Comparing text fonts (Operatic Score)

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SantaKiwi
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Comparing text fonts (Operatic Score)

Post by SantaKiwi » 06 Apr 2019, 23:26

Dear all

I am new to this (awesome!) forum and this is my debut in sharing my engraving. I am a composer currently writing an opera. I recently discovered Richard Pichaud's November2 font, which I am eagerly wanting to acquire. For now, I am engraving on Dorico using the default Bravura music font.

I am seeking some advice on which of the two text fonts I should go with (to use with either Bravura or November2 once I get it).
The first sample uses arial (I've been using this for years for its cleanliness and modern look):
Opera (arial).jpg
Opera (arial).jpg (1.41 MiB) Viewed 2086 times
The second uses centabel book (A font I recently encountered upon; I find it very elegant for a serif font, and I like the subtlety in the serifs themselves).
Opera (centabel).jpg
Opera (centabel).jpg (1.38 MiB) Viewed 2086 times
Any advice on which text fonts to go with would be greatly appreciated. I am also happy to try out any other fonts that people are willing to suggest that find a balance between the two aforementioned fonts.
Best

OCTO
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Re: Comparing text fonts (Operatic Score)

Post by OCTO » 07 Apr 2019, 07:26

Hello. And welcome to the forum.
A very beautiful notated examples, I have enjoyed them.

I like more the first example, only because the font in another example is to much personal (stylized, curved...) that it takes to much attention. A music notation is "attentive", in my opinion, so that certain objects should have more attention-force than others (such as p or f which are stylized).
There was much discussion on text fonts in music scores. One of the discussions are on non-serif fonts. A large majority of copyists and musicians prefer serif fonts for all musical information. And they prefer the most common and simple. It is just a tradition defined by usability.

I think your score is enough beautiful that additional "beauting" with fonts can create a contra effect.
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David Ward
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Re: Comparing text fonts (Operatic Score)

Post by David Ward » 07 Apr 2019, 09:01

There does indeed seem to be some research (though I don't know how thoroughly ‘peer reviewed’ etc) that suggests that sight-reading a vocal score with the libretto in a serif font is less prone to error than if it's in a sans serif one. It's something to do with ‘locking’ the eye in place.

FWIW I can certainly confirm that my 78 year old eyes find reading a large block of text in a book *much* easier if it is in a serif font. I keep jumping to the wrong line if it is sans serif.
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SantaKiwi
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Re: Comparing text fonts (Operatic Score)

Post by SantaKiwi » 07 Apr 2019, 10:44

OCTO,
Thank you so much for your feedback. I read the thread on text fonts (sans serif vs serif) and I do agree that serif fonts can be easier to read and they should be the least distracting as possible. Do you have any other fonts that you could suggest that I should try to find the balance between clarity and readability, or do you think I should just stick to arial?

David,
From your opinion, having tested both examples, which do you prefer in terms of both clarity and ease of reading? (I am assuming the second since it is a serif font, but just to confirm).

MalteM
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Re: Comparing text fonts (Operatic Score)

Post by MalteM » 07 Apr 2019, 12:19

SantaKiwi wrote:
07 Apr 2019, 10:44
Do you have any other fonts that you could suggest that I should try to find the balance between clarity and readability, or do you think I should just stick to arial?
Why „balance between clarity and readability“? Most serif fonts that are made for long texts are well readable and clear.

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David Ward
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Re: Comparing text fonts (Operatic Score)

Post by David Ward » 07 Apr 2019, 12:57

SantaKiwi wrote:
07 Apr 2019, 10:44
… … …
David,
From your opinion, having tested both examples, which do you prefer in terms of both clarity and ease of reading? (I am assuming the second since it is a serif font, but just to confirm).
Yes, I do indeed prefer the second.
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SantaKiwi
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Re: Comparing text fonts (Operatic Score)

Post by SantaKiwi » 07 Apr 2019, 13:39

MalteM wrote:
07 Apr 2019, 12:19
SantaKiwi wrote:
07 Apr 2019, 10:44
Do you have any other fonts that you could suggest that I should try to find the balance between clarity and readability, or do you think I should just stick to arial?
Why „balance between clarity and readability“? Most serif fonts that are made for long texts are well readable and clear.
Hi MalteM

I think I should have rather used the adjective "clean" rather than "clear". I definitely agree that in long texts, serif fonts are more readable and clear, whereas sans serif fonts are more regularly used for shorter texts for attention e.g. driving signs.

Which, out of the above examples, do you prefer?

OCTO
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Re: Comparing text fonts (Operatic Score)

Post by OCTO » 07 Apr 2019, 15:52

I would try Old Standard as a main font for music in your case, it is also free to use.
Nepomuk is another serif font.

Serif means simply that you can read it "faster" since the brain takes only parts of the font to "decode" it.
On the contrary, sans serif is used for clear perception and information. Therefore sans is always used on roads: as a clean perception of single information.

Music notation is far from "single information" perception, therefore serifs works much better.

You can test it by yourself.
Print out the same text with different fonts, keep the same height.
Than put it on a stand, step back and try to read it. Than step once more back and read it again. Repeat this and you will notice what font works best.
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SantaKiwi
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Re: Comparing text fonts (Operatic Score)

Post by SantaKiwi » 07 Apr 2019, 16:30

Hi OCTO

Thanks for the great advice. I will take a look at those fonts in addition to the ones I'm already considering and will see how they look in the 'real world' i.e. on printed parts/scores on stands. I think sometimes one forgets about that! :)

OCTO
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Re: Comparing text fonts (Operatic Score)

Post by OCTO » 07 Apr 2019, 17:29

If you work as a music teacher in a class it is a great opportunity to test this!
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