Staff spacing randomly

I know that there are a lot of topics about staff spacing. I just don’t get the point sometimes.
Currently I’m writing for double choir and although I didn’t change anything in the staff spacing I get 2 completely different page-layouts depending on how many dynamics or time changes or whatever I use.
Couldn’t there be a fixed layout on which I could rely on and adjust if necessary? Why do I get seemingly random staff spacing on nearly every page when just writing a score?

Is there a ‘switch off magnetic layout’ function in Dorico maybe like in Sibelius? So that I can adjust manually when needed and not every page looks in a different way?

Although it might appear to you random, of course Dorico’s staff spacing choices are certainly not random: you are getting different results on different pages because the pages are falling either side of the thresholds for which staff spacing approach to use, as defined on the Vertical Spacing page of Layout Options.

In your picture, the left-hand page is 85% vertically full, and the right-hand page is 92% vertically full. The reason the staves end up at different distances is because once the page is more than 80% vertically full, Dorico does not justify the spaces between the staves within the system, but rather only the distances between the systems. So this means the staves go closer together, and you end up with a larger gap between the systems. If your staves have different things above or below them, or particularly high or low notes, then of course the distances between staves will be different from one page to the other.

(The above will only be true if you haven’t adjusted the default values for the options in the Vertical Justification section of the Vertical Spacing page of Layout Options.)

To get a more consistent appearance, try setting Justify distance only between systems when frame is at least n % full to 100%. Now Dorico will always justify the distances between all the staves as well as the systems. Perhaps you’ll like the way that looks better on the whole.


Dear Daniel,
this answer is -once again- :+1:t2:
1000 times ‘thank you’
That helps a lot. Now I understand the system behind all this. Of course I ‘played’ with the ‘vertical spacing’ options but I never tried the ‘100%’.
That makes the job.
Mille gracie !

See my post here for more information on how those options work.