Grace note rhythmic spacing

Grace notes of different values before a beat: Dorico places them relative to each other as if they are to line up rhythmically. I have never seen this before and it seems bizarre to me. Both Finale and Sibelius give grace notes only the space they need before the beat, not aligned across staves. This makes sense because grace notes are by definition too quick to synchronize.

  1. Is there a use for this rhythmic synchrony in scores that I don’t know about? (Obviously this doesn’t affect single-line parts.)

  2. Is there a way I’m missing for Dorico to space grace notes irrespective of other lines, as one always sees in scores?

GraceNote Spacing
Dorico makes room for all three 32nd notes between the slashed eighth note and the beat, apparently because of their rhythmic values

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I agree. I’ve never understood this, and I’m also curious if there’s music out there where this is actually required. Grace notes IMO are outside the regular rhythm, and not in a separate rhythmic universe of their own. Please, just right-align all of them next to the regular note.


We know that many users would prefer that grace notes at the same rhythmic position were spaced completely independently, and this is something that we agree we should add an option for (and probably make the default behaviour) in a future version. For the time being, I hope that making the necessary adjustments in Engrave mode using the note spacing tools won’t be too onerous.

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Thanks, Daniel – exactly the answer I hoped for! Making this particular score look good now isn’t a priority; I was just curious. I am diving into Dorico at last and getting to know its capabilities and defaults and settings. What a treat!

There are cases where I think alignment of grace notes most certainly is desirable. One example: imagine a piano piece where both hands have four simultaneous grace notes. The right hand has a couple of accidentals before the second and third notes while the left hand has none; the accidentals cause the preceding notes in the right hand to move to the left. It’s obvious that the pianist is required to play the notes in both hands exactly together, so I’d want extra space added before the second and third notes in the left hand in order to align with the right.

Ideally it would be good to be able to set a global preference but somehow alter the spacing for individual cases as well, though I appreciate this could be a very tricky one to implement (especially if you happened to need both spacing options at the same time).