Slur avoiding collisions settings

Hi all,

I have been trying to find settings for slurs to have decent shapes both with and without accidentals in the mix. I just realised that using negative values actually helps me getting closer to what I want. Here are some examples – the top two lines are from the Engraving Settings, the lower two I added myself. What do you think?

Nr 1 could have some more curve, nr 4 as well, 6–8 looks quite OK to me, 5 could be a bit closer to the music. There is no separate setting for slur with sharp sign like in 6, so the same setting that goes for 8 has to accommodate 6.

Factory settings used for the slur design, except for the following –

Probably the settings above could be further refined, but maybe a way of improving even more could be to have a look at slur heights and the section with Avoiding Collisions - Balances? I did not touch those yet.


If they are not going to bisect the accidentals, then they will be further away (because you don’t want to increase the curve of the slur.)

It should be sufficient to set the “Do not allow the slur to bisect” for flats and naturals, and then leave everything else as it is.

Here is factory settings, just with “do not bisect the flat”:

Here are my settings, which have slightly adjusted slur shapes and beams.

I usually allow bisected flats.


How would this look with you settings?

1 Like

Like this:


1 Like

That’s where I try to improve. If I have a motif with accidental side by side with one without, the slurs do not match. I don’t mean they have to be the same, but more in tune with each other.

This obviously is not good either, but with factory settings it does IMO not get better.

A propos the slurs bisecting accidentals; do you prefer it that way, or do you manually edit them to not bisect? I ask because the setting for avoiding collisions under the arc probably can be different if so.

1 Like

That’s why I allow the slurs to bisect (with a distance of 1/2 space).


If you want the same shape slur, you have to do something like this:


Maximum increase in height to avoid collisions set to 3/8 here!


I use the setting “allow slur to bisect…” in combination with a negative value of -1/4. That makes the slurs not to bisect but keeping it close. However problem with last posts I have not yet found out a way to improve so I usually end up manually tweaking th slurs.


Same shape, yes, but to me the first motif as a whole seems more dense than the second. Maybe I am being over obsessed with detail.

Another try. Factory settings with this small change:


Here the left slur is raised 3/8 sp and the middle an additional 1/4.


More pleasing to the eye in my opinion as the two motifs seem more equal even if the slur shapes differ.

I think I read long time ago (on the old finaleforum?) that a young engraver once was told by his supervisor that in order to do this work you have to love working on adjusting slurs. I cannot say that I love it. More something of a necessary evil…

I see you are using “Move endpoints together” and “Adjust both shoulders together”. On the whole, do you think you get less manual tweaks using that setting?

The test passage in full, my previous settings with your endpoint/shoulders setting:

Possible edits 5, 6:3, 8, 9:1, 16:3.

Independent endpoints and shoulders:

Possible edits 5, whole bar 6, 8.

It´s probably less manual corrections with independent endpoints but I prefer the look of the slur when both ends have the same arch.

1 Like

I haven’t messed with my slur settings in years, but just for fun, I decided to try this with my default settings. All slurs below are unedited:

I don’t like the look when the slur and accidental touch at the end of the accidental. Either obviously cross or don’t. I would probably edit bars 1 and 2 for that. Bar 9 and bar 16 would need some tweaking too.

1 Like

Looks very nice but as you said the slur should either cross through the accidental or have a bit of headroom above.

I would suggest looking at the slurs in publications by well-known publishers like Weiner Urtext, and older editions from Henle etc. to see what is considered attractive. You will find that the slurs stay close to the notes to avoid too much empty space between the slur and notes, and touch or cross accidentals when absolutely necessary to achieve that. FredGUnn’s defaults produce excellent results out of the box, but as he said, even that is not flawless and could use a little tweaking. When the defaults are doing most of the work, the remaining tweaking is actually very satisfying since the slurs have an important impact on the overall appearance of a page of music.

1 Like

Keeping the slur tips close to the noteheads is clearly a principle. Regarding too much empty space between slur and notes I think what disturbs me more is if the space differs too much from slur to slur. @FredGUnn’s settings certainly fare better than mine in that respect – not allowing bisected flats and naturals complicates this, and also makes it more difficult to keep tips down to the noteheads.

OK, so I adjusted my settings and came up with this:

In bar 3, 4 and 6 the slur tips are obviously too far away from the noteheads, but it seems inevitable if I want to keep the slur off the flat sign.

Hopefully these settings will keep manual edits to a minimum!

Thank you all for your input.