Album problems

• Jul 14, 2016 - 21:06

I have several scores all consisting of a melody line with words put in as staff text. (Reasons below.) When I tried to make an album, I got an uninformative error message, but when I selected ones with the same spatium, I succeeded. Feature request: albums should allow components to have and keep different spatiums. Without that, the Album feature is useless for my purpose, but to experiment I selected components with the same spatium. Many problems remained.

All settings of the first component were applied to the rest. For instance, to get good layout, I typically experiment with the spacing (tightness), so different components have different spacings. Album loses that, so to retain the components' system breaks, one has to put in line breaks at every system of every component and reduce the spacing of the first component to 1.0 (or the minimum of all components).

System spacers were lost. I needed these to adjust for the varying number of lines of lyrics under each system. Maybe with Lyrics entry this wouldn't be so necessary, but there are other reasons to want such adjustments.

The first component's multimeasure rest choice applies to all, which one might reasonably not want. Ditto the copyright notice.

Location adjustments to small-note cues in initial measures, and changes in layout stretch in those measures, were lost. They are also lost on copy and paste from the component scores. This seems like a bug. Even after fixing everything I could find, the second component had two extra system breaks I cannot account for (album and second component attached).

Btw, if you want each component to start on a new page, putting page breaks at the ends of the components accomplishes this.

Especially with lyrics, layout can sometimes be improved by breaking a measure across systems. MuseScore allows this but does not adjust the measure number appropriately. Feature request: when measure 9, say, is split across systems (identifiable by the hidden bar line at the end of a system), the option should be offered of labeling the second portion of the measure 9b rather than 10; in fact, this should be the default. I realize it can be done now, but it is a fair amount of trouble, including getting the b placed correctly.

I guess what I want (feature request) instead of an Album is a Collection which strings together components but leaves their settings alone. The components could be changed in either the Collection or the components (like parts in a score) but repagination would be possible in the Collection in the absence of page breaks in the components. I haven't thought out how that would work, or anything else, but you get the idea.

The reason I used staff text instead of Lyrics is that I entered one component that way before Lyrics existed and several more before trying it. Furthermore, the components are much more attractive and compact as staff text than as Lyrics with its often wide spacing, sometimes very wide, even with only one stanza. In the example attached, staff text takes 10 systems and fits nicely on one page while Lyrics takes 14 systems. I think it would be worse with two stanzas if I am right that Lyrics insists on full, non-overlapping space for every syllable.
Lehrer_2 Be_Prepared melody.mscz Lehrer melodies 1.764.mscz Lehrer 5 The_Wild_West_lyric exp.mscz Lehrer 5 The_Wild_West_melody r.mscz


Scores joined via an album are then a single score, so indeed, score-wdie settings will affect the entire score. And spatium is score-wdie, so there is no way an album could have different spatii (?) for different scores. Not that this might not be interesting to support at some point in the future.

To place manual measure numbers, consider using a rehearsal mark but giving it the measure number style.

Not sure what you mean about entering one component "before Lyrics existed" - MuseScore has supported lyrics from the very first official version released over five years ago. Or do you mean a very early experiment version of MuseScore? Those scores are not supported any more.

You can change the font size and other attributes of lyrics to make them more compact. That should always be preferred to faking it using another element type. Staff text, for example, will get none of the special treatment needed for true lyrics. As it is, you score is not really very readable, because it is missing the essential formatting needed to correctly associate lyric syllables with notes and that musicians expect to see.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

As near as I can tell, spatium is the same declension and gender as stadium and hence would have the plural spatia.

I enter manual measure numbers with a b by letting MuseScore place the number and entering a text b beside it, moving the measure number horizontally if necessary. Would the rehearsal mark get in the correct position automatically? Otherwise it seems if anything a little more difficult.

I must have been wrong about when Lyrics existed. I guess when 2.0 came along, there was talk of improved Lyrics which caused me to try them. We have disagreed about Lyrics before. I'm not sure what all that "special treatment needed for true lyrics is". In my example, almost every measure has almost exactly the words under it that go with it, and if you are slightly familiar with the tune, there is no problem whatever associating syllables with notes. The problem is the work it takes to get it that way, especially with the mysterious side effects of moving notes and changing measure stretch, and it is way more difficult with two or more stanzas. Yes, you can change the font size, etc., of Lyrics, but so can you of staff text. For any given size, Lyrics apparently take about 40% more space. In my test case, I can't imagine why M28 shouldn't go to the line before, or barring that, 32 to the line before, or barring that, 48 (surprisingly narrow), etc. Are there any parameters one can tune to reduce the extra space? In the example, tightness is already minimum, and minimum note spacing (=minimum word spacing) is if anything too low. Is the latter what leads to the occasional tiny hyphens (e.g., 49 & 51) or closely spaced words (52 & 53)?

