Choral Layout Question

A general engraving question but more how do I do acheive optimum layout in Dorico question. I’m importing some choral musicxml files that are raising several questions that I’ve not found answers to in the forum. The import is fine. The layout with my default settings is not so great. I’m using letter size paper, 7.0mm rastral size with the vocal part being the Choir instrument. That gives me Soprano & Alto on one staff with Tenor & Bass on the other. Piano is beneath.

With some adjustments to the Vertical Justification options I’m ending up with 2 systems on a page as shown in the graphic. It just doesn’t look quite right. There seems to be too much white space. It seems like I should have three systems per page. Are there any other settings to look at? I could adjust the music frame margins inward to make the 2 systems per page have less of a gap between systems. Changing to other page sizes sometimes gives me 3 very cramped systems per page but not on every page. Are 66 measures on 9 pages good or should I have less pages? Should I go smaller than 7.00mm? (I haven’t done any editing of the music so I know there are some things to adjust unrelated to layout). Or maybe what I have is fine?

I would definitely significantly increase the ideal gaps for staff to staff group, can’t remember exactly what it’s called.

Either you need to reduce the staff size, to get 3 systems comfortably on the page; or you need to change the justification % so that the staves of each system are spread out, to avoid that huge gap in the middle.

7mm is quite large for a piano vocal on A4. 6mm is probably sufficient.

You might want to reduce the header and footer distance from the page edge.

This video is a really helpful and in-depth explanation of how to handle vertical spacing:


I know what you’re talking about. That’s one thing I hadn’t thought about changing. Thanks.

That’s good advice to have. I always thought 7mm was the way to go (probably coming from piano music where I like 7mm to read from).

I watched that a few months ago and frankly still get a bit confused with all the possible permutations of the various options. I’ll definitely re-watch it.

To adapt what someone else said in another post elsewhere on the forum, when I post here and read the responses I think to myself, now why didn’t I think of that to start with?