Scalable Vector Graphics (inkscape, illustrator)

Recommendations concerning notation and publishing software in a non-partisan environment.
AlanPerrin
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Re: Scalable Vector Graphics (inkscape, illustrator)

Post by AlanPerrin »

OCTO wrote:
10 Jan 2021, 21:24
AlanPerrin wrote:
10 Jan 2021, 14:18
I know that Jacques Zafra (https://jacqueszafra.wixsite.com/composer) uses Adobe Illustrator for making all parts of his scores:
zafra_forpiccolo.jpg

And for anyone interested he even has a few videos (in spanish) in a playlist about using Illustrator:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdhLOLM ... UY9bw3m5fF
Ok, but this is far from a standard notation. The fact is that a very few, if any, of the engraving rules is applied to it, such would be music spacing ratios, beaming, lines and curves, symbol sizes etc etc.

For the score above I could comment more, but in short it is unnecessary "strange" notated.

I think you need to expand your definition of standard notation. We are now in 2021, Penderecki's Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima is 61 years old, so I would argue that proportionate notation is very much a part of standard notation.

I would have to strongly disagree with you that very few engraving rules are applied to Zafra's work. You seem to be singularly focused on the engraving rules for metered rhythm (which for a musical example using proportional notation seems a rather moot point). Engraving encompasses ALL facets of music notation from mensural notation to modern staff notation (and everything in-between).
To appropriately evaluate a notation or engraving process we cannot escape the philosophical and aesthetic approach to music which is evident in the notation.

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OCTO
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Re: Scalable Vector Graphics (inkscape, illustrator)

Post by OCTO »

AlanPerrin wrote:
11 Jan 2021, 12:07
I think you need to expand your definition of standard notation. We are now in 2021, Penderecki's Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima is 61 years old, so I would argue that proportionate notation is very much a part of standard notation.
Actually, it is not the standard notation. It is not me who defines it, but it is defined by the music engraving standards found in numerous books of the standard notation practices. These books are written by scholars in the field of music notation. There are numerous dissertations and thesis on the subject as well.
Why don't you call the Byzantine notation "the standard" as well? It is "the standard" for the byzantine music only, so it is specific, as Penderecki's is specific. You can notate the byzantine music in the standard 5-line staff measured notation. You can do it as well with the "Threnody". Penderecki self told me that he didn't see the way out from the music he wrote at that period. So he moved back into the standard notation.

Standard notation is what we collectively use within Finale/Sibelius/Dorico/Musescore, etc., but not limited to it.

Than, what about me using "wordpad" for "the standard music notation"? I don't need "finale" nor "illustrator", I can use "wordpad" for notation:
Pauline Oliveros "In consideration of the Earth": https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EmtxUwWXIAA ... name=small
George Brecht "Three seed events": https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Eptn8r5XcAE ... name=small
AlanPerrin wrote:
11 Jan 2021, 12:07
I would have to strongly disagree with you that very few engraving rules are applied to Zafra's work.
Ok then, what rules are applied? List some of them, and what rules they conform.
IMO, the score is heavily unbalanced.
I would love to see how are in Oliveros' piece above the engraving rules applied too.
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AlanPerrin
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Re: Scalable Vector Graphics (inkscape, illustrator)

Post by AlanPerrin »

OCTO wrote:
12 Jan 2021, 08:25
Actually, it is not the standard notation. It is not me who defines it, but it is defined by the music engraving standards found in numerous books of the standard notation practices. These books are written by scholars in the field of music notation. There are numerous dissertations and thesis on the subject as well.
My counter-argument would be that it is published music which sets the standard. Why not go to the source material for these books?
Elaine Gould's Behind Bars (2011) cover's Proportional Spacing (Time-Space Notation) pp.629-640.
David Cope's Techniques of the contemporary composer (1997) pp. 94-98 addressed proportional notation.
Kurt Stone's Music Notation in the Twentieth Century: A Practical Guidebook (1980) pp.96-103 looks at spacial/proportional
notation.
Gardner Read's Modern Rhythmic Notation (1978) pp. 116-122 look's at a few types of 'optically notated music'.

Or articles on the subject of notation:
Pace, I. (2009). Notation, Time and the Performer’s Relationship to the Score in Contemporary Music. In: D. Crispin (Ed.), Unfolding Time. (pp. 151-192). Leuven University Press. ISBN 9789058677358
Cohen, Dalia, and Ruth Katz. “The Interdependence of Notation Systems and Musical Information.” Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council, vol. 11, 1979, pp. 100–113. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/767567.
Evarts, John. “The New Musical Notation: A Graphic Art?” Leonardo, vol. 1, no. 4, 1968, pp. 405–412. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1571989.
Behrman, David. “What Indeterminate Notation Determines.” Perspectives of New Music, vol. 3, no. 2, 1965, pp. 58–73. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/832504.

