Understanding grace note spacing

I wonder if anyone could help me understand why Dorico is making certain choices in grace note spacing.

I tried to attach a zipped Dorico file here, but the forum system tells me the file is too large even though I only have the one measure I am referring to in it! So here is a screenshot:

Why, in Part 1, is there so much extra space between the grace note and the main note? In Part 5 the grace note looks normal.
I’ve gone through all the options I can find, and tried deleting various staff elements to see if they were influencing it, but I can’t figure it out!

Are you certain the grace note is attached to beat 2 rhythmic position?

If you change the playback template to Silence, you can probably reduce the file size quite a bit.

What happens if you move the hairpin so that it starts on the beat rather than during the grace note?

Moving the hairpin does help a little bit actually (why, though?), but there’s still a weird amount of extra spacing.
Thanks for the tip about changing the playback template – smaller file attached.
grace note spacing example.dorico.zip (362 KB)

After looking at your file I’d say it’s the combination of the tie, sharp, and the hairpin that makes Dorico leave more space here. By removing them one by one (hairpin, tie and accidental) you’ll see the distance shrink until it’s about the same as the other note later in the bar. This makes me think that this is intended behavior. The more information you cram in, the more space Dorico makes.

Obviously, you would want to keep the sharp and the tie, and although I understand the musical idea, I think that in this context I would rather have the hairpin start at the beat. If you would still like to keep it the way you had, you could always adjust the note spacing in Engrave mode. Another option would be to have both the mf and hairpin start at the beat and moving them after in Engrave mode.

Thanks so much for looking at it. I suppose it is easy to adjust in Engrave mode!

No worries, happy to help!

I actually manage to find an option that lets you control the minimum length of ties between grace notes and normal notes, which made the gap even smaller. You’ll find it in Engraving options > Ties > Length > Minimum length between for ties between grace notes and normal notes. After setting it to 1/4 the gap didn’t get any smaller as seen on the attached picture.

Also, since your file opened in Galley view I thought it was worth mentioning that some details of the layout are not calculated fully in Galley view:

In galley view, all staves in the project are shown. However, note spacing is unjustified and there is no automatic vertical collision avoidance, so notes and items might overlap.

(From the online manual)

Hope this helps you get the desired result!

Thanks, this is exactly what I needed!!

Coming back to this – I’m actually still having the problem. Changing the minimum length of ties option doesn’t seem to have any effect; indeed, I would maybe need some kind of “maximum length” option. The tie length is only sensible when I don’t put the dynamic on the grace note, but I really want it there. Does anyone know why this is?

Edit: in Engrave mode, Dorico is not letting me move the grace note to the right.
Edit 2: OK, I found that (in note spacing) if I move the circle above the grace note rather than the box, it does let me move it to the right, and then I can move the main note back to the left and the grace note moves back with it. But does anyone know why the dynamics placement is doing such strange things to the grace note spacing?

I think there are few items that can cause large spacing for grace notes when they’re attached to the grace note rather than the “main note” at that rhythmic position - tempo marks are another example.

In general, my understanding is it’s best to attach items to the main rhythmic position rather than the grace note to get the best default horizontal spacing, but you can move items graphically in Engrave mode so they align with the grace note if required (e.g. if dynamics should start on the grace note).

1 Like