Inconsistent "rest position"

I am making some adjustments to position of rests, in the Properties panel, both in Write and Engrave mode. There are a couple of weird inconsistencies:

First, the default positions of half note and whole note rests should both between the 3rd and 4th staff line. A half note rest sits on top of the 3rd staff line, and a whole note rest sits beow the 4th staff line.

This is in fact where Dorico places these rests. However, when querying or manipulating the “Rest pos.” in the Properties panel, the former position is called offset 0, while the latter is called offset 2!

This asymmetry is esp. confusing in more complex scores, such as multi-voice, where one wants to tweak and adjust the rest positions to different staff lines. It means that half and whole note rests, when moved to a lower or upper space between adjacent staves are given different offset numbers.

Any explanation for this?

Second, an annoying little feature, is that when I click on a rest, to find its offset, to try to level up with others (say on a lower or upper staffline), such as a quarter note rest, the act of clicking on “rest pos.” to find its position # causes the rest to revert to its default position. Sometimes the rest position is shown without clicking on ‘rest pos.’, but sometimes it is not and I need to click to see the offset.

Any way consistently find a rest’s offset without causing it to move to its default location?

The neutral (0) rest offset position is the middle staff line. Offsets are calculated in relation to that for all rests, regardless of their duration.

There are some technical reasons why it’s difficult to retain the existing implicit (but not expressly set via the property) offset value of items when you activate properties to override their default placement. The team is aware that this would be desirable.

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Many thanks, Lillie. As for the “rest position” offsets, I understand that these are calculated with respect to the middle staff line. However, this is more a mathematical measure than a proper musical measure.

For ex., in the following fragment, there are 4 rests, all neatly in their default or neutral position:

Screen Shot 2023-08-13 at 3.04.00 PM

Nonetheless, the offsets of the left 3 rests are “0” while the offset of the right (whole note) rest is “+2”! So numerically, quite awkward for a user attempting to align a set of rests to the “same” musical position.

Likewise, but even more counterintuitive, when moving all 4 rests uniformly up by +2 – the result of the aligned rests are offsets of +2, +2, +2, +4.

In contrast, in the following fragment, the half and whole note rests have identical offset (+0), but as a result are not in alignment:

Screen Shot 2023-08-13 at 3.04.45 PM

It would be useful, for future Dorico versions, to consider the “natural” rest position to be not an offset from the 3rd staff line, but an offset from the default resting positions lying between 3rd and 4th staff line.

I appreciate the input.

I think one should learn to use Dorico as it has been constructed rather than expecting Dorico to conform to one’s personal biases of what is logical. Dorico has to work for a lot of different people with different expectations, and the system has not been set up on a random basis but in a way in which features work together to support current and anticipated capabilities.


Of course, to some degree. But I’m sure the Dorico team welcomes input from users, esp. new ones, to improve this wonderful product. And to simplify the learning curve and sharpen its features.

On a single-line (percussion) staff, a whole rest hangs from the only line. Apparently, the Dorico developers decided that could be considered the default (0) position. On a multi-line staff, a whole rest on its own is normally placed 1 line higher than the middle, hence the +2. It has no musical meaning, they just had to decide on a technical base line somewhere.


Yes, perhaps in retrospect it would have been more useful to cast the Rest pos. property as a delta rather than an absolute position; in that way, you’d be able to select a bunch of rests and shift them using the property while maintaining their current position relative to each other. But this would have its own problems, e.g. it would make it awkward to bring rests positioned at different vertical positions (e.g. because of notes in opposing voices in different beats of the same bar) to the same baseline position in order to align them. So these things are always a compromise!


Thanks Daniel! I understand that there are real design compromises (I’ve worked in computer science in the past, as well as am a full-time composer), and that the rest position offsets are entirely consistent and logical wrt the mid-staff line. Just calling this alternative perspective to the team’s attention.

As I’ve said, I’m quite pleased with Dorico Pro 5, and esp. with the solid architecture and design philosophy.