Getting layout compressed

• Jan 17, 2022 - 16:44

I have been tearing my hair out yet again!
Here is a score
I also have a graphics file which contains an image of the score I used to copy it from - also Public Domain.

I really wanted to put the two together - which in fact was how I created this score in the first place. However, I was ultimately not able to control both the horizontal and the vertical spacing, so there is now not enough space on the page to add in the image file.

A so often with MuseScore, this is very disappointing. However I was quite pleased at being able to input the notes in Soprano, Alto and Tenor clefs directly from the score at IMSLP which used exactly those clefs.

Is there any way now to reduce the vertical spacing without causing an upset to the horizontal spacing, to create enough space to put in the image file showing the original score?

Attachment Size
BWV_255_original_4_parts-v5.mscz 306.7 KB


Where do you want to add your image? If at the top you can add it to the frame that already exists by right clicking in the frame and choosing [Add Image]. If at the bottom you would need to append a new vertical frame [Add]>[Frames]>[Append vertical frame] and do the right click thing in that frame once you have added it. Or if in the middle you would need to Insert rather than append. You can adjust the height of the frame by clicking on the frame outline and dragging the handle at the base of the frame. This will compress the score to allow the frame to fit. If you compress the score too much it will spill over onto another page and at what level of compression that happens depends on the Page settings and Page Style settings available from the Format menu.

In reply to by SteveBlower

Thanks for replying. This might not work. Originally I wanted to get the image and the MuseScore layout all on one page - which might not be feasible with standard A4 page size. However, for reasons not fully known to me at one point an extra system line appeared, and I could not remove it. Trying to reformat the page vertically didn't work too well - though eventually I managed to get things back to a reasonable state by deleting the first bar, and then copying/typing it back in. The issue I have is that there is too much vertical space between the staves in the systems and there seemed to be major problems trying to control the vertical space while also adjusting the horizontal spacing. If I tried to let MS do things automatically that didn't work too well, and sadly, neither did suppressing the automatic spacing.

The file as you may see it currrently looks OK - but has so much wasted space that there's almost no chance of getting the image file on to the same page. I was hoping that I might be able to squeeze them both into the same A4 size.

However, as the image file has now served its purpose, I could put a new text frame either before or after the existing staves, and allow a page break, and put the image there. It's not what I was hoping to do, but it may be the best option given where things are.

I updated this a few minutes ago - but something's got lost.

Eventually I found that I could actually put a text frame under the last system, and to my delight when I pasted the image file into that, the page reformatted more or less as I wanted - removing a lot of the unwanted vertical space. I wasn't sure it would all fit on.

Thanks for your very helpful suggestion.

Attachment Size
BWV_255_original_4_parts-v7.mscz 308.47 KB

In reply to by dave2020X

I'm not understanding what you mean about extra systems you can't get rid of, but if you give precise steps to reproduce the problem, I'm sure we can help.

It's also not clear what you mean about there being too much space, but here I can guess: if I remove the frame with the image, then MuseScore spreads the staves to fill the page, as per the normal of published music. But that's not a problem, just append the frame and add the image and everything sorts itself automatically as you've seen.

If there is some other spacing issue I'm not understanding, again, give precise steps to demonstrate the problem and we're happy to help.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

As I think you can see now, eventually I did manage to get this sorted. I think you have found what I was looking at. I was not expecting MuseScore to try to fill the whole page. When I added the vertical frame at the end and inserted the image things shrank back to what I wanted in the first place. It took a long while to discover that.

I guess if I'd wanted to reduce the size of the systems without putting an image in I could just have forced the size of the text frame which again would have repositioned the staves and adjusted the spacing between them.

In reply to by dave2020X

Yes, although if the goal was just to make the system look crowded with a bunch of space at the bottom, instead of a framer - which is intended as a container for something - it's better to just use a spacer, which is designed specifically for spacing. Normally there wouldn't be a reason to do that - it's more correct to have the systems & staves spread to fill the page in most cases. But for the special exceptions where for whatever reason you want space all bunched up at the bottom, or top, or middle, of a page (instead of spread throughout), spacers are your friend.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

If you look at the attached PDF you'll see my original target attempts, which at last seems to have come out almost right. That's the one with the separate SATB staves.


I've also just done another version in closed SATB - PDF also attached.


I tried to upload the MuseScore file of these versions up to, but insists on reformatting the score - either by putting the line breaks in the wrong place, or by moving the text frame to the next page.

Here is the closed score SATB version

However, my investigations suggest that if the files are downloaded back into a local version of MuseScore, the formatting will revert back to something close to what I originally intended - and hopefully identical to the uploaded files.

In reply to by dave2020X

FWIW, if I download that score and open it on my system, it's the same as online - measure 4 doesn't quite fit on the first system, which throws the rest of the layout off. That sort of discrepancy can happen because the calculations about how many measures can fit on a system involve floating point math (which is to say, it's inexact), and also rely on system libraries for font processing, which can render the same text slightly differently from system to system as well.

Usually this only happens if the difference between a measure fitting and not is infinitesimally small - a fraction of a millimeter. I find if I reduce your lyrics font size from 10pt to 9.97pt, it fits. So, perhaps macOS just rendering fonts 0.3% smaller than Linux overall and that's the difference here.

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