Community creates a textual font

Music notation symbols, fonts, font sources and font creation, SmuFL.
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OCTO
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Community creates a textual font

Post by OCTO » 13 Sep 2017, 12:43

Dear friends,
Can we build together a font that would be in use for music text (expressions, dynamics, articulation, technique...).
There are numerous threads that ask for that, yet everyone compromises with TNR on the end.

The new font would include roman an italics, with additional symbols that are common for musical scores.
Also a lyrics font.
Perhaps we could use FontForge for document exchange. And perhaps to start from a free font in order to avoid licensing issues.
Just thoughts.
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)

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liuscorne
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Re: Community creates a textual font

Post by liuscorne » 20 Sep 2017, 14:41

As I've said in another thread, it might be a suitable alternative to approach a professional type designer to create the kind of text font needed for music engraving. If it is based on a design that already exists and that only has to be tweaked for this particular purpose, it might be a good offer for individual type designers or small studios.

There are two names that come to mind:
(1) Frantisek Storm and his Hercules Text font
https://www.stormtype.com/families/hercules
(2) Nick Shinn and his Scotch Modern font
http://shinntype.com/typefaces/scotch-modern/

As to Octo's suggestion to start with a free font as the basis for the new design, this font might be a good starting point (at least it has the 19th-century style appropriate for music engraving):
https://www.fontsquirrel.com/fonts/old-standard-tt

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odod
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Re: Community creates a textual font

Post by odod » 20 Sep 2017, 15:00

i am happy with Nepomuk as my expression font plus my home made music font .. but this project surely an interesting one
Prelude_0001.png
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Last edited by odod on 21 Sep 2017, 00:51, edited 2 times in total.
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Schonbergian
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Re: Community creates a textual font

Post by Schonbergian » 20 Sep 2017, 18:28

I'll do my best to help out wherever I can, though this would be my first time working with fonts in any degree.

To be considered for use within my own publications, this font would require:
- Rounded edges similar to a font such as EB Garamond.
- Relatively low contrast (which works well with the above; non-rounded fat strokes look ugly)
- A wide variety of weights. A "Medium"-weight typeface would work well for general expressions and text, a heavier one would be needed for lyrics, and perhaps we could also create a version designed specifically for titling and other heading-type uses.
- Lining numbers, preferably in the "old style" (e.g. time signature-style numbers) as well as an option for the "new style".
- A dedicated small-caps variant.

Another possibility might be creating a few music symbols in a matching style (obviously not an entire music font, but some sharps and flats in the style of the text font would be quite useful in several scenarios)

In terms of a basis, I suggest we work from high-quality samples of recent publications. There are some fine fonts used in some of my scores from the 80s and 90s, and they might have the more modern style that many members here seem to prefer (although, of course, I wouldn't personally be opposed to something like the Peters lyric font in the other thread)

Knut
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Re: Community creates a textual font

Post by Knut » 21 Sep 2017, 09:05

As I'm already working hard on trying to meet the needs expressed in this and other threads, I unfortunately can't participate in a collective effort. Although, I'm starting to realize that I'll be out of work if I don't finish soon! :)

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OCTO
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Re: Community creates a textual font

Post by OCTO » 21 Sep 2017, 13:03

liuscorne wrote:
20 Sep 2017, 14:41
As to Octo's suggestion to start with a free font as the basis for the new design, this font might be a good starting point (at least it has the 19th-century style appropriate for music engraving):
https://www.fontsquirrel.com/fonts/old-standard-tt
Old Standard was my first choice for years, back in 2000. I am not sure why I abandoned it; I guess I wanted to have a more modern outlook and as well the difference between thin and bold parts of the font was unbalanced for music (=to read from a distance).

Maybe we can find that person in order to start with build? Or?
Schonbergian wrote:
20 Sep 2017, 18:28
To be considered for use within my own publications, this font would require:
I totally agree with all above mentioned and support it.
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)

Florian
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Re: Community creates a textual font

Post by Florian » 21 Sep 2017, 16:29

OCTO, this is a very interesting idea. I’d love to contribute!
I worked on a similar project on my own some years ago, but I gave it up in the end because I didn’t have enough time. (Odod, it’s nice to hear that somebody actually found and uses Nepomuk, even in it’s far from finished state!)

Judging from my own experiences in this area I agree that it would probably be best to approach a professional type designer. On the other hand, if we put our efforts together…?
As for an existing free font to start with: don’t we all agree that Century Schoolbook is very suitable font? I’m not a big fan of Old Std for music notation either. Century Schoolbook is quite solid and doesn’t have too much contrast. It’s rather too wide in my opinion, though. We could produce a condensed version as a start. And of course the italic face would have to be modified quite a bit. I think there are a few free Century Schoolbook variants, here’s one: https://www.fontsquirrel.com/fonts/tex-gyre-schola. Daniel Spreadbury’s Academico that comes with Dorico is another.

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tisimst
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Re: Community creates a textual font

Post by tisimst » 21 Sep 2017, 16:33

This is a cool idea! Let me know if I can help in any way.
Music Typeface Designer & Engraver - LilyPond | Sibelius | Finale | MuseScore | Dorico | SMuFL | Inkscape | FontForge
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liuscorne
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Re: Community creates a textual font

Post by liuscorne » 21 Sep 2017, 19:02

Florian wrote:
21 Sep 2017, 16:29
As for an existing free font to start with: don’t we all agree that Century Schoolbook is very suitable font? I’m not a big fan of Old Std for music notation either. Century Schoolbook is quite solid and doesn’t have too much contrast. It’s rather too wide in my opinion, though. We could produce a condensed version as a start. And of course the italic face would have to be modified quite a bit.
Interesting to see how people feel about Century Schoolbook and Old Standard. For me it's the other way around: For some reason, I never liked Century Schoolbook. Even though it comes from the same 19th-century tradition, to me, it doesn't look right for music engraving. Old Standard, on the other hand, looks right – granted that it is too thin and has too much contrast in its current form. But I would have thought that this could be fixed much more easily than making Century Schoolbook more condensed. But I might be wrong.

Florian
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Re: Community creates a textual font

Post by Florian » 21 Sep 2017, 23:24

liuscorne wrote:
21 Sep 2017, 19:02
Old Standard, on the other hand, looks right – granted that it is too thin and has too much contrast in its current form. But I would have thought that this could be fixed much more easily than making Century Schoolbook more condensed. But I might be wrong.
You're probably right that it would be easier to reduce the contrast of Old Std than to make Century Schoolbook more condensed. I didn't look at it that way.

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