Evening out systems

I have a song that has 3 systems, but the last one is crunched up. How do I stretch out the 3rd system. As an answer, I would also like a link to a tutorial that goes into this kind of formatting.

Layout Options > Note Spacing > Justify final system (adjust threshold or turn off)

Since you asked, a couple suggestions:

  • Don’t extend barline through the lyrics. Use choir reduction instead of piano.
  • Staves are too far apart
  • you can get that all on two systems
  • Remove floating rests

Welcome back to the forum kerkenat! It’s not a “tutorial” as such, but a lot of the tasks you’d need for adjusting how music is formatted onto pages (staff size, staff spacing, hiding/showing empty staves etc) is mostly in this section of the manual. That initial page tries to serve as a brief intro to some useful things to think about/be aware of when you’re at the making-the-music-look-nice stage, with links at the bottom to further information etc.

If you scroll down the list of topics on the left, you can see all the separate pages within the section - most of the key tasks are at the beginning, with subsections for more info (e.g. about condensing, about staff spacing etc) towards the end.

You may also find this Discover Dorico video session (run by John Barron) helpful.

I did this and it applied ‘final system justification’ to every flow in the whole project.

The local alternative is to go into Engrave mode, then to the Staff Spacing tool (in the left panel), click the square handle above the final bar line and then use Cmd/Ctrl-Alt-Right repeatedly to stretch the system.

I’m not familiar with ‘choir reduction’.
The stave spacing is just the way it turned out. I didn’t change anything related to that.
To get it to 2 systems I need to figure out how to remove the 2 manual system breaks I applied.
Not sure what floating rests are or how to get rid of them.

Thank you. I will go through those pages you mentioned.

The System Breaks will show as purple signposts if you go View > Signposts and turn them on (which may involve using the toggle at the top of the menu). Then just select and delete the signposts.

“Choir reduction” is an instrument. In Setup mode, you can change the instrument from piano to Choir Reduction.

The floating rests are… well, the rests that look like they’re floating above or below the staff. I think it’s fine to remove them entirely. Select them, and Edit–Remove Rests.


I’m not sure what/where the square handle above the final barline is.

Apologies. I meant the Note Spacing tool, which is the the fourth tool down in the left panel.

You’re in staff spacing. Look in note spacing.

Oops, Lighting Leo. :joy:

Where can I find a description of Choir reduction? It doesn’t appear much different than the piano.

It isn’t really any different, except that the bar lines don’t extend between the staves. So it’s preferable for music with lyrics.

Also, it loads a choir sample for playback, not piano. IIRC.

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All these recommendations are global. My ‘project’ has 45 different songs in it:


I would really rather prefer to apply these changes ‘locally’, on a flow-by-flow basis.

I’m really learning a lot from this thread. TYSM

If you want some flows to join the bar lines between staves and some not to join, use both a piano AND a choir reduction. Then assign each player to the desired flow.

You’ll also need to move the music from the existing player to the other player as needed, but that’s just a matter of copy-paste.

Or perhaps easier, you can add a bracket and barline change on selected flows to remove the bar lines between staves. Engrave mode.

The square handle above the final barline, in Note Spacing mode, is very much a local adjustment.

That said, at the moment you’re fighting the Note Spacing options in Layout Options. If you really want your music that spread out, set the top value in Layout Options > Note Spacing to something much greater than 4.

If you want to adjust it on a local basis, you can do so by inserting a Note Spacing change, from the Engrave menu. At the start of the next flow Dorico will automatically revert to whatever’s set in Layout Options > Note Spacing (unless you add another Note Spacing change).

Choir reduction also ‘hides’ the chord symbols.

Any player that holds only “non-rhythm” instruments will have chord symbols turned off by default - this is not specific to the Choir Reduction instrument.

You can switch them on for that player by right-clicking on the player in the left panel of Setup mode > Chord Symbols > Show for all instruments.