But I would contest the idea that we should use academic books and articles blindly. The purpose of academic research is a journey, not a destination. Anything which posits claims which can't be scrutinised or re-evaluated is pseudoscience.
OCTO wrote:
12 Jan 2021, 08:25
Why don't you call the Byzantine notation "the standard" as well? It is "the standard" for the byzantine music only, so it is specific, as Penderecki's is specific. You can notate the byzantine music in the standard 5-line staff measured notation. You can do it as well with the "Threnody". Penderecki self told me that he didn't see the way out from the music he wrote at that period. So he moved back into the standard notation.
I don't quite understand your point here. Maybe I wasn't clear in my previous point.
When I wrote
AlanPerrin wrote:
11 Jan 2021, 12:07
Engraving encompasses ALL facets of music notation from mensural notation to modern staff notation (and everything in-between).
I didn't mean to say that now everything is "standard notation", but rather historical context is important when considering what was/is the standard notation. That is to say, looking at the notation of a Josquin mass in terms of its implementation of a notational standard by 18th-century music standards is ineffectual, which I believe the reverse to be equally true. In other words, it's a futile exercise to examine the notation used by Julius Eastman by the notational standards of Frederic Chopin.
OCTO wrote:
12 Jan 2021, 08:25
Than, what about me using "wordpad" for "the standard music notation"? I don't need "finale" nor "illustrator", I can use "wordpad" for notation:
Pauline Oliveros "In consideration of the Earth": https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EmtxUwWXIAA ... name=small
George Brecht "Three seed events": https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Eptn8r5XcAE ... name=small
That is a really interesting point. And one which raises as a lot of questions as to the ontological status of music (that is the distinction between the musical work and the musical score). It is this very question that makes notation and engraving such a rich topic for discussion.
Of course, there is no answer to the question. However, I would highlight my last point:
AlanPerrin wrote:
11 Jan 2021, 12:07
To appropriately evaluate a notation or engraving process we cannot escape the philosophical and aesthetic approach to music which is
evident in the notation.
Text scores, as in graphic scores, have a clear aesthetic approach. The point at which they can be seen as the standard notation is probably on the horizon. Universal Edition publishes Steve Reich's Pendulum Music:
https://www.universaledition.com/pendul ... ve-ue16155
OCTO wrote:
12 Jan 2021, 08:25
AlanPerrin wrote:
11 Jan 2021, 12:07
I would have to strongly disagree with you that very few engraving rules are applied to Zafra's work.
Ok then, what rules are applied? List some of them, and what rules they conform.
-Modern staff notation for the treble clef.
-We can see notation for a quarter-tone equal-tempered tuning system.
-Accidentals carry across the bar.
- Extended techniques are represented in Stems which appears to be a notation of the composers own creation.
-We see the use of an action-Based music and notation system in which the actions of playing an instrument are decoupled from one another (which to me says it is built upon innovations present in the works of Luigi Russolo, Berio, Lechenmann, and Franco Donatoni).
-And of course, the use of proportionate notation which as Read tells us "substitutes a geometric for a symbolistic representation of rhythm
and duration". In addition, we see that there are no temporal distinctions in notehead colour, rather durational values are present in the beams.

I am sure there are more things I could write regarding engraving rules utilized within the piece, but frankly, the composer would be the best person to speak to this.
OCTO wrote:
12 Jan 2021, 08:25
IMO, the score is heavily unbalanced.
Could you expand upon what you mean by unbalanced?
I myself think there are issues present in the notation, especially regarding the dynamics, I think the idea he trying to convey by using the lower grey dynamics could have been better executed. But surely that is the purpose of the composer's journey with notation, and from these experiments we have evolution to what will be standard notation.
OCTO wrote:
12 Jan 2021, 08:25
I would love to see how are in Oliveros' piece above the engraving rules applied too.
Regarding how engraving rules applied to Oliveros' and other composers text and or graphic scores. Again I would reiterate, to appropriately evaluate a notation or engraving process we cannot escape the philosophical and aesthetic approach to music which is evident in the notation.
Otherwise, we are just judging a fish by its ability to climb a tree.

