Very dense score: Best settings?

Hi, folks.

I’m writing pieces for marching band. There I have the need to fit much music into very little space.
Are there any settings I can start from to create scores like this (it’s A5)?

I know that there will be some manual work to do for me, but it would be great to have some good point to start from.


In Layout Options (command-shift-L on Mac) look for Note Spacing from the options at the upper left of the dialog box. I’ve had great success with Beethoven piano sonatas matching the layout of old editions. All the options here (Vertical Spacing, Page Setup etc.) are excellent - I’ve had to do almost no hand-tweaking at all, once I get these settings where I want them.

You will want to go to Engrave mode and modify the Master Pages. Make one Text Box at the top to hold the Title, Composer, etc.

In Layout Option > Page Setup: change Page Margins and Music Frame Margins, etc. to allow for more music to fit on the page.

I spent the last half hour or so (when I should really be in bed!) entering what I could make out of the page posted at the start of this thread, and it really wasn’t too difficult to get the music into a single frame.

You can download the project to take a look at the settings. The main things I changed:

– Page Setup page of Layout Options: A5 paper size, rastral size 6 (5.5mm), page margins of 5mm on all sides, music frame margins of 5mm top and bottom
– Staves and systems page of Layout Options: hide staff labels at start and subsequently, indent first system by 6 spaces
– Vertical Spacing page of Layout Options: 2 spaces between braced staves, 2 spaces between systems
– Note Spacing page of Layout Options: Default space for quarter note set to 2 spaces
– Notes page of Engraving Options: reduced the default stem lengths, and the shortened stem lengths
– Repeat Endings page of Engraving Options: make the repeat endings closer to the staff by default

In Engrave mode, I edited the ‘First’ master page to remove the copyright box at the bottom, and to reposition the text frames so that they had the right content. I also edited the ‘Default text’ font and paragraph styles to use Arial rather than Academico.

Aside from that, I locked the format of the frame so that I had the same casting off as the original page, and I adjusted the staff spacing a bit in Engrave mode.

Wow, Daniel!
Thanks for your time (please - go to bed next time instead!), and thanks for the very detailed instructions.

Very appreciated! :slight_smile:

No doubt about the fact that the Dorico output is far better than the original — from a musician’s point of view!

I played around further, tried to fix the harmony from bar 22 onwards.
The inner parts between bar 4 and 21 are scaled to 80%. (355 KB)

And you fixed the tremolos! Good man!

Daniel, out of interest, why do projects you post contain xml files, and projects we post contain dtn files?

Because I’m using a development build. The files I post will be larger than they need to be, but they’re functionally identical.

Ta - understood.