Allow "staff distance" on first page to differ from subsequent pages.

• Sep 15, 2016 - 14:34
S5 - Suggestion

2.0.3 / Win 7/10

Further to these two discussions: Staff distance: First page v. rest of score , and Different staff spacing for different systems .

Replace "staff distance" (in "Edit Style > Page") with "Min. Staff distance" and "Max Staff distance"?

In the case of 1 system-per-page orchestral scores, say, this would allow the user to make the staff distance of system 1 smaller than the rest of the score to accomodate the title frame.


While I definitely support something this, note it can't be that simple. On pages with multiple systems, there would be a conflict between the min/max *staff* and the min/max *system* distances. MuseScore would have no way of knowing which parameter to play with when. Well, it would if there more added to this proposal, but I suspect getting that right is the hard part.

Title "Min/max staff distance" for "Edit Style > Page" dialog Allow "staff distance" on first page to differ from subsequent pages.

is this a better title?

Maybe, there are probably other reasons to want to allow this sort of thing. Either is good as a basis for discussion. but probably the discussion itself is best done in the forum where more people will be able to see and contribute. Once consensus on a workable model is agreed upon, then maybe repost here.

One simple potential model:

When there is only one system per page, min/max staff distance settings kick in. Otherwise, system distance takes over.

What system distance have to do with it? You mean a third "staff distance" parameter in addition to min/max? That seems overkill. What about simply adding a "min for single system pages" parameter?

Too simple, I see—I didn't think that far. I'd be okay with the three staff distance parameters, but is your idea to keep it down to two that on pages with more than one system, the max staff distance would be used? I would think it should be the other way around.

My thinking 2was, in viertual;ly every single case, there is only only staff distance that would be used - the current one. But we would add a new parameter that would default to the same as the standard but would be used in one case and one case only - the case of a page that cannot fit even a single system using the regular staff distance. This new setting would control the amount by which the staff distance could be reduced in order to try to fit the system anyhow. Realsitically, instead of an alternate staff distance, it could also be an alternate *scaling* figure, or just a checkbox to say "do what you think is best in order to force a syste, to fit", and then MuseScore could make a reasonable tradeoff between scaling and staff distance - that's really what would be more appropriate, I think. Except I don't like the diea of MsueScore having to make those sort of choices, so I'd rather it be more explicit.

But we would add a new parameter that would default to the same as the standard but would be used in one case and one case only - the case of a page that cannot fit even a single system using the regular staff distance.

I'm hoping for something that will take action when a page cannot fit two systems using the regular staff distance, which would allow both the compression of single systems that cannot fit on the page, and also expansion on pages with a single system that does not fill the page.

I started a reply to comment #6 early this morning, the gist of which was more or less what Marc suggested a bit later:

or just a checkbox to say "do what you think is best in order to force a syste[m] to fit",

But the more I thought about it, the more potential problems I could see arising, and I finished by flushing the comment without posting. I am now convinced that the rest of Marc's comment:

Except I don't like the i[d]ea of Mu[s]eScore having to make those sort of choices, so I'd rather it be more explicit. extremely perceptive and should be heeded.

What we are discussing here is no less than automating the art of graphic design, and automating art is always very slippery terrain upon which to tread. Imagine if a scorewriting program automatically 'corrected' harmonies that offended a particular set of music theory rules? There are as many different ways to design the graphics of a book or musical edition as there are ways to write a harmonic progression, and none of them is 'right' or 'wrong'. So I suggest we listen to Marc, and be very, very careful about how this feature request is handled.

Obviously, to a certain extent, Musescore already automates page makeup and layout, and even though I regularly override the default layout algorithm manually, I still appreciate the program doing the basic grunt work of breaking a score into rough pages for me. It saves me a lot of time, and, for people who do not understand how to do their own page layout, it provides a functional, if not particularly elegant, 'finished product.' (And remember, the program does allow users to modify enough basic parameters so that they do have ultimate control of how their scores will print.)

However: If the program were to allow the user to tell it to override the user's own settings in order to accomplish a certain task, the developers will necessarily be forced to take artistic decisions in the user's stead, and that is not a good thing, as Marc has pointed out.

(responding to Isaacs) It becomes a slippery slope, then. I was thinking the idea would be to make sure you can fit at least one system on the first page along with the title frame, for scores of many instruments that normally just barely fit a single system. If we then decide we are also concerned with fitting two systems on that first page because other pages manage two, then next someone will want to be able to fit three because other pages manage that, or four, etc. In which case we have to solve the more general problem: how to decide between varying staff versus system distance is both are allowed to vary. It's not unsolvable, but that is what I was trying specifically *not* to have to solve, by limiting consideration to the one case that I think is of biggest concern: cases where even a single system won't fit along with the title frame. In such cases, system distance need not be part of the equation, which greatly simplifies the problem. As soon as you allow for the possibility this new setting might be relevant for pages that have multiple systems, then you are back to having to solve the general problem of how to prioritize between staff and system distances.

