Layout challenge

I was asked to re-score the winds in a symphonic work for a different line-up. I now need to line up the “new” scoring with the original hand-written orchestral score for the conductor. As the rest of the orchestration remains the same, I was planning to do this as paste overs on a printout of the MS score.

The MS was pre-printed with four evenly spaced bars per page. The orchestrator used the available space, squashing things into the fixed space bar if necessary.

Is there any way to have Dorico give me four fixed bars per page, overriding its wish to space everything proportionally — even if it gets a bit squashed in places? It’s OK if every bar doesn’t line up exactly, but it would be good to have it be in the right general area.

I know this is an unusual situation, and am really hoping it won’t entail manually moving every barline in Engrave mode. Any help gratefully accepted!

First, match the staff size and margins.

Then you want Layout Options > Staves and Systems > Casting Off.

If the note spacing in the manuscript is more or less linear, you can set a custom spacing ratio of 2 (so a half note gets twice the space of a quarter, etc.) Then slightly increase the default space for a quarter note to make the bars more equal in width.

Let us know how well this works. You’re not the only one with this requirement.

Thanks for your help.

I’ve managed to kludge something together, but the end result really isn’t pretty!

For what it’s worth, Sibelius (of which I have been a long term user before switching to Dorico) doesn’t have an option for this either. It seems like it would be relatively straightforward to implement… but what do I know :wink: .

Pretty it ain’t. But spacing in such hand copying was generally organized that way, from the top down, for speed. And this is how Finale’s concept of spacing was in the beginning – linear by default unless you manually applied something else to each bar. (After several years the latter was made automatic.)

Sib and Dorico never “thought” that way; both were based from the beginning on proportions observed in engravings. The whole idea of linear spacing arose only in the 20th century. Somewhat like serialism, I think – a hyper-rationalization of how music works. Some would say it goes too far, others that it makes perfect sense.

From a practical point of view, linear spacing has always irritated me because it wastes horizontal space, makes my eyes scan faster and more irregularly to read it, and makes me turn more pages so I see less of the music at once.

Anyway, glad if the project worked out well for you.

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I was a long-term Finale user (starting with version 2.6!) before I moved to Sibelius, so I remember the whole manual “re-space music” thing. I was thrilled with Sibelius because I didn’t have to think about it – and obviously the look of promotional spacing is far clearer and easier to read.

Unfortunately this is the one situation where the old linear spacing would have been helpful. I even thought of doing an XML export from Dorico back to Finale to see if I could make it work in there, but the idea of having to use Finale again was just to hideous to contemplate! LOL

One more question occurs to me: Would you say it was any less time and effort overall compared to just recopying the whole score in Dorico? What is the ensemble, and how many parts got reorchestrated?

Although the end result may not look pretty, this definitely took less time. It’s a 415 bars piece scored for full symphonic pops orchestra. I had to redo the WW (3.2.3.2) for 2.pic.0.2.4saxes. Inputting everything else (including expanded rhythm section) would have been a much bigger undertaking…

In Layout Options > Note Spacing , you can set a custom spacing ratio. Setting it to 2 will give a more linear result.

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I tried this but it made very little noticeable difference…

A hand copyist would have taken the staff pad, drawn the lines (if not pre-printed), then applied their own spacing on a bar-by-bar basis to make the music fit the pre-drawn measures. It wouldn’t have just been a fixed ratio like 2.

This is actually pretty easy in Finale, as you can manually specify the bar width, even after the spacing ratio has been applied. (It will compress or expand as needed) Below all the bars have the exact same width, but the music still has a spacing ratio of 1.5 applied, which of course has automatically been modified on a bar-by-bar basis to avoid collisions as I manually specified the bar widths.

I can’t really think of a way to do this in Dorico, so I fail the challenge LOL! I’ve honestly never wanted to do this, but perhaps it might be a nice feature request for Dorico to somehow be able to manually specify bar widths like you can Finale.

Interesting — exactly what I was looking for.

I had a vague feeling this could be done in Finale, but a) it’s been so long since I’ve used the program (over 20 years) and b) I really couldn’t see forking over for the complete program when this would be the only use I would have had for it (although I may still have the install disk for Finale 97 somewhere… :grin:)

I’m very happy with Dorico though, and it keeps getting better all the time.

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