Unequal line spacing in parts

Hi Nick, The page in the manual that covers how the different layout options work is here. Steinberg manuals generally don’t do “problem solving”, i.e. taking something not-ideal that can occur and explaining it, but I’ll make a note to review whether any additional explanations in regards to casting off would be helpful.

In your case, I would recommend setting the defaults for rehearsal marks such that they are as well-positioned as possible in the parts, and then move them in just the score (rather than the other way around). Unless you want rehearsal marks that far away from the staff in the parts, in which case fiddling with your vertical spacing settings or even perhaps the casting off (such that fewer systems are on each page) could be worthwhile. Manually moving staves is very rarely necessary.

A similar question came up in a thread earlier today that relates to the circular calculation Dorico does when determining casting off, which might be worth checking.

Thanks Lillie - yes I realise my point is a little cheeky, but thanks for sharing the resources and suggesting the tip.

Can I ask, is the way the rehearsal marks affect the system to system vertical spacing an editable / viewable parameter? Or is the rehearsal mark spacing basically an analogue for this?

I’m just trying to understand how rehearsal marks and other things affect spacing, and so what else might be at play besides the vertical spacing options.

I’ve done a few pieces in Dorico since getting it last year but this is the first time I’ve encountered this problem (also the first time I’m using more divisi and stylised formatting which is causing the issues with the RMs) .

It’s not specific to rehearsal marks, they’re just the object in your example that is most clearly impacting vertical spacing. Here’s another Daniel post -

I know Daniel has explained vertical spacing in this sort of way before, but rather than scrabble around for it I’ll do my best to recollect. The precise order in which various aspects are calculated is not guaranteed, because I can’t remember that.

Dorico calculates vertical spacing like a(n open) sandwich. The staff is the bread at the bottom. That’s fixed, there has to be a slice of bread, so that’s just a given. On top of the bread, there’s the filling: high/low notes that need extra space on top of the staff, likewise other dynamics, lyrics, text objects etc and so on. Then comes the “Minimum Gaps” - the extra vertical spacing needed between staves/systems when “sandwich filling” (high/low notes, dynamics, lyrics etc) exists. Call that the lettuce. Then the “Ideal Gaps”, which is extra space between staves/systems in different circumstances - like having bigger gaps between staves in different bracket groups than between staves within a bracket group. Call that the layers on a cake stand. (Time to retire the analogy.)

Basically: Dorico will do its best to make space for everything. If some items “demand” more space than Dorico originally budgeted for, you might get collisions. Giving Dorico the most wiggle room you can (reducing the minimum gaps for individual items and for vertical spacing to the smallest you can) generally gets you closer to the best results more easily. Vertical justification in most cases will mean that staves end up with more space than set out in your minimums anyway.

As a sandwich lover I have greatly enjoyed this explanation. Thanks Lillie.

And so to summarise the general point is that you need to set up your parameters well at the start to avoid the need for manual system alterations? Long gone are the Sibelean days of fudging things on the fly…

Also, connected, the idea of there being an ‘automatically vertically distribute’ systems function is moot in Dorico’s paradigm given these design principles, right? (It would still be useful, tbh).

I guess it’s just a little baffling when you first encounter issues like rehearsal mark spacing in the score affecting the parts (and can’t they be different between score and parts, right?) - it would be handy if the documentation was more emphatic about ‘this is the way you really should do things’ with relation to things like the above.

I know the info is all ‘there’ and the videos are helpful and friendly but I personally would find a more brutal / brass tacks / dictatorial approach more clear (do it this way or else!) to save time running around the forum doing detective work :sweat_smile:

…not that I don’t enjoy running into your sandwich metaphor :wink:

Yeah, I’m not going to do that any time soon (in the manual, anyway) - a note that says “We recommend” or even, “We strongly recommend” is about as far as I’ll/we’ll go. It depends on the situation, and understanding the different parameters is arguably the best way to get good results as you can adapt to each situation you find yourself in. Arguably, the manual didn’t tell you to put a massive gap between rehearsal marks and the stave either :wink: Third-party guides or tutorials are probably better placed to pronounce an opinion on what one should or shouldn’t do in subjective cases.

The general point of setting up your defaults to be as close to your ideal as possible from the start: absolutely. That applies to everything in Dorico. Ditto getting the general layout sorted before moving staves around, because adding an extra page at the start later causes your staff spacing changes to be lost in most cases. It saves time and energy anyway.

Automatic distribution - Dorico does its own vertical justification. There’s no “reset note spacing” either, because essentially Dorico is always doing that. The benefit of this is actually that you don’t necessarily need to get your defaults set up “correctly” from the beginning - you can update and adapt them whenever. Waiting until you’ve got all/most of the music in is probably the most efficient, as you’ve then got your context in place.

If you wanted evenly spaced systems in parts, regardless of content on their staves, you can do that - deactivate the layout option for automatically resolving collisions between staves/systems. Carefully, of course.