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?
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.