Minimum inter-staff gap with content?

Hello all,

I feel the need for splitting this option in to two; one for “normal” staves, one for braced staves.

I am working on a vocal score where I need a bit more space under the lyrics – but if I increase this value, the braced piano staff gets to widely spaced out.

Is there a way here that I don’t see?

Or any possibility to set minimum gap under lyrics?

Honestly I don’t get it. In Layout options>Vertical spacing>Ideal gaps, if you put, say 8 pts for inter normal staff gap and 5,5pts for inter braced staves gap, are you saying you don’t get that result that you want? I mean, I use those kind of settings all the time and I think it’s working reliably here…
I’m wondering whether what you’re experiencing has something to see with vertical justification. Can you provide a file that exhibits the problem?

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This is slightly OT but it’d be wonderful if Dorico’s vertical collision avoidance for lyrics could be a bit more ‘rigourous’. Occasionally elements from a staff below one with lyrics nestle their way into gaps in the lyrics above, creating a confusing image. If one sets the vertical spacing between non-braced staves to prevent this, it also widens the space unnecessarily between other staves without lyrics. Perhaps Dorico could have a setting which takes the baseline of the bottom line of lyrics into account, so that nothing from the staff below can encroach above that baseline.

I think in general it’s good that items can tuck in between gaps in lyrics, at least up to a point. If you are really squeezed for vertical space it can be a practical way to solve a problem, though I agree that it is best avoided. However, many worse crimes occur in published music all the time (I was singing Bairstow’s Blessed City, Heavenly Salem last night, and it’s got a ridiculously cramped last couple of pages: the publisher should have foregone their advertising blurb on the back of the octavo in order to make the last two pages more legible by spreading them onto a third).

To answer the original question, it would definitely be good for Dorico to have an additional vertical spacing value to add a minimum amount of extra space for lyrics. This is something we will hopefully add in future.


Normally I don’t have any issues either, but when you want to create a high density layout with not so much whitespace it gets more complicated. In this particular example I would like to increase the minimum interstaff gap (nb, not the distances you are talking about) from 1 to 1,5. That will do wonders for the lyrics. But the piano staff will be to spaced out.

I am not att the computer now but I can post a sample later.

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I have been trying to ‘match’ the layout of old Choral Octavo scores (Novello, Stainer & Bell, OUP c. 1900-1950), and it’s been quite difficult to fit everything vertically.

They really packed it in tightly, and not always to the benefit of legibility. Often dynamics are shunted to the side of the notes; and elements like text are frequently on the staff lines.

It can be difficult to get Dorico to match it, even scaled up to A4 ( Octavo is roughly B5).

But with some tighter settings for Ideal Gaps and Minimum Gaps, and a bit of manual tweaking, I can usually succeed.

Interestingly, Dorico finds the horizontal spacing very loose by comparison – partly the larger noteheads used; but probably partly because it can do the maths a lot better.

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