Text fonts in musical scores

Music notation symbols, fonts, font sources and font creation, SmuFL.
User avatar
jan
Posts: 69
Joined: 22 Jun 2016, 08:29

Text fonts in musical scores

Post by jan » 28 Dec 2016, 11:45

Every now and then I find threads about text, lyrics or dynamics fonts used in musical scores.
For my Finale plugins I needed to compile lists of common music and text fonts in order to get the right semantics of the symbols used.
While my music font list is more or less complete now, here is the list of about 500 text fonts (with a few name duplicates) found in PDF scores or mentioned in threads:
Text Fonts Found in Musical Scores

It would of course be interesting to see examples of each font as in my Music Font Comparison, but that would require buying many licenses.
Do you have any suggestions how I could prepare this list so that we can all benefit ?

I could do something like the Music Font Comparison, for example by using one fixed line of music where you can then select the different text fonts. But this would still only include the text fonts of which I have a license.

Another idea would be to divide the list more / to add more details:
- what fonts work best for dynamic, lyrics, expressive text, tempo markings, titles ?
- which font styles do you need of the fonts (something like italic for expressive, bold for temp markings, condensed for lyrics, etc.) ?
- which fonts are available with a free license ?
- which fonts go together well with a certain musical font ?
- which fonts are for handwritten/jazz style charts only ?

Jan

benwiggy
Posts: 174
Joined: 11 Apr 2016, 19:42

Re: Text fonts in musical scores

Post by benwiggy » 28 Dec 2016, 12:00

The trouble is that many free fonts with unfamiliar names (or even some of those bundled with OSes and apps) are versions of "classic" typefaces with familiar names. The Academico that comes with Dorico is essentially an open source rendering of New Century Schoolbook.

For my money, the font that works best for expressions, both italic and bold, is Monotype Modern. (Other variants, such as Modern No. 20 work well.)

I guess the easiest thing is for you to make the sample document available, and other people can make PDFs with the fonts that they hold.

User avatar
OCTO
Posts: 1056
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 06:52
Location: Sweden

Re: Text fonts in musical scores

Post by OCTO » 28 Dec 2016, 15:50

Indeed a hard task.
For your questions: I believe it is very much defined by score type, style, editor, publisher.
Maybe you should include only the fonts you can get license for free, so that anyone can benefit. Many of these fonts are very expensive.

Personally, choosing fonts in music scores is tourturing for me; now I ended up with the standard fonts.
Freelance Composer. Self-Publisher.
Finale 25 • Sibelius 8 • MuseScore 2 • Logic Pro X • Ableton Live 9 • Digital Performer 9 /// OS X El Capitan, (side system: Debian 9, Windows 7)

benwiggy
Posts: 174
Joined: 11 Apr 2016, 19:42

Re: Text fonts in musical scores

Post by benwiggy » 28 Dec 2016, 18:09

OCTO wrote:Personally, choosing fonts in music scores is tourturing for me; now I ended up with the standard fonts.
Ha! That's certainly true for music fonts. I'll like the clefs in one, but not the dynamics. Another has nice flags, but I hate the accidentals.

User avatar
jan
Posts: 69
Joined: 22 Jun 2016, 08:29

Re: Text fonts in musical scores

Post by jan » 28 Dec 2016, 19:03

Here is a tiny update:
those fonts that are installed on the user's computer are now automatically shown with an example.
https://elbsound.studio/text-fonts.php
AFAIK "installed font" detection is not really supported by browsers, that's why the script I used shows the wrong font in some cases - and this also depends on the browser. The IExplorer browser seems to return the best results though it's extremely slow in rendering. Chrome and Firefox are fast, but show some wrong fonts.
I have only tested it on Windows, don't how it looks on MacOS yet.
But a little improvement anyway... script optimizations and fixing the font bug are the next step.
updatewithfonts.jpg
updatewithfonts.jpg (108.07 KiB) Viewed 4652 times

qanunji
Posts: 20
Joined: 15 Dec 2015, 21:15

Re: Text fonts in musical scores

Post by qanunji » 28 Dec 2016, 21:01

Jan, just saying thanks for your hard work

User avatar
OCTO
Posts: 1056
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 06:52
Location: Sweden

Re: Text fonts in musical scores

Post by OCTO » 28 Dec 2016, 21:15

I get it out on my Samsung tablet. Great!

But, since any font can be used as a textual font, isn't it a bit waste of energy to list ANY available (or unavailable) font?
I would definitely go for some free alternatives at the first place, and give some recomendations. I have seen many terrible font combinations and as well I did some mistakes earlier.

/p.s. Comic Sans is my "favourite" font.
Freelance Composer. Self-Publisher.
Finale 25 • Sibelius 8 • MuseScore 2 • Logic Pro X • Ableton Live 9 • Digital Performer 9 /// OS X El Capitan, (side system: Debian 9, Windows 7)

User avatar
jan
Posts: 69
Joined: 22 Jun 2016, 08:29

Re: Text fonts in musical scores

Post by jan » 28 Dec 2016, 21:27

As I said above, it's not ANY available text font, but only those that I found in existing PDF scores, notation programs or threads on musical text fonts.
But I will definitely make the list sortable in a few ways (Suggestions ? e.g. Serif/Sans, Handwritten/Classic, Text Font/Title Font/Lyrics Font/Rehearsal Mark Font, Free/Commercial, installed/not installed ), so that it's easier to find those that make more sense.
When it's done, I would also try to compile a free text font collection and put it on the website for download (suggestions also welcome).

I have now added three examples:
A title (Symphony No.5), a few dynamic expressions (rendered in the same font with style bold italic) and expressive text.

Jan

benwiggy
Posts: 174
Joined: 11 Apr 2016, 19:42

Re: Text fonts in musical scores

Post by benwiggy » 30 Dec 2016, 09:04

It might be very nice to have a list of what typefaces the leading publishing houses use. Even if they are customized versions of common typefaces.

But I suspect that a list of text typefaces that people use might be very large. And the larger the list, the less useful it becomes.

qanunji
Posts: 20
Joined: 15 Dec 2015, 21:15

Re: Text fonts in musical scores

Post by qanunji » 31 Dec 2016, 12:08

mmm, the link dosn't work anymore

Post Reply