Note Spacing - ends up shifting all staves into a blur


I am working on a piano piece and I wish to place semibreves at inexact (not in their rhymical pattern or grid) places on the score - the intent is to give a sense of note placement, but without a precise rhythmic indication. I have no time signature and when in Engrave Mode, I can only shift the individual note positions a few spaces before the staves from the rest of the page start moving and overlapping each other. How can I manage to just move the note position without the staves moving too?

Best wishes,


Hi Simon, you can use the circular note spacing handles for individual notes, which moves the note but not the whole vertical column of their rhythmic position.

You can also hide the stems of notes with any duration, in case you wanted other noteheads but without stems as part of your inexact notation.

Hi Lillie,

thanks for your reply. Your suggestion is what I am doing - moving the circular spacing handles to move the notes - but after a few clicks the whole score begins to collapse on itself.

Could you show a picture of what you’re wanting to achieve, or what problem you’re having?

Hi Dan,

I’ve taken a couple of screenshots - as you’ve suggested. Although, I’m having difficulties loading them…and I’m not sure if they’ll come through or not.

Let’s see…

Processing: Screenshot 2021-11-30 at 10.34.22.jpg…

Uploading: Screenshot 2021-11-30 at 15.11.58.jpg…

Unfortunately the screenshots haven’t made it. Could you try again now?

Processing: Screenshot 2021-11-30 at 15.11.58.jpg…
Uploading: Screenshot 2021-11-30 at 11.08.09.jpg…

Yeah - they’re not working. I’ve reduced the images to less than 50kb each - I’ve dragged them manually and tried to upload them. And then they sit there ‘processing’. Maybe I need to change browsers.

You can also just take a screenshot, and paste it directly into your message.

Yeah - that also doesn’t seem to work. Tomorrow I will log in through a different browser.

From the text in the messages, I suspect you just have to wait longer for the files to finish uploading before sending your post.

No - the process isn’t finishing. I have left it processing (loading) a few times for more than 20 minutes. I’ll try again tomorrow.

So - Chrome seems to do the job.

So, the first shot is kind of what I’m aiming for.

The second shot is what happens when I move the circular handle too many spaces. What’s also strange is that when the staves move, the undo (Command Z) doesn’t work.



Hi Simon, what happens if you save, close, then re-open the project? There can sometimes be an issue where certain operations make specific staves get further apart, forcing the rest closer and closer together.

Can you share the project file itself? If you apply the Silence playback template, the file size should be smaller.

Hi Lillie,

yes -closing and then reopening works. It will take a while to do the whole section, but it will work I guess.

Here’s the flow that I’ve been working on.

Solo Piano Example.dorico (370.9 KB)

If I faced such a challenge, I’d use unmeasured bars and hidden rests to place the notes. If playback is needed, I’d adjust the played length of the notes in the Play mode piano roll.

1 Like

Yes - I think that’s a workable solution. Thanks Derrek.

And thanks to everyone for all of your feedback. I appreciate it very much.


I find it strange that the third pedal in your project file moves vertically downwards when we move the circular handle.

I can reproduce the similar unnatural behaviour of pedal mark. The procedure : make two notes, make two rests, create the pedal from the second note to the first rest, and apply a System Break on the last rest position. Then as we move the circular handle of the first note, the pedal moves more and more downwards. I think this is a bug.

pedal moves vertically bug

pedal moves vertically bug.dorico (368.4 KB)

As a quick fix for the pedal in your project file, select the last chord on the bottom staff of the first system, and show the hidden rests(deactivate Ends voice property in properties panel). Then extend the third pedal’s rhythmic range to the end of the system. Then hide this rest again. After this process, the pedal will probably stop behaving strangely.

fix for pedal

The problem with the pedal line moving further from the staff due to a note spacing edit earlier in the flow will not occur in Dorico 4.

1 Like

Oh, that’s nice!