every page turn that is less than a full page. I know it’s not literally what “volti subito” means, but doing otherwise risks the player just assuming that’s the end of the piece and not turning the page at all.

If a page is particularly full, but the next page can begin with a rest, “V.S. (Time)” is often used as well. I’m pretty sure Emily Grishman (who sorta owns the Broadway copying scene) uses that reasonably often as I know I’ve seen it in shows she’s done. Her team will often use a small cue sized multibar rest in this situation to show the player how much time they have too.


Just tried this, and it is pretty amazing. I notice it does not add my custom set but replaces the default set (which is okay, just a surprise). I didn’t have any problems needing to change the paragraph style reference, perhaps because I run a pretty vanilla setup.

Thank you, @FredGUnn for the information and off-line help.

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Yeah, renaming it pageset.fullscore will load your exported set as the default set. I can’t remember exactly, but I think I did that because Dorico only wants to load the two default sets (score and parts) automatically when starting a new file. This way I could have all my templates loaded by default in every new file, and not have to use Import.


Thanks for everyones help on this! I managed to get good page turns and even used some blank pages (creating a new template per one of the recommendations above). Worked great!