A case for slab serifs in music

Music notation symbols, fonts, font sources and font creation, SmuFL.
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tisimst
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Re: A case for slab serifs in music

Post by tisimst » 13 Sep 2017, 21:40

One thing to remember is that although the above examples could very well be true slab-serif designs, I'm inclined to think that the "slab" is actually a printing artifact, where ink is spreading farther than it's supposed to. Hard to tell in this case, but it's a possibility. My 2 cents.
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Knut
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Re: A case for slab serifs in music

Post by Knut » 13 Sep 2017, 22:01

tisimst wrote:
13 Sep 2017, 21:40
One thing to remember is that although the above examples could very well be true slab-serif designs, I'm inclined to think that the "slab" is actually a printing artifact, where ink is spreading farther than it's supposed to. Hard to tell in this case, but it's a possibility. My 2 cents.
I thought so too at first, but I ended up dismissing this because of the seemingly consistent shape and length of the serifs. The shapes seem slightly less symmetrical than those of Clarendon (although there might have been several variations over the years), and there are some exceptions that look more like normally shaped serifs, but those could also be due to defective printing. So, as you say, its hard to tell.

Schonbergian
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Re: A case for slab serifs in music

Post by Schonbergian » 14 Sep 2017, 03:18

tisimst wrote:
13 Sep 2017, 21:40
One thing to remember is that although the above examples could very well be true slab-serif designs, I'm inclined to think that the "slab" is actually a printing artifact, where ink is spreading farther than it's supposed to. Hard to tell in this case, but it's a possibility. My 2 cents.
In the Novello, this may be true, but I've also seen this in extremely sharp editions from Carus-Verlag as late as 1997, so it seems like an intentional decision to me. I will hopefully get around to posting some scans of these editions tomorrow to demonstrate my point.

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OCTO
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Re: A case for slab serifs in music

Post by OCTO » 14 Sep 2017, 08:38

Schonbergian wrote:
13 Sep 2017, 02:06
OCTO, although your font is a welcome improvement on contrast, I find it lacks in two major areas:

- The font is too angular in comparison with the smooth and rounded musical fonts we use here.
- The original design of the font is simply not elegant enough.

These seem, to me, to be limitations of the FreeSerif font you based Muzitex on. Perhaps we can find another font to give the Muzitex treatment.
Thank you for your comment. So far I have used that font with a good output. Of course, I am always looking to see more interesting fonts that would fit well with music.

Interesting font I just found by search: https://www.typography.com/fonts/sentinel/styles/ - fine, but maybe to wide.
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Knut
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Re: A case for slab serifs in music

Post by Knut » 14 Sep 2017, 09:37

OCTO wrote:
14 Sep 2017, 08:38
Interesting font I just found by search: https://www.typography.com/fonts/sentinel/styles/ - fine, but maybe to wide.
Sentinel is certainly a beautiful slab serif in the same vein as Clarendon. I do think you're right that it would be too wide for most purposes, especially for lyrics. There's also the problem with the serifs being very pronounced on the bolder faces, something I wouldn't fancy in a music score.

Schonbergian
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Re: A case for slab serifs in music

Post by Schonbergian » 14 Sep 2017, 14:36

A nice font, but I find it too angular for music work. We have to keep in mind that we're essentially working with universally rounded symbols (treble and bass clef, round noteheads, finely tapered and curved slurs) and most modern text fonts do not harmonize with that aesthetic.

EB Garamond is a font I single out for its sheer, almost calligraphic beauty. It's not too suited for music work, being a bit wide for my taste, but the overall design and rounded feel fits perfectly with the style of the printed score. And the 8-point variant is pretty much the perfect kind of weight for lyrics.

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Fred G. Unn
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Re: A case for slab serifs in music

Post by Fred G. Unn » 14 Sep 2017, 20:42

I've never used it for music, but has anyone ever tried Carol Twombly's Chaparral? It's a slab serif, but maybe a bit more humanistic than something like Clarendon. In any case it's certainly not as wide and seems better suited for extended text passages or lyrics than Clarendon to my eye anyway. There are a gazillion fonts in the Clarendon family too if having a font optimized for caption or display sizes is important.
https://typekit.com/fonts/chaparral/det ... ro-regular

Knut
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Re: A case for slab serifs in music

Post by Knut » 14 Sep 2017, 23:16

Schonbergian wrote:
14 Sep 2017, 14:36
A nice font, but I find it too angular for music work. We have to keep in mind that we're essentially working with universally rounded symbols (treble and bass clef, round noteheads, finely tapered and curved slurs) and most modern text fonts do not harmonize with that aesthetic.
I kind of agree, but to me it has less to do with the many curved symbols of music notation (certainly there are more than a few angular ones as well), and more to do with many of the symbols adopting a similar aesthetic to a particular style of serif font.
Schonbergian wrote:
14 Sep 2017, 14:36
EB Garamond is a font I single out for its sheer, almost calligraphic beauty. It's not too suited for music work, being a bit wide for my taste, but the overall design and rounded feel fits perfectly with the style of the printed score. And the 8-point variant is pretty much the perfect kind of weight for lyrics.
Garamond is certainly a nice font, but most cuts, including EB Garamond, have a particularly low x-hight, which makes them less suitable for music.
Fred G. Unn wrote:
14 Sep 2017, 20:42
I've never used it for music, but has anyone ever tried Carol Twombly's Chaparral? It's a slab serif, but maybe a bit more humanistic than something like Clarendon. In any case it's certainly not as wide and seems better suited for extended text passages or lyrics than Clarendon to my eye anyway. There are a gazillion fonts in the Clarendon family too if having a font optimized for caption or display sizes is important.
https://typekit.com/fonts/chaparral/det ... ro-regular
I haven't tried it either, but I agree that it's nice, and I think it could probably work for certain projects. As an all-purpose font for music, however, I find it too stylized.

benwiggy
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Re: A case for slab serifs in music

Post by benwiggy » 15 Sep 2017, 13:35

Here's where I mention Kepler again. There are many (far too many) weights, optical sizes and styles to choose from. For lyrics, the Caption SemiCondensed face is just amazing in terms of legibility at sizes that don't distort the note spacing.

https://www.fontspring.com/fonts/adobe/kepler-std

Schonbergian
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Re: A case for slab serifs in music

Post by Schonbergian » 17 Sep 2017, 21:00

I find Kepler too angular for the reasons I mentioned above, although it is otherwise quite the beautiful font.

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