In reply to by Isaac Weiss

Missed that. Thought I was following earlier, more learned correspondents. I am best known for a 1964 paper on risk aversion where a concept of risk premium played a central role. I used the plural 'premiums' though some others after me used 'premia'. My 1927 Fowler already lists 'premiums' among plurals in -ums only. It also says, '...when one is really in doubt which to use the English form should be given preference.' How about 'quantum'? Also always -ums with the added warning that -a would violate grammar as well as usage. No quantum in the 1965 Fowler. My American Heritage gives only quanta. Oh those pretentious Americans! :-)

In reply to by jwpratt

The special treatment universally used in virtually all published lyrics for lyrics includes things like:

- syllabes centered under each word
- hyphens between syllables
- melisma lines to show syllables that cover multiple syllables
- left algined syllables to indicate melisma

While it's true this can make music with lyrics take somewhat more space, again, this is virtually *universal* in pub;lished music, so it how virtually musicians are accustomed to reading. Devitations from the standard just make reading more difficult. If someone already knows the song, they don't need the music, but if they need the music, it would presumably help if it actually read correctly. You can always set the lyrics or music slightly smaller if you are that concerned about the space.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

As a further experiment I tried reducing the stretch to 0 throughout in my example. Much better except some measures looked obviously wrong. When I Ctrl r'd them they looked better without being wider, though I expected them to revert to 1.0 stretch and they didn't. The result is 15% wider than my staff text version. This happens to be very unfortunate here, 11.5 systems instead of 10 and the extra half system looked hard to eliminate. (Another correspondent would frown on 12 systems plus title on a page.) Shrinking some whole-note measures looked like the best bet, but I don't see how to do that. The minimum measure width is already very small, and reducing it further has no effect. I was able to get to 11 systems by splitting a couple of bars, but along the way very curious things happened to some measures. Again Ctrl r helped, but after select all, only one measure is affected by Ctrl r. Eventually I found the way to get all measures to revert to 1.0 stretch simultaneously, under layout. (The handbook and forums were no use.) This left everything as it was, and shrinking from 1.0 to 0 had no effect. Is this to be expected? Anyway, I guess it is fair to say that, if done right, Lyrics takes only 10% more space than the minimum possible, and I should be content with that. So I'm better educated about Lyrics, thanks. But my Album bugs and wishes remain.

In reply to by jwpratt

Glad that helped. BTW, stretch factors of 0 and below are meaningless and hence ignored.

Regarding other questions (eg, shrinking individual measures) we'd have to see the specific score and know more exactly what you are trying to do in order to help further.

Did you see my earlier reply regarding albums? I don't think there were any bugs demonstrated by what you posted - just inherent limitations in the fact that an alum is still just one score and hence properties that are score wide are, well, score-wide.

You could probably fake some of it by using multiple staves with different sizes and then "Hide empty staves", etc.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks. Is 0 ignored or treated as 0.1? If ignored, it should say so somewhere. If treated as 0.1, which seems sensible to me, it should stop at 0.1. (I couldn't find stretch in your index, either as such or at measure or layout.) As to my previous whining:

"I typically experiment with the spacing (tightness), so different components have different spacings. Album loses that, so one has to put in line breaks at every system of every component and reduce the spacing of the first component to 1.0 (or the minimum of all components)." Mayabe with your concept of Album, this is inevitable. Come to think of it, I often do the same thing for portions of a single score, and do indeed have to put in line breaks at every system. Still, it might make sense for Album to do it automatically, or at least as an option. It would be one more advantage of using Album.

"System spacers were lost. I needed these to adjust for the varying number of lines of lyrics under each system. Maybe with Lyrics entry this wouldn't be so necessary, but there are other reasons to want such adjustments." To me this seems like a bug. If you suggested hiding empty staves for this, wouldn't they close up? Setting invisible might work, but it would be terribly cumbersome, if possible at all, to add the equivalent of one or two clicks of empty space. Another correspondent wants me to put in text frames, but spacers are system specific so why should they be lost?

"The first component's multimeasure rest choice applies to all, which one might reasonably not want. Ditto the copyright notice." Inevitable, I guess.

