Horizontal visual placement of note heads

• May 30, 2022 - 15:57

This is in 12/8, and I don't like the horizontal placement of the note heads:

The feel is four beats per bar, but the note heads are closer to the rest they don't belong to, than to the rest that they do belong to. I think this makes reading much harder.

I would like to physically group the elements by beat (not adding beams).

Just to be clear: I don't want to displace notes in time. The music is correct, it's just the print that I want to improve.

Is there a way to fix that, short of manually modifying "Horizontal offset" in the Inspector?


Those notes in the first bar should sound closer to "the rest they don't belong to" and that is why they are placed where they are, to aid reading. The space between notes and rests are larger or smaller to reflect their relative durations. The duration of the second rest is two quavers (eighth notes) which is longer than the duration of the following quarter note. Therefore there is a bigger space after the rest than after the note. If you put that quaver closer to the rest it would look like it is sounded "just after" the start of the rest rather than "just before" the start of the following rest.

In reply to by g.ostervall

The relationship between spacing and duration is usually roughly logarithmic. There has been a lot of discussion about note spacing and a revised algorithm has been implemented in MS 4 (after some very detailed and painstaking work by Michele Spagnolo). See here for more details. https://musescore.org/en/node/326965 and look at the attached pdf and particularly the section headed "The fascinating math behind music spacing"

[Edit] In fact, I misremembered. MuseScore currently uses a logarithmic relationship between spacing and duration. However, I understand that the revised algorithm, which much better represents common engraving practice, uses a relationship based on the square root of the duration as explained in that pdf.

In reply to by SteveBlower

Fascinating indeed! I skimmed through the pdf, a thing that surprises me is that accidentals, slurs, n-uplets brackets, glissandi, appoggiatures, rests vs notes, ... All that stuff would influence too, I guess?

It'd be interesting to see how the square root based spacing would handle these 12/8 bars I posted!

As mentioned, the rules for spacing are complex, but the results shown above are basically correct matehamtically and are more or less how any professional engraver would do it. On the other hand, they probably would not have measures be so crowded to begin with - they'd be more likely to add system breaks to allow measures to widen naturally.

If you really need to keep the measures that narrow, I could see subjectively wanting to make a slight adjustment here or there, although I'd question whether it's worth the effort. I'd do it by leading space adjustments as opposed to X offsets, to make sure the notes on this staff continue to line up with other staves

For MuseScore 4, the algorithm has been tweaked somewhat to be even more mathematically correct according to traditional engraving, but also, the defaults wouldn't produce such tightly spaces measures to begin with. So you should see it as an improvement overall.

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