Staff label positioning when Condensing

Staff labels don’t seem to be centered when condensing, at least with the settings I’m using:

The 1 is clearly extending quite a bit past the staff, while the 3 isn’t anywhere close to extending past. If I change the Leading to something like 80% I get this:

That’s better looking IMO (maybe a bit cramped), but the Leading setting is only moving the upper number to change the distance between the numbers while keeping the lower number in a fixed position. The 1 is now lower but the position of the 3 is unchanged.

Is there a setting somewhere to specify how these should be centered? I don’t see anything in Engraving Options/Staff Labels. If Dorico is making a positioning assumption based on the factory defaults here, there really should be a setting to modify this to allow for other fonts and sizes to be correctly centered. Or is there now and I’m just missing it?

This is a difficult problem to solve in its generality. Dorico already has two different alignment strategies that it chooses between for staff labels, and it chooses to use either the cap height of the font or the tight bounding rect of the glyphs used in different situations. It will use the cap height if the label completely consists of digits and/or upper case characters. So those inner numbers will be using the cap height, and consequently the outer labels will be using the cap height too. I guess the cap height for that font is reasonably tall.

I don’t know how best we should tackle this, because even if we were to provide a single offset control to allow you to nudge the whole lot in one particular direction, I’m not sure that’s guaranteed to give the right results in all cases.

To look balanced to me, the top of the 1 should be as far down from the top of the bracket as the bottom of the 4 is up from the bottom of the bracket. How you define that programmatically is beyond me.

The font in that example is Kepler which has a cap height quite a bit shorter than Academico at the same point size:

Here’s an example of positioning from an older Finale score I did:

It’s a bit of work in Finale as you need to specify the positioning for full and abbreviated names in each (combined) staff in the score, but it’s pretty straightforward and only a couple of minutes of time for an orchestral score. I would think separate vertical offsets for 2 and 3 player condensed staves in Dorico would be very helpful. (With the ability to specify leading too would be even better, or perhaps the Paragraph Style leading would suffice.) I assume 4 or more player condensed staves are fairly infrequent but there should be a way to handle them too when they arise, maybe in the Properties panel?

(EDIT: The 3-4 actually looks a touch low to me. Oh well, this was from an Idina Menzel tour in 2010 so too late now!)

The visual cap height isn’t the thing that’s at issue, but rather what the font itself specifies in its metrics table. But yes, I agree that we need some way to sort this out in due course.