How to size measures / stretch the layout?

• Jan 31, 2019 - 14:22

If I go to "measure properties" I can change the Layout Stretch (left-down) from 1 to 2. But if I want all bars to be long 2 instead of one how can I do? It's quite tiring honestly to change each measure from the property menu.

Is it something I must do on starting a new project? Because when I add measures it normally adds them with layout stretch 1 and I'd want 2.

EDIT: I want to stretch the measure more because I'm adding lyrics so I need some space for lyrics to line up with the notes.


You can select as many measures you want and press { or } to adjust the stretch on all of them at once. the shortcut change the stretch 10% of he numbers you are talking about.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

In most cases selecting the note and adjusting the Segment Leading Space via the inspector is probably the best method to tweak note spacings, but adjusting the X Offset, also via the inspector, may also be useful in some other cases but its effects are sometimes less easy to predict.

In reply to by antonjazzsax

There are a number of ways, depending on the specific results achieved. Normally this would not be necessary since the default spacing obeys standard engraving practice, but there can be special reasons to want to move individual notes on occasion. If the desired result is to create more spacing before a note but leave other spacing as is, use the "leading space" adjustment in the Inspector, which affects all staves equally. If the goal is to move the note to create more spacebefore but less after and thus have it not line up with the same beat on other staves, you can change its X offset. This is also what happens if you double-click a note and use the arrow keys to adjust, or drag after double-clicking. Drag without double-click adjusts leading space.

But as mentioned, this would normally be a pretty rare operation, since the default spacing should normally be correct. And things like lyrics and chord symbols automatically reserve extra space where necessary. So it could be that whatever it is you are trying to do, could be better achieved another way still. If you attach an example, we can advise better.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks for the reply Marc. I might just save on explanation a little bit this time :) leading space is fine, just it would be good if the "leading space" would be available using keyboard, in the same way as "layout stretch". Beacause either dragging, or going to inspector is a bit too much work for something that small. I often find myself doing lots of micro adjustments, when I don't have a luxury to allow sufficient "official spacing" for some reason. In that case it's good to quickly micro tweak the bar. Better yet would be to have a part of the measure stretchable (like layout stretch but only for the part of the measure, using range selection) . By the way I've tried the double click and drag, but for some reason it only works with single noteheads, if that is a chord, than only the notehead is moving around, but not the stem. Strange.

In reply to by antonjazzsax

As mentioned, it should be rare to need to deviate from standard spacing. Chances are whatever is causing you to want to do this often enough to want a keyboard shortcut is better accomplished another way, but without a sample score, we can't really assist. I'd really like to help, though. FWIW, the Inspecctor can be accessed by keyboard, Tab will take you to it, then more tabs until you reach that field.

X-offset does indeed apply to single notes as well as to chords, the Inspector allows you to choose between them.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

The example is if you have a score, that has a spacing , which is tigher than normal. I.e. layout stretch is near to minimum, and some beams grouping look uneven i.e. tighter than others, because MS has to compensate somewhere. That happens a lot. Of course you can always allow sufficient spacing, but that usually means more pages, or smaller size of the music. So for practical reasons you will often prefer a slightly tighter system here and there, in order to have less pages, while maintaining staff size as big as possible. I usually try to balance between the staff size, vertical spacing and system tightness (layout stretch parameter) in order to achieve, reasonably good layout. So these are compromises, that you often have to make. In that process it is helpful to have a quick and precise way to change not only a full measure (layout stretch) but also smaller subdivisions of the measure. Doing it with the mouse works ok, but is tiresome. It is just good to have an alternative. That's why I asked.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thank you. Ok here is an isolated example.
Second system has four bars, and let's say I want to keep it like that. In the beginning measure of the second system the last two eight notes are way more stretched than the previous ones, for the obvious reason. So if I want to adjust that measure only I have basically following options:
1. change the offset of the notes in the bottom staff. Which would look good, but bring rhythmical alignment with the top staff out of sync (something I would do least often).
2. make a layout stretch of that measure.
3. Manually increase spacing between the notes.

