Space individual notes

• Jun 24, 2021 - 15:54

Hi All,
trying to see if I can break away from Dorico - I'm on Elements and seriously restricted for the musical I'm scoring, limited to 12 parts in Dorico and there are 7 singers parts to start with. Upgrade is out of budget for now and probably forever...

So far I'm loving Musecore (what a huge leap in functionality and layout since I last looked several years ago!)

However, I'm not yet convinced of the engraving / layout options. I appreciate the ability to do the stretches and layout in the same page (in Elements there's no engraving option). In particular there are times when the distance between two notes within a bar is too tight for my taste, and stretching the bar doesn't fix it. I've tried the F8 and offsets etc, but can only seem to move either the stem or the notehead separately - and then I cannot seem to make the beam stretch to the right, despite clicking on "grow right" - several options are greyed out too.

Any ideas for the best way to tidy this up? The first png is Dorico standard non-edited spacing, the second is Muse, and the third what happens when I open inspector to adjust. CMD clicking the notehead and the stem brings up an entirely different dialogue box.



... the distance between two notes within a bar is too tight for my taste

While notes can be spaced on an individual basis, easier (and more consistent) ways are available:


Plus you need not perform extensive formatting until after the measures are filled. Let MuseScore do its thing first ;-)
The image is for illustration only. In reality, all measures would contain notation.
In the image above, you can see how measures (observe bar numbers) can flow to a new system as the need arises.


N.B. As mentioned, when using the Inspector (F8), by 'chord' is meant a notehead + stem + flag. (Yes, it can mean a single note.) For example, click on a half note and compare 'Small' in Inspector for 'Chord' and 'Note' to see the difference. Also, try with 'Offset'.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

Thanks, I'll look into all these suggestions - but the spacing I was concerned about is the gap between the E & F at the end of Bar 3. The preceding bar is easy with stretch.

The measures in question are all "filled" as this is the violin part only. This has been imported as music XML from Dorico, where the spacing of those particular notes was about right.

Anyway I'll play around with it and see how it shapes up.

But still , is there a way to extend the beam? Ah, OK, I see if I select chord I can move that note...

Screen Shot 2021-06-24 at 20.10.27.png

In reply to by Scardo

Yes, 'chord' is used in the Inspector.

You wrote:
I was concerned about is the gap between the E & F at the end of Bar 3.

Referencing my posted image...
For consistency, the gap between E & F at the end of bar 3 should be the same as the gap between the E & F at the end of bar 2. They are all identical eighth notes. Yes?
Note the system break in my image above -- adding the system break to bar 4 would stretch the measures out even more, but proportionally to each other.
Also, a string of eighth notes will always be (equally) spaced 'tighter' than, say, a string of quarter notes.

The 'stretch' applied to that single measure behaves differently. You can see that the eighth notes spacing is inconsistent between bars 2 & 3.
Stretch can, though, be applied across a selection of measures so at least the system (whole line of music) will appear consistent across its individual measures.

In reply to by Scardo

Hard to say from just pictures - attaching the score would make it easier to assist. But, I would point out that spacing within measures should normally be more or less perfect - a measure might be narrower than it "should" be based on the neighbors. So, normally it should be sufficient and preferable to simply play with stretch when you see this sort of discrepancy. Trying to manually add space between the eighth notes only will disrupt the ratio of space between eighths versus quarter in the measure. That ratio is correct as is and would be made incorrect by the adjustment you propose. Simply increasing stretch would preserve the proper ratios.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks for your input Marc. I have to say though if the spacing that appears in my first screenshot is "more or less perfect" - - that's not particularly pleasing on the eye! Hence my attempts to adjust.

I did find that using Chord adjustment (moved the notehead and stem) worked well. I was able to match the gap to the same as the 8th notes in the preceding bar. Stretch bar and system break did not give me satisfactory results.

In reply to by Scardo

I'm saying if you look at the second measure only, it's more or less perfect, which is to say, following the standard sorts of mathematically ratios traditionally used by engravers (acknowledging there is subjectivity in this). It's only if you compare the first measure to the second that the different spacing of eighths is apparent. but again, trying to increase that in the second measure will leave the quarters too close together. You really do want the whole measure wider in order to preserve the ratios. Not sure what problems you had with stretch, but feel free to attach the actual score so we can understand and assist better.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Well this is how it defaults in Dorico Elements (without any engraving adjustment) - which (sadly for my wallet) I feel is both more aesthetically pleasing as well as mathematically correct - at least to my eyes. It's a real dilemma as last year I published a guitar & vocal songbook using Dorico Elements, so no problem with running out of instruments, and I liked the look of it - I didn't feel I'd have changed much even if I'd had the Pro version.
Now with the musical I'm stretched with number of instruments, but I may have to find a workaround as I'm just not totally sold on the way it's coming together in Musescore. But as we all know, these differences are small and accumulative - so a lot of time is spent building the score before one realises that it may not be meeting expectations. It's a time consuming thing this! I'm at the point where Im running two versions to compare....fiddly stuff. Thanks for your input though, appreciated. Screen Shot 2021-06-30 at 15.14.53.png

In reply to by Scardo

Yes, and this is pretty much exactly what you'd get by increasing stretch in that second measure. Individual adjustment of the eighths would leave the quarter notes too close together.

