Finale Slur Settings

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OCTO
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Re: Finale Slur Settings

Post by OCTO » 29 Feb 2016, 16:22

This one is Breitkopf & H., also Chopin, first page.
Left side bold:
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Left side bold:
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Left side bold:
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Left side bold:
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Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 17.19.16.png (15.94 KiB) Viewed 4948 times
Left side bold:
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Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 17.19.05.png (40.1 KiB) Viewed 4948 times
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John Ruggero
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Re: Finale Slur Settings

Post by John Ruggero » 29 Feb 2016, 16:46

Yes, the slurs vary a lot in those examples, OCTO. so that a Finale setting placing emphasis on the left side would also not be accurate because it is also too uniform.

Actually, in my Henle editions and several others I looked at, the slurs are much more uniform than in these examples. To me, the intention of the hand engraver is for a symmetrical slur in terms of thickness, as can be seen by comparing slurs over repeated material. They don't always achieve this and that creates a very human appearance. Whether this is really appropriate for computer engraving is a matter of philosophy; and this is certainly an important thing for us to discuss.
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OCTO
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Re: Finale Slur Settings

Post by OCTO » 29 Feb 2016, 17:33

John Ruggero wrote:Yes, the slurs vary a lot in those examples, OCTO. so that a Finale setting placing emphasis on the left side would also not be accurate because it is also too uniform.
That is completely true.
That is why we need another software that would be more flexible...
John Ruggero wrote:Actually, in my Henle editions and several others I looked at, the slurs are much more uniform than in these examples. To me, the intention of the hand engraver is for a symmetrical slur in terms of thickness, as can be seen by comparing slurs over repeated material. They don't always achieve this and that creates a very human appearance. Whether this is really appropriate for computer engraving is a matter of philosophy; and this is certainly an important thing for us to discuss.
Yes, manual vs digital precision would be a very interesting topic!
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Knut
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Re: Finale Slur Settings

Post by Knut » 29 Feb 2016, 22:36

John Ruggero wrote:Yes, the slurs vary a lot in those examples, OCTO. so that a Finale setting placing emphasis on the left side would also not be accurate because it is also too uniform.

Actually, in my Henle editions and several others I looked at, the slurs are much more uniform than in these examples. To me, the intention of the hand engraver is for a symmetrical slur in terms of thickness, as can be seen by comparing slurs over repeated material. They don't always achieve this and that creates a very human appearance. Whether this is really appropriate for computer engraving is a matter of philosophy; and this is certainly an important thing for us to discuss.
I completely agree!

I guess I've made my own stance on this pretty clear already, but just to elaborate a bit:

At least with current scoring applications, there is no way to add 'the human touch' to every element. This is especially true with the primitives used to produce staff lines, barlines, beams etc., but is also evident in that most applications use fonts (i.e., one single representation of each available symbol) to render it's notational output. In a manually set score, not even the text is without this human element, while digital text fonts basically function in exactly the same way as music fonts.

The numerous variations found in a plate engraved or hand written score are are nor necessarily helpful from a legibility standpoint. Some font designers have chosen to incorporate the imperfect look of printed plate engraving, utilizing round corners, 'inky' intersections and deliberate character faults, to make the computer engraved score seem more humanized. Going overboard with this is a bit like setting your music with 'handwriting' style fonts, which, to me, seems like a gimmick, and serves no purpose with regard to readability or clarity.

Personally I try to work with the constraints set by the computer and the software rather than against them, and I therefore prefer fonts and settings that give a subtle warmth to the page without being too nostalgic or overemphesizing certain 'quirks' of the past.

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John Ruggero
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Re: Finale Slur Settings

Post by John Ruggero » 01 Mar 2016, 17:25

Thank you, Knut! That was a great exposition of your engraving philosophy; and one that I am definitely in tune with. For example, your computer engraving does not appear cold to me; but Henle's hand engraving does. So even though you do not agree with my impression of Henle, something is going on with the most basic elements of engraving that is producing a different effect for me.

Without hearing from the other side of this issue, it seems to me that there are two main philosophies of computer engraving now at work. Put in pianisitic terms:

1. those of the Mozart-Chopin school who want a piano to sound like a piano.
2. those of the Beethoven-Liszt school who want a piano to sound like an orchestra.

At present computers can give us a control undreamt of by hand engravers for many elements, but not for all. Some engravers inject personality into their work to their own satisfaction by means of tools now available; some feel that they must use extraordinary means to do so.

There is a third school that creates exact replicas of old scores and who are even more demanding. And finally those who want the ability to do actual hand work on a computer; for example, the ability to apply pressure to a slur to change its thickness on an individual basis. Perhaps software will advance to the point where this becomes a reality.
Last edited by John Ruggero on 01 Mar 2016, 19:27, edited 1 time in total.
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Knut
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Re: Finale Slur Settings

Post by Knut » 01 Mar 2016, 17:45

John Ruggero wrote:Thank you, Knut! That was a great exposition of your engraving philosophy; and one that I am definitely in tune with. For example, your computer engraving does not appear cold to me; but Henle's hand engraving does. So even though you do not agree with my impression of Henle, something is going on with the most basic elements of engraving that is producing a different effect for me.

Without hearing from the other side of this issue, it seems to me that there are two main philosophies of computer engraving now at work. Put in pianisitic terms:

1. those of the Mozart-Chopin school who want a piano to sound like a piano.
2. those of the Beethoven-Liszt school who want a piano to sound like an orchestra.

At present computers can give us a control undreamt of by hand engravers for many elements, but not for all. Some engravers inject personality into their work to their own satisfaction by means of tools now available; some feel that they must use extraordinary means to do so.

There is a third school that creates exact replicas of old scores and who are even more demanding. And finally those who want the ability to do actually hand work on a computer; for example, the ability to apply pressure to a slur to change its thickness on an individual basis. Perhaps software will advance to the point where this becomes a reality.
Thank you, John! That's quite the complement, although I can not put my finger on the specific 'goings on' that make you feel that way.

Your pianistic analogy is certainly to the point, and your mention of those who do replicas of old material is very appropriate. Such engravings are exceptions to what I'm speaking of, and I understand completely why people doing this would use every single tool and trick at their disposal to make the scores look as authentic as possible.

MJCube
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Re: Finale Slur Settings

Post by MJCube » 01 Mar 2016, 18:05

Fascinating. The idea of asymmetrical slur thickness never occurred to me. (Curvature, yes.) In the first examples the asymmetry is subtle enough that I thought it was unintentional, at first look.

But in OCTO’s last example I think I’m seeing a different principle: the thickness appears centered on the apex of the phrase mark (as opposed to the horizontal center). The curve thickness seems to match with its altitude from the staff. (Of course this idea wouldn’t apply to shorter slurs.)

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John Ruggero
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Re: Finale Slur Settings

Post by John Ruggero » 02 Mar 2016, 18:57

What you are seeing might be the result of the hand engraving process. As the longer slur arcs up, perhaps there is a tendency to place greatest pressure at its apex and to release it as the slur passes that point.
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