Using less stretch in version 1.0

• Apr 16, 2011 - 12:13

Less stretch seems to occasionally produce strange results. I have a voice and a piano part. I want to use less stretch to get more of the notation on one line. But less stretch, when used twice with this segment of notation produces some additional lines, puts a rest across a bar line and puts some extra lines outside the stave at the end of the less stretched segment. Is this a bug or am I asking less stretch to do more than it was designed to do?


I find the whole concept of "stretch" very weird, and if definitely produces strange results. If you reduce stretch too far, you will get more and more bars trying to pack into the line, eventually getting bars that extend well beyond the score edges, as you are seeing.

I have tried to use stretch, scaling space, etc to make a score fit better. When I would reload the score, most of the "stretched" lines had changed subtely, requiring a re-stretch, they never stay the way I want them. This is one area where Finale seems to be much better.

In reply to by schepers

My strategy is to set the global stretch to 1.0 (in style->measure) to get the score as dense as possible and the do the line breaking manual by dragging a line break or page break to appropriate locations.

This is also helpful when entering notes. It avoids measures jumping between systems during editing if you do the manual line breaking first.

In reply to by [DELETED] 3

Interesting; I wondered why the default spacing seemed so tight!

Anyhow, I don't see the weird issues with stretch that others are reporting, but I do agree it seems a somewhat akward means for controlling how many measures appear per line. I'd certainly prefer a way of setting that directly - selecting a group of measures and telling MuseScore, "do what you need to do to fit these on one system".

In reply to by [DELETED] 3

Maybe because I am still learning about MS, I find the multitude of controls and methods to change the page/system sizing a bit cumbersome and confusing, eso because some of them you expect to be % adjustments and are not. You have Layout/Page Settings (Scaling Space), Style/General Style (Page, System and Measure adjustments) and Add More/Add Less Stretch for system/measure adjustment. Most of the numeric ones people can figure out but the Add More/Add Less stretch seem more like black magic. The handbook has only one line mentioning it. Can you explain, numerically and/or algorithmically, what it does and how best to use it?

I agree with Marc where it would be better to select a system and be able to change the bar count so that the stretch is calculated autlomatically, possibly automagically adding a line break to the last bar.

Also, your first sentance needs to be expanded into a handbook topic, by someone more experienced, dealing with score and system size adjusting. Esp important is that once a system is stretched, to add a line break to retain the stretching and/or adjustments.

In reply to by schepers

I definitely found the variety of sizing options confusing at first, although I have to say, now that I'm more familiar with the options available, I don't think I'd want to give up any of the existing controls. They all do something different, and each of them is important to have control over. It's just that it's a bit overwhelming until you figure it out, and it doesn't help that the different options that control overall sizing are scattered in four or five different places. So for the novice user, a "smart" resize that automatically figured out what to do to squeeze more or less music onto a page would be kind of cool. I doubt it would be easy, nor would I expect it to be perfect, and - dare I say - sounds like perhaps the job for a plug-in, if the architecture supported modifying all the relevant parameters. But it seems potentially worthwhile to think about some day.

Here's my understanding of the sizing parameters and how they interact. Perhaps we could use this as the basis for a handbook page or other documentation. Note that most of these can be negative numbers, which can occasionally be useful.

Layout->Page Settings->Left/Right/Top/Bottom Margins: these are the usual page margins.

Layout->Page Settings->Space: this directly controls the amount of space between the lines of the staff, but most other elements (notes, clefs, even text in some cases) will also be scaled accordingly. You can also make other sizes and distances scale if you specify them in units of "sp" as opposed to "mm" (eg, make it so that shrinking the staff size also reduces the amount of space between staves).

Style->Edit General Style->Page->Music upper margin: amount of space between the bottom of the top page margin and the top line of the first staff. It also controls the space between a vertical frame and the top line of the first staff that follows, although there is an additional user-controllable amount of padding that can be added to that (see V-frame lower margin).

Style->Edit General Style->Page->Music lower margin: amount of space between the bottom of the last staff and top of the bottom page margin. It also controls the space between a staff and a vertical frame that follows.

Style->Edit General Style->Page->Staff distance: the distance between staves within a single system. If the music has only a single staff per system (eg, a lead sheet, or music for most individual instruments other than keyboard instruments), this parameter has no effect.

Style->Edit General Style->Page->System distance: the distance between systems. For music with just one staff per system, this is basically the distance between staves. Note that the distance between systems will be increased to fill out the page if the page exceeds the Page fill threshold (see below).

Style->Edit General Style->Page->Page fill threshold: MuseScore puts as many systems on a page as it can according to the above parameters. If that would result in the page exceeding this fill threshold, then extra space is added between systems to fill out the page, so that the bottom of the last staff plus the music lower margin reaches the bottom page margin.

