How to make bars smaller?

I’m trying to do something supposedly simple, but I’m at a loss.
Please have a look:


I’m trying to make bars 1 and 2 smaller and bar 3 wider with all the text above it.
I initially tried to click on the handles above the bar numbers and move them to the left. But then Dorico does not squish the content of those bars accordingly. I can even move the bar line so far to the left that it crosses the breaks at the end of those bars, but the music stays put (or even moves in the wrong direction).

What is the correct way of doing this? (I hope I don’t have to move each and every note in those bars, because there are quite some players below, and I have many such places where I have to make room for such text inserts…)

Thanks for your help! :slight_smile:

Hi @Estigy,

You could add two note spacing changes. One at the begining of bar 65 with a much greater value for the “default space for crotchet/quarter note” as the one define in layout options, and one at bar 67 reseting the previous value.

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I really hope this will not be the final solution. :wink:
Those note spacing changes do feel to me like a workaround. I need to add a spacing change somewhere else to hopefully get the expected result at another place in the score, and reset it back later…
Finale solves this much better: You can click and drag around bar lines, and Finale will happily space the notes within the resulting space, making changes like the one I need here a no-brainer.

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Actually, No. the option you were using is the workaround. Adding breaks and note adjustments hamstring Dorico’s layout engine. They also are fixed to the page they were set at. So, if you add music, these adjustments do not track with the music well. Note Spacing Changes nuance Dorico’s layout engine and they gracefully track with the music.

This is quite easy to achieve using the note spacing tool, but you need to select not just one box, but many (using Shift-arrow), so that when you reduce the space of the voice column, all the selected columns are equally reduced.

It took me a while to understand Dorico’s spacing tool, but now I vastly prefer it to Finale!

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Or just increase the spacing of bar 3 by selecting the handle to the right of bar 3, and the rest of the system will adjust.

I think this is the better solution, as it’s actually addressing the problem. The issue isn’t that the first measures are too widely spaced, but rather that the narration bars aren’t spaced widely enough for their contents.

@Estigy grab the end barline of m. 65 (and nothing else) and make push it to the right. This will tell Dorico that it needs more space, and you’ll see the system fullness indicator reflect this new rhythmic space.


Wow, just wow…

This really was an eye opener for me!
Not only were I approaching the problem from the wrong side (quite literally), but again I have learned something new about Dorico!

Very much appreciated!


Keep in mind that this works if there are no notes as in the OP’s example (I’ll call this the “measure stretch”). With notes in a measure, it’s best to select all notes and move to preserve relative spacing. Check out attachments - first is showing measure stretch, 2nd shows all notes moved.

measure stretch

all notes stretch

I don’t understand the gripe with the note spacing change tool. It looks to me as the perfect tool for what you need. Simply make sure you add a “reset” note spacing change after, and use that tool to make your bar as wide as you need. Dorico will take care of the spacings inside that bar. It’s the most automated solution.
Can you explain why you feel differently?
[Edit] I really try to avoid anything that looks like an override in any of my scores for quite some time now, that might explain my gripes with the note or staff spacing sub-modes :wink:


I think it’s just easier to resize the one bar. And as long as you stay under 100% full on that system, you can delete the system breaks that Dorico adds. Such an adjustment travels with the bar, if it should move to a different page, so although it’s not as robust as a note spacing change, I’m comfortable with it too.

Well, you gave your answer yourself: A note spacing change that only lasts 2 or 3 bars is an override. Your argument of “avoiding overrides” is exactly how I feel about (temporary) note spacing changes. :wink:

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Marc has a point though. It’s not really an override in one sense, because it won’t get overwritten if the casting off changes… the note spacing change is “permanently” retained with the bar.


That’s right, Dan, the note spacing change will not get lost if those changes happen.
But if the casting off does change - will I still need the note spacing change? :wink:

I find the single bar adjustment does not get lost either.