It's a known quirk of the layout that in certain special cases, you can end up with these inconsistencies from measure to measure, but my point it, those inconsistencies are solved through stretch - individual adjustments just make it inconsistent within measures, which is equally bad.

These inconsistencies are high on the list for improvement post-4.0. Meanwhile, again, if you attach the actual score, we can help show you how to get better results with less effort. There are other tricks like reducing the minimum note spacing in Format / Style / Measure and instead adding all system breaks explicitly that can reduce these inconsistencies and preserve correct internal ratios, without requiring these manual adjustments. The manual adjustments are more work, produce less-than-ideal results, and will turn out to be counterproductive as the layout algorithms are improved over time - that's why I focus on the methods that are easier, produce better results, and more future-proof.

First off: Write down your score first and finish it (Don't worry about spacing issues while you do this).

If you need a change in page layout, now is the time. You should do this sizing job (if you are going to do it) right now, which concerns all of the note, staff and element sizing. Format => Page settings

Do not make any changes from the Inspector at this stage.

Unless you have a very, very good reason and you don't need a setting that needs to change globally, don't make any changes in Format=> Style either.

You will then put system-breaks where necessary for legibility and layout (if needed).

If there are still places you are not satisfied with, then you can refer to the stretch solution described above. But don't do it excessively. Apply it to a place or two that you think is really problematic.

Finally, you can put page-breaks where needed (if really necessary).

If you're sure you're done. And lastly, if you have any special touches to make, now is the time.

I have been professional note engraving for years. If I am not making an exact copy of a book or work, the method I described above is the fastest and most comfortable system to work with.

You're experiencing the following issue...…

And as previously said, the best manual fix for it would be to increase the entire measure's stretch (the measure in which the E and F is too close together.)

But if you really want to tweak spacing between individual notes, select a note, and fiddle with the Chord-X-offset or the Leading Space.

I've long maintained that fixing this horizontal spacing problem would yield a dramatic improvement in how good scores look. Plus, while most manual engraving fixes are relatively easy. manually tweaking the spacing is cumbersome and difficult to get right.

The following helps minimize inconsistent spacing throughout the entire score:

1) setting format>style>measure>spacing to 1.0 (this will make spacing tight) and then manually adding system-breaks.

2) disabling autoplace for all accidentals (rightclick an accidental>select>all similar elements and then disable autplace in the inspector) and then only enabling autoplace for individual accidentals where they overlap with something. BTW, this also allows accidentals to "tuck" above/beneath preceding notes where space allows it (like Dorico does).

But yeah... ideally this should be fixed. This is my no.1 item on my engraving-wish-list and I'm really looking forward to the day this gets fixed.

In reply to by BarnieSnyman

I appreciate the input from everyone, but my point is that the default should not need addressing for such a basic layout, Nothing complicated - it not nested time signatures or some ancient music fiddles! And I did adjust the entire measure's stretch but the results were not pleasing.

The fact that it looks wrong from the get go puts me off, and that is enough to keep me in Dorico (working around the number of staves limitations) for now. I published a vocal / guitar songbook last year using Dorico, it looked great. I don't want to be creating extra work for myself. I had hoped that Musescore was going to save me shelling out for the Pro version, but that seems not to be for the moment. Maybe version 4 when it comes will do it. We'll see.

Also to address a previous comment - this score was completely written (imported as a musicXML from Dorico) so I was already just doing the layout....a lot of work to get back to how it looked to start with, for the sake of extra staves. Sometimes of course a compromise is the only way, but not an ideal situation.

In reply to by Scardo

I agree 100% that one shouldn't need to do endless manual tweaks to get a polished looking score. Your response captures the very essence of why MuseScore's engraving needs further improvement beyond the version 3.6 improvements (which BTW I didn't know how much I needed until I actually had it!). I do think the MuseScore team realize the need for good out-of-the-box engraving, and thats why they've brought an experienced engraver onto the team, and is currently looking to employ a developer with engraving skills.

I'm anxiously and patiently looking forward to MuseScore improving to the point where very few manual tweaks are needed. As a hobbyist (albeit a very serious one) I'm happy enough for now with manually tweaking my scores.

As a side note, I've been looking at Dorico SE (there's no way I can afford any of the fully fledged commercial scorewriters). I write solo piano works, so the 2-instrument limit is no issue for me. However, I haven't had a single score in Dorico SE that didn't need some manual fixes, which I couldn't do because there was no engraving mode.

In reply to by Scardo

To be clear - everyone agrees the defaults should be better for these cases, and as I said, this is actually identified as a top priority post-4.0.

I'm simply observing that for now, as a workaround, stretch is superior in all ways (efficiency, correctness of result, and future-proofing) to individual manual adjustment. Again, if you have difficulty working out how to do this using stretch, please attach the score so we can assist better.

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