Staff Spacing

• May 1, 2013 - 03:16

I've attached the piece I'm working on. I can't get the staff spacing the way I want it. On the first page, The staffs are spaced quite generously, but on the second page they are not. I have tried all of the tricks I found here in the forums. Set Page Fill Threshold to 100%, reload file, change Staff Distance, etc. I can't get anything to change. In the first few lines, where there are no lyrics, I would like the staffs closer together. Later, when the lyrics come in, I need them further apart to fit the lyrics.


Attachment Size
Days of Elijah.mscx 186.3 KB


Are you sure you tried setting page fill threshold to 100%? I just tried it, and it did exactly what it should - oit got rid of the extra space MuseScore allocated to stretch things out to fill the page. Result being the spacing closed up on the first page to be exactly like the second. And if you don't like that amount, increasing System Distance (not Staff Distance - that's distance between staves *within* a system) will increase it.

Spacing automatically increases to accommodate lyrics, but if you want *additional* space above and beyond what MuseScore allocates, then increase the Lyrics Lower Margin in that same dialog. However, this won't work in your score, because you didn't actually enter lyrics - you entered ordinary staff text. I guess that was probably because you haven't actually entered notes to attach those lyrics too. If you do want additional space, then, you'll need to add it manually using staff spaces (Breaks & Spacer palette). Or, maybe create one word of actual lyrics per line - set it invisible, or enter ctrl-space as the only lyric - so MuseScore will allocate the space it normally would.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Ok, you hit the nail on the head when you said System Distance, not Staff Distance. That's what I was doing wrong. Keep in mind that the totality of my sheet music reading education comes from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning Drums, and I don't really think they got what little they told me right. When you say "distance between staves *within* a system," I'm afraid I don't quite follow, but that may not be important right now...

Yes, I am using ordinary Staff Text for lyrics, which was discussed in another post you may remember. I didn't care about syllable placement, I just need to know what words happen on what measure to keep my place.

You mention the Breaks & Space pallette if I need more space, but now I am having the opposite problem. That is, I have the entire score generously spaced the way I wanted, but the first four lines (measures 1-16) have no lyrics so I would like to tighten those up. Can that be done?

Also, it seems I have a lot of white space at the bottom of the page. Looks to me like I could fit another line down there.

Here's my new copy, and thanks for your help!

Attachment Size
Days of Elijah.mscx 190.01 KB

In reply to by twodrummers

A "system" is a group of related staves. Think about typical pop song sheet music. There is one staff for the voice, then two for the piano (top for RH, bottom for LH)). Each line of music has three staves. so staff distance controls the distance between those three staves. system distance controls the distance between one group of three staves and the next. in your case, you system has ply s single staff, since you have only a single instrument.

There is no way to decrease space between individual staves or systems. so you need to set your style options to get the minimum distance as you like, then add spacers to increase space where you need. or, if the extra space is just to accommodate lyrics, use lyric margins as I mentioned previously. creating an empty lyric would have exactly the right effect here.

as for the space at the bottom of the page, it might look like there is enough room for another system, but if there really was, musescore would have put there it there. as it is, your page bottom margin and music lower margins are taking up some of that room.

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