Stem lengths (again)

Sorry to have to bring this up again but the following example doesn’t look right to me.
stem length
Why does Dorico lengthen the stems in the second beat? I can’t seem to find settings which avoid this rather unnatural-looking result. Even restoring to factory defaults doesn’t help.


I have this with my settings:


My stem lengths are quite short.

Other settings may also come into play…

Not sure about global settings, but switching beam direction to flat in the properties panel should fix it at least locally.
flattened beam

Yes, but you want some angle on it, so that’s not ideal.

Thanks for the effort Ben but, as usual, it’s a lot more complicated. Your settings had no effect on the second beat:
16th stem length 2,67
I had to resort to a setting of 2.5 for the 16th note stem length but this resulted in the stems in beat 2 being lengthened(!?), resulting in the following unacceptable result:
16th stem length 2,25
And elsewhere, all this futzing resulted in the following unacceptable result:
beat 3

Are the ‘Stem Shortening’ options in ‘Engraving options’ not what you need?

I might be wrong about this, but I think it’s due to the fact that Dorico will snap beams to allowable positions within the staff, but doesn’t do that outside of the staff. I’ve previously requested a setting to treat beams outside of the staff the same way, even though there is no worry about wedges outside of the staff, for this exact reason as the discrepancy is noticeable IMO. Here’s what I mean …

Using your example with my settings, the first C-B looks poor in comparison to the two Bs as the stem is too long. An outside beam can never end in a space in the staff (descending should only end in straddle or hang), but when I add the ledger lines, it’s clear this particular beam ends in a space. This makes it look really strange and inconsistent IMO, even though there isn’t an adjustment needed to avoid wedge issues.

When I move the group up a space, I get the perfectly allowable sit-straddle for E-D. If I manually edit the C-B to be sit-straddle it looks pretty good to me. It would be nice if there was an option to treat these beams that fall outside the staff the same way.

I think the option is in ‘Engraving Options’ → ‘Notes’ → ‘Stem shortening’, or am I reading this wrong?

Yes and no. A couple years ago when I was geeking out on stems and beams I did a post on what this actually does over on The factory settings look pretty strange to me as they begin to shorten too soon IMO.

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Sorry to flog this old horse again, but it’s still not dead. Here’s another example of Dorico’s inconsistent stem shortening and, while I’ve tried to find settings which ameliorate this behaviour, I don’t see how settings actually have anything to do with it, i.e. no settings should produce this result. Bars 2-5 are identical but Dorico shortens the 3rd beats differently.

The ‘solution’ is checked whereas that’s by no means the case and I don’t know how to uncheck it.
Just to be clear: there have been no edits in Engrave mode made to any of those bars. If I copy bar 2 to bar 3, the stems in the 3rd beat get shortened and the result stays the same.

@Vaughan_Schlepp I like the settings that produced the last example (aside from the issue your point out). If you would share those, I would test your example and. see if I get the same curious result.

We’d need to see the project itself to be able to say for certain why the beam snapping differs for these identical bars.

Surprisingly I was able to reproduce this in a newly created project. Another interesting detail: this document has a note spacing (quarter note) value of 3.5 spaces. The stems of the third beats of the first two bars are longer than those of the last three [identical] bars. If I change note spacing to 3 spaces, the first bar remains the same and all the other bars’ 3rd beats change position to the opposite stem length!
stem length (432.4 KB)
@John_Ruggero: I can’t vouch for all aspects of these settings, but they are what produced the above result.

…and strangely if you change the music font to something else you get different stem lengths… maybe something that deal with the values in JSON file? I might be wrong.

I made a screen recording of the above phenomenon but was unable to upload it here, despite trying several formats (mov en m4v).

When I opened your file, there was an alert that some of your fonts were not installed on my computer and I therefore consented to font substitution. When your file opened, the result was unremarkable:

So there must be something going on with the fonts you are using.

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It’s not a matter of the fonts but of the settings associated with them. If I change the music font but do not update the font’s recommended engraving options, the stem lengths may change but they remain inconsistent (as NorFonts remarked). The curious thing is, how can any engraving option settings cause identical bars to have different stem lengths?

Yes, one doesn’t expect inconsistent behavior. In any case, I look forward to trying your settings. Thank you, @Vaughan_Schlepp! But, of course, they may not work since I am using a different music font.

Well, the answer is that different music fonts have noteheads with different widths, and the difference is all accounted for by tiny changes in horizontal spacing. Dorico is trying to enforce a maximum beam slant for the interval between the first and last notes in the beamed group, and it will snap the stem lengths of the first and last notes in the group in order to produce the desired slant. Once it’s snapped the stem lengths to produce the desired slant, it then snaps the whole beam to what it considers the optimal position, and of course the area around the edge of the staff is special in that Dorico wants if possible to avoid a beam line ending within 0.25 spaces of the outer staff line.

If the spacing is slightly different, then the beam slant will in turn be different (because the angle of a line between two points is obviously affected by the horizontal distance between those two points), which results in the first and last stems being snapped differently, which in turn results in the whole beam being snapped differently.

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