"Location adjustments to small note cues in initial measures, and changes in layout stretch in those measures, were lost. They are also lost on copy and paste from the component scores. This seems like a bug." Still seems like a bug.

"Especially with lyrics, layout can sometimes be improved by breaking a measure across systems. MuseScore allows this but does not adjust the measure number appropriately. Feature request: when measure 9, say, is split across systems (identifiable by the hidden bar line at the end of a system), the option should be offered of labeling the second portion of the measure 9b rather than 10; in fact, this should be the default." I still think so, though it is not specific to Album and not a bug.

I am at work on another G&S, using Lyrics, of course. I seem to have the best success contracting measures by picking notes or rests which seem to have space to spare after them and reducing the trailing space. Horizontal offset doesn't seem as good. Does that sound right?

Thanks again.

In reply to by jwpratt

The treatment of stretch = 0 differs between versions, so most accurate is to call it "undefined". Better to just not use it.

As for the album issues, I guess I am having trouble following. Posting an actual example would help us understand better if you think this there is a bug somewhere.

Same with the question about making manual adjusments. It's hard to answer in general terms; manual adjustments are by their nature usually specific to each case where they might happen to be needed (should be relatively unusual).

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

NOT FOUND: Lehrer 2 & 5 exp.mscz NOT FOUND: Lehrer 2 & 5 exp.mscz Lehrer 5 The_Wild_West_lyric exp.mscz Lehrer_2 Be_Prepared melody 1.690.mscz
These are pretty much the same files I sent before, but I modified "Be prepared" to have staff space 1.69mm like "The wild west" and also replaced 0 shrinkages by 0.1 before joining. (0's were transferred as 0 to the joined score, but I thought the reason things looked different might be different interpretations of 0.) Btw, I seemed to have to change the shrinkage one measure at a time. When you select multiple measures but then do something, it only applies to the last one selected. Is there a better way?

I don't know why I am getting the NOT FOUND message. I tried again with the same result after closing it in MuseScore. What to do?

The joined score eliminated a spacer I had put in just to test. I believe it maintains chord horizontal offsets but not trailing space reductions, as in the fifth full measure first chord and the chord before the text. The second barline is misplaced, perhaps because of this. I haven't tested whether small notes have anything to do with the problems or whether they apply to copy and paste as well, as I previously thought. My previous plaint about layout stretch may have stemmed from 0's. My other comments are feature requests rather than bugs, I think.

In reply to by jwpratt

It looks like one spacer was kept, another not. Probably the issue is that the pickup measure needed to be recreated from scratch in the joined score and this lost the spacer. You might want to test further to see if that is indeed the key, and if so, submit an official bug report (eg, "Help / Report a Bug" from within MuseScore).

Not sure what you mean about selecting multiple measures and doing something. If you are referring to Measure Properties, then yes, it works only a measure at a time. But stretch you'd normally do directly from the Layout menu, or using the keybaord shortcuts.

I guess it doesn't surprise me that segment adjsutments might not be preserved because new segments need to get created in the joined score. I am not really understanding why you used them; reducing stretch seems an easier, better, and safer way to squeeze things tighter.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Pirates example of stretch vs reduced trailing space.mscz
In the attached example, if the marked measures are left in their original state, no amount of reducing stretch gets them on one line. However, reducing segment trailing space by 0.2 on the marked notes does the trick. Where I have found reducing stretch useful is empty bars. I don't know if I could accomplish the same thing limiting myself to chord offset, which is preserved in albums, but the various options must be there for a reason and reducing trailing space sounds more like what I want to do.

In reply to by jwpratt

Instead of reducing segment trailing space here and there, your real underlying issue is too big a staff size, too big a font size, or too big a minimum note spacing. Reducing any of these will eliminate the need for these manual adjustments. As it is. the spacing in ypur score looks really awkward. So not only would making a global setting change be far easier, the results would look better It would look considerably better as well.

In fact, it looks lie you have actually turned up the minimum note distance (in Style / General / Measure) way *above* the default - 0.70sp instead of the normal 0.25sp. Simply setting this back to the default fixes it right there. Or, lowering the font size to 10pt instead of 11pt. Or lowering the staff size from 1.5mm to 1.4mm.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

At any given set of sizes, there may come a time when you want to get one more measure in a system. You said earlier, "Easy, just squeeze." I said "No, there are cases when squeezing won't even work, let alone do it satisfactorily." This is such a case. (Quotations very approximate.) The rest of what you say is just an evasion as far as that point is concerned, but raises other interesting points:

Any smaller font size and many people here can't read it. Standard for our program notes is 16-point, though I suspect they are sometimes 14-point. I'd have preferred a larger font size, but then the whole project would become monstrous. So I think we should take the font size as given.

