Stem length settings (still!)

I prefer less-slanted beams than the Dorico factory default but my settings occasionally produce inconsistent stem lengths and I still can’t find settings which work in all situations. In the screen shot below, the result in the first bar is what my settings produce. For some reason, the stems in the first group of 16ths are too long, especially compared to the stem lengths in the second group. The stem lengths in the second bar are what I would like to achieve but it required manual adjustment of the first group. Does anyone have any suggestions?
stem lengths

Can you supply a sample document with your Engraving Options?

Stem lengths are a heady mix of different calculations and options: the shortened stem lengths, the shortening staff line rules; and the beam angles.

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Thanks for replying, Ben. Here’s the file and a screen shot. The stem lengths of the four groups of 16ths are all logical except for the third group. Why should any setting cause these stem lengths to be longer than those of the group before it, with higher notes?
stem length test
stem length test.dorico (466.4 KB)

If I change your Beam Slant for fourths to one half space, then I get this:

… which seems to work quite well.

As said: beam angles and stem lengths are a pretty complex mesh of interacting properties, plus ‘snapping’ to staff lines. The relative distance of the notehead from the staff’s middle line affects how much stem shortening will take place.

Factory settings give this:

Thanks again, Ben. I still find it strange that a logical increase in beam slant settings yields inconsistent results, even with consistent increases in relative distances between notehead and staff middle line as in my example. I now have the slants for beams by a 4th and a 5th set to the same value: ½ spaces. Setting the slant for 3rds to be right below this (⅜) yields the following unattractive result:
This wouldn’t be necessary if Dorico could widen (automatically) the beam separation in a case like this to ⅜ spaces.

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There is an option for widening beam separation:


Personally I find that in practice this looks rather extreme if it’s on automatically, but it really depends on the context.

In the left image the gap between beams has been widened to 1/2 space. Now that Dorico offers more control over beam separation, an option to widen automatically to 3/8 spaces instead of 1/2 (like Vaughan suggests) would be helpful with these.


Ah, I see what you (both) mean. Fair point.

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