Visual Music Font Comparison

Music notation symbols, fonts, font sources and font creation, SmuFL.
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jan
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Joined: 22 Jun 2016, 08:29

Visual Music Font Comparison

Post by jan » 22 Jun 2016, 08:55

I have created a huge visual music font comparison which includes more than 150 font families on four score excerpts.
http://elbsound.studio/music_font_comparison.php
The comparison was created automatically (!) in Finale with a JW Lua plugin I developed. It converts a Finale document to nearly any music font.
Currently 400 music font files are supported. Info can be found here: http://elbsound.studio/font_house_style_changer.php

My website also includes a comprehensive music font list with more than 900 links.
http://elbsound.studio/music_fonts.php

I hope this will be a valuable resource for you.

Best,
Jan

Image

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John Ruggero
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Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: Visual Music Font Comparison

Post by John Ruggero » 22 Jun 2016, 12:04

Jan, you have created a fantastic resource! Thank you so much. I know that I will use this extensively.

Your Berg re-engraving is quite nice, but I did notice a few minor issues that you might wish to correct:

1. In my printed copy of the original (1924 copyright), the metronome mark is BELOW the tempo indication Ganz langsam and in a smaller font, with the note, equal sign, and numbers sharing the same baseline and with more space between these items. There is also a metronome marking under the A tempo that is missing in your example.

2. Your arpeggio signs in the piano are not quite long enough and need one more squiggle to encompass the entire chord.

3. Your third pedal asterisk should be aligned with the Ped. marking.

4. Your first two flutter tongue symbols are not quite centered on the stems.

I assume that you have permission to use the Berg example or this comes under "fair use"? I believe there is contention about the copyright status of this work and Universal has been very strict about copyright.
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
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RMK
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Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 12:12

Re: Visual Music Font Comparison

Post by RMK » 22 Jun 2016, 12:25

This work was composed in 1913 and published before 1923. Therefore, it is PD in the US.

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odod
Posts: 133
Joined: 25 Nov 2015, 15:10

Re: Visual Music Font Comparison

Post by odod » 22 Jun 2016, 12:35

aside of his awesome site, Jan also made some awesome Finale plugins :)

can't wait to buy it ..
LogicX, Cubase 5, MacMini i7, Macbook Pro 2015, PowerMac G5, Sibelius 8, Finale, Musescore, Reaper, Apogee Duet, Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII, FontLab, tons of Faith and Prayers

Serenade Music Engraving Service

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jan
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Re: Visual Music Font Comparison

Post by jan » 22 Jun 2016, 13:14

John,

thanks for your input ! Here are my comments:

First of all remember: it's just the output of an automatic conversion process of fonts of which many were not originally designed for use in Finale. It's not a manually fine-tuned layout. It's (unfortunately) also not a demonstration of the best possible engraving. Some restrictions had to be made for the automatic conversion process.

1.) I changed the tempo marks to reduce the height of the image and because text expression with many fonts that use different baselines are difficult to handle automatically if they are spread over several lines. In some cases 6 fonts were automatically used (and replaced) in the tempo marking: for the text, for the brackets, for the quarter note, for the equal sign, for the numbers, for the minus.
Automatically adding additional kerning (more space) in font mixes is more or less impossible, as each font combination requires different spaces for a balanced look. In some fonts of the music comparison, the tempo marks look fine by default - in some it doesn't. Especially those music fonts that actually include all of the symbols (brackets, equal, numbers, minus, quarter note with stem) in a balanced way, it should look fine.

You always have to do a compromise when automatically converting font mixes in Finale unless you compare the size of each symbol in each font which - in other cases - might lead to unwanted results - a handwritten font might require a bigger tempo note symbol than a standard font.

Also under different circumstances the symbols might need different distances, sizes and relations. It's not even that easy to automatically make the AI (artificial intelligence) of the plugin recognize that it is tempo mark at all. For example if the expression was created with the Finale "Create Tempo Marking" tool that puts it in the wrong text expression category.