(responding to Recorder485) Of course, it would be *possible* to provide a whole new set of controls to allow the user to specify how MuseScore should prioritize the various parameters involved, but it quickyl gets more complex than it is worth, I think. Especially since a) published music rarely messes with this, in my experience, instead opting for consistency) and b) workaround is simple enough if you want it (print first page separately).

I am not sure if this has actually been answered simply, but I would like to know how to decrease the white space remaining on the first page of music, when a second system is not able to fit there. The piece I am transcribing has Soprano, Alto and then two piano parts. There is not enough room for the second system, therefore there is a huge white space that looks odd. Is there a way to stretch that first system (for ONLY the first page) to the bottom of the page? The rest of the four pages fits 2 full systems, just the first page is the problem. Any help would be appreciated.

You can add spacers from the palette to increase distance wherever you like.

If you need further assistance, please ask for help on the support forum and attach your score so we can provide better help.

I believe that after geetar posted his original suggestion the discussion devolved into something else.

In classical scores it is very common to list all of the instruments used in the entire movement on the first page. After that, every instrument may never again be shown on any page, especially when a composer expects 3 percussionists and lists all 7 of the percussion instruments that will be used in the movement. He may also list the piccolo and English horn et al., but only uses them for a portion in the middle of the song as a double for flute and oboe.

The "Don't hide staves in first system" exists for this purpose. The only problem with this option is that I often need a custom sized paper to be able to check this option. The custom paper size is passed onto the entire score. In the "Edit Style" dialog there is an option under "Header, Footer, Numbers" to allow for different settings on odd and even pages including a check box for showing on fist page. You could put a check box under Layout|Page Settings... that says first page custom. If this is checked, the dialog can be extended down (or have the following grayed out if unchecked) with the scaling and a single set of margin settings for the first page only.

This suggestion would end the discussion on what does the programmer do when the user contradicts himself while implementing such a feature.

I am not understanding "I often need a custom sized paper to be able to check this option". I have never heard of a case where MuseScore needs a particular page size before enabling this (or any other) option. Or are you saying you *want* a custom page size? If so, can you explain your use case? Are you planning to literally print the first page a different size than the rest of the score?

I'm only talking about displaying the score on the screen at this point.

Under Layout|Page Settings... there are a variety of page sizes to choose from including all of the standard American and European sizes. When I have too many instruments for legal size I resort to changing the paper size to custom to be able to fit all of the instruments on the first page. The unfortunate side effect is that all the pages are that size and I end up with a lot pages that are full of almost as much blank space as lines of music and other pages with 2 or 3 lines of music on a page. In case you didn't know, if the next group of measures on a page with the visible staffs can be place on the same page as the previous line of music, MuseScore will will do that unless you put a page break there. This all works, it's just not ideal.

My desire is to be able to have all the instruments on the first page, then only the necessary lines on the remaining without having to change to an enormous custom sized page. If I uncheck the "Don't hide empty staves on first page" then all of the empty staffs will become invisible and the instrument will not be listed on the first page.

You don't have to change to a larger page size - you can instead make the staves smaller.

But you can't change the laws of physics - different number of staves on different pages is going to mean different amounts of blank space on each page unless the page size literally changes from page to page, which would be practically unheard of and quite awkward to boot whether you plan to p[rint now or later. And even if you only plan to view this score on a computer screen, you'll have the same issue. Unless I'm still not understanding something...

Most of my scores, both original and transcribed are classical symphonic pieces. In my opinion the staffs are too big for a classical score so I usually shrink them already. Shrinking the staffs any more makes them too small to be useful. I can live with a small set of staffs crammed together on page one when no other option exists, but after the first page it needs to be useful for the conductor and easy to read. If there were a "move staffs closer" spacer, it would make the first page neater since many of the staffs are empty. (I believe that will be a non-issue in 3.0). As I said previously, most of the time classical scores don't have all the instruments on any page but the first. I generally resort to unchecking the don't hide on first page box to avoid having to grow the paper. A lot of users whose scores I download do change the paper size to custom to fit all the instruments.

For large symphonic works, the simplest solution to this problem is to make the title frame deep enough that it occupies all of page 1 of the score. The music will then start on page 2, with no text matter other than the header and footer taking away page space from it. You can use the additional empty space in that title frame to insert text giving the full instrumentation and whatever other information the conductor might want to see up front. Alternatively, you can dispense with the title frame entirely in MuseScore, and then add a 'half-title' page created in a word processor as part of the final print package assembled in a PDF editor. Either way, your music starts on a page empty of space-eating text matter.

If one full system of your score can't fit on a whole page, then you need to (a) reduce the scaling, or (b) increase the page size (or possibly both). Orchestral performance scores are quite often printed on oversized pages for this very reason. That is why the conductor's desk is so much bigger than a standard music stand. I print orchestral scores on 11x17 sheets and bind them on the long edge, making a 2-page spread of 22x17. I have seen even bigger scores than that in use, especially for works scored for full orchestra plus chorus and soloists.