Problem adding flows to pages that have customized distances between systems

I’m making a multi-page set of assignments for my students, and have customized individual distances between systems in order to insert text frames where necessary.

In order to avoid unwanted courtesy time and key signatures, I instead made each assignment within its own flow, and I have allowed new flows to occur on existing pages. (Giving each new flow its own page would result in some pages having very little content.)

However, because I have customized individual distances between existing systems, a new flow’s initial system can appear higher on the page than the lowest system of the previous flow. I then use Engrave mode’s ‘staff spacing’ tool to manually lower the new flow’s system to a lower position, but this sometimes means lowering it onto a new page, and that sometimes creates a bizarre situation in which Dorico will not create a carat for the new flow’s system when it is on a new page.

Is there a better way of doing this?

(BTW, I’m using Dorico 3.5 – Windows 7 machine.)

You could maybe adjust the Music Frame margins in Layout Options. This changes the buffer between the staff and the top/bottom of the frame:

Thank you, Daniel!
Not sure that will work for my situation, in that the distances between systems in this project are all different.

This may give a better idea of my situation:

Ahh yes - sorry I mistook “new flow” for “new frame”.

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Could you maybe enter the text as staff text (rather than a text frame) so that the systems automatically spread out for you?

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That’s an interesting idea – I hadn’t thought of that! I have used text frames as a way to control – and change, if necessary – text placement on the page, but I’ll definitely try your idea.

Thanks, Daniel.

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If I may, I would use custom Flow headings for this text (I use those for text cues in opera/musical theater). You get full control over distances, layout, etc. and no overrides!

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Thank-you, Marc - I will definitely look into this suggestion!

Marc, will using custom Flow headings eliminate the problem that I’m having? The problem is this:

  1. In order to allow appropriate space for text (as text frames), I individually customize the distance between systems on my page – e.g.:

  1. In order to avoid courtesy key and time signatures when writing a musical example in another key or time signature, I tell Layout Options to “allow flows on existing page”, and I then create a new flow, as necessary. However, because I have customized the distance between systems already existing on the page, this is what sometimes happens:

– that is, the new Flow begins above some of the systems belonging to the previous flow. I can manually drag the new flow’s system to a lower position on the same page (if possible), or even to a new page, but – if to a new page – Dorico will sometimes refuse to let me use the carat to enter notes there, and I have to re-drag the new flow’s system to the previous page, just to enter notes (and then re-drag it lower, once done).

(Sorry for the long-winded description!)
If using Custom Flow Headings will fix this, please let me know!

Many thanks, Marc! :grinning:

Can you post the Dorico file of your Sample 1 illustration so we can see how you have set it up behind the scenes?

Certainly – thanks, Derrek.

sample of overlapping flows.dorico (557.0 KB)

This is what I thought the suggestion to use custom flow headers implied.
I put each system in its own flow. I did have to reset time signatures and key signatures and manually move the header for the second system (for the Assignment 5 instruction with no staff).

sample of overlapping flows Altered.dorico (1.3 MB)


Thanks for checking this out, Derrek!

Three questions: 1) How is this different from what I was doing? 2) Would this prevent a new Flow’s system from showing up above a previous Flow’s system, if the latter had been manually lowered a great deal to make room for text? 3) Did yours involve Marc’s “custom Flow headings”?

Thanks again. . .

It should.

The text in my version is part of the Project Info for the flow, and having each system as a separate flow with its own header should minimize the need for manually moving anything once one has set the Vertical Spacing defaults and staff (space) sizes to one’s preference.

I do a lot with Page and Header Templates that I can apply over and over again. Header Templates are a bit less flexible when one has multiple flows per page, since the Header Template has to be assigned to the page rather than to a specific flow (FR wish, wish!?)

Many thanks for taking the time to explain this, Derrek - I appreciate it. Custom Flow headings is completely new to me, so the idea of using the flow heading itself as the text container is an entirely new perspective for me.

Quite often, I don’t know - until I write it - how many sentences and paragraphs an “assignment” will have, but I see that your custom flow headings require specific info on how many lines of text they are being asked to contain. One can drag the dimensions of any text frame without problem, but we would have to create unique custom flow headings for any deviances, wouldn’t we?

As well, how to use this technique if a particular ‘assignment’ is text only? Wouldn’t one then be faced with the problem of how to get rid of the opening bar of staff or system that is automatically attached to each flow?

As far as using “templates”, I’m still in the dark ages. . .
(Speaking of templates, how does one add a particular custom Flow heading to a master page without it showing up on all pages that use that master page?)

A dumb, simple question: Dorico allows us to create and use any combination music, text, and graphics frames on the same page – so why do we have to use esoteric methods just to let a new flow where to ‘land’ on a pre-existing page? Is there no simple, straight-forward way of going about this? Personally I would do all this in a single flow, and use ordinary staff text to add your instructions. Dorico will handle the spacing of the staves to avoid collisions, which you can then tweak in Engrave if necessary.

This took less than 10 minutes to knock up…

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Thanks, Janus!

A quick, only tangentially related, question: How did you and Derrek manage to transfer what I had only uploaded as an image into an actual Dorico file – did you actually re-create everything by hand?? (If so, I am humbled by your generosity!) :grinning:

Yep - quick transcription (though I ran out of patience on the text!!!)
Here’s the file… (I set the text properties to align with system start. Removed the initial indent, and final stave justification in Layout options. You should probably set up a Paragraph style for your text)

layout1.dorico (719.9 KB)


Many, many thanks, Janus! A straight-forward approach, but I will have to devote a little time to Paragraph styles, as you suggest.

Hi again, Derrek;

Will your approach work if one or more custom flows contain text, but no music? Doesn’t every new flow come with its own opening staff or system?

I would say no. It is impossible totally to hide the music staff of a flow.
In that case I would simply use a SHIFT+X text block with a [paragraph style to match the flow-header text info. In that case one might have to move some staves manually in Engrave mode to make space for the text.