Engrave mode Staff Spacing question

I see very pale blue areas at the top and bottom of the music frame in Staff Spacing mode in Engrave mode. What do they represent?


Music Frame Margins. Layout Options–Page Setup.

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@DanKreider thanks! As usual, would never have figured. But I should ask the real question. I have piano music which needs to be set in A4 landscape with two systems per page. The systems are generally quite expansive with a lot of very high and very low leger lines. They look good if more in the centre of the page than from the top, so I had been manually adjusting the staff spacing spinboxes to set them down them page and up. I found out from @pianoleo yesterday I could do this more effectively with adjusting the frame size. So, now I can lower the top of the music frame and have the offset of the first system zero, instead of setting the spinbox to 20mm.

Now, it would be great of the second and bottom system would align to the bottom of the music frame. But even now knowing the pale blue represents a margin, the system appears to take no notice of it whatsoever and I can move it beyond the margin at will and neither the frame nor the margin appear to produce any constraint on placement.

I don’t know if I have expressed this very well. But in short, how can I make the bottom systems line up with the bottom of the music frame, insofar as it is probably the bottom line of the bottom staff that needs aligning - I am not sure.

Since a picture is worth a thousand notes :slight_smile: here is an example of what I want to achieve without so much manual adjustment:

[I should perhaps add that while making this score I have set casting off to two systems per page but I have had to adjust every system manually. Have I messed things up therefore?]

I observe that I can manually drag the bottom system down so that the distance of the bottom line of the bottom staff is 0mm from the margin. So is there a way to do this automatically with some sort of reset? [I know people will jump in and say you just have to get used to doing things manually, but Dorico is so incredibly sophisticated I am always hoping there are settings or options to reduce the amount of manual work in various processes.]

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If you make your music frame sufficiently small (vertically narrow) or you adjust the ideal spacing correctly, then the vertical justification settings will kick in. You can control the threshold for vertical justification of staves; set it to a low enough threshold that dorico pops them out automagically .

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Thank you so much @DanKreider and @Romanos I have learnt so much and now for the first my score can align beautifully. It is a joy to behold! Discourse won’t let you mark two answers as the solution sadly!

Of course the beauty of doing this right is that I can just simply change the vertical dimensions of the music frame for the layout and everything sunggles into place with no effort.

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@Andro here is a page about margins for your information. Some other tips just in case they’re still helpful as well:

  • If you want this entire layout to have bigger gaps at the top/bottom of the page, but leave the page numbers and header etc where they are, then you can increase the music frame margins. That sets the default for the layout, but you can also override this for individual music frames (including on a page template).

  • You can also achieve this effect by editing the Default page template and adjusting where the top/bottom of the music frame is on that page. E.g. if you lower the top and raise the bottom, so the music frame isn’t as tall as it was, music will be kept within that height – provided you haven’t overridden individual pages and created local page overrides, of course. Which you can do, but if you know you want a consistent result on every page, editing the page template is the way to go.

  • I would always recommend looking at things like the above ^ and the per-layout vertical spacing settings before moving any staff/system vertically manually using the staff spacing handles. Because staff spacing adjustments are liable to be lost if the page number changes; say, if you add a title page at the beginning of the layout. Page template edits and vertical spacing settings are much more robust, and also consistent.

Forgive me if this is way beyond your capabilities already, as I know you’ve been a regular user for some time, but John Barron has done a couple of excellent Discover Dorico sessions on spacing, how it works in Dorico, and good ways to utilise it to your needs. I’ll post the more recent one below, in case it helps you or others who find this thread.

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