How to Work With Frame Chains | Page Layout in Dorico

🎬  This article is a transcription of one of the excellent tutorial videos posted to the official Dorico YouTube channel.

Presented here in written form with the kind permission of its creator, Anthony Hughes, this tutorial is titled “How to Work With Frame Chains | Page Layout in Dorico Pro“…

Hi I’m Anthony Hughes, and in this video I’ll be showing you how to work with music frame chains here in Dorico, the advanced music notation software from Steinberg.

Galley View v. Page View (00:13)

I have a project open that contains some piano music by Mozart, and I’m currently viewing it in Write mode, with Galley View enabled.

And you can see that Galley View shows us this one long stream of all the music, not at all bothered about how it might need to arrange itself into systems and pages. And quite right too.

That all changes of course once we switch to Page View using this convenient popup control.

Dorico now lays the music out over 5 pages.

Master Frame Chains (00:45)

Now, to see how Dorico flows music from one page to the next, let’s switch to Engrave mode, by pressing the key command Ctrl+3 (on Windows) and that’s Cmd+3 on Mac. We immediately see the blue borders around the music indicating that these are music frames.

And by switching Frame Editing on with this [Frames] toggle,

we now get some additional information being shown at the top of each music frame.

The first bit of information here is identifying the frame chain. Frame Chains literally chain music frames together and allow Dorico to flow music through the frames in the chain, so that when a frame becomes full, the music continues drawing in the next frame, creating more and more music frames in the same frame chain, until all of the music is displayed.

You can have more than one frame chain as we’ll see later, and they are named alphabetically with letters, prefixed with an M for any frame chains set up in the master page, or an L for any frame chains created locally in the layout.

If I click the disclosure arrow, I can see that this layout only has one frame chain at the moment, so it’s selected,

and I also have the option to unlink, which would create a new Layout Frame Chain.

For the moment, let’s leave this assigned to the MA frame chain, because I’m going to show you what happens when I reduce the size of one of these music frames that was set up in the master page. Notice that the layout currently has 5 pages, which the music fills quite nicely.

When I drag the bottom handle of this music frame up so that only one system of music will fit,

all of the music on subsequent pages is shuffled along,

and a new page 6 is created at the end of the layout to ensure all of the music is accommodated.

The same thing happens at any point in the music. Reducing the size of this frame triggers a 7th page to be created. What’s more, Dorico is clever enough to remove any redundant pages once there is no longer the need for them.

Insert New Music Frame, use MA (02:58)

Returning to page 1, I’m now going to create a new music frame under the initial one, though I expect you’ll notice immediately that it’s starting from the beginning of the piece again.

Select the insert Music Frames button, then click & drag to create an on-page Music Frame.

Well, that’s because creating a music frame directly on a layout page, creates a layout frame chain—you can see this one’s called LA—and because it is not inherently part of the master page, it currently only exists on this page and therefore the music simply stops when the frame is filled and no additional pages are created to accommodate the rest of the piece.

But now when I click this arrow, I can choose between our original master page frame chain MA and this new layout page frame chain LA.

If I choose MA, the music now flows from the first frame, continues though this new frame, and then on to the next page as before.

Perhaps I might want to be adding some text or a graphic here and the use of frames allows me to do this precisely and without needing to override the automatic staff spacing that Dorico has worked hard to get right for me.

Frame Order (04:13)

The second control in the frame sets the frame order.

I always have control over how the music flows through the various frames on a page, and that can certainly be useful when you have multiple frames on a page.

Filter by Flow (04:28)

The last two controls in the frame are for filtering by flow and by player. They’re greyed out for master page frame chains when you are looking at a regular layout page, as you need to set them on the master page itself.

However you can set them for Layout Page Frame Chains, and that can be a powerful way to include small music examples in your layout.

I have a project here that has the main body of music here in flow 1— I’ve cut it right down for the example—and then in flow 2 we have this small example of one of the themes from that piece.

I’ve also started to add some front matter to the layout, and it’s at this point that I would like the small music example to appear.

So, firstly we need to prevent Flow 2 from automatically drawing after Flow 1. And we do that by double-clicking one of these master pages to open the Master Page Editor.

It doesn’t matter which one we open, just make sure it’s a master page that has this default MA frame chain included. And now I can click here to filter by flow 1, which automatically sets it across every music frame that the chain MA is present. And when I close the Master Page Editor we see that only flow 1 is now being drawn.

So now let’s come back to this front matter, and create a new music frame in between these text frames. Dorico helpfully guesses that I don’t want to use Flow 1 again, so this is exactly what I want.

Though, because I’ve created the frame on the layout page, I can control the flows and players filters.

I’m Anthony Hughes, thanks for watching.

How to Use Frames in Dorico | Engrave mode

Arbeiten mit Notenrahmenverkettungen | Layouts in Dorico

I hope you’ve found this video tutorial transcription to be helpful. If you have, please subscribe to OF NOTE for ongoing music notation related info.

And don’t forget to subscribe to the Dorico YouTube channel, which is the source of this excellent series of Dorico video tutorials. ~robert puff

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