Tempo Markings Vertical Position

Two related questions:

How do I control the vertical placement of the initial tempo marking? I’ve set the Engraving Options>Tempo>Vertical Position>minimum distance above staff to 1. (The default is 3). This brings my tempo markings throughout the piece closer to the stave. But why is the first tempo marking exempt from this control? It continues to hover much higher than I’d like.

I frequently have system text at the same point as a tempo marking. How do I get the system text to appear above the tempo marking? It always comes out the other way around. (There’s kind of a workround using baseline shift, which might be ok for a small number of alterations but not suitable for a piece with fifty instances of this issue. And its use also leads to other side effects)

Perhaps I’ve missed something obvious; I hope so.

Look (in Engrave mode) in the properties panel after selecting the initial tempo marking: probably you have a manual offset (Start offset): deactivate it.

The system text appears by default immediately above the system. If you want it over the tempo text, go (in Engrave mode) in the properties panel and activate the override for Avoid Collision (click on the blue switch but leave the box deactivated). Then you can position the text where you want (creating an offset) with shift+alt and up arrow (or just drag it with the mouse),

Christian_R, thanks very much for your help…

The second solution works in engrave mode, but as soon as I switch back to write mode the text returns to being underneath the tempo marking. Is this what you would expect?

For the first solution I can see no manual offset that applies to vertical positioning. As far as I understand it the start offset in the properties panel when in Engrave mode only affects horizontal positioning.

Surely there must be some simpler way to adjust the vertical position of that first tempo mark (preferably still in Write Mode)? I don’t imagine I’m the first person to wish to do this as it seems a pretty basic requirement, so still hoping I’ve missed something obvious. And why does the first tempo mark not accord with the setting (minimum distance above staff) that controls the vertical position of all others?


Actually, I’ve made further progress and my statement

is not correct. I forgot something: I customarily work in Galley View and return to Page View infrequently till I reach the end stages of a piece, which is can be many weeks. So, of course in Galley View the layout is not intended to be visually correct in terms of alignment/collision avoidance etc. So when it occurred to me to go back to page view the adjustments were maintained and the text was positioned above the tempo mark. Sorry for my slow understanding of that and my incorrect statement!

The piece I’m currently working on has 58 places where a system text entry needs to be above a tempo marking. Whilst I’d settle for the the system more or less as described above by Christian_R and manually reposition both the tempo and text entries in engrave mode 58 times, this only deals with the score and not the parts (there are 4).

If I have to do both score and parts using this system that’s 290 operations where both tempo and text have to be repositioned both horizontally and vertically.

I’d still be grateful if anyone could explain how to set things up so that the system text appears above tempo markings in both score and parts.

Unfortunately you can’t influence the order in which Dorico stacks tempo and system-attached text. Can you say any more about what function the system-attached text is serving? I wonder if there’s any other way to achieve the result you need.

Hi Daniel, thanks for your reply.

In this particular piece, a wind quartet, the 58 text labels are the titles of paintings by Edward Hopper. However I’ve used similar procedures in previous long pieces with all sorts of different nomenclature (most predate my move to Dorico).

The point of these labels is primarily practical (the music isn’t representational). In rehearsal, if you can practise, say @the Manhattan Bridge Loop bit@ everyone starts to remember easily. With 58 small @sections@ it’s hard for anyone to remember the difference between, say, section 48 and section 49, so it just makes life easy, and a bit more fun as well.

In pieces with just a few sections I’ve used Flows partly as a solution. But for this piece that doesn’t work for multiple reasons, and I need to do it all as one Flow.

If you have any ideas that would be great, otherwise it looks like I’ve got those 290 operations to manually process!

You could just change the text of the tempo mark to be your system text and vice versa. You could even show a metronome mark and abandon the system text altogether.

Thanks Janus, it’s a good idea and I may use it at some point.

I don’t think I can do it here though. I predominantly use only metronome markings as the tempo mark, but on occasion I insert a word or two as well. Where I do this it would be to make something stand out to the player e.g. "Nuovo Tempo "(following say a rit, where one might more commonly expect “a tempo”).

Not all of the 58 mini-sections start on the barline and the alignment of the text label makes it clear where the section starts. But at the same time you don’t want a new metronome marking to be anywhere other than exactly where it should start either. My priority is for the player’s eye first to hit the correct metronome at the right point, and secondarily to be informed more generally of exactly where the new section starts, in order to better understand the structure of the piece. So vertical stacking is the best option, but definitely with the tempo mark nearer the stave. Hope that makes sense!

Your idea has the huge benefit of permeating through to the parts, and lessening the workload, so there’s a lot to commend it though. I’ll reflect further. Many thanks.