Allow separate "Minimum distance" for Accent and Staccato

• Sep 23, 2019 - 21:04
Reported version
S5 - Suggestion

MS 3.2.3

  1. Open the attached file.
  2. Click on an Accent above and change the Minimum distance to 5 sp.
  3. Press "Set as style".
    Expected result: Minimum distance changes for all accents in score.
    Actual Result: Minimum distance changes for all accents in score (as expected). But the same Minimum distance value is also appended to the Inspector for staccato dots, even though their score positions are unchanged.
  4. Reset the score and now do the same things for a staccato dot.
    Expected result: Minimum distance changes for all staccato dots in the score.
    Actual result: The position of staccato dots is unchanged, but the Accents have assumed the same Minimum distances in both the Inspector and in the score.

Another possible issue is that if you try to reduce the Minimum distance for either articulation below the default, the score position does not change.

Attachment Size
minimum_distances.mscz 9.76 KB


Status active needs info

Accents and staccato are the same element types - Articulation. And there is only the one style setting for all elements of this type. So as far I can tell this is by design. if you are seeing a case where this is not so, please be more specific. But the result described here is correct by this definition.

For staccato dots (not Accents), the Min. distance is nominal only—the actual score position remains static whatever the value in the Inspector. And the fact that the Min. distance on the score cannot be reduced below the default (the Inspector value changes, but not the score position) for both accents and staccatos looks like a bug.

Severity S3 - Major S5 - Suggestion

Well, more an unimplemented feature - right now the autoplace for "close to note" articulations like staccato and tenuto does not rely on minimum distance but is more finely tuned. It's not out of the question that some day the algorithm could be extended to also use a separate minimum distance just for those articulations.

Title Minimum distance for Accent and Staccato doesn't work properly Allow separate "Minimum distance" for Accent and Staccato
Status needs info active

I support addressing this. The height of slurs over staccatos on many measures looks way higher than on any printed score I've seen. Hand editing the Y offset for every staccato is very time consuming.

I don't think that's the same issue though. Can you attach a score and describe the problem in more detail? In general slurs should already be close to staccato dots, although no doubt certain case exists where there is an unusually large amount of space. But in any case, minimum distance for the staccato affects its distance to the note, not to the slur.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

The distance from note to staccato added to the staccato distance to the slur (not to mention the excessive curvature of many short slurs) creates excessive height to the structure.

ie (note-staccato) + (staccato-slur)+slur height is the overall problem.

AFAICT there are no options to modify the second and third components, and the option to modify the first doesn't work. Other articulations (tenutos, accents) may be substituted.

Bulk modification of articulations is not straight forward as an articulation's Y offset is relative to the page, not the chord. So if you have staccatos below the stem rather than above the head, then you have to add Y space rather than subtract it. This is very common in multi-voice piano where you generally need the articulations facing away from the centre of the stave; often compounded by issues of chords pushed into the next stave, where articulations are poorly positioned by default. (I can spend a lot of time hunting for lost staccato dots that are placed inside note heads of chords in other voices, or fly a long distance away from the chord)

Right now minimum distance is implemented at the element level, there isn't a straightforward way to disable it for elements that don't happen to use it. Staccato dots are hardly unique in that. notes don't use it either, nor do accidentals and probably a dozen other element types.

In any case that has nothing to do with what I was responding to. The point I was making is that even if we made the algorithm worse by using a minimum distance setting rather than the mouch more refined algorithm we use currently, it still would only affect the distance between the dot and the note it is attached to - it would never affect the distance between the dot and elements further away. That's never the purpose of this setting.

So if someone is perceiving an issue with some particular notes in some particular score where slurs are too far from staccato dots, the minimum distance setting on the staccato dot - the subject of this issue - cannot be relevant.

Again, we'd need to see a sample score and more detailed description of the desired result in understand if there is some sort of problem with staccato dot / slur interactions. And since that really can't have anything to do with the staccato minimum distance setting, probably that discussion should happen elsewhere, like in the support forum

But for the record, in normal cases, the distance should be just fine, in accordance with standard engraving practices:

Screenshot 2021-05-13 10.18.19 PM.png

No doubt corner cases exist where it doesn't look so good, but once again, we'd need to see specific examples in order to understand and assist.

That's an unusual special case. Because the slurs are on inner voices between staves and thus space is tight, the staccato dots have actually been moved away from the standard position at the end of the stem and, and the slur itself has been flattened as well. Those are the sorts of decisions engravers need to make on a case-by-case basis where needed to save space. In general, though, the vast majority of staccato dots and slurs, and combinations of these, would be laid out more like the defaults in MuseScore. So yes, someday we could consider adding addition intelligence to handed these unusual special cases in unusual special ways, but the defaults are good as is.

See for example Elaine Gould "Behind Bars", starting around p. 111 then again from 117 on for a little while, where she discusses a number of such cases, and specifically recommends against the approach shown in this example (moving articulations closer to the note than the end of the stem).