Even Stave Spacing in Large Scores

• Jun 15, 2019 - 17:34


Is there any way I can make it so that the stave spacing stays the same on all pages, it looks stupid like this.



I agree. I'm just starting to learn to fix things in MuseScore, but making your pages look good is on my todo list. I haven't looked at that part of the code at all yet, so it's down the road a bit.

In reply to by Zac-Stewart

It doesn't work if you have different numbers of staves on different pages or different numbers of systems as a result and...the pages are still a little different in how much is used.

If I squint closely I think the difference is that you need to adjust the grand staff distance for what are probably horn and trumpet because you have multiple staves for each of those instruments. That's why the staves are closer together on page 2 than page 1. The problem is that it will affect the harp also, which you don't want. Just so you know, I have a lot to learn about the program before I can tackle such a challenge.

In reply to by mike320

grand staff distance controls the distance between the staves of one instrument (like piano or organ), differenet from staff distance, which controls the distcane bewwen the staves of different instruments (and actually is more a part distance)
(not contradicting you, just adding)

In reply to by Zac-Stewart

I don't really get what you guys are on about but going down my instruments are:
English Horn
Bass clarinet
3 horn staves
2 trumpet staves
Bass trombone
Perc 1
Perc 2
2 Violin staves

Also I am happy with the result, but it isn't ideal

Not quite sure what you're expecting, the extra space is needing to avoid collisions, and far from looking stupid, any professional engraver would make similar decisions. If you want to reduce the space, you can move the elements that would otherwise be colliding, so MuseScore doesn't need to add space.

You can also try loading the attached MSS file, which sets the "minimum vertical distance" setting to a large negative number, thus effectively allowing the collisions. Now, those results will look stupid, but at least you'll be able to see exactly where the collisions are, which might make it easier to then do the necessary manual adjustments to avoid the collisions.

The next update will allow setting that parameter directly in Format / Style / System.

Attachment Size
minVerticalDistance.mss 160 bytes

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Any professional engraver would have half an empty page on one page but a full one on another and try and say it doesn't look stupid?
The way I fixed it is just have more room between staves, I am aware of collisions but muse score has no good way to deal with them and I don't have the time to go through 2700 odd bars (100 bars for every stave)

In reply to by Zac-Stewart

Yes, pretty much all the published scores in my collection do that sort of thing quite regularly - adding space where needed, resulting in unequal system heights. Nothing remotely unusual about that. But if you've got the room to spare, or don't mind shrinking the staff size to accommodate it, sure, you can indeed artificially increase staff distance between staves that don't need it.

In reply to by Zac-Stewart

Well, most engravers would probably make at least some effort to resolve the collisions on those top few staves to reduce the need for so much extra space. Not just to have things line up better, but also because if you can keep things as tight as possible, you can also make the staves larger for the same page size. So realistically, you wouldn't see as big a difference. But it would be totally the job of the engraver to make the judgement calls, how much of that sort of manual adjustment to do, how much extra space to still be OK with, when it's OK to actually allow some collisions, etc.

Anyhow, the point is, there is an art to this, there's not really some sort of rule that the software can just blindly enforce.

That said, I think mike320 may be referring to something a bit different, cases where we can safely add space. Just as we will automatically increase system distance up to some maximum in order to fill a page, there are indeed cases where it might make sense to do the same for staff distance. This is most obviously true when we might want to have the staff distance smaller than usual for, say, the first page of the score (to allow for a title frame). So no doubt, there are things that can be done. But always shooting for completely even bottom margins just isn't realistic, as an engraver or as software choosing a default layout.

In reply to by Zac-Stewart

An option to do what? You saw my previous response where I showed you exactly how to get consistent spacing with the "minimum vertical distance" setting if you don't mind the resulting collisions? You want some additional option aside from that? Doing something at least "half decent" is the goal, and that's exactly what MuseScore does, by avoiding collisions. Most people don't like collisions, and would say a score containing them is by definition not half-way decent, but if you personally prefer collisions, you can have them, as I explained previously.

Or, if you mean you want to artificially compress the space between staves just on the first page because you don't want to move your title frame to a separate page, you can have that as well - just use fixed spacers to reduce the spacing.

