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Proper Understanding of Y-extent sought

From: Frank Steinmetzger
Subject: Proper Understanding of Y-extent sought
Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2012 15:14:04 +0200
User-agent: Mutt 1.5.21 (2010-09-15, Gentoo 1.5.21-r1)

Dear list

Preface (go down for actual question):
I am still struggling with moving my dynamics around.  I want to get rid of
all those extra-offsets, after you told me that it’s the wrong approach.  So I
dug into the docs and lsr again, and found out about setting Y-extent so that
lilypond thinks that the dynamic mark takes up no vertical space.

However, that’s overshooting the target.  All I’m trying to achieve is to move
the mark around and then let lilypond do the layouting again.  The goal is to
minimise the staff’s extent by putting dynamic marks next to its note, so they
don’t push out the lyrics so much.

Actual question:
So instead of hoping to find a snippet on the interwebs for each single case
and playing with the numbers without knowing why they behave as they do, I
would like to understand what they actually mean.  All the IR says about
Y-extent is "hardcoded extent in Y direction".

So what exactly do those two numbers denote?
Is it minimum/maximum?  Extent below/above baseline?  Offset/size?

A real life example of my current work:
Just by coincidence I found the ideal figures for the attached snippet (the
forte mark under the \tempo text), but only through poking in the dark.  Now
that I’ve found them and trying numbers just slightly off, I’m still puzzled.

As always, I appreciate your insight. :-)

PS.: Is it correct that the stems of Elias’s tied halves are so long?
Gruß | Greetings | Qapla'
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