Additionally one can play with global parameters like distance to barline and minimum distance between the notes, which might be well worth doing, but is a whole other process, which belongs to creating and tweaking custom templates. (which I always do by the way).

So results between 2nd and 3rd options, would have minuscule differences, which are nonetheless important.

with layout stretching you basically rely on how MS thinks the distance should be increased. What it seems to do is - it keeps those two last stretched eight notes the same for a while, and gradually increases all the other spacing evenly.

With mouse stretching you have additional flexibility, to increase distance between individual notes, so if you only want to increase some of them, you can do that. You also might want to increase spacing unevenly, i.e. increase some distances more, and some less. The problem with that method is that it is a lot of tedious mouse work. It would be a much more pain free workflow, if you could range select two notes and stretch only these. So convenience wise "lead spacing" is not something that I would ever want to do with the mouse. Unwanted system break, when you pull the note too much, etc. it's just finicky. While the layout stretch is missing a little bit in customization. On the other hand global rules are, well... rules. Although you want to have the good rules as a framework, there are always plenty of situations, where you just want a little custom tweak here and there, but want it as easy and quick as possible. So I think that's the available options, but if there is something I don't know yet, would be great to learn.

Attachment Size
layout.mscz 11.43 KB

In reply to by antonjazzsax

Can you, with an image program for example, also show what your desired end result then would look like?
In the attached I took the following actions:

  1. I Started by selecting the other 1/8ths in bass staff (F# till A) and used the inspector to set their leading space as high as possible without creating a new system.
  2. Select the 16ths in the top staff and decreased their leading space a notch
  3. Select the sharp accidental and adjust its X-offset to squeeze it even close onto the note
  4. Select the final 1/8th and slightly reduce its leading space as well
Attachment Size
283186_layout-leading-segment-space.mscz 11.54 KB

In reply to by jeetee

So in this case I would choose a compromise, like that. Basically I increased leading space between the eight notes by 3 sp but only those in the same group as well as first two notes of the bar. However I had to spend at least a minute, or two on that bar alone (playing with inspector, or by mouse), which is just too much effort for such a small portion of the score. With layout stretch it takes two seconds but it is not so precise and customizable then. So I was wondering if there was a more efficient way to do such work. Which is really a very routine thing. Hopefully with good rules and correct staff size you don"t need to do it too often, but that happens every once in a while. If it is not possible, then it looks like a feature consideration to me. I.e a possibility to stretch individual notes, just like we do layout stretch, using the same keyboard shortcut for example.

Attachment Size
Annotation 2020-06-10 122441.png 59.57 KB

In reply to by antonjazzsax

The adjustments I did take me about a bit under a minute indeed.
The point is that the adjustment you're making isn't standard by itself, the notation you got by default is the one following the "good rules".

Be aware that stretch doesn't operate on notes at all, it operates on the empty space between them. Stretching an individual note in that aspect doesn't make sense, as it doesn't have empty spacing in itself. What does make sense is pushing it closer/further from its previous/next note; and that's exactly what leading space does for the whole vertical timeslice ("segment") or X-offset for the individual chord/note.

It must also be the type of score and editing that makes this a "routine thing". In your score, my pianist would either get his/her own part, where the interaction with the sax doesn't exist, so neither does the need for spacing adjustments. Or if the sax must be included, it would be as a small staff, already lessening it's impact anyway. I could see myself tweaking this specific scenario then indeed a bit more, just as I did above.

I get that selecting that subrange and somehow have a shortcut to increase/decrease the segment leading space, similar to how one can now do so with stretch, would save about 2 seconds per edit (ie click the "notes" button in the inspector and then focus on the leading space field). Many small savings do add up to a big one in the end.
But in the scenario you gave, that would save me 2s of the approx 50s it took me to make the adjustment.

