Staff and tabs need separation

My teacher sent me the chord-melody arrangement for guitar but the layout is mangled. It looks like the staff and tabs need some separation. Does anyone know what I can do so this is legible again?

I’d like to attach the MXML file but I don’t see an option to do that here.

Could the issue simply be that you need to give the music a bit more room to breathe? Try reducing the staff size on the Page Setup page of Layout Options. If that doesn’t help, attach the project itself here, and we’ll be able to sort it out right quick.

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Or compress the music xml file into a zip archive and it should allow attaching.

I had to rename the file as “.xml”. Name it back to “.mxl” to import it.

Misty Chord Melody - Full score - 01 Misty Chord Melody.xml (9.0 KB)

@Michele_Galvagno1 I attached the file. Were you able to find anything out about how I can repair it?

Dorico tells me it’s an invalid file.
What program was this created in?

As @lsiden said, the file he attached was a compressed MusicXML file, but he chose to change its file extension to .xml to attach it; if you change it to .mxl, Dorico can open it. It’s a MusicXML file exported from Dorico for iPad.

Can you send a screenshot of what you’re seeing, @lsiden? Opening the MusicXML file myself, I find the music to be legible, but I’m guessing the MusicXML file you exported from Dorico isn’t the file you were sent by your teacher in the first place.

If you want to share with us how something looks in Dorico itself, it’s a better idea to share the actual Dorico project, rather than a MusicXML file. How a MusicXML file looks in Dorico will be dependent on how each individual user’s MusicXML import preferences are set, whereas a Dorico project will always (barring missing fonts) look the same when opened on somebody else’s system.

Here goes:

Probably not much help, but here is how it opened up for me, so there is something going on with your parameters. I notice that on my copy there is no TAB being shown, while on yours there is.

Also to note… the Guitar part shows 2 TABs and and additional Treble clef stave:

Additional obersvation… (EDIT)

Under instrument definition, the guitar part shows 2 staves… this should probably be set to “1”.

Screenshot 2024-07-01 at 1.55.26 PM

I may have to monkey around with the setup to see if I can get it right. I use Dorico primarily to transcribe jazz guitar solos and compose bebop études so my understanding of the advanced features is very limited.

@lsiden, I’ve added additional information to my original post as an edit.

I don’t know how to get to Guitar part options and instrument definition on iPad Pro. I’m still searching.

Hi @lsiden I send you a (somewhat) polished version of the file. I just changed the instrument in Setup mode to Electric Guitar 1 staff, and in Layout Options I reduced a little the rastral size and the note spacing so that it fits into 3 pages, and increased the upper margin for the music frames to make more space for the chord symbols. And I added the composer name :slight_smile: I hope it can be a starting point for you to tweak it further.

Misty Chord Melody - v02.dorico (1.3 MB)


That’s more like it! I will share this with my teacher. On my iPad Pro, how do I get to “Electric Guitar 1 staff” in setup mode.? I can only rename the instrument or assign to a different player. Where do I say “treble clef + tablature per system”?


This would be a Layout option — you probably don’t need to put a Tab notation on a full score, it’s probably more a Part thing. What you need to do is make sure the instrument is set to Electric guitar (or whatever fretted instrument) — it’s not about the label, it has to be performed through Change instrument… feature (in the Instrument’s menu), so that Dorico has a fretted instrument wired there. Then the option will be available in Layout options.

here a visual guide to change the instrument (you need to go into Setup mode, and depending on your screen position the button or the way to go there may look different):

In the file I provided to you, you only see the standard Electric guitar with various tuning option to choose from, they are all 1 staff instruments. In your file library there was a (custom?) 2 line electric guitar…

You know, I was there before, but didn’t see the last menu pick. Don’t know how I missed it.