bonkers default formating

• Jul 21, 2022 - 17:40

This very annoying thing happens more than anyone would want, and there is a 0.5% chance anyone would want their music formatted this way. Can't the built-in formatting code include a statement saying never stretch one bar that has one note in it across the entire page?

The next question is, what is the best way to get rid of this without starting at the top of the page and manually inserting line breaks? (In Sibelius I would use "make into a system".)


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"Can't the built-in formatting code include a statement saying never stretch one bar that has one note in it across the entire page?"

A final system that consists of a single bar with one note in it is a very unusual case. Most publishers would avoid that by either adjusting system breaks to force more bars onto the last system or slightly compressing the notes in the penultimate system to allow that last bar to move up onto that previously penultimate but now ultimate system.

However, if you prefer to have just that odd bar on its own but not filling the whole system you can either reduce the "Last system fill threshold" in the Format>Style>Page settings - the default is 30%. Or you can append a horizontal frame and adjust its length. The longer you make it the more compressed that last bar will be. (But either way it will still look odd!)

The defaults are usually sensible for normal publishing practice

Steve beat me to it...

But incidentally, if you use a section break from the Breaks and Spacers palette you don't need to mess around with invisible new key signatures and resetting the bar numbers when you start a new hymn.

I think you'll find it too crowded if you try to force that onto the previous system at your current staff size, but you can certainly select the measures you want to squeeze together and press "{" to reduce stretch. A few times if necessary. If it's physically possible to fit given you other settings, MuseScore will oblige. If not, you'll need to reduce staff size or make some other change to force it fit - MuseScore won't allow your notes or lyrics to overlap, nor would you want that. But your readers will almost certainly be happy if you instead go and add breaks to keep the same number of systems but balance them together - also you will be able to make the breaks fit the musical structure, which your readers will also appreciate.

And as noted, use a section break at the end of a piece so you don't need to play games with hiding courtesy signatures etc.

Thanks for the tip about section break.

Musescore does a certain amount of justification automatically to fit things nicely on the page; often you don't have to do anything. But more often than I would think, you end up with one bar, usually the last one, of a few notes stretched across the page. So it seems to me that automatically this would never happen, that you wouldn't have to do anything to keep it from happening or fix it, because Musescore would have been told by you guys that rarely does anyone want this.

In reply to by azgilbertdh

I am sure Musescore could be made to adjust earlier system breaks to force more measuresvinto the final system when it would otherwise look "bonkers but it really needs some clever AI to make the decisions. That final measure might have a lot if content and would not look so odd on its own. How much content is required before that happens? Another case to consider might be two final measures, each with one whole note, or perhaps three such measures, or four. At some number it would not look so "bonkers". The challenge is to define what criteria to apply. Do you have experience of how this is handled in other notation programs? What criteria are applied and how are those translated into the necessary formatting adjustments?

[Edit] Actually, looking at your original post, you say Sibelius has a "Make into a system" command. How does that work? Does it just squeeze things up on the previous system to make room for the "orphan" measure? If so doesn't that make the spacing unattractively tight? Or does it do what I would probably do manually and reassess previous automatic system breaks to create an extra system and space the earlier measures out a bit more loosely?

In reply to by azgilbertdh

MuseScore's algorithm is "greedy" - it simply puts as many measures onto systems as it can, and what's left. Same basic algorithm a word processor in fitting words on a line. And indeed, usually you don't want this - although it could be completely appropriate in case of a coda, etc. In theory it would be possible to try to design an algorithm that spread the measures out more to prevent this. But realistically, the chances of it putting the breaks in the optimum places musically (eg, at the beginnings of phrases, not breaking up complex technical passages) are pretty slim. So really, if you care about how your score works, first thing you'd need to do is disable the automatic processing and then add your own breaks anyhow.

Still, it's something I suspect will be implemented anyhow for those cases where you care enough to not want the "orphan" but not enough to spend the few extra minutes making optimum choice musically. And I don't mean that facetiously - it's certainly a reasonable place to be sometimes.

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