Making Bar Size Generally more similar

I generally want the bar size to be more similar. The can be slight changes in size, depending on content, but not too much. Is there a way to achieve this? I already set a custom note spacing ratio of 2.

For example these bars already differ too much in size even if there content is rather similar in note values and complexity:

2 is too small
try the default 4 and decrease bit by bit.
Also keep inputting notes until Dorico generated the first system break.

Can I ask why? That’s not what people expect from the sort of music that you’ve illustrated, which looks quite standard.

Normally, if there are more notes, then the bar is proportionately larger.

Assuming there are no other staves, the penultimate bar’s spacing is a bit too wide, I’ll agree, so something’s going on there. Are there manual edits?

As ever, it’s hard to tell what’s going on without seeing the actual document.


This is how the whole page looks:

And I kind of want it more to look like this in order to achieve a better looking score.

Correct me if, I’m wrong but I find it easier to read if the bar sizes do not differ too much from each other

the default for me is 1.41. Setting to 4 unfortunately doesnt help much

In Layout Options you can set the Casting Off to make five bars per sytem.

Maybe ask some conductors which they prefer. Personally, as a conductor, I prefer the score on top.


For pedagogic reasons, blocked-same-size-bars are perfect. Also for some scores with electronic-stave or TAPE-stave would be great.

You’re conflating two different settings here. The 1.41 default refers to the ideal ratio in horizontal space taken by notes that are a factor 2 apart in ‘musical length’. In other words: when the note value doubles, the space between them grows by multiplying the distance by 1.41 (=sqrt(2) ).

The number 4 refers to the preferred number of spaces (the unit of measure within a staff), between two quarter notes, regardless of the ratio mentioned above.
Setting the spacing ratio to 4 is nonsensical, it would tell Dorico to quadruple the horizontal space when a note value doubles, making the music look weirdly streched as soon as a long note happens…
Setting this ratio to precisely 2 results is ‘time-proportional’ notation (provided you’re not overcrowding your page).

At the other end, a quarter note spacing preference of 4 may look fairly luxurious, I generally prefer about 3-3½. In music with long notes only, it can be safe to take even less, like 2½ or 2¾. I think using 1.4 in this setting will make your score unreadable.

FWIW: I don’t like proportional notation. It’s like ugly typewriter text vs. real-world typography.


I liked your message as it was. And I do like what you’ve added. Count two likes from me :wink:

1 Like

The second sample is categorically not “better looking” to me. There is far too much wasted space between quick notes that makes the eye travel farther to read the music. Dorico’s default spacing makes such music much easier to read.

If you want the music widely spaced, why would you reduce the note spacing rule to 2?


Thanks for taking the time to clarify this! I feel like setting the preferred number of spaces to values above 4 with a spacing ratio of 2 kind of generates the effect I wanted, even though it’s not what you originally recommended :smiley:

Maybe I am in fact overcrowding the page, because when setting the spacing ratio to 2, I am definitely not getting a time proportional notation - but I’ve made no manual system breaks or so…