Transferable Front Matter for Score/Parts

Hi everyone,

Is there a way to create front matter that is easily altered between the score and parts? The front matter includes a title page, my program notes/text for my piece, and notation guides for each instrument. Basically, I would like to be able to include everything in the score, but only some of these pages in individual parts (e.g., my Flute part would only contain the title, program notes, and flute notation guide).

My initial thought was that I could create a flow for the title page/program notes, and individual flows for each notation guide. This way, I could simply go into Setup mode and check the boxes that were necessary for each part. Unfortunately, it is impossible to create a flow that only contains text. Additionally, when creating the notation guides, it seems impossible to create the music snippets for each technique and then transfer them across layouts. I have gone through many of the forum posts and YouTube tutorials on doing things like creating worksheets, so I can easily create my notation guides in the score. However, in using the system shown on most of these tutorials, I would need to redo this process for each individual part/layout.

My solution has been to create a new Master Page for each individual page of the front matter (Title page, first page, second page, flute notation guide, etc.) but this has been pretty annoying when it comes to the notation guides. You can’t use Layout music flows on Master pages as is necessary to create nice-looking musical snippets. I have thus had to go in and manually override each music flow on the score and each individual part to be a Layout flow.

Is there an easier solution to all of this? I love being able to create front matter and music in Dorico as it makes the workflow so much nicer for things like doing edits later on, but this process has been quite a pain so far in Dorico. It seems that given the features like flows, master pages, etc. it should be so much easier than I have found it to be thus far!

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Honestly, if you’re going to be that in depth with it, I’d just use a text editor like word or pages and then combine the PDFs later.

A master page for the title page is good, and can be applied universally, but each part’s performance notes would be a bit of a pain. This is where I’d get help outside of Dorico.

As for music bits, just export snippets from the score as image files (svg) and then place them in the text.


I agree that using Master Pages is the best approach here. Certainly the Master Pages you have planned for your Score should be straightforward enough.

The goal I would set for myself would be to create a Parts MP for your notation guide that, if possible, could serve all or most of your parts. Certainly at least some of the text could come from Other Information in Project Info; but to really help out, since you suggest you would be mixing msuic examples with text, we’d need to see a sketch of what your notation guide would look like in general.

I also agree with Romanos that using combined PDF’s might be the simplest choice.


This is possible.

  1. Create a new ‘part-title’ master page for the parts. Include text box placeholders and populate for all your ‘common’ materials including your normal project/part tokens. Include a text box for your ‘notations’…
  2. Create a new flow for each instrument containing just your ‘snippets’. Run each snippet one after the other.
  3. Engrave. For each part, insert a master page change on your first page (select your new master page).
  4. Create a new music frame for each snippet you want to specify. Filter the frame only to show the flow of snippets for that instrument (and make sure each frame you add is linked to the same local frame chain LA or LB etc)
  5. Adjust the size of these music frames to show just the snippet you want and add your words to the text frame(s)
  6. On the 2nd page add a master page change to restore your normal part layout.

My experiment looked like this…


Thank you for your work in looking into this! I’m afraid this is mostly the solution that I came to as well. What I am looking to avoid here is the use of “Layout” music frames, as this means that I would have to recreate the same thing for EVERY part and the score and reformat each individual frame, even though they are all pulling from the same place (see my below example that gets placed on every part). I think my only option here might be to use an external PDF editor as Romanos mentions above. I was hoping to avoid using extra software but that is going to be far less painful and time consuming than trying to do this in Dorico alone.

Indeed, as “flexible” as the text box / music frames features are, simply put: some things are just easier outside of Dorico.


Are these instructions the same for all the parts that require them, or do the instructions vary by instrument or section? If all parts receive the same instructions, a single Master Page insert might do it.

It is the same in every part! I have a master page set up already. Unfortunately, you cannot use “Layout” frames in a Master Page, so the snippets are impossible to add. For the above screenshot, I set up a master page using the default “M_” frame chain, then changed all of the music frames to “L_” and overrode the Master Page.

Do image snippets (svg’s, since they are vectors) and put them into image frames, rather than trying to bring in snippets of flows natively. That way you can get exactly whatever you want, and plop them in no problem.

perhaps for now… :wink:

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I think Dorico’s layout features are great, but we can’t reasonably expect them to implement a mini “indesign module”. I also hope things will continue to get better, and that I’ll have less and less to do outside of Dorico, but I also am realistic about what we can expect from the dev. team where text layout is concerned. Publishing programs are just so much more flexible—and rightly so—that it’s just worth it to do the polishing in those programs instead.

