Score with equal number of bars per line and equal width

• Aug 6, 2016 - 14:59


I am quite a beginner to the MuseScore. I have installed 2.0.3 version and am doing some experiments. MuseScore is absolutely amazing.

I am trying to achieve a specific Layout style and am quite out of options--I really need a help. I am creating a score with 29 or 30 bars, depending on an exercise to practice. All notes are semiquavers (16ths) and what I'd like to have is this stave configuration:
- first stave line , 5 bars possibly equal length
- middle stave lines, 6 bars with equal widths
- last stave line, 5 or 6 bars depending on an exercise

this is what I am aming to:

Unfortunately, in real example, this is what I had:

I played with Layout -> Stretch, line breaks etc. which worked perfectly but only if I use exactly the same notes and pitch. It took me quite some time to realise that each individual note has a properties: Leading space and Trailing space. I have decreased Stretch, as well as Leading space and Trailing space to -30 for both. That gave me something close to what I would need:

but the bars are not equally spaced. Is it something what I wish possible to do in MuseScore? Am I doing it all right?

Last question. Is there any global option that could let set a template, so that further exercises I create would follow the style?


The reason it does not work for this exercise are the ledger lines: The ledger lines need to be separate from each other (horizontally I mean). Which forces the notes further apart. MuseScore then uses that wider spacing for the whole measure in order to have the notes equidistant in the measure--which I think is a good decision.

As you say you could "fix" this by playing with leading and trailing space. Not ideal because a lot of work.

As far as I know there is no way to have a template with all these subtle adjustments. However this template would only work correctly on exercises that have ledger lines in the same bar on the same notes: You are unlikely to have even two with identical ledger line patterns. You will end up adjusting every single exercise. In other words the template that does not exist would be useless anyway. And if there are a lot of ledger lines on a line you may find it impossible to achieve the squeeze you need.

Or else here is what I would do: I would spread the exercises out onto one more staff line: 5 measures per line, 4 or 5 for the last line. Equal lengths of all measures will still be hard to impossible to achieve, but legibility will go up with the wider spacing of the notes. Since you want them all on one page (I guess anyway, to avoid page turns) you'd have to minimize the margins and set the scale factor down a little (layout menu>page settings), i.e. make everything a little bit smaller to accommodate that 6th line. The exercises will still be easy to read and the slightly wider spacing will actually help readability.

I just tried it and find this: Take the "grand staff" template and reduce the bottom margins (layout>page settings, even and uneven pages) to 10 mm (from 20 mm). You get 6 staffs with no need to scale the size of the notes down This is I believe your most time saving option.

In reply to by azumbrunn

Hi azumbrunn and thanks for the response.

One of my workarounds was to decrease vertical space between staves and get one extra line. it helped me to achieve better readability, indeed. I have also decreased the bottom margin as suggested; thanks for the clue.

I did not know the little lines are called ledges :) After reading your post, I have found an option in Global -> Notes settings and slightly tuned the ledges' length and thickness. The layout looks like I am almost there. In experimenting, I went to extreme and set the width of ledges to 0 and bars certainly became of the same width :) Now, what I need is a trade-off between equality and readability!


FWIW, standard music typesetting guidelines call for measures to *not* have equal widths, in fact you are supposed to go out of your way to *avoid* having barlines line up from system to system even if the actual musical content is identical. The irregularity of the measures is an important aid to reading, helping keep you from getting lost (losing track of which system you are on).

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hi Marc.

It definitely makes sense what you are saying and I agree if one is reading a regular piece.

For those exercises, there's a set pattern. In C key, I always start from C and end up in G. I first go through 14 bars in increasing manner ending up in G. Then I play exercises in decreasing manner starting from G and ending up in C. I don't have to read every single note when I am doing it. Also, I tend to lose where I am but if I know I am currently play E and approaching upper G, I expect it should be e.g. second bar in third line. On this particular occasion, it actually helps me with finding where I am when I read this exercise.

I hope this makes sense to you.

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