Add option to always display dashes in Lyrics

• Aug 11, 2015 - 17:09
Reported version
S5 - Suggestion

Environment: Mac OS X Lion 10.7.5 (11G63)
MuseScore 2.0.2 -- GIT commit: f51dc11

If I enter lyrics typing a dash between syllables moves to the next note, but does not display the dash...

This is the result:


If I manually increase the strech the dashes appear...

I never experienced this bahaviour in older versions. The spacing was generally OK automatically.

Also the spacing between individual words has become way smaller....

Attachment Size
2015-08-11_1649.png 8.88 KB


This is not a bug - it is correct according to standard engraving custom that dashes only need to be displayed where there is room. However, some people subjectively prefer to increase space to show the dashes anyhow. I think there should be a style option to specify you want this to happen automatically, so I have changed this to a feature request for such an option.

But meanwhile, if you wish to show the dashes in tight situations, you can either move the notes or increase stretch for the measure (the latter is actually more or less what 1.3 would have done).

in previous version 2.0.0 (I never worked with 1.x) this didn't happen. I always just typed ahead and the system took care of resizing. The distance of the notes were autamatically adjusted to the length of the syllables. What I see now is that in the latest version (2.0.2) both the space in between words as the dash between syllables become very small. The words have even almost no space whatsoever. I was perfectly happy with the earlier behaviour.
Even if I enlarged the lyrics fonts it would adjust autimagically...

So, as far as I am concerned the change in behavior is not for the good and therefore this is not a feature request but a bug. Please restore the previous behavior.

Best, Rob.

Example 2.0.0:

example 2.0.2:

Attachment Size
2015-08-12_0508.png 33.88 KB
2015-08-12_0512.png 14.17 KB

There has been no change since 2.0; the only reason you are seeing a difference is that these are two different scores. Try entering the same music in both versions and you'll see the same behavior. MuseScore *does* space music automatically and correctly according to a standard convention that says it is not necessary to add extra space for dashes. If there happens to be room already, the dashes are shown; if there does not happen to be room already, the dashes are not shwon. Again, this has not changed since 2.0. Your 2.0 example just happens to be of a score where there was room already, whereas your 2.0.2 examples just happens to be of a score where there was not. Music *does* respace automatically in both versions, but neither version will add *unnecessary* space just to create enough room for dashes. Only if there would have been enough space anyhow are the dashes shown.

Again, this is not a bug. It is correct to not show dashes unless there is room. If you wish to show dashes even in cases where there is no room, you can simply *make* room by increasing stretch. And as I said before, because some people - like you - prefer to to have extra space added even when not necessary, I think there should be an option to make that happen automatically. But the default is to not add space unnecessarily.

And to be clear: both 2.0 and 2.0.2 *do* automtically respace your music for lyrics. Type a longer syllable, and you will see that more space is added. Make the font size bigge,r and you will see that more space is added.

The minimum space between words is determined by a style setting (Style / General / Measure / Minimum note distance), but in most cases, you will have much more than the minimum distance between notes. Occasionally some scores end up tighter than others, but rather than moving notes around one by one, you should simply increase the overal stretch, or add line breaks to specific systems that look too tight. Everything will stretch out, and then there will be room for the dashes, and they will appear, if you prefer that look.

If you have trouble figuring out how to get the look you want - moving individual notes should *not* be needed - feel free to start a thread in the support forum,. posting the specific score you are having trouble with. Chances are, a simple style setting or adding stretch or a few line breaks will make it look the way you prefer.

OK, this is very clear.
I re-entered the old muzic in 2.0.2 and the results are exactly the same.. Apparently I was just 'lucky' with all the pieces I put into MuseScore.
I'll play around with the style settings

Thank you for your elaborate answer.


You're welcome, and I *do* think an option to control this would be nice.

FWIW, I find that when I first entering music, there are mostly empty measures and spacing is usually tight because MuseScore can fit a lot of measures per system. By the time I finish entering the music, it is normally stretched out because of the normal right-justification process. If I ever find a given system looks too tight, I simply add a line break where I think it should be. But adding stretch globally often works well too. I rarely would try to use Style settings to handle things like this, but it is true that increasing "Mininimum note distance" and/or "Measure spacing" in the dialog I mentioned would make everything "looser" automatically.

I may be late adding to this discussion, but as I'm currently experiencing this problem for the first time, I only now noticed this discussion.
I'm entering scores for a choire I am a member of. In order to improve legibility but also to avoid discussions on how to divide up words - and why two words are written as one - which decreases the reading flow and general legibility I would support very much the option of offering the choice to have dashes be always shown when they are set as well as to have bigger distances between words.

Thanks a lot in advance for such an option :-)


It's good to mention that you are interested in this, but please do not change issue settings unless you are a developer offering to implement a fix.

I can weigh in that this has also been a problem that I have struggled with. An option to force all dashes between syllables to show would be greatly appreciated.

What I have tried in the past, for minor adjustments is to use the inspector to manually move a syllable horizontally to make the dash appear. Unfortunately, this does not always work, as you run into a Catch-22 when there are syllables in all four parts at the same time with the same issue. Once you have adjusted all parts except one, and the dashes are present, then when you move the last part, a realignment of notes occurs and all your dashes disappear.

I have also, when desperate, resorted to removing the dash and replacing it with an explicit hyphen (is that ctrl-hyphen) at the end of a syllable, sometimes also with a hidden space (ctrl-space) if needed for readability. While this always works, it is a lot of extra work. Adjusting stretch is not a good solution usually.

I am dealing with this issue right not in a score that I am just finished with except for the layout adjustments for prettiness. What I am trying now, without much success, is to reduce the font size for lyrics just on parts of certain measures. I tried to select all the lyric syllables in question (ctrl-click on each one) and adjust the font size by right clicking on one of the selected syllables, and change by picking Text Properties, and changing the font size, but it only seems to adjust one element, not all selected. Is there something I am doing wrong? or is there another way to accomplish this? For the short term, if this can be done, I think being able to manually reduce the font slightly to make the dashes appear is the easiest work around.

If it's important to always see the dashes (note published music does not always do this), you can incrwease the "minimum note spacing" setting in Style / General / Measure, which will force enough extra space between syllables to ensure syllables appear. Or, if you don't want this done score-wide, you could just select individual measures and add stretch with the "}" command.

Changing the note spacing is not a good solution, or temporary stretch. Doing that makes the score take more pages, and I am trying to match an existing score. I really would like a way to easily selectively change the font size of certain lyrics.

Oh that's easy enough, just select them and use the Inspector to change them to a different text style - one that you previously defined via Style / Text to be a copy of regular lyrics but smaller.

I don't think so (it came along with quite a few other changes and would required a file fFormat extension, that would make score being incompatible with older 2.0.x versions), but it will be in 3.0 for sure.