I’m having issues with staff clashing/overlapping and don’t understand why. I assumed this old issue would have been resolved.
First time of using Dorico, only second project and this seems to be the most common problem. Manually dragging the stave in Engrave Mode doesn’t solve the issue. I’ve searched through various staff spacing Youtube videos and forums but no joy.
The quickest way to an answer is always to zip and post the actual project, but at the very least, please post a screenshot that demonstrates the problem, preferably from the Staff Spacing submode of Engrave mode.
The problem is that Dorico has to make a guess at how many staves and systems will fit on a page, before it can do the detailed layout. It guessed 3 systems, which is OK for the other pages we can see, but not for the problem page because of the extra vertical space needed where all those dynamics, articulations, slurs, and text or playing techniques (the “(slap)” text) all coincide.
Dragging the staves vertically won’t fix it, because in Dorico (unlike some other notation programs) that never changes the number of staves on the page.
You can either reposition some of the markings to use less vertical space, (e.g. move the “(slap)” text right so it doesn’t align with everything else) or insert a frame break after two systems on that page, and probably another one after two systems on the next page.
If this sort of problem is occurring often in your scores, you might want to got to Setup mode, and reduce the staff size in Layout Options / Page Setup.
That is disappointing that Dorico doesn’t automatically readjust that. Most written music contains dynamics, articulation, text and ledger lines, not to mention guitar tabs, lyrics, bowings, drum stickings etc…most of the time, so that comes as a real surprise that Dorico hasn’t thought of that.
That’s the only negative so far though. Everything else looks excellent and works brilliantly…
Dorico does accommodate all kinds of items automatically when it comes to vertical spacing. There are a number of different vertical spacing options available for each layout independently, and using these in addition to changing the staff size where appropriate will get you very close (if not completely) to a good result. However Dorico does differ slightly in how it handles staff spacing to other software - and the manual staff spacing tool in Engrave mode is mainly intended for fine-tuning, so it doesn’t currently cause casting off to change.
As Rob alluded to, there can be times when you’ll get clashing staves - this is because the height of staves varies from bar to bar, due to there sometimes being particularly high/low notes or dynamics and other times not. Dorico therefore won’t know how tall a system is until it’s worked out which bars specifically are in that system, but likewise vertical spacing influences the horizontal note spacing calculations, and this could go round and round in circles. At a certain point, Dorico has to draw a line and cast off, meaning sometimes a page has one system fewer than it can fit, or will be overly squeezed. Setting the most appropriate staff size and vertical spacing settings for the layout are the best ways to manage these situations. In general, the advice is to set your staff spacing gap sizes to be as small as you’d accept, and let Dorico vertically justify most of the time beyond that.
You can’t expect one default set of spacing options to fit every score and every type of music.
Really, the solution is to go back to Setup Mode and design how you want the pages to look. If you are using A4 or Letter paper and the default staff size and spacing, you will normally get about 9 or 10 staves per page maximum. With your quartet, if you want consistent looking pages you have to choose between either 8 staves and two systems per page, or 12 smaller staves and three systems.
A4/Letter is smaller than most professionally printed music pages. 9 x 12, 9.5 x 12.5 or 10 x 13 might not seem much bigger than 8.5 x 11, but the extra height does make a difference, and so does reducing the staff size by a similar proportion.
This is tangentially related, but I would put the instruction for “(slap)” in the score as a custom playing technique. They tend to be positioned closer to the staff than text items, which will help with the amount of vertical space your score is demanding at present.
You can set whatever values you wish for “Default vertical distance from staff” for both playing techniques and text items, in Engraving Options. You can manually reposition these sorts of items in Engrave Mode, but it’s better to settle on the best default values… which will also be taken into account when Dorico spaces the staves.
I’d also suggest playing around with the inter-staff and inter-system values in Layout Options–Vertical Spacing. If you increase your values for inter-system gaps, I think this would likely resolve itself in this case.