Style->Edit General Style->Page->V-frame upper margin: it seems to me this should allow you to add more or less space between a system and a vertical frame that follows (analogous to V-frame lower margin, below), but it does not appear to do anything that I can see. Either I am misunderstanding, or this is a bug in 1.0.

Style->Edit General Style->Page->V-frame lower margin: in addition to the space controlled by music upper margin, this allows you to add more (or less) space between a vertical frame and the first staff that follows.

Style->Edit General Style->Last system fill threshold: if the last system exceeds this threshold, it is stretched out to reach the right margin.

Style->Measure->Spacing: controls the basic spacing between notes. I am not sure what, if anything, the units represent, but clearly, lower values squeeze the notes closer together; larger values stretch them further out.

Style->Measure->Min. note distance: the minimum distance between notes. With this set to 0 and the above measure spacing set to 1, notes practically touch each other.

Style->Measure->Left/Right Margin: space after and before the barlines

Measure Properties->Layout stretch: a factor that is multiplied by the global measure spacing (see above) to override the spacing in any particular measure.

Layout->Add More/Less Stretch: this seems to be a shortcut for setting the above layout stretch factor for the selected measures.

Whew - a lot of parameters, but each serves a very distinct purpose. So again, now way would I want to give any of that control up. But a "smart" algorithm to reduce the overall size of the music by cleverly reducing the overall space factor and.or system distance and/or stretch, and conversely to increase the size of music by increasing those parameters, could be interesting. To some extent, the intent seems to be that the very first of these parameters - Layout-Page Settings->Space - is that smart parameter, as most other parameters are expressed in units of "sp". So in many cases, that's all you'd want to mess with. In practice, though, playing with stretch too seems inevitable.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I keep running into this problem on different songs I type into Musescore. The music goes to page 2 before page 1 is full. I reduce system spacing and all I get is more space at the bottom of page 1. On this particular song, there's nothing but a single measure with a single note on page 2. See the attachment. Thanks.


Attachment Size
Imagination.mscz 4.45 KB

In reply to by hawstom

Not a bug

It's to do with formatting settings

The 20mm bottom margin wasn't helping.

Resetting to 15mm which copes with most printers and still leaves room for a copyright footer would have probably just put the single bar on a new line on the same page.

In reply to by hawstom

Seems to me the problem is the -50 value for system space. I can't imagine what that was trying to accomplish, but it doesn't surprise me a bit that the results would be strange, to say the least. And given that it's practically impossible to say what would be "expected" with such an odd setting, it's hard to call it anything short of a crash a bug. Simply setting that back to a normal value like something in the 8-10 range makes the display normal, given the slightly large 20mm margin

In reply to by Marc Sabatella


I agree that -50 system spacing was off the wall. I tend to think in absurdities to arrive at truths. The spacing I really want is about -15. If I set -15 as my spacing, and 10mm as my bottom margin, the page still is only 3/4 full, and there are now two lines bumped to the next page, as you can see in the attached file.

Is it possible that there is a failure in the pagination logic to account for negative values of system spacing? Should I be reducing vertical spacing some other way than going below 0 for system spacing?

Bottom line, what is the best way for me to fit more on a page before I start playing with measure stretch?

-Layout, Pages Settings..., Scaling, Space
-System Distance

I just don't see any way to get the vertical clearance down to what I may want without going negative on some of these values.

Attachment Size
Imagination.mscz 4.42 KB

In reply to by hawstom

Just been playing around with formatting settings, and discovered that setting a negative system distance doesn't appear to work. The minimum MuseScore appears to recodgnise is 0.

In this score I discovered the culprit is lower lyrics margin.

Reducing this to 1.5 successfully brings the single bar back to it's own line on page 1, bearing in mind I also reduced the lower margin to 15mm.

I shall be covering all this shortly in a tutorial video, so I suggest you wait for that to find out exactly what everything does.

The first video on Page Formatting is well on its way and gives in depth instruction on Frames, Text and Line Breaks. I am currently practicing mouse movements etc, and hope to start recording towards the end of this week. The script runs to 37 lines which means the video is going to run for about 10 minutes! There's just so much to pack in on this subject.

In reply to by hawstom

You don't want negative anything, unless you your systems overlapping. This setting is literally the number spaces below one system that the next system should start. A setting of 0 makes them literally touch, unless lyrics or spacers prevent this. Assuming you want them to not touch, you want a positive number here. The way to get less space than the default is to use a smaller value than the default, but still greater than 0. Although I guess in this case, changing the lyric spacing also plays into it.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I think I got it now. And maybe avoiding negative values helps. :-)

The settings that make the biggest vertical difference in my score spacing are:

-Music lower margin: I think this was my biggest culprit
-Music upper margin
-Lyrics upper and lower margin

Also, using the Apply button from the General Style, Page page helps a lot with the experimentation.

Thanks, everybody.

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