"Warmth" and Note Size

Music notation symbols, fonts, font sources and font creation, SmuFL.
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John Ruggero
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Re: "Warmth" and Note Size

Post by John Ruggero » 29 Oct 2019, 17:42

Back to the subject of the font for tempo indications. Here is a comparison of the font from an old Peters edition (below) to Times New Roman in my edition (above):

To my untrained eye they are quite similar, which might explain the widespread use of TNR as a font for tempo indications:
two fonts.jpeg
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The Peters font is less compressed and the letters seem more widely spaced, which I like better, but what is the font, which seems to be a classic?
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liuscorne
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Re: "Warmth" and Note Size

Post by liuscorne » 29 Oct 2019, 21:19

The problem is that the Peters font isn't really a 'font' that can be identified. In the second half of the 19th century (the time music engraving was molded into the shape that we recognize today as 'modern'), every type foundry had their own (but almost identical) version of a 'normal' typeface for book publishing; most of the time they didn't bother giving it a name and instead identified them only by point size; German type foundries called their black letter version of a 'normal' typeface even "Normalfraktur". Music publishers copied the style for the text elements of their scores; each publisher had their own version, of course, but they all looked pretty much the same.

While book typography changed considerably from the end of the 19th century on (development of new typefaces, revival of 'historic' typefaces etc.), music engraving didn't. And so the 'classic' typeface remained the dominant style for text.
In the course of the 20th century, a lot of typefaces that were developed for book publishing (or newspapers etc.) were of course inspired by the 19th-century 'normal' typeface, the Century family or Times (New Roman) being prime examples. They even made it into the age of computer fonts. So it's no surprise that a number of computer fonts resemble the 'classic' music typeface. However, to the best of my knowledge, there is no font (by a major type foundry) that goes back to the original design. Even the ones that come close (e.g. Hercules by Stormtype, my favorite) have something that doesn't look quite right, in terms of style, contrast, width, availability of particular cuts etc.
Here are a few examples of typefaces that also come close but have shortcomings of their own (I can't remember if they have been mentioned before in other posts):
https://www.myfonts.com/fonts/efscangra ... y-nova-sb/
https://www.myfonts.com/fonts/linotype/madison-antiqua
https://www.myfonts.com/fonts/bitstream/century-725/

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John Ruggero
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Re: "Warmth" and Note Size

Post by John Ruggero » 30 Oct 2019, 01:43

Thank you, for your enlightening explanation, liuscorne. It was very helpful. It is indeed curious that no one has reproduced the "normal" typeface that one sees in plate engraving for tempo indications.

Of the fonts that you and Schonbergian have mentioned, TNR seems to me to come closest to it, especially if I adjust the tracking to space the letters more loosely. And so I am content with TNR with that change. The rounder fonts like New Century Schoolbook then make a very nice contrasting font for other uses such as names like Scherzo, Coda, Finale, Var. 1, etc.

And I am going to answer my own question at the outset of this thread. Having worked with Dorico 3 over the last few days, I have decided that "warm" is nice at first, but over the long haul, I prefer a "cooler" look; it doesn't wear out its welcome. But that should be possible to attain in Dorico when more music fonts are available for it.
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OCTO
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Re: "Warmth" and Note Size

Post by OCTO » 30 Oct 2019, 10:13

liuscorne wrote:
29 Oct 2019, 21:19
The problem is that the Peters font isn't really a 'font' that can be identified. In the second half of the 19th century...
Very beautiful and interesting explanation, thank you for that!

I would like to adventure myself in creating a "new" textual typeface from the old scores, but the problem is that I don't have the complete symbols that I could scan in order to make that font.
Do you (anyone here) know when can one find that old books, sheets or other documents that contain all letters and symbols that could be used as a starting point?
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jan
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Re: "Warmth" and Note Size

Post by jan » 04 Nov 2019, 17:37

John, for comparing text fonts you can also try:

Free fonts only:
https://elbsound.studio/elbsound-text-f ... pply+Words

The following link also includes many commercial fonts, but they only preview if those fonts are installed on your computer:
https://elbsound.studio/text-fonts-all. ... pply+Words

I have also attached a "quarter notehead overview" file with several quarter noteheads from the database of the Music Font Comparison.
quarter noteheads.pdf
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benwiggy
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Re: "Warmth" and Note Size

Post by benwiggy » 04 Nov 2019, 18:55

I've always found Monotype Modern to be the closest:

The Bold Italic is a very good match to dynamics, making sempre mp seamless. The Bold numerals are very close to time sigs.

TNR for me is NOT close, and I suspect it is used just because it was the "digital default" for many years.
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John Ruggero
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Re: "Warmth" and Note Size

Post by John Ruggero » 05 Nov 2019, 15:56

Thank you very much, Jan. Your website is a wonderful resource. Of the ones shown, I find the Old Standard TT Bold closest for my purposes. I also see that the Engraver black note head seems fuller and at less of an angle to the staff lines. I may experiment with that one. benwiggy, I can see why you like Monotype Modern. Here are four fonts stacked for comparison. Monotype Modern on top, then Old Standard TT Bold, then TNR, and finally old Peters edition at the bottom:
4 fonts.jpeg
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benwiggy
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Re: "Warmth" and Note Size

Post by benwiggy » 05 Nov 2019, 16:56

Old Standard is lovely, and quite similar to MM. It's a shame there's no Bold Italic for it, though.

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dah-hisa
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Re: "Warmth" and Note Size

Post by dah-hisa » 12 Nov 2019, 11:34

What do you think about Century BQ?
Quite similar with Century 725 Std Bold Condensed.
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OCTO
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Re: "Warmth" and Note Size

Post by OCTO » 12 Nov 2019, 13:07

dah-hisa wrote:
12 Nov 2019, 11:34
What do you think about Century BQ?
Quite similar with Century 725 Std Bold Condensed.
IMHO, I can't go with letter "p". That's why I avoid it together with Garamond, Minion, Caslon....
Otherwise a nice font, indeed.
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