Music Font

Music Font – Today I’m at the Music Encoding Conference in Mainz, Germany, giving a presentation about the work I’ve been doing for the past few months on music fonts for our new app. The work has two main components: first, a new proposed standard for how music symbols should be laid out in fonts, which I call the Standard Music Font Layout (SMuFL to its friends, pronounced with a long “u”, so something like “smoofle”) ; and second, a new music font called Bravura. Read more details.

One of the (many) barriers to interoperability between different writing apps is that there is no consensus on how music fonts should be used, beyond a very basic layout, dating back to the introduction of the first music font, Sonata, which was designed nearly 30 years. years ago by Cleo Huggins (@klyeaux) for Adobe.

Music Font

Music Font

The coding for Sonata is intended to be easy to use for people who type… Symbols are usually either visually associated with the associated key or mnemonically associated through the actual letters on the key. Related characters are usually grouped under the same key, and related characters can be accessed using the shift, option, and command keys. For example, the q key corresponds to the quarternoteup glyph, Q (or shift-q) to the quarternotedown character, option-q to the quarternotehead character, and so on. The treble clef is inside the ampersand (&) because it resembles an ampersand. In general, the shift key will flip a character upside down if that makes sense for a particular character, and the option key will select the same notehead as the note. There are many cases where this is not possible or practical, but there is a philosophy in the design that works and allows the user to easily remember the location of most characters in the font.

British Journal Of Music Education

The typefaces that replaced Sonata, such as Petrucci by Steve Peha, the first typeface for Finale, and Opus by Jonathan Finn, the first typeface for Sibelius, were initially very close to the Sonata layout, but diverged fairly quickly as the applications matured. there was no agreement on how the next character maps.

Music Font

As hundreds of new symbols are added to this font family and new families are added, there is no standardization at all. For example, the Opus family currently has hundreds of glyphs spread across 18 different fonts, but hardly overlaps with how many of the same symbols are spread across, say, Maestro or Engraver, two of the most widely used font families. . in the Final.

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In 1998, Perry Roland of the University of Virginia proposed a series of new symbols to be included in the Unicode standard for music symbols, and the range of 220 symbols he proposed was carefully adopted into the standard at code point U+1D100.

Music Font

Introducing Bravura, The New Music Font

Unfortunately, while this range is a good start, it has yet to catch on (so far the only commercial font using the Unicode Music Symbol series is the OpenType version of Sonata) and is by no means broad enough to represent. all symbols used in conventional musical notation.

This is the problem I set out to solve with Standard Music Font Layout, or SMuFL: map all the symbols used in conventional music notation into a single Unicode range; to allow easy extensibility in case new symbols are invented or omitted; provide a framework for the development of new musical fonts; and develop a community around the standard so that the wisdom of experts in various fields of music can be tapped.

Music Font

Developing a standard like SMuFL is of course all well and good, but for it to be real and useful there needs to be a music font that reflects the standard: enter Bravura.

Font Bottons Music

The picture above is the Bravura in action: it’s the first two bars of Fibich’s Mood (Op. 41, No. 139). Click on the image to view a larger version or download a PDF of all pages. (The music takes place in Sibelius, not our new app, by the way.)

Music Font

The word “Bravura” comes from the Italian word for “bold” and of course also has meaning in music, referring to a virtuosic passage or performance; both of these associations are quite suitable for fonts. In keeping with our desire to bring out the best in pre-computer music engraving, Bravura is a bit bolder than many other musical fonts, as this treble clef (G) comparison shows:

The Bravura key is the rightmost key in the above example. It has a very classic look, similar to Opus, Sonata and Maestro, but more important than all of them. (Emmental, the most stylish of the above clefs, is the font used by Lilypond and MuseScore.)

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Music Font

Music Magic Font Download

Again, Bravura is the truest example. The notehead is nice and oval, although not as wide as the Opus (an exceptionally wide notehead), and relatively large in relation to the size of the space, which helps readability. The thickness of the stem is also the boldest on the Bravura, even if it’s just a pre-composed font note; if the music font is used in most printing applications, the thickness of the stem can be adjusted by the user.

That symbol on the far right, by the way, is the percussion pictogram for a block of sandpaper. The small, bold number immediately to the left is for shaped basses.

Music Font

You’ll notice that there are sharp corners in one of the glyphs. It mimics the look of traditional printed music, where the ink fills in slightly around the edges of the symbol.

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All base glyphs are modeled after the Not-a-set dry transfer system as mentioned in the previous post. The original was scanned, examined at high magnification and then actually hand-drawn using Adobe Illustrator. I shared the resulting designs with several carving experts who gave me invaluable feedback on details big and small, and many symbols went through many revisions.

Music Font

The result of many hundreds of hours of work, I hope you will agree that Bravura gives a very subtle, classic look. There is still a lot of work to do, as our application itself is not yet at an advanced enough stage of development to use all the glyphs in the font, and details such as ligatures and style alternatives need to be considered. But now we provide Bravura to support efforts to continue the development of SMUFL.

Even better, Steinberg makes Bravura available under the SIL Open Font License. This means that Bravura is free to download and you can use it for any purpose, including combining it with other software, embedding it in a document, or even using it as the basis for your own font. The only restrictions on its use are: it cannot be sold separately; no derivative font may be called “Bravura” or contain “Bravura” in its title; and all derivative fonts must be released under the same license as Bravura itself.

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Music Font

Sarah Mclachlan School Of Music

If you’re using Finale or Sibelius and want to use Bravura for your own score, unfortunately you can’t use raw fonts because Finale or Sibelius (yet?) support SMuFL, and there are technical limitations to accessing Unicode fonts or characters. the code point where they are located.

However, if you want to download and try Bravura, you can do so from the SMUFL website.

Music Font

If you are a font designer and want to contribute to improving or modifying the glyphs included in Bravura, we are certainly willing to include them: drop me a line with the details. There are new (old) music fonts that can be used. in Sibelius. It’s called Lelandia and it’s available now on Notation Central. Moved from Leland, which is the default music font used in newer versions of MuseScore. Leland was inspired by the look of the SCORE engraving program created by Leland Smith.

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If you took a close look at yesterday’s Sibelius 2023.5 review, you may have noticed that we used it for all the music samples in the article.

Music Font

Before we explore Lelandia, let’s take a look back at the history of one of our favorite Writing Notes topics: musical writing.

Sibelius users are no doubt familiar with their standard Opus music font – even if they don’t. They may also be familiar with Helsinki, another of Sibelius’s standard musical fonts, which made its way into more than just his new house style.

Music Font

Introducing Lelandia, A New Suite Of Music Fonts For Sibelius

But nice people play with the scriptures. Almost 10 years ago, Daniel Spreadbury – still in his first year at Steinberg – wanted to create a new font, called Bravura, for his then-unnamed printing program (Dorico wasn’t released until 2016). He also created a new font standard, the Standard Music Font Layout, known as SmuFL, which was implemented in Dorico, and later Finale and MuseScore, among other programs.

Sibelius, but like the Finale before it

Music Font

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