Decrease stretch not affecting all selected measures

• Jul 27, 2016 - 23:39

I've got a neatly formatted score in which my Minimum measure width works very nicely most of the time, but I have a few lines into which I need to cram an extra measure. Unfortunately Decrease Stretch refuses to work on more than one measure at a time. I'll select three or four measures, but as soon I press Shift-{ (or attempt the menu equivalent), all measures except one lose their highlighting, and only that single king-of-the-hill measure is affected. Furthermore, when I select a single measure and decrease its stretch, that's fine, but then when I move to the next one and attempt to decrease that one individually, the previous measure LOSES the stretch I had just implemented. Therefore only a single measure on the line can be stretched. It's like a Hydra--cut off a head, and it just grows back.

I've included a score snippet so you can see what I'm talking about. In this snippet, the first line should remain as is but all the remaining five measures (the ones with notes) should go together on the second line. Actually, when I first created this sample score, just right at the very start, Decrease Stretch seemed to be working as intended. But it only did that once. Then it began to behave like it does in my actual score--and now, after I've attempted to mess with it some more, Shift-{ won't work at all.

I've also seen this behavior in my actual score (where Shift-{ ceases to work altogether). After experimentation I've found that this stasis can be broken by Shift-}, whereupon the measures to each side will be mercilessly scrunched--but as the measure that Increased Stretch is humongous, it only makes matters worse.

I assume this behavior has something to do with my measure settings in Style | General, but those settings work great for most of the score and I definitely don't want to change them. Is there a way to make Decrease Stretch do what it's supposed to here?

Attachment Size
DecreaseStretchProblem.mscz 11.53 KB


Your "minimum measure width" setting of 25.00 sp seems to prevent the use of the "{" decrease stretch command.

If I change that setting from 25 to 5 or something like that, { works as expected.

In fact, I haven't figured out a way of increasing the # of measures with your setting of 25.

I know you don't want to abandon using minimum measure width to achieve your measure spacing, but there is another approach. It doesn't seem to me that it would be much work to try it. I suggest you open your file and "save as" to a new name for such a test, so you don't lose what you have now.

In a nutshell, you can reset "minimum measure width" to a smaller value. Then use Edit>Tools>Add/Remove line breaks to insert line breaks every 4 measures.

Now you can manually remove line breaks where you want more measures on a line, then use { to decrease the spacing, and then insert a line break where you want the line to break.

Of course, now the rest of the measures may break in the wrong places. You can correct these line breaks by selecting the range of remaining measures. Then use Edit>Tools>Add/Remove line breaks again with the "Break lines every X measures" set as desired. Existing breaks will be removed and new ones added.

Of course, you may find that you have to do this over and over again. I would just hold off on this process until you have completed everything else (or at least, you think you have).

In reply to by jim.weisgram

First off, thanks to Jim for the suggestion.

you may find that you have to do this over and over again.

Yup, I certainly would. It's a workaround, all right, but with the emphasis on the "work" more than the "around".

Can one of the programmers please weigh in and tell us exactly what's going on, i.e. why the generalized measure width gets in the way of a localized stretch reduction, and whether 2.0.4 or at least 3 will resolve this problem? Or is this going to be a permanent limitation?

In reply to by Isaac Weiss

OK, so the measure width setting trumps the stretch setting.

That's unfortunate. It should be the other way around--a locally specified setting should almost always trump a global setting; that's a basic principle of good programming design. That's because the more flexible an app is, the more easily users can adapt it to their needs; and a good way to make sure an app is as flexible as possible is to program it so that local settings can temporarily override global settings.

That would be certainly be nice here, allowing smoother control of system length than the line-break feature does.

In reply to by Ironword

Actually, the local setting of stretch does trump the relevant global setting—which is spacing. (It's right below minimum measure width in the dialog.)

Minimum measure width only sets a hard floor for how tiny measures are allowed to get, but that almost never comes into play, as it doesn't effect measures that are wider than that minimum.

In reply to by Ironword

As Isaac says. Minimum width is minimum width, a separate deal from spacing. Stretch affects spacing, and indeed, the local setting trumepts the global one just as it should. It doesn't trump *other* settings, like minimum width. That would be undesirable most of the time. Instead, youd want a separate local override for the minimum width command if that were to be required. Although I'm not understanding why you are messing that that at all here.

FYI, an approach you might find useful if you like to exercise complete control over line lengths is to set your global spacing to be very tight, and then use line breaks exclusively to set the number of measures on each system. If your global spacing is set very tight, you'll almost never need to use stretch.

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