Staff spacing dilemma

I generally delineate musical sections with double bars. Many of these get rehearsal marks, and often I also add a text notation at the same point (e.g. “Sax soli”) This can lead to some really wacky layouts when you switch to engrave mode. The attached example is not very extreme, but you can see that the staff spacing above B, C, and D is wider than the other lines. It is perfectly sensible that the spacing would vary if we are avoiding all the collisions. But in a perfect world, there would be a way to avoid the collision without stacking everything vertically.

At A I moved the system text one eight beat to the right. That avoided the staff spacing problem, but it breaks up the multi-measure rest.

At B, I manually dragged the rehearsal mark to its new position, but the staff spacing does not re-adjust after that. Again, in a perfect word, if I remedy the collision manually, it would be nice if the staffs would adjust to that change.

C and D are untouched, so we have the extra width.

Again, I note that the spacing is not terrible here. But I have had some parts where this problem causes really nasty spacing. I realize I can move the staves manually, but the more automatic, the better.

I wonder if anybody has discovered any tricks that help with this.

Setting text objects to not avoid collisions can help with distorted staff spacing. If they collide as a result, you can adjust their position yourself.

Yes, but the point is if you set them anywhere other than the downbeat of a section, you will break up any MM rests starting in that section. I am hoping to avoid that kind of manual manipulation because I often work in scores that have 15 parts or more. You would have to do these edits at every section of every part. If I have 15 parts and 10 rehearsal marks, that’s 150 edits. Note that “propagate properties” does not propagate the position from the score to the parts. If there were a way to propagate the placement of the rehearsal marks, that would make that case only 10 edits instead of 150.

In the example below, I have added a tempo mark at the downbeat of B, along with the rehearsal mark and system text. It is interesting that Dorico does manage to put the rehearsal mark side-by-side with the tempo mark, but isn’t able to do that with system text.

Isn’t it the case that even though you move something (in Engrave Mode) so that it doesn’t take up as much room, Dorico won’t take that change into account and you still have to move the staff manually? If so, it would be handy if Dorico could take manual edits into account.

That would be excellent, although I can imagine that could be a non-trivial development job.
I’d like to think it wouldn’t be too hard to treat system text the same as tempo marks for collision avoidance purposes. In other words, allow rehearsal marks and system text entered at the same beat to sit site by side.

As with many legitimate requests (and this one certainly is), it opens up a can of worms.

How infuriating could it be for the staves to automatically change spacing when moving another element, when you had them set as you wanted?

I’m looking at you, note-and-lyric spacing.

This happens already with the objects designed to be smart. Move a beam, or a centered hairpin, and the staff spacing changes even when it is overridden. It has mildly annoyed me in certain situations.

The most pragmatic approach to this right at the minute might be to use actual tempos rather than system-attached text for these kinds of markings that coincide with rehearsal marks, provided you can live with them looking the same as actual tempos.

Staff spacing related question:
For some particular reason I need to layout all staves on the page with exactly the same vertical space between each of them; no matter how questionable would the notation look.
Is there a way to do it for all staves on the page at once rather then adjusting each staff one-by-one?

Igor Borodin

Igor, the bad news is you need to do them one at a time. The good news is that once you’ve done it for one page you can Copy Staff Spacing to every other page that has the same configuration of instruments and systems.

Thanks, Leo.

You should be able to achieve completely consistent staff spacing regardless of the consequences by switching off the ‘Automatically resolve collisions between adjacent staves and systems’ checkbox on the Vertical Spacing page of Layout Options. Dorico will then simply lay out all the staves and systems according to the ideal gaps defined elsewhere on the same page, though still subject to vertical justification, of course.

Thank you. That definitely helps.