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OCTO
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Re: Scalable Vector Graphics (inkscape, illustrator)

Post by OCTO »

AlanPerrin, your initial post was about "to achieve more distinct notation" - I understood that you want to notate something (even Beethoven) in 'illustrator' to achieve this goal. But I am not sure now.
If you want to do something else, to get another type of non-standard notation, than it is not a question of the software you use, but the way how it is presented.

And no, "penderecki threnody" is not The Standard Notation. Do we start learning music with "threnody"-type of notation? No. Do we start with Radulescu? No. Despite it is simpler notation than the standard notation.
I don't say it is not a well known, and established, and even today used notation. I don't say that.
Furthermore, you don't start the music education to learn how to write messiaen/boulez-type of ties, neither you do with henze-ties. Both are proven to make confusion, and used extremely rare in new scores, perhaps for pleasure or ideology. I would say that henze-ties are perhaps even abandoned today. If both are "the standard" why don't we start with this in music education?

Why don't we start teaching music with the proportional notation? Because it is not the standard. It is a special notation, called "proportional notation". In Gould's book it is on page no. 600, not on page no 30. And yes: to notate the proportional music is much easier than notating properly the standard notation, why - because with the standard notation the engraver has to master the calculus and geometry, the first among other virtues.

Since 1900 there have been several hundreds of "new notation proposals" - and many of them are totally forgotten, a very few of them are still in use. You can't call them "standard" because it is not. The subject above ("standard notation") I have discussed numerous times at my lectures on The Music Notation at the University for composition students. Of course, it doesn't automatically justify my position.
But to prove this I had sometimes students that ignored my appeal to master "the standard notation" first, in order to continue and use the non-standard and experimental notation. What happened is that they had a very much trouble with performing their pieces. I remember one student that wanted to write a "spatial notation" for string orchestra, but he refused to notate the references, even stems, beams, nothing just noteheads. The orchestra protested because they didn't know how to play it and he was forced to re-write it properly or it would not be performed. What he did is that he put his "ideology" above the functionality, and I fear your position is similar.

And about the picture above, which you have posted.
Well, it is a visual gymnastic more than musical practicality and functionality. I don't know if it is cut from a page and what is above, or under - no idea, neither I know the introduction (explanatory page) but as it stays I think:
  1. It looks like proportional notation, but proportional to what? The reference is missing. Shall I play the first note 2 seconds, or 2 hours, or 2 days? No idea, but this changes music drastically.
  2. Why are stems so long? Why they are so unbalanced (fat)? There is absolutely no need to have this visual information placed to far away from the staff, making an optical discrepancy, and not easy to read.
  3. The problem with notes and accidentals: to tiny accidentals are fine on 600% zoom in 'illustrator', but it doesn't work - they are too small and the spacing is extremely poor. The design of accidentals is not well done, it is hard to read, too thin and vertically compressed - that cannot stand out from the horizontal staff lines.
    I am not sure if all these circle-noteheads are real or performed by a special technique, but if they are real, this way makes it very hard to read, because they look like dropping out from the page.
  4. Having opaque any musical symbol is an adventure. If you perform the piece by heart, studied for weeks, could be at least acceptable, but in any live performance using the score, a tiny change in lighting will completely obscure that nuances and the "ideology" will be smashed by the functionality.
  5. Tiny and sans and non-italic fonts for dynamics is equally weak idea that causes a lot of trouble for musicians, because they are too similar and too narrow spaced. Indeed there are such attempts to use sans in the music notation even historically, but it is proven that it doesn't work well. Why - because the visual perception of the standard symbols such as :forte :piano is much better than with other types. And no, this is not "because of musicians used to see these" but because they evolved during hundreds of years to be visually precepted quickest within music reading. This piece will not sound less modern if the standard symbols are used, there will not be any sound difference.
  6. As with long stems, the dynamics are placed too far away. Together with the font issue, this is extremely tedious to read.
  7. Some symbols are very small, making it difficult to read; example: arrow between stems (above the first quarter-E) and if I didn't zoom it I wouldn't see it. As said, it looks nice at 600% in 'illustrator', but printed - no.
In my opinion, this score is a very common example of graphical excursion were numerous problems are not solved properly. What I can hear in my head (I imagine a violin) this could be done in a more standardized notation, without loosing any single aspect of the music itself as a sound. Working in 'illustrator' at the high zoom will, for those unexperienced, result in many obstacles for the future performers: the copyist will see at the 600% zoom and the grey colors will be a good new idea, but very difficult for musicians in real life. The composer has put the "ideology" (no philosophy!) above the usability, practicality, standardization and even above the music. Why music - because the best notation is achieved when it is written at the simplest possible level but completely retaining the maximum of the musical idea.
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RMK
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Re: Scalable Vector Graphics (inkscape, illustrator)

Post by RMK »

@Octo: Very well said, and I agree 200%!

