4.4.5 Vertical collision avoidance

Intuitively, there are some objects in musical notation that belong to the staff and there are other objects that should be placed outside the staff. Objects belonging outside the staff include things such as rehearsal marks, text and dynamic markings (from now on, these will be called outside-staff objects). LilyPond’s rule for the vertical placement of outside-staff objects is to place them as close to the staff as possible but not so close that they collide with another object.

LilyPond uses the outside-staff-priority property to determine whether a grob is an outside-staff object: if outside-staff-priority is a number, the grob is an outside-staff object. In addition, outside-staff-priority tells LilyPond in which order the objects should be placed.

First, LilyPond places all the objects that do not belong outside the staff. Then it sorts the outside-staff objects according to their outside-staff-priority (in increasing order). One by one, LilyPond takes the outside-staff objects and places them so that they do not collide with any objects that have already been placed. That is, if two outside-staff grobs are competing for the same space, the one with the lower outside-staff-priority will be placed closer to the staff.

c4_"Text"\pp
r2.
\once \override TextScript #'outside-staff-priority = #1
c4_"Text"\pp % this time the text will be closer to the staff
r2.
% by setting outside-staff-priority to a non-number,
% we disable the automatic collision avoidance
\once \override TextScript #'outside-staff-priority = ##f
\once \override DynamicLineSpanner #'outside-staff-priority = ##f
c4_"Text"\pp % now they will collide

[image of music]

The vertical padding between an outside-staff object and the previously-positioned grobs can be controlled with outside-staff-padding.

\once \override TextScript #'outside-staff-padding = #0
a'^"This text is placed very close to the note"
\once \override TextScript #'outside-staff-padding = #3
c^"This text is padded away from the previous text"
c^"This text is placed close to the previous text"

[image of music]

By default, outside-staff objects are placed only to avoid a horizontal collision with previously-positioned grobs. This can lead to situations in which objects are placed very close to each other horizontally. The vertical spacing between staffs can also be set so that outside staff objects are interleaved. Setting outside-staff-horizontal-padding causes an object to be offset vertically so that such a situation doesn’t occur.

% the markup is too close to the following note
c4^"Text"
c4
c''2
% setting outside-staff-horizontal-padding fixes this
R1
\once \override TextScript #'outside-staff-horizontal-padding = #1
c,,4^"Text"
c4
c''2

[image of music]

See also

Snippets: Spacing.


Other languages: espaƱol.

Notation Reference