System spaces consistency. What am I missing?

Hello everyone,


any clue why Dorico, by default, would create such large spaces between systems when there is not a single element that could collide? :neutral_face:

In the attached picture you can see what I mean. Ideal System spaces in Layout Options is set to 8, no idea why Dorico is considering this to be the best choice, and only on one page (along the whole score only random pages choose to “close the gap”…maybe it wants to keep the five staves group “condensed”? But again, it only does so in specific pages…

To me the page on the right looks “normal” and the page on the left looks “abnormal”. I suspect the page on the left looks the way it does because of the potential collisions in the F. Horn in bar 96 and the Flute dynamic and Oboe grace notes in bar 101.

Bear in mind that the default spacing doesn’t pay any attention to the size of your ensemble or the size of your paper.

I’d like to see a compromise between the 2 pages. Neither layout is suitable for publisher quality work. There is no additional white space between systems on the first page and way too much on the second page. What happens if you tighten up the staff spacing on the first system, turn on staff spacing and copy the spacing to succeeding systems?

If I do that I have to position every system for every page, because the spacing that might work for one (im talking inbetween system) might not for another page. Besides, as far as im aware, there is not way to “tighten up space” for an individual system, you have to move every staff individually.

I would guess that your result is somehow related to these options in Layout Options:


If you play around with these, does that change anything?

Not anything noticeable

I think Leo’s assessment that the staff spacing on the left-hand page is influenced by the extremely low note in the first bar of the horn staff is probably correct; the presence of the rehearsal mark on the left-hand page will also have an impact on how Dorico thinks about those pages.

You will, however, be able to get consistent results by adjusting the options on the Vertical Spacing page of Layout Options, if you consider carefully what you want to achieve. My guess is that for this combination of page size and staff size, you should specify a larger default gap between staves. This will give the music more breathing room in each system and guide Dorico better towards how you would prefer the music to be laid out. Unfortunately Dorico is not a mind-reader, so if you want a different result, you do need to change some settings: a single set of general-purpose defaults for vertical spacing cannot possibly work for every possible combination of page size, staff size, number of staves per system, and number of systems per page.