[WORKBENCH] Brahms Op. 119, No. 1

Have your scores reviewed by other users. Comment on old and new published scores and on publishers.
User avatar
John Ruggero
Posts: 1282
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 14:25
Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: [WORKBENCH] Brahms Op. 119, No. 1

Post by John Ruggero » 12 Oct 2017, 22:07

Thanks, Knut. I think you are right. Dorico will have a leveling effect so the general standard of music engraving will be mediocre at best. But that does leave room for small publishers to produce high quality editions. So I am an optimist!

The Dorico source material must be very good! :)
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

Knut
Posts: 867
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 18:07
Location: Oslo, Norway

Re: [WORKBENCH] Brahms Op. 119, No. 1

Post by Knut » 12 Oct 2017, 22:38

John Ruggero wrote:
12 Oct 2017, 22:07
The Dorico source material must be very good! :)
Tongue in cheek, perhaps, but I'm not sure what you mean.

The source material I was referring to was the manuscript or whatever source an engraver would use. I'd imagine that it isn't customary for any professional engraver to start a project without doing a read through of the source, and without a thorough understanding of the tools used and their limitations.

User avatar
John Ruggero
Posts: 1282
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 14:25
Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: [WORKBENCH] Brahms Op. 119, No. 1

Post by John Ruggero » 13 Oct 2017, 16:17

Knut wrote:
12 Oct 2017, 22:38
The source material I was referring to was the manuscript or whatever source an engraver would use. I'd imagine that it isn't customary for any professional engraver to start a project without doing a read through of the source, and without a thorough understanding of the tools used and their limitations.
Sorry Knut, the comment was tongue-in-cheek because I thought you meant the Dorico "documentation".

You are certainly correct that some experience with the program (which I soon hope to have) would be more reassuring in working from a score. However, I don't think I would want to compose in Dorico, not knowing what I would need in advance.
Last edited by John Ruggero on 14 Oct 2017, 14:31, 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

User avatar
John Ruggero
Posts: 1282
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 14:25
Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: [WORKBENCH] Brahms Op. 119, No. 1

Post by John Ruggero » 13 Oct 2017, 17:49

liuscorne wrote:
12 Oct 2017, 13:10
I'm not surprised to hear that. In my work as a copyeditor and typesetter, I have to deal with book publishers on a regular basis. In my experience, there are only a few people who know about typography in a way that allows them to make an informed decision, and even fewer who actually care about typographical matters. Sometimes it's economic considerations that get in the way of producing a "beautiful" book. But often it's not even that: they just don't care.
Schonbergian wrote:
12 Oct 2017, 14:45
Agreed on the decline of Baerenreiter. I ordered their Mozart Requiem vocal score earlier this year, expecting the proper edition, only to be shipped the "improved" 2017 edition with atrocious engraving, a much less readable and poorly edited keyboard reduction, and downright missing or removed information compared to the 1955 plates. They just strike me as throwing new scores at the market and not really caring about the quality or usability, even on matters other than aesthetic beauty.
And it is not just Bärenreiter.

I just purchased a copy of the Chopin Etudes in the new National Edition. This is an admirable, highly authentic edition edited by an eminent scholar, Jan Ekier. But after one gets past the very attractive cover, one sees how badly the publisher has served the editor:

1) No page turns; yet all but one of these mostly short, fast pieces contain excellent turns that have been observed in practically all editions since the first.

2) The dense Commentary is printed in small, hard-to-read sans-serif type, and in an awkward English translation.

3) The music engraving is not pleasing. The beams are too thin, the ends of the slurs all go beyond the first and last notes (perhaps in a misguided attempt to imitate one of the least attractive features of Chopin's handwriting), the added fingering is faint and hard to read, the letters in the text expressions are also too thin and widely spaced and get lost on the page, the tempo indications are too small in relation to the text expressions, the piece number, opus number, footnotes, and page numbers are all in various sans-serif fonts that clash with the fonts used in the music. The typographer seems to be having a love affair with cold, hard-on-the eyes, sans-serif fonts.

In terms of editing, this edition is a major advance over previous editions, but in terms of production, it is sadly far behind its predecessor, the "Paderewski" edition, and the superb Wiener Urtext edition.
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
liuscorne
Posts: 24
Joined: 09 Oct 2015, 21:13
Location: Erfurt, Germany

Re: [WORKBENCH] Brahms Op. 119, No. 1

Post by liuscorne » 14 Oct 2017, 15:35

I found this link to what looks like an official introduction to the National Edition:

http://serwer1374796.home.pl/wp-content ... odowym.pdf

Is this what the Etudes look like as well? I'm not qualified to comment on the music engraving. But the typography looks really bad. The introductory text seems to be ITC Garamond, which is not an attractive typeface at all, and it looks even worse when it is set too large, with insufficient letter spacing and line spacing. And then there is the commentary, which is set, if I'm not mistaken, in Arial (some parts, however, are set in Helvetica – headlines and possibly the footnotes on p. 6 and elsewhere – which is confusing). To use Arial (or Helvetica) in a music edition is the typographical equivalent of playing Chopin on a cheap digital piano.

