4. Spacing issues

The global paper layout is determined by three factors: the page layout, the line breaks, and the spacing. These all influence each other. The choice of spacing determines how densely each system of music is set. This influences where line breaks are chosen, and thus ultimately, how many pages a piece of music takes.

Globally speaking, this procedure happens in four steps: first, flexible distances (‘springs’) are chosen, based on durations. All possible line breaking combinations are tried, and a ‘badness’ score is calculated for each. Then the height of each possible system is estimated. Finally, a page breaking and line breaking combination is chosen so that neither the horizontal nor the vertical spacing is too cramped or stretched.

Two types of blocks can contain layout settings: \paper {…} and \layout {…}. The \paper block contains page layout settings that are expected to be the same for all scores in a book or bookpart, such as the paper height, or whether to print page numbers, etc. See Page layout. The \layout block contains score layout settings, such as the number of systems to use, or the space between staff-groups, etc. See Score layout.

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