Tips for staff size management?

My score has a few “all hands on deck” measures like the one in the attached image, but more commonly shows a subset of the full instrumentation at a given time.

If I reduce the staff size I can make that last measure look uncluttered, at the cost of making the rest of score look excessively small and spacious. Is there a better approach, where staff size can be managed to be larger when there are fewer instruments playing?

(Not arbitrarily so, since I wouldn’t want a solo line to take up an entire page. But some adjustment might be nice, whether it was automated or something I could nudge manually.)


You can apply a system or frame break wherever you like (including at a point where Dorico has automatically split the systems or frames/pages), and then set that break to change the staff size to anything you like. Remember to apply another frame break at the start of the next system/frame/page that will restore the original size.

Go to Engrave mode.
Select something at the beginning of the page you want to shrink.
Hit shift-s to add a system break.
With that break selected, flick the switch in the bottom panel that refers to staff size (this is off the top of my head, I’m afraid - my conputer’s 200 miles away).
Type something into the box - I believe 1.75 is the default space size but you may have set something smaller in Layout Options.
Hit tab or escape to let Dorico do its thing.

Rinse and repeat at the start of the next system, setting the size to whatever your general setting is in Layout Options.

Thank you! I’ll give that a shot.

(Previous post updated to give clear instructions)