Spacing proportions and settings

Discuss the rules of notation, standard notation practices, efficient notation practices and graphic design.
User avatar
John Ruggero
Posts: 1310
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 14:25
Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: Spacing proportions and settings

Post by John Ruggero » 18 Oct 2015, 03:52

Fred, since page turns in solo piano music are for the convenience of the player in learning music and in "performing" for themselves, a G.P. would be an ideal page turn rather than a disturbance. Of course, it would be a different story in piano chamber music.

As I said, B was just a convenient example of the kind of spacing that one sees from some publishers now. Here are examples from two well-known publishers:

http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/sch ... ic/3533364
http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/son ... c/19882961
http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/moo ... ic/3662732
http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/bac ... ic/5816728
http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/the ... ic/1566186
Mac mini (OS 10.8.5) with dual monitors, Kurzweil Mark 5 with M-Audio Midisport 2 x 2,
Finale 2014d with GPO 4, JW Plug-ins, SmartScore X Pro, Adobe InDesign CS4,
Inkscape .48.5 and .91, FontForge 20150526
http://www.cantilenapress.com

User avatar
John Ruggero
Posts: 1310
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 14:25
Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: Spacing proportions and settings

Post by John Ruggero » 18 Oct 2015, 14:56

Here are corresponding counter-examples of better spacing:

http://imslp.nl/imglnks/usimg/a/a2/IMSL ... odOp15.pdf
http://conquest.imslp.info/files/imglnk ... KV_381.pdf
http://imslp.nl/imglnks/usimg/a/a8/IMSL ... ata_14.pdf
http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/look_inside?R=3763279
http://javanese.imslp.info/files/imglnk ... o_1-12.pdf

The Schumann is beautifully engraved, but there are a couple of unfortunate page turns which are needless given the length of the pieces.
Mac mini (OS 10.8.5) with dual monitors, Kurzweil Mark 5 with M-Audio Midisport 2 x 2,
Finale 2014d with GPO 4, JW Plug-ins, SmartScore X Pro, Adobe InDesign CS4,
Inkscape .48.5 and .91, FontForge 20150526
http://www.cantilenapress.com

User avatar
OCTO
Posts: 1123
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 06:52
Location: Sweden

Re: Spacing proportions and settings

Post by OCTO » 19 Oct 2015, 07:18

John Ruggero wrote:Here are three files for the Schubert Bb Sonata for piano solo. B has a modern layout philosphy. C. is extreme in its desire for white space. Please note the number of pages for each.

The fact that B is now the popular choice suggests to me that there is a decline in musical literacy.
OMG! That is terrible.
Here is an example of a bad BW-balance. If you put pages away, having bird perspective (=without noticing details), one can see how pages are inconsistent, to much white, or unbalanced parts of pages.
Freelance Composer. Self-Publisher.
Finale 25 • Sibelius 2018 • MuseScore 2 • Logic Pro X • Ableton Live 9 • Digital Performer 9 /// OS X El Capitan, (side system: Debian 9, Windows 10)

Vaughan
Posts: 46
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 12:37

Re: Spacing proportions and settings

Post by Vaughan » 19 Oct 2015, 11:50

It surprises me how unable professional musicians often seem to be in judging the quality of printed music. They've apparently become so used to reading poorly-set scores that they no longer identify the problems they have during rehearsals or in learning a piece as at least partially having to do with poor engraving.
Speaking of a bad BW balance... some time ago I needed to learn the Stanford Clarinet Sonata and the available edition on IMSLP was by Masters Music Publications (reprint?) which was so terribly widely-set that I felt the need to make an edition of my own. Here are the first four pages of the original:
Stanford 1.pdf
(432.64 KiB)
and the first four pages of my version:
Stanford 2.pdf
(179.62 KiB)
Both editions have good page turns, but this certainly isn't always possible and in such circumstances, which are quite frequent, it's a compromise between legibility, aesthetics and practicality (good page turns and logical system breaks, where possible).
Speaking of spacing algorithms, I often use different ones within a work, especially if it is a multi-movement one. AFAICS this is something Finale has over Sibelius: one can apply different spacing libraries to different parts of a file. I find this especially useful when setting a piece with, on the one hand, a scherzo with relatively long note values being played quickly (requiring a 'tight' spacing algorithm) and, on the other hand, a slow movement with relatively short note values being played slowly (requiring a 'loose' spacing algorithm). In orchestral works, I sometimes apply different spacing algorithms within a movement, e.g. loose spacing for a busy violin part and tight spacing for a relatively quiet horn part. Different libraries can often help make good page turns possible. I remember posting something to this effect on the Finale forum some time back and most forum users hadn't even considered the possibility. The general reaction seemed to be, 'why would you want to do that?'

