Indenting single note measures

There is a long tradition of indenting a single note that fills up an entire measure, as long as this is also the case in the other parts. Such measures are also greatly contracted.

See the last page of Elgar’s Enigma Variations:

This has sometimes been called “centering whole notes”, but it can be any note value, and the note only appears to be centered when the measure is very narrow. Mostly, the note remains somewhat left of center but at a much greater distance from the left bar line than usual. A look through editions by Henle, Wiener Urtext and other fine editions shows this practice still in full effect. Ted Ross, on the other hand, advocated only doubling the space before whole notes in such cases, and no more. (p. 78) This produces the same effect when the measure is quite narrow.

The practice is based on aesthetics. To some, a measure with a single note close to the bar line followed by a lot of empty space is displeasing. Does Dorico have an option for indenting such notes and contracting such measures beyond the normal default, or is one contemplated?

There’s no option for this, but it can be done on a per-note basis by activating the note spacing tool in Engrave mode, selecting the square handle that corresponds to the spacing column at which the note is found, then hitting Tab to select the round handle (which moves it graphically relative to the position of the spacing column, rather than moving the column itself) and then shunting it rightwards using Alt+right arrow (with Ctrl for larger steps). I know you prefer to use the mouse, John, but you cannot at present adjust note spacing with the mouse: it requires the keyboard.

We don’t have any current plans for an option to produce this kind of appearance by default, for what it’s worth.

John refers to any measure, but I have been doing this manually in Sibelius for the final measure, which I am assuming has no preference setting (have not looked). Is this true? If so, Daniel, is there a complicated reason why this cannot be implemented? Thank you.

I would like to see this option (if votes count!). I have faked it sometimes in Sibelius, particularly in final bars.

I’d very much appreciate such an option too.

As such notes are usually only ‘centered’ when there are the same note values in all staves, I tend to move the whole spacing column to the right and the next one to the left.

Thanks for your response, Daniel.

I have been doing any required re-spacing as you suggested and have grown to prefer using the arrow keys or numerical input. It is more exact. In the case of my solo piano project, I moved the bar line with the re-spacing tool and then indented the whole notes in both staves by setting the Voice column X offset to 2 for each hand, which positioned them exactly over each other.

Thanks, arco, Kim Bastim and fkretlow, for your support for this request. It is strange that this standard engraving technique has been little recognized by software, perhaps because it is looks so natural and is easily missed when done well.

My guess is that this kind of “finesse” could be implemented when the most important things “that are still impossible to achieve” are implemented. Since you can achieve that in Engrave mode, there’s no hurry…

I agree completely, MarcLarcher.