Typesetting em dashes in lyrics - best solution?

For those who need help with notation issues. (Please use the other available forums for help with software issues.)
Post Reply
Schonbergian
Posts: 163
Joined: 03 Feb 2017, 02:25
Location: Toronto

Typesetting em dashes in lyrics - best solution?

Post by Schonbergian » 10 Jul 2018, 02:04

I've been working on typesetting a hymn using a text from Newman's Verses on Various Occasions, which (unusually for a hymn text) uses full dashes, even over lines (for example, the first line of verse 2). I've struggled to typeset this properly and have arrived at what I thought was the obvious solution, yet still leaves me wanting more. I'm wondering if adding LilyPond's dashes (similarly to if a multi-syllable word was broken across multiple notes with space in between the lyrics, as can be seen in other areas of the score) would be a superior solution. I'm just not liking how the dash looks right now and feel that it should encompass more of the space between the lyrics it joins.
Attachments
newman.pdf
(127.22 KiB) Downloaded 69 times

User avatar
John Ruggero
Posts: 1281
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 14:25
Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: Typesetting em dashes in lyrics - best solution?

Post by John Ruggero » 10 Jul 2018, 15:04

Deleted post.
Last edited by John Ruggero on 11 Jul 2018, 02:34, edited 3 times 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

User avatar
liuscorne
Posts: 24
Joined: 09 Oct 2015, 21:13
Location: Erfurt, Germany

Re: Typesetting em dashes in lyrics - best solution?

Post by liuscorne » 10 Jul 2018, 16:32

In modern book typography, the first case would look like this:

[[American English: em dash, no space]]
Then would Thy name—the Just, the Merciful—
Strange dubious ...

[[British English: en dash, space before and after dash; in the example below the en dash looks rather short, it should be longer than a hyphen]]
Then would Thy name – the Just, the Merciful –
Strange dubious ...

I'm not sure how to deal with them in a score. The way they are used now is confusing (John thought they were extenders) and looks wrong judging from a typographical point of view. You might try to keep the em dash and center it between the surrounding words (name — the) or add space before the em dash (Mer - ci - ful —). Since the dashes enclose a paranthesis, you might use commas instead of dashes.

In the second case (of heaven,—) I would simply add a space before the em dash.

Florian
Posts: 36
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 15:34

Re: Typesetting em dashes in lyrics - best solution?

Post by Florian » 18 Jul 2018, 09:52

Coming a bit late here… I agree with liuscorne, and I'd probably prefer to center the em dashes between the surrounding words. They are long enough to be easily discerned from hyphens.
I just wanted to add that in any case I would make sure the syllables or words are centered under the notes and not offset to the left because of the dashes.

Is there a particular reason for not using system brackets? Just curious.

Schonbergian
Posts: 163
Joined: 03 Feb 2017, 02:25
Location: Toronto

Re: Typesetting em dashes in lyrics - best solution?

Post by Schonbergian » 19 Jul 2018, 16:30

System brackets are not typically used within this context in modern hymnals.

Perfectly centering the dashes will take some work but seems like the best of a less-than-ideal group of solutions.

benwiggy
Posts: 186
Joined: 11 Apr 2016, 19:42

Re: Typesetting em dashes in lyrics - best solution?

Post by benwiggy » 31 Jul 2018, 12:25

I'm trying to think of another example, where I have seen em dashes used within lyric lines. And I can't come up with a single one. Which may be indicative of something in itself.

Post Reply