To be clear: I like what you can currently do in Dorico, although there are some hindrances. But I also don’t think it fair to expect the level of flexibility and support you get from a dedicated text editor, all within Dorico as a secondary function.

You can definitely do what you’re looking to do using master pages. It just requires correct setup of master pages, frame chains, and flows.

You can add notation information flows to master pages using a master page frame chain(s), but you probably want to uncheck those flows from the “main” master page frame chain (usually MA) if you don’t want those flows also to appear at the end of the layout.

So e.g. have the flow(s) that contain the complete music in the MA frame chain, then have your front matter music shown in a separate frame chain, e.g. MK or whichever gets created - when you draw in a music frame on a custom master page, it should be in a separate frame chain to the Default page anyway; if not, unlink it to add it to a separate master page frame chain. Then edit the Default master page, and untick any flows that aren’t “complete music” from the MA frame chain.

Here’s a quick example project so you can take a look at how I’ve set up the master pages and frame chains to produce the desired result in the Violin part.

front_matter_master_page_example.dorico (399.7 KB)


This seems to work, and I appeared to have overlooked something originally, so thank you for clarifying this. I will say that this has now created a new problem where the front matter is only showing up for some parts and not others? I created a master page that uses the MAA frame chain (see below images). This seems to translate fine to my score layout, and I just have to do a tiny bit of formatting.

The problem seems to come with the parts. I imported my master page from the “Full Score” master page set to the “Parts” master page set. This turns my frame chain into MAD on the master page (again, see below). The music shows up on my flute part, but on the clarinet, piano, percussion, etc, it just says “Tacet.” This is true for every master page set that I have set up in the parts, and it is very confusing to me! Is there a button or checkbox that I need to click?

It would be helpful to see the project itself as there’s variables in play that it’s hard to determine from screenshots.

Sure thing! Here it is. Note that I am using the layout entitled “2nd Score” as my score for the piece. Please disregard the messy music that follows the front matter. Universal Thoughts copy for Front Matter Experiment.dorico (2.6 MB)

Wow. Some enterprise there! Kudos in spades.

Based on my own limited experiments, here are a few suggestions…

  1. Delete all the default part layouts and replace them with copies of the full score layout (this will probably remove the Tacit problem, as I think the default part layouts cannot “see” any other parts).
  2. Create a custom Master Page set for every Layout and avoid using the Default pages - just copy them to something new. This appears to let you independently filter the MA frame chain.
  3. Be very careful which layout applies to which flow and which player. If you make a mistake it’s all but impossible to back out (save frequently)

Here’s a simple file that tries to replicate some of the features you need.
Frontpieces1.dorico (400.2 KB)

I hope this moves you forward. To be honest I feel I’m just scratching the surface in understanding how this works.

@Lillie_Harris It would be really helpful if there were an easy way to see which specific overrrides were being applied to each page…?

+1 My use cases are much, much more simple and I believe the only overrides I’ve added were to move the top and bottom margins of music frames in order to control page to page alignment of systems, but it would be nice to know for sure.

@ISmith0202 the reason you had empty music frames was the players with music in those flows weren’t included in the part layout - if you want to use the flute/piccolo players to demonstrate notation examples for all players, you have to include the flute/piccolo players in all part layouts. Ditto, if you want to show music from a particular flow in a part, that flow has to be assigned to the part layout as well.

Here’s your project with that done for the cello (to the best of what I can understand looking quickly at it). I’ve also edited the Default part master page so the extra notation flows aren’t in the main frame chain - so after all your prefaratory pages, only flows 1-2 appear in the part (i.e. the flows with “real music” in them).

Universal Thoughts copy for Front Matter Experiment_LH.dorico (2.6 MB)

Here’s also a page from the manual that goes over the three-way relationship between layouts, players, and flows. It can get a little tricky to get your head round complex examples - so for simplicity, I would recommend having perhaps 1-2 players that don’t appear at all in the ‘real music’, they’re only used for notation examples. That way you reduce the risk of confusing overlap, and might be easier to follow who needs to be where in your head when working on it.


Fantastic! Thank you so much for your help-- I am glad to find out that Dorico is indeed capable of doing what I am going after. What powerful tools these are once you can wrap your head around them a little bit!

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It would be ideal for this not to be the solution though! We’ve all had that day when you export a score 7 times because you notice different typos and having to recombine pdfs every time is so arduous! (Alt, it could also be nice to be able to embed a pdf page into the Dorcio file such that each export would automatically append?)