Vertical alignment of staff labels

Hi all,

I went full Romantic and added periods in my staff labels for a project, so instead of reading


I changed them to read


It looked really elegant. As I typed in the periods, though, I watched the labels, one by one, move up the page a couple of points (or about a third of a space). I didn’t change the font or its size or anything — just added periods to the full names.

Is this a bug? How do I counteract it, short of manually moving the labels back to vertical-center the way they were originally?

If it looks like the Tenor below, it’s because you hit Enter after the period, creating a 2-line staff name, even if nothing is on the next line.

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Good thinking, Fred, but I didn’t press Enter, and the staff label didn’t move up an entire line — just a couple of millimeters.

I’m not sure then. If you could post a cut-down version of your file that exhibits the behavior, I’m sure someone could help sleuth it out.

I just recreated the problem with an out-of-the-box new project in Dorico 4.3. I create an SATB ensemble in Setup Mode, change vocal staves to display in uppercase in Engraving Options, rename one of the instruments (“Soprano” to “Soprano.”), and the label nudges itself upward.

Can confirm.


What if you keep the Options for sentence case, but change the name to SOPRANO. ?

TBH, I’m not convinced that it’s elegant. Stops usually tell you either that it’s an abbreviation, or the end of a coherent group of words. It’s not really telling you anything at the end of a complete single word.

It’s a style. Very 19th century, mostly German and English. It’s certainly not grammatically necessary as, for example, the period in German abbreviations of ordinal numbers (e.g. „1.“ = erste).

Oh I think it’s quite elegant! It doesn’t provide any semantic information, sure, but it does provide emotional information. I look at it and it makes me hold my head up high. It makes me regard the music (our sound as well as the ink) in a more monumental way. It’s like crown molding around the ceiling of a room, or leaded glass in a front window: it quietly dignifies the experience.

I wouldn’t do it in an orchestral, opera, or band score, though. Too many staves, and nobody wants to see that many labels in caps.

For me, it only occurs with UPPERCASE.
Moreover, It occurs when any non alphanumeric is added anywhere in the name.
Most peculiar.

Dorico performs the font measurement for staff labels differently depending on the text content on the staff label. A staff label containing only capital letters and digits (e.g. “SOPRANO 1”) will use the cap height measurement from the font, while staff labels containing lower case characters or any non-alphanumeric characters will use the X-height measurement from the font. There’s no option to control this behaviour: this is what Dorico always does.

I was just bubbling to my best friend about how Dorico is “an Edison moment in sheet music history” because of under-the-hood considerations like x-height vs. capital height. (I even drew her a diagram of accidental tucking!) I love it, Daniel.

If it’s worth the trouble for the development team, I’d love to see punctuation excluded from the staff-label positioning calculation. Aside from taking time to tweak the programming, I can’t imagine a cost to this, and the benefit would be, of course, preventing the staff labels getting nudged “unpredictably.”