Once, when I was an orchestral librarian, a composer submitted a work that had many of the problems you mentioned. When I pointed this out to him he replied that he couldn't be bothered with lazy musicians who couldn't figure it out for themselves, and that his artistic license was more important than any practical issues.

Needless to say, the work was never performed...

If there is no way to notate an idea in standard notation, then I say go for it, but explain carefully what you want. Otherwise, why re-invent the wheel?

AlanPerrin
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Re: Scalable Vector Graphics (inkscape, illustrator)

Post by AlanPerrin »

OCTO wrote:
15 Jan 2021, 10:53
AlanPerrin, your initial post was about "to achieve more distinct notation" - I understood that you want to notate something (even Beethoven) in 'illustrator' to achieve this goal.
You would be correct. I was interested in seeing what people were doing. I imagine there are a myriad of different musical interests within the forum and wanted to cast a wide net to see what people were doing outside of the usual Sibelius, Finale, Dorico etc.
OCTO wrote:
15 Jan 2021, 10:53
Why don't we start teaching music with the proportional notation? Because it is not the standard. It is a special notation, called "proportional notation". In Gould's book it is on page no. 600, not on page no 30. And yes: to notate the proportional music is much easier than notating properly the standard notation, why - because with the standard notation the engraver has to master the calculus and geometry, the first among other virtues.
I don't believe we can equate the starting level at which we learn to the standard. I wouldn't expect a beginner maths class to start with gaussian distribution, why should I expect the same in my music class. Surely the purpose of educational trajectory is to move forward not backwards.

My main issue is with the assertion that what could be considered to be our current notation standard is being confined to a rhythmic notation which doesn't encompass a great number of works. Ergo, it can not be considered standard by the definition of the word.

Any composer worth their salt will know that working with the performers (and finding the right performers) is vital in achieving good performances. I would like to think I am a fairly open composer, and like to find the right notation to best communicate my idea. However, I personally have found that this comes out of a collaboration with the performer. Just because one (or more) performer(s) are unable/unwilling to perform a piece doesn't rule out that work. Just think of the many examples of music that were once thought impossible:
Wagner: Tristan und Isolde
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1
Paganini: 24 Caprices
(I am sure you could add a great many more to this list)

I greatly appreciate your comments on the Zafra piece. There are a lot of very interesting points and ones which I think are important to consider when using Illustrator or any other vector graphics software. There is a big difference between what we see on a computer screen and the performer sees in a printed score.

I would be very interested in seeing what you consider to be an example of the best notation practice?

AlanPerrin
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Re: Scalable Vector Graphics (inkscape, illustrator)

Post by AlanPerrin »

RMK wrote:
15 Jan 2021, 15:00
If there is no way to notate an idea in standard notation, then I say go for it, but explain carefully what you want. Otherwise, why re-invent the wheel?
I totally agree. If each composer finds a solution to an individual problem, performers will have to learn the new notation system for each work.

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OCTO
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Re: Scalable Vector Graphics (inkscape, illustrator)

Post by OCTO »

AlanPerrin wrote:
15 Jan 2021, 18:16
I would be very interested in seeing what you consider to be an example of the best notation practice?
I would say, in a shortest possible way, that the best notation practice conforms all rules of music notation - without exception, and has a perfect B/W balance, which means that all items are perfectly perceptible and where nothing obscures the information needed for reading.

That obscuring would include both black and white spots. The Black obscuring is when an item takes too much power on a page which is not needed for perception, making other symbols more difficult to notice and execute. It can be also crowded spacing.
The white obscuring is when an item is obscured by too much white space around, which results in either too small symbol or too long distances between items. It can be also too much loose spacing.

"the best notation is achieved when it is written at the simplest possible level but completely retaining the maximum of the musical idea."
Freelance Composer. Self-Publisher.
Finale 25.5 • Sibelius 2020 • MuseScore 2+3 • Logic Pro X+ • Ableton Live 10+ • Digital Performer 9+ /// MacOS Mojave, (side systems: Fedora 32, Windows 10)

AlanPerrin
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Re: Scalable Vector Graphics (inkscape, illustrator)

Post by AlanPerrin »

@OCTO I would be very interested in seeing and hearing your own music. Is there somewhere online vendor or publisher I can find you?
If you don't wish to put your personal details in public you could send me a private message in the forum.

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