Horizontal note spacing after removing rest

Hi, I’m writing a piano accompaniment using two voices in each hand. Where a voice has a quarter note rest, the rest and remaining noteheads are aligned according to their rhythmic position. But when I remove the rest using Ends voice/Starts voice, the noteheads in that voice shift horizontally, reducing the spacing between the note in different voices.

For example, suppose that a 3/4 bar has a half note then a quarter note in Voice 1, and a quarter note rest followed by two quarter notes in Voice 2. Removing the rest pushes the first quarter note of Voice 2 towards the half note in Voice 1.

Is it possible to adjust this default, so that removing a rest in one voice does not change the horizontal position of other notes in that voice?

The short answer is No, when there is no symbol on a beat Dorico does not use that beat for spacing.

But this sounds as if you may be removing rests that should be there to clarify the rhythm. If there is no note or rest in the other staff on a beat where you want to remove a rest, you could be removing essential information. Can you show some examples?

Thanks Mark. Here’s a snippet with the rests in the left hand. For simplicity, I’m showing a part with only one voice in the right hand:

With rests

Here’s the same snippet with the rests removed:

All rests removed

The changed spacing is particularly noticeable in the last two bars.

You can scale the rest to 1%, which leaves it as a tiny dot, then specify the position as 0, which puts the dot on the middle staff line so it’s not noticeable.

Sorry - I forgot to restore a rest in the first snippet, so the comparison should be between

With rests


All rests removed

The other common workaround is to set the Alpha channel to 0 which makes it completely transparent.

The catch is you need to remember to print or export graphics in color, otherwise that feature isn’t active. With the 1%, position 0 solution you don’t have to remember that, but either way works. (It will also still influence vertical spacing with Alpha 0.)

Actually, as of Dorico 4.3, you can still print in mono and have completely transparent things not appear in the print/graphics export.


Ah, good to know!

Thanks for the workaround.

It’s great news that I don’t have to send the job as color (my laser printer is mono). However, changing each rest manually is a bit clunky. Is there scope to set the default spacing change when rests are removed, or at least, to have no change as an option?

Thanks for these two ways to preserve the spacing - I’ll try them both!

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Thanks very much FredGUnn - everything looks good now. I used the 1% workaround.

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No, that’s a reasonably fundamental aspect of how Dorico’s rhythmic spacing works.

I think Ioppeh raises a very interesting point about note-spacing. Daniel, you may recall I raised this issue with you some while ago. Dorico’s note-spacing generally is stunningly good and far superior to Sibelius’s, but this is one deficiency I would love to see addressed. Below is another example which I hope demonstrates the point well.

In the upper system you can see that the gap after the 2nd to 5th semiquavers in bars 1, 2 and 5, and after the 2nd semiquaver in bar 3, is smaller than the other semiquavers in the system. In the lower system, where I’ve added rests, all the semiquavers across the system are evenly spaced, and this is how I would like it to appear. There is plenty of contrapuntal music, as well as non-contrapuntal, that I think would benefit from this kind of spacing.

It would be great if we could control this spacing behaviour on a global (perhaps also per flow) level as well as a local level (presumably via the Note Spacing Change dialog).