Music spacing

Noteman says: This topic only applies to the horizontal notation spacing. For information regarding vertical spacing between staves and systems, see Staves and Page layout.

Music spacing is automatically applied when you enter music into Finale. However, if you decide to turn off Automatic Music Spacing, the spacing is linear; in other words, a whole note gets exactly the same horizontal space as four quarter notes. Furthermore, this newly-entered music may contain collisions between lyric syllables, overlapping chord symbols, and crowded 32nd notes.

One of Finale’s most important features—and one not found in any other notation program—is its many customizable music spacing options. Finale can apply a sophisticated system of width allotments to each note of your document or scale all note durations proportionally. This feature is modeled on traditional professional music typesetting, where the engraver would consult a table of width measurements for each note value. The result is nonlinear spacing, where notes of different duration occupy only as much space as they need. Music Spacing Options have the added benefit of neatly adding additional space to each measure, as necessary, to accommodate lyrics, chord symbols, and notationally dense passages.

In Finale, the width tables used to space the music are stored in Music Spacing Libraries. Spacing tables are width measurements, one per rhythmic value. For example, in the library called Loose Spacing, a quarter note is given 1/3 inch of width and an eighth note is given 1/4 inch. By spacing your music with the aid of a Music Spacing Library, you can create extremely professional-looking scores, which are neither wider nor narrower than they need to be. See Finale Libraries for more Music Spacing Libraries.

You apply a music spacing to your music using the Music Spacing command or you can use the default Automatic Music Spacing option that applies music spacing as you enter notes or edit your music.

Spacing Behavior Results
Beat Spacing Each beat is spaced non-linearly first, then spaced within the beat linearly.
Note Spacing Each note is spaced non-linearly.
Time Signature Spacing Each note is spaced linearly.

You can edit Finale’s Music Spacing libraries so that they distribute width differently, and you can also create your own Music Spacing Libraries. Aside from the tables, you can use a scaling factor to smoothly set the relationship between the different note durations in your document:

Scaling factor Results (Time Signature Spacing)
1.618 (Fibonacci)

For information regarding the relationship between music spacing the score and linked parts, see Music Spacing in linked parts.

See also:

To specify minimum or maximum measure widths