This is gold!

Everybody that prints music out should watch this: Orchestra Librarians Pt. 3A: Format & Page Turns - YouTube

I’m particularly impressed that a lot of it is Dorico’s default!


This is excellent, thanks for posting! I actually follow that channel but hadn’t seen this yet. So many people use staff sizes that are too small for orchestral work. For a piano piece or choral work that will essentially be rehearsed until memorized, sure a smaller size is ok, but virtually all new orchestral music will be unrehearsed and players really need legible parts to perform from. Orchestral parts for a recording session are often being sightread so legibility is super important there too. Way too often I see people using staff sizes more appropriate for piano music or etude books, which makes them quite difficult to read in these situations.

He gives a fantastic breakdown of various paper sizes! One thing I wanted to add is that some larger sizes that he didn’t go into as much are actually derived from very large sizes that are intended for paper suppliers. For example, for the past 20+ years my default paper size has been 9.5"x12.5". This was a common manuscript paper size as sold by Associated Music and King Brand in NYC, and Judy Green and others elsewhere. Our supplier (a bunch of us go in on orders together for a bulk rate) receives the paper as flats of 25"x38", which is a common large size for suppliers. From this they can cut exactly 8 sheets of 9.5"x12.5" without any waste. In any case, some other larger sizes may be fractions of other common supplier sizes too.

Also, some of the string information he presents may be different with COVID precautions so be sure to check with the librarian of the orchestra you are working with. I worked on a piece (not mine) for the NY Phil in May-June 2021 and the strings were still not sharing desks so the print count was much higher. I’ve worked on a few orchestral recording sessions in the last couple of years too where strings were not sharing desks as well.

He links to some MOLA resources in the video, but everyone doing any sort of music prep work should definitely download the MOLA Guidelines for Music Preparation if you aren’t already familiar with it.


He covers a lot more on the paper sizes on his first video and apparently there’s a third one coming out.

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It is actually a repeat of Orchestra Librarians Pt. 2: Parts Paper Sizes - YouTube
Two identical videos with different titles . The actual “Format and page turns” is not there.

You’re mistaken. They’re definitely two different videos.

Each has its own splash screen but from then on both have identical content about paper sizes, not page turns.

The video linked to at the top of the thread follows on from the video you linked to. They’re not the same video, and they don’t contain the same content.


IIRC Part 1 is paper sizes; part 2 is margins (which does involve reference to paper sizes); and part 3 will be page turns.

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pianoleo is correct.

I’m always torn regarding margins. In the concert world the margins mentioned in the video (and by Gould) seem to be the standard. In the session world, we tend to see considerably narrower margins. Like even below 10mm is not rare.

Here’s a tweet by JoAnn Kane Music Service showing a picture of their standard part layout with super narrow margins (seems to be 8mm on the sides and even less on the top):

And we tend to also have very narrow margins with scores.