Case of the Disappearing Slur

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Knut
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Re: Case of the Disappearing Slur

Post by Knut » 04 Aug 2017, 19:51

I completely agree as well.

Dorico's slurs leave a lot to be desired, both aesthetically and with regard to ease of tweaking. In both regards, Finale is far superior.

However, to expect Dorico to adjust the center point according to the interval/steepness of the slur angle might be too much, as I don't know how easy it would be to develop an algorithm for this.

Also, while I think John's adjustments are fine, and certainly far superior to the default slurs, I do think the offsets are somewhat overdone. I would suggest not going beyond a 45° offset from the top of the notehead, and make sure the slurs always encompasses ledger lines:
Skjermbilde 2017-08-04 kl. 21.40.58.png
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John Ruggero
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Re: Case of the Disappearing Slur

Post by John Ruggero » 05 Aug 2017, 02:36

Knut, I like the greater consistency produced by your 45 degree rule, the rule about the ledger lines—all of which I will incorporate. I also see that you are keeping the lower slur tip centered over the note head. Were the note heads even closer than in your example, I would tend to move the lower tip to the left a little, so that the slur gives more the impression of encompassing the two notes, and the slur curvature is not too extreme. I don't care for the look of a slur piercing the note head perpendicularly. I prefer that the slur look as if it is growing out of the curved left side of the first note head and merging into the right side of the last.

Your comment concerning the Dorico slurs is disappointing; I was hoping that you would report greater success with the new versions. i am looking forward to experimenting with Dorico in the near future; but this one aspect would make it a non-starter for actual work.
Last edited by John Ruggero on 05 Aug 2017, 15:06, edited 1 time in total.
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Knut
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Re: Case of the Disappearing Slur

Post by Knut » 05 Aug 2017, 10:36

John Ruggero wrote:
05 Aug 2017, 02:36
I also see that you are keeping the lower slur tip centered over the note head. Were the note heads even closer than your example, I would tend to move the lower tip to the left a little, so that the slur gives more the impression of encompassing the two notes, and the slur curvature is not too extreme.
You're right that at a more extreme angle it would be appropriate to move the lower tip slightly to the left as well. In this case however, I think the appropriate offset would be too minute to bother with.
John Ruggero wrote:
05 Aug 2017, 02:36
I don't care for the look of a slur piercing the note head perpendicularly. I prefer that the slur look as if it is growing out of the curved left side of the first note head and merging into the right side of the last.
I agree with this principle, and that perfect perpendicularity is never appropriate for slurs. However, slurs are usually cut more perpendicular than in my example, but this shape is quite difficult to simulate in Finale.

Punched slurs, OTOH, which are sometimes used in these cases, have a much more defined curve and would need a greater offset to look centered. I like to think that my adjustments fall somewhere in between.
John Ruggero wrote:
05 Aug 2017, 02:36
Your comment concerning the Dorico slurs is disappointing; I was hoping that you would report greater success with the new versions. i am looking forward to experimenting with Dorico in the near future; but this one aspect would make it a non-starter for actual work.
To my knowledge there hasn't been any changes in this regard in the recent updates. Even though you and I feel that the shapes of Finale's slurs are far superior, I suspect that the majority of the Dorico community does not feel the same. As Schonbergian points out, the shapes of Dorico's slurs are quite similar to those produced by Sibelius. This isn't at all surprising, but, I think, makes them far inferior to the «real thing».

Dorico surpasses Finale with regard to automation, multiple slur arcs and flat slurs, but falls short in the fundamentals of shape and adjustability, which I think you'll agree is more important from an engraving standpoint. Unlike Finale, Dorico lacks the ability to rotate the entire slur shape, which can make manual adjustments a lot more difficult and tedious, even to the point that you'll have to settle for the defaults.

Schonbergian
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Re: Case of the Disappearing Slur

Post by Schonbergian » 05 Aug 2017, 13:59

A go with LilyPond, showing both the default and my (amateur) attempt at an improvement.
Attachments
slurs_default.png
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John Ruggero
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Re: Case of the Disappearing Slur

Post by John Ruggero » 05 Aug 2017, 15:19

You describe an unfortunate situation regarding Dorico, Knut, and one that I have feared. Finale has enough limitations, one doesn't need more.

Thanks, Schonbergian, it is always nice to get the Lilypond perspective. Its interesting that Lilypond also shortens the slurs in this situation. I find your improvement completely satisfying and exactly what I think should happen with the lower slur tips when the notes are very close together. I note that the upper tips follow Knut''s rules which works very well. I note also that the Lilypond defaults for note stems, ledger lines and slur tips are quite thick. The slurs themselves are superior to Dorico in proportion and shape, and I think it has been established previously at Notat.io that they can equal Finale's with changes to the default settings.
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odod
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Re: Case of the Disappearing Slur

Post by odod » 05 Aug 2017, 16:36

Here's my attempt on sibelius ..
tryout.png
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Schonbergian
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Re: Case of the Disappearing Slur

Post by Schonbergian » 05 Aug 2017, 17:00

John Ruggero wrote:
05 Aug 2017, 15:19
You describe an unfortunate situation regarding Dorico, Knut, and one that I have feared. Finale has enough limitations, one doesn't need more.