The staff size seemed about right for the font size, and making it smaller would mainly, I believe, lead to more systems on a page, since it is the words that dominate the horizontal lay-out. You wouldn't want more systems on a page. Even I don't.

I chose the minimum note distance because it is also the minimum distance between words, and that choice was the smallest that avoided words getting too close often. Lowering it does turn out to work here, though in the line in question it leaves too little space between words sometimes and some hyphenated words with a bit of space that looks wrong where the hyphen would be. In other lines the results are terrible, so one could certainly not set that up universally. In a way this is quite distressing, because it clearly has potential but I don't see how to realize it. If only there were a way to set a minimum word space separately, and a way to omit hyphens and close up the adjoining syllables as if they were one word. I believe the notes themselves are almost never as close as 0.25 in this kind of material, so the setting is working almost entirely on words, in a way I presume is straightforward, and syllables around hyphens, in a way I definitely don't understand. But even if a good algorithm for word spaces and hyphens were implemented, you will not be surprised to learn that I would occasionally want to squeeze another bar onto a system, and the question how best to do it would remain.

I agree that the spacing is herky-jerky, but it is what the program gives, unedited. I like what I did with staff text much better even though you didn't (words under the appropriate measure but not bound so awkwardly (Ha!) to notes by Lyrics' inflexible rules), but it takes too long. What I sent didn't pretend to be edited, it was just an example. If I had time and it were easy to do, I would spread things around better once I were sure of the layout, but I have found editing scores with lyrics very frustrating. Everything you do has a side-effect, though it may not show in the respaced score. You can't fix bar lines--sometimes they move, sometimes not. You can't move words and associated notes separately. Etc. I've combed your book and the Help forums for information and advice on this with no success.

Your (and others') solution to everything is to create a larger proportion of empty space. Yes, you can make things look nice that way, but there has to be a limit. If I do the whole project this is part of, with present settings, it will be about 85 pages, more than I would prefer. So my questions are always about what can be done with the sizes and general spacing as they are. You also seem to want to solve local problems with changes in global settings. I'm afraid I want to fix the global settings (Album will insist anyway) and then solve remaining local problems locally. If you think my Style (global settings) could be improved, I'd be glad to hear about it, but so far I am not remotely persuaded. When the last system has only, say, two rather empty bars, you will solve the problem by spacing everything earlier more widely, and I do that sometimes, but other times, to get good page breaks, it looks desirable to me to find a way to save a system by contracting something earlier. Here it seems, in the particular system I worked on, I needed to save more than 1.3 sp but 2.6 was enough, though the way things shift even that may not be so. Is there a way to discover that except by trial and error? And is there a foresee-ably better way to do it?

In reply to by jwpratt

Sorry, I'm not trying to be evasive, but it is diffuclt to give complete answers that address every possible use case. Most of the time reducing stretch does all you need. But in this particualr case, because you had increased the minimum note distance so much - something I had no way of knowing you had done until I saw the score - it didn't work. So once I discovered that missing piece of information, I needed to add to my original advice.

I'm not sure what you mean about results looking "terrible" with the default setting. It is a standard in the publishing industry to omit hyphens in cramped situations, and what you are doing *is* creating cramped situations. It is also true that some editors prefer not to omit the hyphnes even in cramped situations, so the next major release of MuseScore will include a way to specify that behavior. But still, as I recall, you were formerly using plain text and no hyphens, so if it was good enough to use that very non-standard layout, I don't understand why you would say using the layout we do by default -again,which fits the standard used by many pub;lishers, and is also consistent with your staff-text-based layout - is "terrible".

Anyhow, the herky-jerky spacing I am alluding to is entirely the result of the manual adjustments you made - particularly the trailing space adjustments, but also the adjustments to the various settings in Style / Genera/ Measure. Once I set those back to the defaults, everything looked *much* better. Yes, it took a little more space, but as I said, reducing overall music size or lyric font size produces *far* better results if you are trying to fit more music on the page. Is there a particular place you feel your adjustment actually improved the layout?