MuseScore gives you pretty much all the tools you need, you just a clear understanding of what exactly you want

If you still need help, attach your score and explain in more detail what you are having trouble doing, and we're happy to show you.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

One day I plan to make an auto space option that will automatically add the same amount of extra space between every instrument to fill the page. It would automatically do what ZacTheCellist did. Not everyone will use it and that's fine, but it'll be nice if you want it.

Another option I would like to add one day is a "Never hide a staff if this measure is in it" option. This will allow for scores to have empty staves to fill up a page when that's preferred, but not show empty staves on every page as is the only option.

You don't see the need for this in Jazz ensembles, but when have too many staves on the pages before and after, it looks very bad when one page has 4 staves and the pages before and after are full.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

min. and max. staff distance
I thought about that and also thought about automatically filling the page by adding space between instruments.

min & max staff distance would work well in conjunction with don't hide the system on this page (perhaps using a never hide this measure for this instrument option)

Auto fill would get a bit ugly by itself at times so perhaps the the min & max staff distance + never hide would be best and do it all at once.

In reply to by mike320

Right, it's not actually hard to do this at all, the harder part is really figuring out what makes sense to do.

If there is exactly one system on the page, then a simple min/max staff distance setting does the trick easily, and one could either choose to have min = max allow max higher. No jazz vs classical about it, just a personal preference issue. One either likes extra space between staves to even out the bottom margin, or one doesn't, and it's perfectly clear how to go about it if you do.

The problem is, this is only an obvious thing in the special case of one system per page, which is probably less than 10% of all scores in the world when you consider how much music is solo piano, solo guitar, choral, lead sheet, PVG, etc. Then it gets harder to really even define what the behavior should be.

One possibility is to simply say, system distance wins, we always fill to the max there, and only if there extra room to play with, then we will also go for extra staff distance on that page. This will do the right thing on the one -system-pe-page case and at least some of the mutiple-systems cases. But I suspect, it will still require some manual intervention.

Anyhow, none of this has anything really to do with the case at hand, which is more down to unequal staff spacing because of collision avoidance. Sure, we could add extra space elsewhere to reduce the bottom margin but the staves still won't line up because the top several simply have different spacing requirements. And that's what I mean when I say it's perfectly normal and indeed practically universally true that the "half decent" / professional-looking layout is to not artificially force all staves to have the same spacing just because some require more space. In the case at hand, actually forcing all staves to space as much as the widest here would cause the system to not fit on the page. Again, this is the sort of thing I mean when I say it is not really something we can solve.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

You totally missed the point of what I want to do. It would work no matter how many systems are on a page. Spread out the staves to fill the page. In symphonic pieces its common that one page has 20 staves, the next 18, the next 25 and so one. The user needs an easy way to fill out the pages. The one system with few staves surrounded by pages full of staves is not on every page of a score by any stretch of the imagination, but it would be nice if something reasonable could be done without having to enter something on the staff to assure some of the empty staves are visible. Especially since these methods affect multi-measure rests in parts.

What is unreasonable is if you normally have 25 staves on a page (as the OP's example), then suddenly there can only be 4 staves on a page, you can't simply spread out the 4 staves to fill the page. That would look as bad or worse than a page with all 4 staves crammed together at the top like there should be 21 more staves after it.

When the times comes, I'll write up scenarios and make it clear what is being fixed. If I miss a scenario, hopefully I'll get feedback and if I over-complicate it from a users point of view, maybe I'll get better ideas.

Check out these files:
Dvorak Cello concerto in B minor.mscz and #49363 on IMSLP

The default sizes and spacing are so page 11 will fit nicely on the page. I keep the same page breaks to make it braille friendly. You can download the IMSLP version and a braille version of my score can be made and both people can discuss the cello ossia on page 62 and literally be on the same page.

In reply to by mike320

Hmm, as far as I can tell, that's exactly what I understood and described in some detail in my post above. You are basically proposing floating staff distance between a min and max much as we already do for systems. I mean, you didn't use that exact terms, but we're talking about the exact same thing as far as I can tell. Being able to set a specific max is how you solve both the problem of not wanting four staves to fill a page and how you make this behavior optional.

The question to solve is the one I identified already - how to decide how much of the available space to allocate to system distance vs staff distance. That's why it matters how many systems are on a page - in the special case of only one system on a page, there is no decision to make. In the more common cases where there are multiple systems, my proposal is, first use up all system distance, then worry about staves. Then see how this feels in practice and whether some other algorithm ends up making more sense.

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