In reply to by jeetee

"the notation you got by default is the one following the "good rules". "
Ah, come on! just because that thing follows the rules", doesn't make it look/feel right. The thing is small things like that make for the better feel and interaction. Of course we can work it all out, because after all we are humans, not machines, but that really should be the other way around, the "machine" should give as little hard time as possible. And of course everything can be used as is, but I haven't met a single person, who enjoys fiddling around with the mouse for such things. Plus don't forget, for the proper mouse interaction, and inspector, you'd better have a huge screen and a good zoom (as well as fresh eyes) , while with keyboard, you can be a bit more relaxed about it. So it's not just 2sec. It is true, it should not be needed often, but when it does, we all want to save some nerves.

In reply to by antonjazzsax

Ah, come on! just because that thing follows the rules", doesn't make it look/feel right
But wasn't it you that stated that this shouldn't happen if it followed "good rules"? See that response in light of that. I read that statement of yours (perhaps wrongly) as meaning that the rules used by MuseScore in this scenario weren't the "good rules".

but I haven't met a single person, who enjoys fiddling around with the mouse for such things.
You should meet Jojo sometime ;-)
Kidding aside, I only used the mouse to click the "notes" selection button in the inspector, not for anything else about those adjustments. Setting the actual leading space is done with up/down arrows (or typing the number) from the keyboard.

In reply to by jeetee

"You should meet Jojo sometime ;-)"
Looking forward to that, he seems to be such a cool guy :D
I mean i was generally referring to cases, where the rules don't give you enough automatic good looking layout, and you need some "exceptions". And this is not about the rules anyway. I find the "rules" to be a very solid aspect of MS by the way. Congrats to the team on that! My main "complain" is usually about keyboard editing functionality and, how smooth it integrates in MS, and this is one of those "little" things.

In reply to by antonjazzsax

Frankly, that does not look good. it's really worse than the original, or the results from the "local relayout option". Still, assuming that the image is showing me a leading space adjustment of 2.99sp applied to the B and the A, it took me all of 5 seconds to reproduce that result: ctrl+click the two notes, adjust in Inspector, done. Not sure what you did that took longer?

In reply to by antonjazzsax

As mentioned, the default is correct to me according to standard rules of notation, but agree that it looks a wonky. This sort of thing is quite common scores (as opposed to individual parts) because the notes need to align between staves, and many engravers choose to just live with it. But because sometimes it is nice to smooth this out, MsueScore provides a dead simple option: select the beam on the eighths, enable "Local relayout" in the Inspector. This evens out the spacing at the expense of alignment. That's the correct way of dealing this, it's what professional engravers would do in the cases where they chose to do anything.

It's not clear what you'd propose instead (edit: it is, just saw the image posted later), but if for whatever reason the goal ever was to increase the spacing uniformly between some notes in the measure while keeping alignment (not clear how that would help here), the "Leading space" adjustment accomplishes this precisely, no need for mouse, but I can't see that doing it uniformly for a selection would produce useful results, more likely you'd need differen leading space adjustments for different notes. So I'm not understanding how stretch of a range would help? More details would be needed in order to understand - like tell use which notes you'd propsoe adding a common leading space adjustment too, and what that common value would be. In any case, that too can already be done via the Inspector.

On the other hand, adding individual adjustments to various notes can occasionally be useful (edit: and I see that this is what you did). But I don't see how apply stretch to a range selection helps with that. Instead, the leading space adjustment is perfect as is. At most, there could be a keyboard modifier like Shift to make it possible to apply directly. I think there might be an existing feature request for that.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"But I don't see how apply stretch to a range selection helps with that"
It adds an extension to the "layout stretch" functionality, so instead of having to use two different features for the same operation, you can just use one, by selecting a smaller portion of the measure. feels simple and intuitive, while learning the inspector takes a while to understand and getting used to.

