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Printing music compactly

From: David Sumbler
Subject: Printing music compactly
Date: Sun, 16 May 2010 12:12:25 +0100

I need to get the whole of a piece (originally 5 pages) onto 1 or 2
sheets of A4.  It doesn't matter how small the print is - at the same
time, I don't want to waste space.

I have got a usable result, but it isn't quite what I was hoping for:
ny .ly file produces 4 pages, so by printing from Document Viewer at 4
pages per sheet, I can get the whole piece on to a single sheet of A4!
I can certainly use this, if I can't come up with anything better.

What I would really like to do, though, is to get the whole piece on to
2 pages of A4 (portrait layout), with staves running right across each
page as normal, and without too much blank space between staves, so that
the print size can be as large as possible.

I have tried various ways to achieve this.  Firstly I tried
#(set-global-staff-size 15), and progressively smaller values, but this
was not at all successful: at smaller sizes it just gave spindly and
illegible notation with lots of wasted space.

Then I hit on the idea of increasing the paper size, e.g. with
'#(set-default-paper-size "a2")': I though this would work, and I could
scale the results down on to A4.  But again I find that there is an
enormous amount of wasted space.  A2 has 4 times the area of A4, so I
expected a piece which uses just over 3½ pages of A4 to fit on to two
pages of A3 or one page of A4.  But with the A2 size, it still extends
on to a third page.  Page 1 has 8 staves with a lot of wasted space,
Page 2 has 12 staves more closely packed (though still with some wasted
space), and page 3 has 3 fairly closely spaced staves.

I have tried '\paper { annotate-spacing = ##t }', and obviously from the
results I should, eventually, be able to sort out what I need to do.
The trouble is, I need the finished item fairly urgently.

So, can anybody give me a quick hack to get music which is proportioned
normally (as regards the ratios between staves, note-heads, text etc.
etc.), and which has little or no wasted space between staves?  The
default vertical spacings in Lilypond do seem to be rather bizarre.


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