How to calculate lyric baselines?

In, Finale, the distance between stanzas of lyrics is calculated by measuring from baseline to baseline. For example, my typical hymnal setting is -16 points.

Dorico’s method appears to be measuring the distance in spaces between the baseline of one stanza lyric and the cap height of the next. That’s a lot of mathing.

Or do I just need to eyeball it? Setting it to 3/8 of a space seemed to look ok; I’m just curious.

The line of lyrics closest to the staff is positioned according to the top of its bounding rectangle, as shown in the illustration on the Lyrics page of Engraving Options. The distance between each adjacent line of lyrics is likewise calculated as shown: between the bottom of the bounding rectangle of one line of lyrics and the top of the bounding rectangle of the line below.

I understand that bit. But how would that translate to, say, a 10-point font? If the space size is 4, would setting the value between to 1 space give a total of 14 points between baselines?

Yes, that’s the general idea (though it may differ by a tiny amount because the distance is not technically from baseline to baseline, but rather from the bottom of the bounding rectangle of one line to the top of the bounding rectangle of the line below).

I was sufficiently curious about the “bounding rectangle” (and a literal interpretation of the pictures in the engraving options) to do a quick check by exporting a page with some lyrics as an SVG file, so it is clear where the text is on the page.

The “bounding rectangle” seems to contain a standard allowance for ascenders and descenders whether or not they appear in the line of lyrics - which is a good thing, because otherwise the line spacing might be visibly different for multiple lines of lyrics depending on the happenstance of the letters and punctuation in the text on each line.

That seems to imply it would be simpler just to specify the separation between the baselines for the lyric lines (as in Finale) and forget about the bounding boxes. For example if somebody wanted to set many lines of lyrics as tightly as normal block text, it would then be obvious what the spacing should be, without bothering about the size of the bounding box which (presumably) depends on the X or x height (not the point size) of the particular font, or whatever.

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Thanks Rob. That was going to be my suggestion as well.

I agree with this.

Daniel, do you anticipate this method of baseline calculation changing in the future?

It’s not especially likely, no.