RMK
Posts: 63
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 12:12

Re: Spacing proportions and settings

Post by RMK » 19 Oct 2015, 12:06

Actually you can have differing spacing algorithms in Sibelius with the help of a plug-in.

User avatar
John Ruggero
Posts: 1310
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 14:25
Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: Spacing proportions and settings

Post by John Ruggero » 19 Oct 2015, 15:15

Vaughan, I think that you were actually too kind to the Stanford first edition. After those first 4 pages, the page turns become iffy at best. And there are places that are missed for good turns in spite of the spreading that prevails throughout. If you have not published your excellent re-engraving, I would suggest uploading it to IMSLP. The original clarinet part there seems fine. The two re-engravings of the clarinet part (why?) have various problems.

Here is an example of extreme spreading from a highly regarded publisher (See the Partitia 2 page one example):

http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/look_inside?R=2449564

I don't have this edition, but imagine that this was done to put a page turn between the intro and the next section, which could then occupy two facing pages, and the hopefully the next section on two more facing pages, although I am not certain that this was done, given the distaste now for really full pages. I would say that a student would be influenced by such spreading and drag out this section at an unbearably slow tempo.

Here is the original edition, in which the entire piece occupies two pairs of facing pages with a excellent page turn between the pairs (see page 14-17)

http://burrito.whatbox.ca:15263/imglnks ... _Copy_.pdf

The intro occupies only 1.2 lines of music. all in the interest of creating a great page turn on the next page.

The care taken with turns in this first edition is amazing given the constraints of the time. There are only 1 or 2 bad turns out of 36. Almost every piece is on one page or two facing pages, and when this is not possible, measures are sometimes divided between pages to make page turning easier. Of course, this was a necessity because these guys were fluent readers who used music when they performed. It looks very crowded to our eyes, but that was a necessity of the times.

Here is the version from the Bach Gesellschaft Edition in which they also manage to put the first movement on two pairs of facing pages and with the same great page turn:

http://javanese.imslp.info/files/imglnk ... WV0826.pdf

The engraver was clearly pressed in the second section, and the 32nds are a little too close, but I prefer this to the sometimes too spacious presentation of ornamental notes seen in modern editions. Bach's music consists largely of a lot of written-out ornamentation, and that is the way it should look.
Last edited by John Ruggero on 20 Oct 2015, 16:08, edited 1 time in total.
Mac mini (OS 10.8.5) with dual monitors, Kurzweil Mark 5 with M-Audio Midisport 2 x 2,
Finale 2014d with GPO 4, JW Plug-ins, SmartScore X Pro, Adobe InDesign CS4,
Inkscape .48.5 and .91, FontForge 20150526
http://www.cantilenapress.com

Vaughan
Posts: 46
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 12:37

Re: Spacing proportions and settings

Post by Vaughan » 19 Oct 2015, 16:13

I must say that I cursed under my breath when I saw the new Bärenreiter edition and it's not just because I was brought up on the first Bach Gesellschaft Edition. On a side note: I wonder how many modern pianists still play the beginning of the 2nd partita in the wrong rhythm (i.e. exactly as it's notated).

User avatar
Fred G. Unn
Posts: 185
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 13:24
Location: NYCish

Re: Spacing proportions and settings

Post by Fred G. Unn » 19 Oct 2015, 16:35

Bringing it back to the original post, here are some random eighth, quarter, and half rhythms from both Sibelius and Finale. While different, quite honestly they both look pretty good. The measure that sticks out for me is the 4th, especially in relation to the 3rd. Sib seems to give a lot more space to the eighths, and less to the half. I'm pretty sure I prefer Finale's more mathematical approach over Sib's variable ratio defaults, but am curious what others think.
Fin vs Sib Spacing.jpg
Attachments
Fin vs Sib Spacing.pdf
(45 KiB)

User avatar
Fred G. Unn
Posts: 185
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 13:24
Location: NYCish

Re: Spacing proportions and settings

Post by Fred G. Unn » 19 Oct 2015, 16:42

Also, here it is with my Golden Mean based settings for Sibelius. They are pretty much identical in terms of spacing, so this is easy to do in Sibelius. I'm just curious if people prefer the look of it over the default more "humanistic" approach.
Fin vs Sib My Spacing.jpg
Attachments
Fin vs Sib My Spacing.pdf
(44.95 KiB)

Vaughan
Posts: 46
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 12:37

Re: Spacing proportions and settings

Post by Vaughan » 19 Oct 2015, 18:36

I definitely prefer your note spacing settings (and Finale's scaling factor of 1.618) to the Sibelius default. Of course, that'll vary depending on the note values in the music.
@RMK: can you use different spacing algorithms in Sibelius within one file? On different parts in a score with linked parts?

Post Reply