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17th Century moveably type font

Posted: 18 May 2019, 15:32
by benwiggy
Someone has made a font that 'emulates' the moveable type used to print music in the late 16th and 17th centuries: not for your notation app, but in any standard word processor.

Music type used to consist of a single piece of metal that contained the note at a given pitch and the staff lines in one form. (Which is why the staff lines are so bumpy, uneven and almost 'dashed'.)

https://www.earlymusicsources.com/more/font-serenissima

Part of me likes the idea, and that it might be useful for illustrative examples in academic papers; and the other part thinks that if you're going to produce something that looks exactly like a 16th-century partbook, then why not just use a photo of the original? :lol:

Re: 17th Century moveably type font

Posted: 19 May 2019, 20:15
by bicinium
Ah, sorry, I didn't notice this thread and made one elsewhere, with an example: http://notat.io/viewtopic.php?f=7&p=6395

Apart from me geeking out, it would be very useful in case you composed something that you wanted to have performed in a Renaissance HIP style; it puts singers in the right mood instantaneously. Also, it might help certain people take the music more seriously rather than dismiss it because of being "under-notated".

But mostly, it gives you a visceral experience of how absurd this method is historically and how crappy it looks... then again, punching individual notes into a copper plate in mirror image at a rate of 8 hours per page isn't really that awesome either.

Re: 17th Century moveably type font

Posted: 20 May 2019, 04:34
by Schonbergian
We have scores for a reason. Part-books for singers were phased out for a reason. If we can at all obtain the context, it is unbelievably helpful.

I see this as useful for historical work and goofing around only, and I say that as a singer who predominantly works in Renaissance music nowadays. I would not be impressed if you gave me a newly engraved partbook with this font to read.

Re: 17th Century moveably type font

Posted: 20 May 2019, 07:25
by bicinium
Schonbergian wrote:
20 May 2019, 04:34
I would not be impressed if you gave me a newly engraved partbook with this font to read.
Well technically it's newly typeset, not newly engraved ;)

OK, point taken regarding unneeded skeuomorphism and the superiority of scores. Scores are possible but very impractical due to the need for blank pieces in order to align the parts etc. But at least the font is useful for cover/promotional material and for facsimiles in case the original is damaged or poorly digitized...

Re: 17th Century moveably type font

Posted: 20 May 2019, 13:44
by benwiggy
I have the IM FELL typefaces (free downloads), which are similarly based on 17th Century Text typefaces. They would work well with Serenissima. Again, I only use them for simulating old pages and deliberate 'antique' effects.
bicinium wrote:
20 May 2019, 07:25
Scores are possible but very impractical due to the need for blank pieces in order to align
Here's a "16th-century score" I made ages ago, as a 'proof of concept'.
http://ancientgroove.co.uk/freebies/tallissalvator1.pdf