Setup Mode/Setup/Layout Options/Page Setup presents a device for adjusting staff size, either by adjusting “space size” or “rastral” size.

Okay, I found the definition of rastral (German), rastrum (English) in Wikipedia, but in neither of my two standard dictionaries of musical terminology. I learned it’s actually the name of a 5-pronged tool used to draw staffs (or staves). So why not refer to the adjustment as “staff size”(which is what it’s called in the little info box.)? (Or at least show an arrow, as is done for the “space” definition.) Also, after some playing around, I couldn’t see much of a difference in adjusting either “space” or “rastral” size, since changing one changes the other. Any advice on which adjustment works better in practice? Space size does seem to offer more sensitivity.

By the way, I’ve found that either adjustment really helps alot to reduce the number of score/parts pages while preserving readability. This should definitely get into the Help file. (I will point out, however, that these adjustments don’t always treat each page in the same way, sometimes leading to one page having much fewer staves than another. Perhaps the code could be refined to take that into account.)


“Rastral size” is the old-timey music engraving term for staff size, because engravers used to have rastrums of different sizes, typically numbered from 0 (really big) to 8 (really small). It’s our way of maintaining the traditions of music engraving even in this unremittingly digital age.

The rastral size drop-down allows you to choose from the various preset staff sizes typically used by engravers, while the ‘Space size’ control does indeed give you complete flexibility as to the height of the staff.

I really like how Dorico allows us to simply choose from the standard rastral sizes — I think this an easy way to make our engravings conform to convention, and it’s easy to remember which rastral sizes are best for which cases.

I had to print out a chart of rastral sizes in order toknow which size(s) would be customary for which uses. :unamused:

There’s is a useful chart in ‘Behind Bars’ on page 483, with an explanation on the previous page.

Oh, I have the chart–found one on the web. (I also have Behind Bars but would hate to have to spend time thumbing through it every time I wanted to check a rastral size.)

Nevertheless, thank you for the lead.