Prefatory staves / incipit bars in Dorico

I know Daniel said in an earlier post that early music features, including prefatory staves would be included in future versions of Dorico. But I wondered how close you could get at the moment to the bars shown in the first attached image. My attempt so far is shown in the second image. In particular, moving the brackets and putting the second clefs after the barline. I’d also like to get rid of third staff in the organ.

Thanks in advance
Tallis Dorico.png

Something like this? It’s all done in Dorico. It’s not perfect, as I did it very quickly :slight_smile: It involves doing the pref in a separte flow, hiding things, and placed in a separate frame etc…

Did the same here. Got good results.

Started by writing two flows, creating a “none” new master page which I called incipit, drew the frames and made sure that flow 1 continued on the next frame (LA), created a following page and set it to default and then continued the flow on that default master page afterwards. I took a pic of what it it looked like in Engrave mode so the flagposts show.

Thanks both. I’d not thought of using a separate flow, I will experiment :slight_smile:

I was much encouraged by Claude Lapalme’s demonstration of the way in which a prefatory stave could be constructed. Although these are early days for me in using Dorico, I can suggest a work round for creating coloration and ligature brackets in advance of those features being added to the program itself. On my Mac, the Unicode Arial font has a character set called ‘Box Drawing’ (I can add characters from this using a little program called PopChar). To add the brackets to my Dorico file, I open a text box in Engrave mode and insert the characters at the appropriate position, as shown in the attached picture. Ideally, this needs to be done after final formatting since the characters are not dynamically attached to the notes to which they belong. The one thing that I have not yet managed to do is to hide or erase the initial system brace in the prefatory stave as fratveno has. How is this done?
test file.png

Hi EJW1,

Just for your information, Claude and others have suggested that for this kind of bracket, the best solution is to use the tuplet function (and choose not to show the ratio, of course). No need to do it in the end, and if you want to change the looks of your score, the brackets will stick with the music correctly.
As for brackets, if you choose the right option in Engrave options (cmd-shift-E) > Brackets and Braces — Small ensemble, Dorico will follow the groups that you create with your players. If you put one group/player, they won’t show brackets (that’s how I use it for opera). Fratveno could have created special players for his prefatory staves, with a group for each of them. Just guessing here :wink:

Many thanks indeed.

Has Dorico 2 made incipit bars any easier? Could someone share a Dorico document with an incipit, so I can see how its done?


No, there’s been no change in this regard. It can be done, but it’s a bit fiddly – I’ve just spent the last 10 minutes or so doing the attached. The basic steps are:

• Create a separate flow for the incipit
• Exclude the incipit flow from the master page main frame chain (the ‘Flows’ filter drop-down for the MA frame chain in the master page editor)
• Use the Note Spacing tool to indent the first system of the “real” flow to make room for the incipit
• Use a system break at the start of that first system so that you can set the ‘Staff labels’ property to ‘None’.
• Draw in a new music frame in the place where the incipit should go, and make sure the incipit flow is assigned to it.
• Add the appropriate clefs, etc. to the incipit.
• Consider setting the auto final barline of the incipit to e.g. ‘No barline’ in Notation Options.
• You may need to hide the rest(s) in the incipit, depending on whether you’re showing an initial note. Use Remove Rests if possible, though in this case I had to colour the rests via Properties to make them completely transparent.
• You may want to add a note spacing change at the start of the incipit to make it use narrower spacing.
• You may need to use the Note Spacing tool to indent the right-hand side of the incipit, depending on the value you have for justifying the last system of a flow on the Note Spacing page of Layout Options.

Hopefully one day we’ll have a proper feature for this, but until then this is perhaps better than a kick in the teeth, and as far as I know not much more laborious than doing a similar job in Sibelius or Finale. (307 KB)

Many thanks, Daniel. Marvellous stuff. Possibly another way might be to import it as a graphic.