Re: Forcing a certain number of measures to stay on a single system
Reply #5 –
Not sure how much this will help, but I'm guessing you know how to force a system break?
a) highlight a barline and open its properties dialogue <Alt+Enter> and check the Force System Break box, OR
b) insert a Boundary change <]> and hit the "Force a new system" radio button.
Either way will enable you to define when a system (range) starts and stops. Force a new system BEFORE you want to start the specified section, and the same at the end of the section.
If you turn off "Increase spacing for longer notes" NWC will evenly space notes along the staff and provided it will fit within the boundaries you've set you will have a single staff with everything in it. Personally I prefer to have longer notes take more space, it makes playing it easier as there is a subliminal hint to how long to play the notes, so I usually never use this option.
However, you may find the result not especially pleasing (vis note spacing results) so then, within the section, you can use just enough spacers in strategic locations to make it more aesthetically acceptable.
Also note, even with "Increase Spacing" turned off it may still not fit, in which case using spacers to reduce distances becomes necessary. I prefer to make the spacers as long as possible while still remaining within the single staff.
One technique I often use is to add a single, or maybe 2, spacer(s) at the start of bars I want to shorten. This, in conjunction with "Increase Spacing" turned ON still allows you to reduce whitespace without compromising playability. If that isn't enough I look for bars with semibreves (whole notes) and add several spacers (often 6 to 10) after the note. This shortens the bar without making it too short. In these cases I may very well delete the single spacer from before the note if I've previously put one there. If I still need to recover space I do a similar thing for minims (half notes), and so on until it fits the way I want.
Be aware that it may also be necessary rethink your approach - if you squeeze too many notes/bars into a single staff it can become unreadable, especially at speed.
N.B. if your primary goal is to stop a tie from wrapping to the next system, then don't bother. It's often not worth the effort and any average reader can cope with a wrapped tie.
Another thing to try is to reduce the "Staff Metrics" in the Page Setup dialogue | Fonts (tab). If you make the system font smaller you can fit more in, but you still run up against the possibility of making things too small or close together. I prefer to not let the printed staff height get below 6mm if possible (Staff Metric of 18 on my printer using A4 paper). Most often I will use a Staff Metric of 20, though there's really not much in it.
I admit I often try to keep my parts to a single, or at most 2 pages where possible. BUT this is not a reasonable thing to do at the expense of readability.
I've read on the Sibelius web site that 7mm is a preferred minimum for parts and 4.5mm for conductors scores. If you are preparing parts for string players I believe they prefer larger staves than brass players (I play brass). I imagine reed players may be like string players as they both often have much busier parts than brass players. The string players also often sit further away from the music stand than others, especially double bass (and maybe 'cello?). They will benefit from larger staves, maybe 8mm.
Ultimately its about your readers. If it's just for you then you know what you're happy with. If it's for others, be generous with size and if it results in additional page(s) then work hard to make page turns as easy as possible. At least 2 bars rest at medium tempo, more is always better. If the rest ends up on the next page then an indication under the staff that there's time to turn the page is very helpful. I generally use one of my *Dings fonts to place text indicating a rest, including how long it is, is over the page. This is especially necessary for players who can't play and turn a page at the same time (strings, reeds, trombones... actually most of us now I think about it. About the only exception I can think of is maybe brass players on valved instruments)
Boy, this turned into a real treatise didn't it? Sorry about that. I hope I haven't been trying to "teach grandma how to suck eggs".