So, you asked for specific advice. As far as I am concerned - and, I have worked professionally as an editor for one of the largest music publishers in the world, so I do have some expertise here - setting all Style settings and trailing spaces back to the defaults instantly improves the layout of your score tremendously.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I'm not up to finding an example with min note distance .25 like the one with min note distance .70 (I think it was .70, not .75 as I said), but I see no reason it shouldn't be as likely. Whether a particular setting is cramping depends on how tight the rest of the system happens to be, and I was obviously interested in a particular case that was already tight. I almost always try reducing stretch first, since it is so easy. I do wish I knew where the space was taken out. And I have certainly found often that it doesn't work, and taking out a bit of trailing space at those notes which seem to have the most to spare seems a reasonable thing to try. Looking at the example, it seems clear to me that reducing trailing space at those notes reduces jerkiness.

The only trailing spaces I adjusted were in the systems (at the moment I'm looking at two) which I was trying to get more into, so that can't have anything to do with the general look. I think the only other thing I changed significantly from the default style is the min note spacing, and that is where we are still in disagreement. As to spaces between words, in your version, I think the first 'summerrain' and 'leaf-ymazes' are run together unacceptably. Elsewhere there are a lot more, for instance 'climbthe' in a couple of places, un-numbereddaisies', etc., but they are irrelevant if the idea is to make the style change you want only in the systems I am trying to fit more into. (Is that possible, though?)

As to hyphens, I would love to get rid of them on occasion, even often, but at the moment the results are highly variable: 'rolling' is fine, 'swollen' the l's are too far apart, 'summer' the m's are too far apart twice, 'threading' and 'mazes' you might get away with but I wouldn't expect an eye as keen as yours to be happy, and again, a lot more similar problems occur elsewhere. I seem to remember seeing correspondence in which the problem of crowded hyphens is acknowledged, so I think for the moment allowing them to be more crowded by lowering the min note distance is not a way I should go.

If I did want to use the default style and enforce word separation and fix bad hyphens, by inserting ctrl spaces and the like, is there a feasible way to do it?

I've said enough about the first part of your last paragraph already. I think it is reasonable to take the space size and font size as fixed. One must fix them somewhere in this kind of project, after all, and I did it after careful thought. With those given, your last suggestion translates to spacing things out more. Of course I do that sometimes, but sometimes I want to avoid it.

As to settings, revert to default is less jerky (by now I'm sorry I ever threw that word into the fan), but yes, I definitely think the two systems in question look better with my trailing-space adjustments than with the faults mentioned in the second paragraph resulting from the default settings. I suspect, in fact, that almost all difference comes from the min note spacing. Which of the following do you really think matter (or are ill-advised)?

PAGE: I reduced music top and bottom margins, but I adjust them as needed.
I reduced staff, system, and grand staff distances because I find it easier to spread staves out with a page break (and spacers when needed) than to make them closer together when the default is too large.
I reduced last system fill threshold to 0. I can't imagine wanting a partially filled system. What I wish there were is a way to set a min for (or equalize) the distance from the lowest line of lyrics to the staff below (when lyrics are below the staff).
Anyway, these have no effect on jerkiness.

SYSTEM: I might have changed something here, but there aren't any brackets or braces anyway.

MEASURE: Min measure width: I used 4 in stead of 5, but it hardly ever occurs with these lyrics. In piano cues or empty measures I want to allow the smaller width in case it should matter.
Spacing: I made 1.0 for similar reasons, though I admit I don't know what the choice does to lyrics. In piano music, for instance, I find I usually want it less than 1.2, but I adjust it (upward starting from 1.0) to even things out between page breaks.
Next 4 look unlikely to come into play with words driving everything away from the barlines anyway.
Min note dist: big problem, discussed above.
clef left margin: made 0 because here I like the look better, but all it does is effectively narrow the left margin by .64.
The rest are unchanged.

In reply to by jwpratt

I am not sure what else to add. I think you are making things unnecessary difficult by choosing a staff and font size that clearly is slightly too big for the amount of music you are trying to squeeze on a line, The results can never look very good or be particularly simple to produce, but if you have a method that produces results you personally find acceptable, I guess stick with it, but you're kind of on your own as far as how to create the particular look you want. As I said, speaking as a professional music editor, I do think your adjustments are counterproductive with respect to standard typesetting conventions. I think best results are obtained by sticking closer to the defaults.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks. We agree to disagree. I still think most of the issues will arise at any staff and font sizes one chooses, though not, perhaps, at tightness 1.20. But please don't forget the bugs that prompted this discussion and emerged during it.

1. Album does not carry adjustments in later components into the joint score as it should.

2. At the default setting min note distance = 0.25, Lyrics can easily put words too close together and produce unsatisfactory hyphenation (non-hyphenation really, when the hyphens disappear but a little extra space remains).

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