Greater Control in Formatting and Layout

• Jun 3, 2020 - 08:21


We are wishing for greater flexibility and control in spacing and song layout.

  1. Why is note spacing uneven due to differing time values? If the note is a 1/2 note it gives more space between notes than if it is a 1/8 note. (See example files.) This restricts control over how much we can fit on a page and gives an uneven view.
  2. We wish for complete control over ‘Stretch’. Currently there are limits that prevent being able to squash unlimited measures onto one score (staff). Could this limit be removed allowing any amount of squashing?
  3. Could it be possible to adjust Format > Style > Lyrics > Min. Top Margin / Min. Bottom Margin individually for each score rather than only for the whole song? This level of customization could improve song appearance as well as space saving issues. As it is, one score (or staff) with a more-than-average note range may control the spacing for the whole song when it is only needed for one score. Also, Min. Top Margin has a limit on how much you can control it while Min. Bottom Margin has much more range when going to the negative number settings.
  4. Format > Style > Measure > Spacing. Could this be allowed to go lower than 1.000?

We are using MuseScore Version / e26f7c4 on Windows 10.

Thanks for the work you are doing!
Kenneth Eby
Lake Victoria Correspondence Centre
Uganda, Africa
A non-profit mission organization


Update to 3.4.2 first, then re-check, although I don't expect much diffence, as everything you descibe is just how it should work

  1. a half note does take more space than a 8th note, that a fact and common notation rule

  2. stretch is limited to not create overlapping elements. Check what a mess you could create in MuseScore 1.x

  3. _ individually for each score rather than only for the whole song?_
    Huh? How is a song different from a score?

  4. That might be made possible, not sure, it might be a pure UI restriction
    Edit: no, it is a fixed hardcoded minimum:

    qreal Measure::basicStretch() const
      qreal stretch = userStretch() * score()->styleD(Sid::measureSpacing);
      if (stretch < 1.0)
            stretch = 1.0;
      return stretch;

1) The answer to "why" is because this is absolutely required by the rules of notation. It's a universal notation standard that a half note takes more space than an eighth note, and it's an integral part of how we read music. But if you are interested in developing your own experimental notation that uses different rules, MuseScore offer some support for that. Try setting the "spacing" to 1 in Format / Style / Measure, then increasing "minimum note distance" to compensate.

2) the only limits on stretch are the ones set by staff size and minimimum note distance (see above). Soo feel free to reduce those to produce one long uninterrupted blob of ink.

3) maybe you mean a score that consists of multiple songs? currently all score settings are global, but there is work towards an improved version of the old "album" feature that would allow for independent settings

4) no, because that would be meaningless in the algorithm. 1.0 is a multiplier and means no additional space between notes whatsoever.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Everything about the layout algorithm works from the starting point of a minimum measure width as per the notes in it and the various settings. Taking a measure below the minimum width defeats the purpose of having a minimum width, or the settings that determine it. It's the minimum because it's what is specified by your settings. If you want narrower, just choose different settings. The point of the spacing is to control what happens as the measure is stretched to fit the system, but that stretching starts from the minimum.

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