Fixing an age old engraving problem?

Is it easily possible in Dorico to erase staff lines when the cross the slanted beams and make for ugliness?

Top picture is with the staff line showing; bottom picture is with it erases:

With Staff Line

Hidden Staff Line

AFAIK, the short answer is no (feel free to set me straight though!). It is an editorial choice, of course. Henle shows the lines through (at least in their old Beethoven Sonatas editions) and Durand hides them. So it is a matter of taste, but that choice is unfortunately not available in Dorico at this present time.

Thanks. Is there a feature request process here?

You can edit the title of this post and add a tag “feature request” (in the optional tags field)

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Is there a name for this technique? I can’t seem to recall. It’s somewhat uncommon as the staves were etched first, so they had to go back and be filled in after the beams were added. French beaming, where the stems didn’t cross the beams, was obviously much easier, as you just engraved shorter stems. Just curious if there was an actual name for this style.

It’s a great question, but unfortunately, I really don’t know ….

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Did they manage to hide them on ‘physical’ engravings…?

Computer engraving can create things that weren’t possible (or easy) in physical processes (as with other typography and design): and I’m all for new techniques, instead of pretending that we’re still doing it on metal – if it actually serves the reader.

Though as Claude says, they’ve been a ‘feature’ of even the best engraving for centuries.

I’d be interested in seeing the whole beam.

Me too. I just experimented with masking a few barlines just to see how it looks:

It’s interesting! My eye doesn’t really notice it at all when playing through it, and it does impart a little cleaner look. It could be an interesting option to have in Dorico.


With the staff lines:

Without the staff lines per each triple beam group:

Without the staff lines per each triple beam group + single beam:

The last example is a bit disorienting to my eye.


I find both of the “without” examples disorienting.

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Mine too. I decided to include it for good measure comparison.

TBH, at ‘usual’ scale, a small peeking staff line through the beaming probably goes by unnoticed.

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This would be excellent addition to Dorico.

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This option would have to change the algorithms for stem shortening and beam slant in note values smaller than eighths, as those algorithms are designed, among other things, to avoid wedges within beams, which would no longer exist when masking staff lines. That’s asking a lot of Dorico!

Making the opposite assumption of “this should be easy to implement”:

I suspect that this would probably be very difficult to implement in any notation app, because drawing the staff lines across the whole system (or bars thereof) is usually the first job, so making some of them stop and restart to coincide with a moveable object would be a whole load of work.

Or you’d have to mask out the lines with actual white rectangles between the beams, and a whole load of “Z-order” stacking checks to make sure that nothing else was masked out.