2.) This is a problem of the plug-in. If you look at the other fonts in the comparison, you will notice that the arpeggios look different on each font.
Though it's not impossible to automatically match them, it's a bit difficult to achieve and currently not implemented. It's based on the fact that the metrics of articulations in Finale that use the "Copy the Main Symbol" setting are not supported from the plugin development kit. Also some fonts require the "Copy the Main Symbol" setting, while others don't and others are not even compatible with this setting at all.
But it's on my to-do list...

3.) Indeed. I should update that in the next release.

4.) You are right. The Finale plugin development kit doesn't support metrics for stem-centered articulations - actually those are not supported at all with the standard Finale options: you always have to input an extra horizontal offset in the definition. That's why Jari Williamson created the JW Yada-Yada plugin which for the same reason only supports very few fonts - and all of them were manually fine-tuned in the plugin.
So it's currently only an approximation of the centered position. In some fonts it matches perfectly, in some it doesn't.

Copyright: according to IMSLP and EU law it's public domain as the piece was composed in 1913, the edition was created in 1920 and Alban Berg has been dead for more than 70 years. I assume that this also falls under "Fair use", although AFAIK it's not needed here.

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OCTO
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Re: Visual Music Font Comparison

Post by OCTO » 22 Jun 2016, 13:34

This is simply amazing! Excellent job, must be hard to put everything in the place in a such complex context. Bravo. I will definitely use this.

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John Ruggero
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Re: Visual Music Font Comparison

Post by John Ruggero » 22 Jun 2016, 13:37

The piece is still "blocked" at IMSLP, i.e. if one tries to download it there are nothing but empty pages. Universal claims a 1924 copyright renewed in 1952 by Berg's widow. Yet others maintain that the piece was originally published in 1920 and Universal's claim is spurious. One can read about this on the IMSLP comments for the piece.

http://imslpforums.org/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1992
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

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John Ruggero
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Re: Visual Music Font Comparison

Post by John Ruggero » 22 Jun 2016, 15:36

Jan, thank you for explaining the great difficulties that you face in trying to make the example work with all these fonts. It is commendable that have largely succeeded and continue to improve the result. In that spirit:

I tried the Berg example with all of the various different fonts in your demo and noticed that:

1. the metronome numbers are in the same font and size throughout. To me, the numbers seem a little too large for most of the quarter notes and the note and the = sign need one space after each. Gould gives the correct style on page 183. My preference is for metronome numbers to be in or like the traditional font for metronome numbers, as seen in the original Berg engraving, i.e. small versions of the Maestro and Bravura font numbers. These numbers are more compact yet visible.

2. The arpeggio signs seems to fall into three categories in the various fonts in your demo:

a. not long enough
b. just barely long enough but placed a little too low
c. way too long

I found an occasional single correct arpeggio sign but no uniformly correct arpeggio signs in any font. Maestro, Engraver, Bravura, Opus, Sonata, fell into category b. and a. Emmentaler into a. Some, to me, lesser known fonts into c.

Since b. comes closest and seemed to be in the majority, you might make the arpeggio sign a little longer and center it in, say Maestro or Bravura, or simply raise it a little and then a greater number from all fonts might be more correct.

3. Sorry about the flutter tongue, it looks great in some, Maestro for example, but not in others.

It is unfortunate that height of the image has to be reduced by the very slight amount that forces the second metronome marking to be omitted and the first one to be misplaced. Couldn't the whole image be reduced a little so that the original is kept intact?
Last edited by John Ruggero on 22 Jun 2016, 15:38, 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

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OCTO
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Re: Visual Music Font Comparison

Post by OCTO » 22 Jun 2016, 15:38

John Ruggero wrote:The piece is still "blocked" at IMSLP, i.e. if one tries to download it there are nothing but empty pages. Universal claims a 1924 copyright renewed in 1952 by Berg's widow. Yet others maintain that the piece was originally published in 1920 and Universal's claim is spurious. One can read about this on the IMSLP comments for the piece.

http://imslpforums.org/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1992
In EU it is completely available, and no one claims the copyright.

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John Ruggero
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Re: Visual Music Font Comparison

Post by John Ruggero » 22 Jun 2016, 15:42

OCTO, do you mean that it is available at IMSLP? Or that it is available published by publishers other than Universal? Or that Universal now publishers it without a copyright notice?
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

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