Fixed Measure Widths

• Nov 25, 2020 - 08:05
S5 - Suggestion

Feature request (which existed in MuseScore version 1) which is very useful for jazz musicians:

Selecting a group of measures (or a whole score) and setting fixed measure size.


Frequency Many

That request had come up time and time again
It got removed between MuseScore 1 and 2 because of it's very bad effects on layout.
So reimplementing it would need to make sure to prevent those from happening again

Some of the bad effects were seen if you had a lot of sixteenths etc - you could have notes running into the margins - but also, the handling of the initial clef etc made the first measure too crowded, plus it was inflexible - all or nothing. We definitely want to provide some sort of replacement for that, but hopefully one that works better and is more flexible.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Title Fixed Measure widths Fixed Measure Widths

There were 2 features bundled together in 1.3: Fixed Measure Widths together with Measures/line.
It is the second feature which is more important to me. I have written the plugin below to achieve the second but there is a strange bug which doesn't allow flexibility: from the onRun event the function works fine with a fixed parameter for the number of measures/line but from a dialog window with a variable number the function appears not to work. However when opening and closing the plugin window the newlines suddenly appear.

Currently working on expanding the function for a selected area as well so as to avoid problems like pickup (anacrusis)

Attachment Size
break.qml 2.16 KB
Reported version 3.5  

That 2nd feature is in available via Format > Add/Remove systerm breaks, no plugin needed.
It does not force that amount of measures into one system though (and neither does your plugin), it makes only sure that no more than the set amount are in a single system, it could be less though, depending on content, stretch, page- and border width, etc.
It is is exactly that 2nd 'feature' from 1.x that really needed to get removed, as it resulted in bad layout if those measures were just too wide.

What we're still missing since then is the 1st part, the fixed measure width, and that's what this issue is about.

Status active closed
Workaround No Yes

Actually, in 4.0 there is now a setting that has the desired effect - giving you equal measures widths within a system in most cases, but never forcing more to fit into a measure than actually can without collisions (which was the downfall of MuseScore 1). To get this, go to Format / Style / Measure and set "Spacing ratio" to 2.0. What you are really doing is saying is affecting the spacing between notes, so half notes get twice the space of quarter notes instead of the normal 1.5, but the side effect of this is, each measure does normally end up taking the same amount of space - 16 times the amount of space as a sixteenth note in 4/4, for example.

Screenshot 2023-01-24 6.42.39 AM.png

It is still possible for some measures to take more than this if there are a lot of lyrics or other elements that can require additional horizontal space, but there won't be outright collisions as there were in MuseScore 1. This is exactly the sort of choice fakebook editors would need to make in real life as well (and for the record, I worked as an editor on the most popular jazz facebook series in the world).

So I would say for practical real-world purposes, the issue is solved, and in any event, further discussion of what additional capabilities might be desired (if any) is better suited for the forum.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks very much. Perfect.

It would be helpful to have a common TASKS/WORKFLOWS option in the HELP menu.
Explaining functions is not always helpful when there is a need to go through a series of steps to accomplish a task.

As to jazz books. I have copied large sections of the the RealBook into musescore together with many transcriptions of famous performances. Because of copyright issues I cannot make these publicly available. I have created an index of the RealBook at for links into jazz melodies on the museScoire website synchronized to a link to performances on youtube.