Does Musescore 4 leave much more space between staves than MS3?

• Nov 16, 2022 - 19:03

I'm in very early stages of trying Musescore 4.

I took a five part SMATB score that was saved in MS3.
When I opened it in MS4, I was only getting one system per page instead of two, with a lot of white space.
Attached PDF shows the difference.

I had assumed maybe I needed to tweak a Style setting in MS4.
But Style|Page and Style |Lyrics settings seem to be identical in MS3 and MS4.

I'm on version Revision 2c34155 on Windows 11.

Any advice on whether I'm doing something wrong, or whether I should report this in Github?

Many thanks.

Attachment Size
Musescore 4 page layout 2022-11-16.pdf 1.07 MB


MuseScore 3 had some bugs where certain settings relating to vertical spacing were ignored. So it's possible your score had changed those settings and they weren't working, but now they are. Also, there are changes to the handle of headers and footers that could be relevant here. Impossible to tell from just a picture, but if you attach your score itself, we can understand and assist better.

My guess, though, is that you have cause and effect backwards here. I think what changed is something about the calculation of how many systems can fit on the page. In MU3, the calculation was resulting in two systems on the page, so the MuseScore kept the spacing tight. In MU4, for whatever reason, only one system fits, and as a 7result of that not the *cause of that), MuseScore is spreading the staves out to fill the page better. Probably MuseScore 3 would have done the same had you forced only a single system via a break.

Many thanks for the advice so far.
Here's the MSCZ file as saved by Musescore 3.

In MS3, I had done some manual compression of the staves horizontally, trying to get 2 systems per page and 4 bars per system. But MS4 seems to have over-ridden that.

I had not done any vertical compression to get two systems per page in MS3. And regardless of how MS4 is calculating it now, it seems to me to wasting a lot of white space and doubling my page count unnecessarily.

In reply to by DamnMachine

Here's what I've tried changing in Style | Page

  • Disable vertical justification of staves. This closes up the white space between staves, but not so much that I can get two systems on a page. See picture.
  • Music top margin - reduced to 0.0 sp - no change
  • Music bottom margin - reduced to 0.0 sp - no change
  • Stave distance - reduced to 0.5 sp - no change
  • Min. system distance - reduced to 0.5 sp - no change
  • Great stave distance - reduced to 0.5 sp - no change
  • Vertical frame top margin - reduced to 0.5 sp - no change
  • Vertical frame bottom margin - reduced to 0.5 sp - no change

With vertical justification of staves enabled (the default in MS3 and MS4), I changed all the settings I could find but didn't get my second system back.

Attachment Size
Screenshot 2022-11-16 214007.jpg 238.98 KB

In reply to by DamnMachine

Again, you have cause and effect backwards. It's not that the extra space vertical justification allows is causing the system to not fit. it's the other way around - the fact that the system doesn't fit is the reason vertical justification is then able to spread staves out more.

But the question remains, why don't the systems fit when the settings are the same. One thing that is not the same for me at least is that if I load into MU3, the page size is A4, but when I load the same score into MU4, the page size is Letter, and the margins are a bit different. And as soon as I change the page settings to match, everything fits, no other changes needed. But that doesn't explain why the same file loads with different page settings. I assume you did mean to save it with A4 size? That would explain why the page size isn't recorded in the score, since that's the default, but not why it doesn't load correctly. Are you seeing the same?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

You are aboslutely right.
The score is set to A4 in MS3, but when I open it in MS4 it has become Letter.
If I change the score in MS4 to be A4 again, I get two systems per page in the same way that I used to.

It was deliberate that I have chosen A4. That's the paper size that I use, and the default that my printers are set to in Windows.

I didn't follow why you said that the page size isn't recorded in the score.
In MS3, if I change the page size to letter and save it, then when I re-open the file it uses Letter.
So it is storing the page size somewhere.
Is MS4 using Letter as default, regardless of how the file was saved in MS3 or the local printer defaults?

Many thanks for your insightful and rapid help with this issue.
It was a blocker to me adopting MS4. Now I feel I can explore further with it.

In reply to by DamnMachine

For some files, the page size is carried forward from MS3 to MS4.

I created the attached score from new in MS3, and set the page size to A5 in Format | Page Settings.
When I opened it in MS4, it was still set to A5.

But with the first score that I posted above, A4 was somehow converted to Letter when I opened it in MS4.

Attachment Size
Page Size Test.mscz 14.79 KB

In reply to by DamnMachine

Further update.
I took the problematic score, opened it in MS3, changed page size to A3, then saved and closed.
I re-opened it in MS3, changed the page size to A4, then saved again. See attached.
I opened it in MS4 and the page size had been retained as A4.

So somehow, by forcing the page size change in MS3 and going through a save cycle, I was able to get the page size saved somewhere where MS4 could see it.

In reply to by DamnMachine

A4 is the normally the default. In MU3, only settings that you have changed from the default get written into the score in most cases. Any settings that you leave at the default don't get written at all; MuseScore just assumes that will still be the default next time you open the score also, so it doesn't bother writing anything. That much is normal. What's not normal is that for some reason, even though the default in MU4 is still A4, for some reason, it's getting confused and reading the score as Letter. I think perhaps that might be a problem specific to importing older scores? We'll need to investigate this further.

I think probably what happened in changing the page size to A3 and back to A4 is that there was some small rounding error and your page size was no longer exactly the same as it started (off by some tiny fraction of a millimeter), and that's why the size got written to the file and thus honored in MU4. So, a kind of lucky fluke.

BTW, I say A4 is the default, and it is, but actually, when you start MU3, it checks your default print to find its default paper size, and if it finds something other than A$, it uses that instead. But, A4 is still the default internally in terms of deciding when to save the page size information to the file. So even on systems where Letter is the "effective" default, it still gets saved, because it's not the "true" default.

In MU4, this business of checking your printer is gone, and we're looking at replacing it with something else. But also, it currently always writes settings to the score whether they differ from the default or not.

In reply to by DamnMachine

Thanks, but I just filed it myself see

And indeed, I was able to determine it's a problem specifically with imports from MuseScore 3, and found which lines of code are responsible. So I anticipate it will be fixed soon enough. Meanwhile, it should completely work to just change page size to A4 manually when importing scores.

Note that in general, it is still possible that from time to time, differences in the layout algorithms will mean pages that used to fit two systems will now only fit one, or vice versa. Your spacing on that score was right on the edge. In some cases at least, you might consider a slightly smaller staff size, which is fine for choral music since it's normally read at no more than arm's length. The result will be generally more space to go around and a less crowded look, and the bonus will be, less danger of some change in the algorithm adversely affecting your layout. But to be clear, this particular isn't wasn't any sort of deliberate change - just a bug.

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