Thanks, Schonbergian, it is always nice to get the Lilypond perspective. Its interesting that Lilypond also shortens the slurs in this situation. I find your improvement completely satisfying and exactly what I think should happen with the lower slur tips when the notes are very close together. I note that the upper tips follow Knut''s rules which works very well. I note also that the Lilypond defaults for note stems, ledger lines and slur tips are quite thick. The slurs themselves are superior to Dorico in proportion and shape, and I think it has been established previously at Notat.io that they can equal Finale's with changes to the default settings.
The ledger lines are my personal default (as I think they should be clearly distinguishable from staff lines to aid counting above or below the staff) and I'm using one of Abraham's excellent fonts, but the rest of the elements you pointed out are indeed default. (This is also with a reduced staff size to 5.6mm, which is accompanied by a corresponding increase in line weight) In my experience, LilyPond can get away with thicker slurs because the edges are rounded; since Dorico does not do this (and has other unattractive elements carried over from Sibelius), the thicker slurs lack elegance.

Florian
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Re: Case of the Disappearing Slur

Post by Florian » 05 Aug 2017, 21:55

Knut wrote:
05 Aug 2017, 10:36
To my knowledge there hasn't been any changes in this regard in the recent updates. Even though you and I feel that the shapes of Finale's slurs are far superior, I suspect that the majority of the Dorico community does not feel the same. As Schonbergian points out, the shapes of Dorico's slurs are quite similar to those produced by Sibelius. This isn't at all surprising, but, I think, makes them far inferior to the «real thing».
I agree that Dorico's slurs are not perfect. John's slur experiments file reveals many weaknesses indeed. But both thickness and (the truly ugly default) proportions can be changed globally, with good results. Quite a few manual adjustments are necessary and sometimes slurs are drawn in absurd shapes for no apparent reason, but after spending some time with the engraving options, the overall impression is not remotely as bad as it is when you look at slurs produced with the factory presets.
(For what it's worth, I even prefer the base shape of Dorico's slurs to the one of Finale's slurs. By not continually decreasing the thickness between the middle and the endpoint it gets closer to the look of manually engraved slurs. But I think that more presets are needed than just two (extreme short and long slurs with interpolation in between) in order to achieve good default results for all possible slur lengths. Also... etc. etc. The wishlist is long for all areas of the program. I guess the focus of development is now on implementing broadly needed notation features (e.g. cue notes) rather than on challenging Finale's flexibility in terms of engraving subtleties. Dorico is probably years away from rightfully bearing that self acclaimed title 'Gold Standard of Notation Software'. Nevertheless I am impressed by Dorico's concept and by what they have achieved so far. Let's give them time.)
Knut wrote:
05 Aug 2017, 10:36
Dorico lacks the ability to rotate the entire slur shape, which can make manual adjustments a lot more difficult and tedious, even to the point that you'll have to settle for the defaults.
This is not true. As of version 1.1, you can rotate and scale slurs by pressing ALT and dragging one of the endpoints.

Knut
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Re: Case of the Disappearing Slur

Post by Knut » 05 Aug 2017, 23:35

Florian wrote:
05 Aug 2017, 21:55
I agree that Dorico's slurs are not perfect. John's slur experiments file reveals many weaknesses indeed. But both thickness and (the truly ugly default) proportions can be changed globally, with good results. Quite a few manual adjustments are necessary and sometimes slurs are drawn in absurd shapes for no apparent reason, but after spending some time with the engraving options, the overall impression is not remotely as bad as it is when you look at slurs produced with the factory presets.
(For what it's worth, I even prefer the base shape of Dorico's slurs to the one of Finale's slurs. By not continually decreasing the thickness between the middle and the endpoint it gets closer to the look of manually engraved slurs. But I think that more presets are needed than just two (extreme short and long slurs with interpolation in between) in order to achieve good default results for all possible slur lengths. Also... etc. etc. The wishlist is long for all areas of the program. I guess the focus of development is now on implementing broadly needed notation features (e.g. cue notes) rather than on challenging Finale's flexibility in terms of engraving subtleties. Dorico is probably years away from rightfully bearing that self acclaimed title 'Gold Standard of Notation Software'. Nevertheless I am impressed by Dorico's concept and by what they have achieved so far. Let's give them time.)
I don't disagree with how the Dorico team is prioritizing. It's undoubtedly a wise decision to nail down the broader feature set before concentrating on the details. With that said, there's no reason why the slurs couldn't have been done right initially; not so much in terms of settings or functionality (which I'm very glad to hear has been improved in a major way in version 1.1.), but in terms of how the application draws the basic shapes. This isn't something that can be sufficiently improved upon with the settings you mention, unfortunately.

My main complaint about the Dorico slur shapes is not the thickness or the lack of settings for different lengths, but rather the way they aren't tapered all the way to the ends. This creates very ugly shapes in many cases, regardless of the settings used. Finale's slurs, OTOH, are drawn in such a way that the setting for the tip width affects just that, the tip, while the slur thickness setting affects the width of the entire rest of the shape. This creates a much more authentic and dynamic slur shape, suitable for all lengths (except perhaps for the very shortest) and arcs.

Florian
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Re: Case of the Disappearing Slur

Post by Florian » 06 Aug 2017, 08:30

I see, Knut. I misunderstood you then, sorry about that.

It's interesting to hear that you dislike the basic slur shape in Dorico, because this is something I liked very much from the start. I think in many cases it looks more like hand cut slurs than the perfectly tapered shapes of Finale slurs. I can see your point though. The current shape doesn't work for very short slurs, these are indeed ugly and I hope some improvement will come there.

It would be interesting to hear what others think about this.

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