User avatar
John Ruggero
Posts: 1282
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 14:25
Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: [WORKBENCH] Brahms Op. 119, No. 1

Post by John Ruggero » 15 Oct 2017, 00:31

Thanks, so much for finding that, liuscorne. That is exactly what the Etudes look like except that the first three pages don't exist in the individual editions. It at least they are not in a sans-serif font.

Your analogy is very apt. It looks cheap and is certainly a great disservice to an important scholar who probably knows more about the Chopin source material than anyone.

Anyone know know what music engraving software was used?
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

Knut
Posts: 867
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 18:07
Location: Oslo, Norway

Re: [WORKBENCH] Brahms Op. 119, No. 1

Post by Knut » 15 Oct 2017, 14:19

I don't know about the software, but I agree that this is really third rate work, both in terms of typography and engraving. I've seen enough similarly bad examples to know that there is no reason (anymore) to expect high quality engraving from Urtext editions.

I'm particularly struck by the unbalance of font elements combined with the extremely inconsistent leading of text expressions, for no apparent reason.

Slurs and ties are also bad, both in terms of placement and shape. As John points out, this might be an attempt to recreate Chopin's handwriting. It's one thing to do that for the sake of musicality and expressiveness, but breking well established conventions just for the sake of 'visual authenticity' doesn't make much sense to me at all.

RMK
Posts: 62
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 12:12

Re: [WORKBENCH] Brahms Op. 119, No. 1

Post by RMK » 15 Oct 2017, 17:27

Knut wrote:
15 Oct 2017, 14:19
I don't know about the software, but I agree that this is really third rate work, both in terms of typography and engraving. I've seen enough similarly bad examples to know that there is no reason (anymore) to expect high quality engraving from Urtext editions.
Hear, hear!

I just bought orchestral parts to the urtext Bärenreiter edition of Debussy's La Mer. Horrible page turns in the strings (easily fixed), inconsistencies in font sizes and several errors throughout the parts.

Florian
Posts: 37
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 15:34

Re: [WORKBENCH] Brahms Op. 119, No. 1

Post by Florian » 15 Oct 2017, 20:13

I’ve been avoiding to use Bärenreiter for years now... as much as possible, that is. I find most of the newer editions downright ugly.

Thanks for posting that link, liuscorne. I couldn’t help smiling when I saw the first pages of the National Edition. I had the impression of looking at the result of a sarcastic joke among typographers. And then the engraving… it’s funny because the engraver obviously put some work into it. Those special typefaces, tilted parentheses around slurs… but the result, again, is even comically bad.

As for Dorico, I considered engraving the first page of the Brahms Intermezzo in Dorico and posting it here some time ago. But I decided not to try it pretty quickly. My impression with Dorico is probably the same as Knut’s. The out-of-the-box results would often be an excellent starting point for fine-tuning -- if fine-tuning wasn’t impossible in many cases. Still I do hope that Dorico gets there eventually. Dorico’s default spacing is so much better than Finale’s, and the more often I use Dorico’s wonderful note spacing tool to make small corrections, the more I’m frustrated when I have to use the corresponding tools in Finale again. Also, I find note input much more comfortable in Dorico. Quite regularly I even use Dorico for that, just the notes, and move the whole thing to Finale as xml because for me it’s faster that way.
John Ruggero wrote:
12 Oct 2017, 22:07
Dorico will have a leveling effect so the general standard of music engraving will be mediocre at best.
Isn’t that a good thing? Mediocre will probably be better than the average standard of printed music now.

User avatar
John Ruggero
Posts: 1282
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 14:25
Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: [WORKBENCH] Brahms Op. 119, No. 1

Post by John Ruggero » 15 Oct 2017, 21:34

Florian wrote:
15 Oct 2017, 20:13
Isn’t that a good thing? Mediocre will probably be better than the average standard of printed music now.
You're right, mediocre would be better. But being an idealist, I prefer excellence.
Knut wrote:
15 Oct 2017, 14:19
I've seen enough similarly bad examples to know that there is no reason (anymore) to expect high quality engraving from Urtext editions.
I was curious to see what my favorite publisher Wiener Urtext has been cooking up these days. My faith was restored at their website. http://www.wiener-urtext.com/en/home Their recent editions are as good as they have always been, in short, excellent. These guys have their hearts in the right place and it will be sad if they ever change. And yes, there is the enormous fermata at the end of the second movement of their new edition of the Schubert Arpeggione that was discussed on one of the first threads on this forum. (But not as nice as the one we came up with, of course. :) )
RMK wrote:
15 Oct 2017, 17:27
Horrible page turns in the strings (easily fixed),
That's what I really hate to hear…if they were easily fixed, why weren't they? And in the string parts, no less.
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

Post Reply