Vertical distance to Pedal in Organ


I’m trying to get 15 mm between manuals and 12mm to pedals, having defined a player using Organ, but I get this

I have a 6 mm stave size giving 1 space = 1.5 mm and I thought these settings would work:

It looks like the Braced staff to braced staff also sets the distance to the Pedal, which I thought would be the Staff to staff. It is common in organ music that the Pedal is closer to the bass stave, and not equally spaced.

I managed to “simulate” this when adding a 2-manual organ and a Double Bass (for the Pedal);

but I’m certain this is not the way to go. The 3(+) system organ set up would be best.

Any advice how to get a fixed 15+12 mm distance using the (solo) Organ instrument?


Unless you’ve deactivated the option further down to resolve collisions between staves automatically, Dorico will be allowing extra space for stuff that extends outside the staff: namely, the + Gt/Ped item.

If that’s a text item, you could disable collision avoidance for it and move it around manually, or disable automatic resolution of inter-staff collision entirely.

(Those ideal gaps are just that: ideal, not absolutely. Really, they’re “absolutely minimum gaps”, on top of which Dorico will add extra space where needed for high/low notes, extra notations, etc.)

I have disabled the

There are no text objects that explain this behaviour (especially not when avoidance turned off).
What are the settings to get a smaller vertical distance to the pedal?
Which of the 9 (or rather 6) values affects the distance to pedal? I only found that Grand Staff distance also affects the pedal distance, which is a bit odd.

If you share your project, I can take a look.

Lemare_02001.dorico (1002.6 KB)
Certainly. Thank you.

Right yes, for a grand-staff instrument like organ, all its staves seem to be handled by the grand-staff spacing value (although I’d defer to one of my more directly-experienced colleagues to say for sure).

If you play around a bit, you may find that enabling automatic resolution of collisions, and perhaps slightly increasing the inter-staff content gap, produces a result closer to the balance you want (bigger gap between braced staves, smaller gap between lower braced staff and pedal staff below).

I’m not very found of automatic vertical adjustments. I want my lines “where I put them”, and (my) organ music is not very advanced so there is seldom collisions. When it occurs I fix it by hand. But I do need a complete rigid setup of systems that have certain distances and never move.

So I guess organ music is not fully supported yet? Some organ scores have more than 2 lines for the manuals too, where they don’t have equal distances either.

Are there plans for improving these distances to be more flexible in future version? Letting the Grand Staff-“Pedal” (or any single line) sort under the 2nd-3rd alterantives, ‘Staff group to staff’… would be a solution I think.

I would try setting the braced staff gap to the narrower (12mm) and letting collision avoidance widen the space between the manual staves on each system. It will likely not be as uniform as if we could set 15 and 12 separately, but it should give a nice, compact look with no collisions.

You can add extra staves to an instrument when needed.

Yes, I tried that. It requires some “engineering” when it comes to staff labels though, but can be worked around I think.

I think for the moment the only option is to not use the 3-staff organ instrument - define a 2 manual organ and add a seperate staff like a bass singer for the pedal, then reduce the spacing between braced staves in the layout options. It seems to work well once you balance page, staff and margin sizes (and you get very large gaps if you don’t have them right!)

It would be good to have a maximum and minimum space specifically for the 3-staff organ though.

Yes, the organ is a complex instrument when it comes to staves. Sometimes additional staves (thumbing down etc) requires more ‘manual’ staves with special distances. Hopefully in a future Dorico version. It is not an easy problem in a user-friendly software like Dorico unless you invent some ‘vertical distances sign post’ with ‘cryptic’ input that could override preset.

Separate controls for manual and manual-to-pedal spacing is something that I’ve requested in the past. I can only imagine it is (rightly) a low priority.