Remaining spacing problems

• Mar 22, 2020 - 22:51

I'm mostly pleased by the progress in spacing and collision avoidance. Although you probably know about most of these, it might be worth pointing out some of the remaining problems. The attached score shows some of the most frequent problems that I encounter.

  1. Ornaments are printed quite high over the staff or note head. As at end of measure 2, this can be wasteful of vertical space. It can result in confusion between staffs, as in measures 1 and 4. In the second beat of measure 2, the staccato mark needlessly raises the ornament even higher.

Lilypond, Musescore 2, and all the old scores that I looked at place the ornaments much lower. In my opinion, a lower placement would be more readable.

  1. Consistent collisions between ornaments and bowing marks.

  2. The relative placement of ornaments and bowing marks varies by sequence of entering, as in the second beat of the last measure.

  3. Inconsistent placement of ornaments relative to slurs, as in measures 3 and 5. In measure 5 the placement of trills is bizarre.

Attachment Size
Format Test 3--collisions.mscz 11.02 KB


FWIW some default distance can be controlled via Format / Style. I consider 3) a feature, it was intended that ay anyhow. Same for text, position depends on order of entry. Regarding 4), although it sometimes results in strange results, it's actually pretty "by the book". The ornament is supposed to go outside the slur at the end point, but it can go inside within the slur if there is room. Sometimes it does indeed look weird.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks for the reply. I figured the default spacing could probably be controlled. I just think it would be a lot better for Musescore if it gave better results without customization. On the bright side, problems like this force users to study the extensive controls.

A feature. I suppose.

I think the book must allow ornaments under the slur toward the middle of the slur, but I doubt that it was intended to move the ornaments as dramatically as this. For what it's worth, Lilypond doesn't do that, and it looks fine.

In reply to by RexC

OK, I made some adjustments, and also opened a can of worms.

Adjustment of the style helps a lot. The settings are a compromise, but I had pretty good results with
Notehead distance 0.00sp
Stem distance 0.80sp
Articulation distance 0.70sp

The two examples show the default style and with the adjusted style. The difference is the position of the ornaments. The nondefault style gives results that are closer to hand-engraved scores I have, Musescore 2, and to Lilypond. You might consider changing these defaults.

Notice the last note in measure 4. The trill is too far from the note head, and is actually closer to the note above it. That's one reason I think the ornaments are too high by default. The problem occurs to a lesser extent without the up-bow mark. This kind of thing is especially a nuisance since it depends heavily on layout, and could occur in a large score without being noticed.

The bowing marks almost always collide with other symbols. Fortunately, they are not usually used all that much. In view of the previous work that was done on collision avoidance, his seems like it might be a straightforward fix.

Measure 5 has one of the trills adjusted so it fits better with the slurs. Fortunately this doesn't happen often.

I was trying to figure out what the Articulations and Ornaments style settings do. I didn't find any documentation, and the actions seem quite confusing. (I think my problems are mostly solved, but this might be helpful for others.)

The Notehead Distance setting affects the distance between the notehead and ornaments and between the notehead and some articulations (e.g., bowing marks, but not staccato marks). It seems to work only when the symbol is closer to the notehead than to the staff. The effect is uneven. It does not affect the position of the stacatto symbol (that's good); it affects the position of the martelé (') only if the value of the setting is unrealistically high (that's weird). The actual distances vary, depending on whether the ornament is above or below the note (compare the third notes in measures 1 and 2 -- in my nondefault style this is an insignificant problem).

The Stem Distance setting affects the distance of ornaments (and some articulations?) to the staff. It works when the symbol is closer to the staff than to the notehead.

The Articulation Distance setting affects ornament and articulation positions differently. I don't know what it is for, but I got the best results by reducing it slightly.

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