Note spacing/lay out problems

How can I just the space between notes so that all 4 beats will get the same space? (sorry for my unclear English) If you look at bar 50, 52 and 54 in this example I hope you can see what I mean. The 4th beat takes up much more space and gives the reader a false impression.


You could put in a Note Spacing Change (Engrave Menu) at m50. Try setting a custom spacing ratio of 2. You can use another Note Spacing Change later to reset the spacing to the default.

It’s perfectly normal for some bars to be longer than others if they have smaller notes. If the 4th beat is divided, then it will be longer. Wide lyrics will also push the notes, if there is not enough space.

I’d say the top line looks fine. The 2nd line might look better with only 3 bars. But in general, Dorico’s note spacing is very good.

1 Like

50 and 52 have wider fourth beats because they have things on the last offbeat quaver/eighth. 54 is subtlety different - it’s really the stacked flats in the piano at the start of 55 that are pushing that are forcing more space after the barline.

It also looks like the lyrics are expanding the note spacing a bit too, in addition to the usual bit of extra space for when e.g. a quarter note beat is divided into eighths (for example, “some-how” in bar 55). If you check in Engrave > Engraving Options > Lyrics, there should be options about how much space Dorico allows for lyrics, and if you reduce some of those gaps a little bit, notes with lyrics can be positioned a bit closer together.

Thanks for all the answers - but I have had no luck with any of the suggestions/solutions. At least I don’t get to the point where Dorico leaves the same space for forth and eight beats so that I don’t get the gap in the end of the bar. I agree, Dorico’s note spacing is generally good, but in this case it’s not so good.

Hi Peter, it’s generally accepted in music notation that although shorter notes get given less horizontal space than longer notes, this isn’t usually proportional; bars with lots of semiquavers (16th notes) will be wider than bars with only crotchets (quarter notes). Adjusting the note spacing as suggested above will get you closer to proportional notation - you can also search the forum for “proportional notation” to see what other users have discussed about this and the settings to use (such as this thread: Spacing ratios).

Do also try increasing the amount Dorico can compress lyrics and reducing the minimum gap between lyrics, for example, to reduce their impact on horizontal spacing.

Hi Lillie,
I know that lots of 16th notes etc. will influence on notation, bar length etc. I was just looking for a feature like Sibelius’ reset note spacing, which in many cases would solve a problem like this. But thanks anyway for your suggestions.

What happens if you reduce the rastral size a tiny bit in Layout options?


Even in Sibelius, Reset Note Spacing will just set things back to whatever the saved rules define.

In Dorico, there’s no Reset Note Spacing because Dorico recalculates this automatically, every time you add/remove/alter the objects on the page.
The defaults in Dorico do differ from the defaults in Sibelius; I explored this a while back:


Interesting video! But I don’t think my ‘problem’ is about lyrics and spacing, it is the way Dorico chooses the space after beat 4 in f. ex. bar 50 in clar, bass and drums. I think it happens because of the 8th note rest and note in the piano. And in the piano voice, bar 50, it would be nice if you could squeeze it a bit, so that beat 4 - or at least the rest - would go a little bit to the right. Then, maybe, the notations in the other bars above and under would follow.
Thanks again,

You can always do that manually with the Note Spacing tool in Engrave mode.


The solutions there are to tighten up the note spacing, including minimum distances for shorter notes. Then you can add system breaks to keep systems from being too compact.

There are several solutions to achieve what you want, especially what Lillie suggested.