Galley View Spacing: Something's Gotta Give

I’ve posted a few times now about Dorico’s spacing issues in Galley Mode, as have others. This, IMHO, is the first aspect of this app I would say was poorly implemented. In order for Galley Mode to be really useful, spacing needs to change.

Some cases in point:

  1. I’m working on a piece with nine verses (the middle phrase changes per verse). In this case, Dorico handles the spacing beautifully in Engrave/Page, but in Galley the lyrics slop over the next two staves, making selecting them or any notation behind them a nightmare. Even as I work on the octavo, in which only two or three verses are involved per section, Dorico insists on absolute positioning for these verses; this means that, even though I don’t need v. 1-6 to be represented in the latter sections of the work, the space is there, so that verse 7 is cast far away from its notation and in my way again.

  2. Dynamics, text, and symbols are involved in more collisions than teenage drivers on Missouri highways. Every piece I do inevitably offers me an ugly clash of markings somewhere in Galley View; one piece turned short fermatas into a weird pseudo-Masonic symbol until I increased staff spacing.

  3. Adjustments I make in Engrave have no bearing in Write; this means every tempo marking will still impede on whatever expressive text I add in Galley, no matter how carefully I placed it in Page.

I know I can “increase ideal staff gaps,” but that is a band-aid at best, a further headache at worst. Why should I, for instance, have to spread my staves 10 cm apart just to accommodate the verses in my first example? For all the attention paid to UI, this was a miss.

I believe the solution is to add Galley View as its own sidebar in Layout Options. Some parameters here should include:

  • Vertical spacing of lyrics: Relative or Absolute
    Staff spacing: Uniform adjustment (the current option to increase gaps) or Minimum space between staff elements (spaces between bottom-most marking/note of higher staff and top-most of lower staff)
    Toggle all Page View vertical spacing parameters on/off in Galley View (this would include manual adjustments made)
    Increase horizontal spacing: %, amount, or automatically

Another help would be to right-click/control-click a staff and have the option to increase spacing above/below.

If there’s anything I’m doing that I could do better, let me know, but I think this is too easy a pitfall.

Why don’t you just input in Layout options, vertical spacing, a percentage of 400% or more, if you need it ? I never had to write 9 verses but already 3 or 4, and this little manipulation is not such a hassle ^^
Anyway, I think you are right to point this out, maybe our wizards of engravement will implement an automated staff spacing in due course !

I would think that the advantage of a galley mode would be to show everything with dynamic spacing (based on what is actually on screen) to avoid collisions.

Point taken, Marc, but the hassle comes when this adjustment applies to every staff, so that, for example, the three instrumental staves are a full foot away from the vocal lines. That’s just silly.

I agree — that is why I added the last line… This should be automated, I think steveparker is absolutely right too. And I am sure Daniel agrees too, let’s give them some time to make it perfect :wink:

Unfortunately it’s not practical for Dorico to adjust the staff spacing automatically in galley view based on the extent of items above and below the staves. Performing the kind of collision avoidance, including tucking things close together and ensuring that the program doesn’t use more space than it really needs, that Dorico does on a staff-by-staff and system-by-system basis in page view is computationally expensive. The key to Dorico’s fast performance is that we carefully work out the smallest possible range to recalculate after each edit, which typically results in at least the current system being reprocessed at least partially (there are many phases to Dorico’s processing, and this is a simplification, but hopefully you get the basic idea).

Galley view is, to Dorico, effectively a single system. So if we were to run the same processing we do in page view after each edit performed in galley view, the range would normally be widened out to the whole system, which of course equals the whole flow. This means that as the flow gets longer, the amount of computation required to calculate the collision avoidance grows, and thus the program would get slower and slower. It’s not practical to perform the calculation for only part of the flow, because then you would suddenly find that the staves don’t join up at some point in the music where the calculations produce different results.

What we will hopefully be able to do in future is allow you to adjust the spacing between staves in galley view manually, most likely by dragging the little snippet of the staff that appears in the margin to show you the current clef and key signature for each instrument.

In the meantime, if you really want to work in a galley view-like fashion but want collision avoidance, try making a new layout that contains only the flow(s) you’re working on, and define a custom page size that is wide enough to fit more bars into a system than you can normally fit on a regular page. Depending on the complexity of the music and the length of the flow, and the performance of your own system, you may well be able to make a page that’s wide enough to feel like galley view for much of the time with the benefits of collision avoidance from page view but without slowing the performance down too much. Your mileage may vary, however, and this isn’t really something I would recommend. Certainly if you do this and make a page wide enough to fit 200 bars and then complain about slow performance, you won’t get a huge amount of sympathy from me. (And you won’t get the useful margin when the clef etc. is out of view either.)

Personally I would find it very useful to have a keystroke that increased/decreased the global setting in Layout Options>Vertical Spacing>Expand ideal staff gaps, circumventing that dialog.

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It seems there’s also a limit of 200% on the Layout Options setting “In galley view, expand ideal staff gaps to”. If I try to raise it higher than 200%, it does not work, either by typing in a number or using the arrow keys.

It would be nice to be able to raise this higher if desired.

It should be possible to increase this limit somewhat, so I’ll try to do that before the next update.

When the galley staff spacing is too tight to see/edit lyrics, my solution is to choose the voice line alone instead full score (top center of window). I haven’t run tests on everything, but I tried a few super low voice notes, and it worked well. Full score galley is a jumble, of course, but it’s easy to click on Engrave to see the final spacing. Haven’t tried copy/pasting lyrics in 4-part chorales one staff at a time, yet.



its currently ( Dor Pro 2.0) really hard to draw dynamics without this feature…

You should find that you can give yourself a little more room by adjusting the scale factor for galley view on the Vertical Spacing page of Layout Options.

thanks, seems like a temporary workaround - best to create a separate layout with separate scaling settings just for the gallery view and leave the “print” layout untouched.

Galley view is a complete nightmare for me to work with. If you are in write mode and you have grouped instruments then the view you have is distorted and completely confusing because everything is on top of each other, You should not have to go into engraving mode to once again see a completely different perspective. The bottom line is that it should not have to take more than a minute to control dynamics . The other major issue that Dorico has to resolve its Tie situation. It is completely mad that you have to delete a tie and or a slur to move something. The Dynamics in Dorico are not working well. I have really tried but it is not worth spending useless time to fix the most menial of tasks. Someone has to sort this out.
So to put it again. If you go from normal write mode to galley view, one’s perspective should not be so changed that you have no idea where you are on the page.
2. If you are in galley mode than it is infuriation to go back and forth to find your place, then move a slur or a dynamic but then you have to go back into write mode.
Why because you see things that you do not SEE IN WRITE MODE and this is maddening.

If you’re deleting ties in order to move things, you’re not using Dorico in the optimal way. See for instance.

That said, it’s now 5 years later than the OP, and spacing in galley view is still pretty much a gong show.

Four years, and Galley View was never designed to do collision avoidance.

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I suspect that the problems referred to could be avoided if, as proposed elsewhere, we could easily select from the score which instruments appear in galley mode. (I seem to remember that this was available in Sibelius years ago.) If I am inputting notes in a cello part, it would often enough to be able to see that and the first violin part in galley mode in order to know where I am in the score.


I do all my work in Page View. Everything is laid out beautifully. If Galley View is so objectionable, then don’t use it.

@david-p Selecting which instruments to see in galley view is easy in Dorico: It only takes a few clicks to create a custom score with your cello and first violin part, and only those will show up.

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