Lyrics Autopositioning

I figure I’m doing something wrong but I have no idea what it is. I have searched for answers on this but all I can find is how to correct these alignment issues manually and I feel like I’m missing something. Dorico is so intelligent about positioning things that this can’t be as good as it gets on lyrics.

See attached…

I have no idea how to get the lyrics to stop overlapping the barlines and I set this type of hymn/choral music constantly. I know I can move the syllables around and yes, that’s what I’m doing before they are printed. But it seems like this is something that can be fixed at another level. Please help?

Dorico expects you to use the “Choir (reduction)” instrument if you want to do this. That instrument is braced like a piano grand staff, but the barlines don’t join in the middle. Most (if not all) hymnals I’ve ever seen look like this:

Yes, I was hoping there would be a way to just get it to avoid the barlines the way all other objects seem to be able to snap to avoid each other.

Please, please, please… don’t use connecting barlines between staves for this format.

If one misuses a program, it is unlikely to respond as wished without considerable manual adjustment. That’s just how it is.

I’m not sure how it can be considered misusing the program to hope that all visual objects avoid each other. If it were impossible to add lyrics to a grand staff, it would be understandable that it wouldn’t work pleasantly but that’s not the case at all. It is easy to add lyrics to any line of music, as it should be, and it is unreasonable that after so many versions and so much testing that we are still expected to manually shift text to keep it from colliding with bar lines. I’m not sure why people regard this as an unreasonable expectation simply because their view of scores is that they should look a particular way.

A grand staff keyboard instrument can’t sing lyrics, so what you’re trying to do is unexpected use of the software. I’ll admit that one publisher I work for demands exactly this thing (lyrics between grand staff staves, with joined barlines) in certain circumstances, but it’s generally seen as bad practice. Regardless, it’s extremely niche, and every time I have to nudge lyrics and manually alter note spacing for this, I curse them!

It doesn’t matter how many versions of Dorico there are; implementing anything takes time, energy and cost, and it takes the development team away from implementing other things. I’d be very surprised if they could be persuaded to spend time, energy and money in order to make it easier to do something that’s seen as wrong.

If you can find a few hymnals from respected publishers, from the past 20 years, that follow this style of lyrics avoiding barlines, then cite them or take a few photos or something. I’m betting that you struggle.

The question is, why do you insist on joining barlines between staves in vocal music when it’s almost never done this way in editions from both past and present? There’s a reason for this, both practically and aesthetically. Your example only emphasises the reason for this engraving tradition.

Use choir reduction or two vocal staves and change the brace manually in engrave mode. It will look exceedingly odd even if the words avoid the lines and even more odd if the lyrics white out the background and chop up the barlines.

Even though I’ve never seen this, I was curious if this might have been an ancient convention so I decided to investigate. I have 48 hymnals on the shelves in my office (just counted) and the earliest noted copyright of 1893 and not a single one uses connecting barlines. The ONLY thing I can find that does is the book of Rossini propers which are utterly absurd, incredibly “special” use case, and impossible to read anyway.

There is a distinct use case for barlines crossing lyrics: in the Mensurstrich notation which is more or less standard for music originally notated without barlines, and which has been supported in Dorico right from version 1.

Indeed! Touché. (Although the advice in this context is in regards to typical hymn engraving.)

Of course, it’s just that I’ve run into the same issue when doing Mensurstriche, and wouldn’t like the FR to be dismissed entirely on the grounds of being irrelevant for setting hymns—which it is indeed.

Honestly, I think your example is actually the correct reason to allow the lyrics to white out the background. That said, it wouldn’t look nearly as odd as a hymn anyway; I’m not an expert in this area, but of all the mensural scores I’ve ever seen, there are typically only one line of lyrics set anyway. (I’m SURE there are exceptions—at least as far as modern editions are concerned—I just haven’t seen them.)