In reply to by antonjazzsax

Adjusting leading space isn't the same thing as adjusting stretch - different proportions, etc. - but I can see how they "feel" similar. And I could imagine the existing stretch command being enhanced to check to see if a range selection exists that is less than a measure, and switch to leading space adjustment instead. But I'd worry this would surprise people who might not select to carefully and would expect full measures to be stretched as per standard engrtaving practice and the way MuseScore has always worked in the past. And again, this example does not really make a good argument for this feature,e because it actually produces worse results than the default or the existing local relayout feature. So I'm still hesitant to recommend adding a new feature for this.

But as I said, I definitely support making it so Shift+left/right does a leading space adjustment in edit mode. That would be a trivial change and wouldn't shoot anyone in the foot. Here's the issue for that request: #299214: Reimplement Shift+L/R for leading space while in edit mode upon notehead. As mentioned in the description, this was implemented at one point then withdrawn with another change.

Still, the Inspector exists for a reason, and one shouldn't be avoiding it. There has already been a pretty fundamental redesign of it for MuseScore 4, you can check it out in the nightly development builds from the master branch (see Download menu above).

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"But I'd worry this would surprise people who might not select to carefully and would expect full measures"
Isn't it precisely the reason, why you want to always make sure the whole measure is selected by clicking empy staff space, or using "shift ctrl" option? And by the way in order to even be able to use "layout stretch" you anyway have to select measure explicitly , so how would that possibly surprise anyone, who has used layout stretch before? I'm a bit confused about the editing mode, will look at it later.

In reply to by antonjazzsax

In theory sure you'd select the full measure, but when working with commands that operate on full measures anyhow, it's pretty common to not be that careful. Selecting a range of measures with click/shift+click it's pretty easy to miss the beginning or end of a measure, and the stretch command still works. I'd really hate to see people create all sorts bad layouts accidentally. I suppose it could be made to work only on subsets of a single measure. Still, I'd need to see a more convincing example of the value of this over simply adding leading space individually, which seems much more useful in many more situations, and is already quite possible but just needs that Shift method added back.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

If you take a piece of rubber 4cm long and stretch it from both ends , you would know, you could do the same thing - grabbing that same rubber somewhere in the middle and stretching a smaller bit of it. But computer software will not allow you, therefore we hate computers (deep in our hearts) :) . But hey why not try to make it feel a bit less "techy" ?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"There are a number of ways, depending on the specific results achieved. Normally this would not be necessary since the default spacing obeys standard engraving practice". Musescore's default horizontal spacing is way tighter than standard engraving practice (it's also way tighter than Sibelius, Finale or Lilypond), so I very often find myself using the stretch command. Is there any setup or style where I can configure Musescore to have a less tight horizontal spacing by default?

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

"Format > Style > Measure has a lot of settings".
Thank you. I'll look there. I've been getting acquainted with the Style settings and it works very well. What began as a style for only changing the default text font from Freeserif to Century Schoolbook has grown ever more with more use of Musescore. Hopefully we won't have to rely on changing so much of the defaults in the future for attaining a sensible default look ;-).

In reply to by m.r-botero

For the record, though, the context here was about spacing within a portion of a single measure relative to another portion of the same measure. That is, not just increasing stretch for the entire piece, or even an entire measure, but stretching the first two beats more than the last two (in 4/4). That’s what I was referring to in saying this shouldn’t normally be necessary.

I agree the default spacing is pretty tight, but that’s easy enough to override globally without the need to resort to stretch partial or even full measures. And I’d favor seeing this default change in the future.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"For the record, though, the context here was about spacing within a portion of a single measure relative to another portion of the same measure".

Oh, I'm sorry. It seems like I missed that part. My bad.

"I agree the default spacing is pretty tight, but that’s easy enough to override globally without the need to resort to stretch partial or even full measures. And I’d favor seeing this default change in the future".

I'm glad we agree ;-).

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