Half-note (Minim) notehead shape

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benwiggy
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Joined: 11 Apr 2016, 19:42

Half-note (Minim) notehead shape

Post by benwiggy »

Following on from recent discussions about the shape of the half-note's notehead, I thought I'd start a new thread specifically on that subject.

I've compared some other fonts I have. Here is Partita, which I think was a direct scan of SCORE glyphs (hence the blocky edges); Wess's Vintage GHMA, which is based on old Henle forms; Vienna (which is also SCORE-based, I think); Stockholm plate, and Oslo: all from Georges at MuseGraph.

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All but Partita and Oslo have minims that are larger than the black noteheads. The SCORE-based forms have a more rectangular hole, rather than an ellipse.
Oslo, to me, looks more like something that would suit a handwritten font. It's much more 'two sweeping pen strokes'.

The width measurements are all in font units (1000ths of an em), where 250 is 1 space. So 315 units is 1.26 spaces; 330 units is 1.32 spaces; 345 is 1.38 spaces.

Here's Bravura, Finale Maestro, Finale Engraver, Leland, and Sebastian.

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Interestingly, Finale Maestro is the only one here that's larger than the black notehead. Engraver is a monster, coming in at 358 units (1.43 spaces). Sebastian and Engraver both have slight 'peaks' in the middle of the outer curves, which I'm not entirely wedded to. Leland once again shows that any 'inspiration' from SCORE has been subsequently revised.

The angle of the 'hole' is too elevated in Sebastian, currently. I need to make it shallower with the horizon, and make the hole's shape straighter at the sides for longer.

benwiggy
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Joined: 11 Apr 2016, 19:42

Re: Half-note (Minim) notehead shape

Post by benwiggy »

Well, I've spent some time making a few adjustments: a slight increase in width, to 329 (thus the same width as Bravura); in contrast to 320 for the black notehead.
Smoothing the outer curves, and making the cut-out shape straighter at the sides, with tighter curves at the end. Shallower angle, too.
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I really think it works well: the minims look slightly bigger than the black noteheads -- certainly no smaller, and it doesn't affect the spacing of existing work.
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I've uploaded the change to github, so Sebastian v1.08 is ready for use. (Also includes another Finale-specific glyph, and a few other tiny tweaks.

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tisimst
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Re: Half-note (Minim) notehead shape

Post by tisimst »

Nice work, benwiggy! Looks like a very effective change that really should improve ledgibility.
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OCTO
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Re: Half-note (Minim) notehead shape

Post by OCTO »

It really looks very nice, benwiggy, and also a good comparison.

What IF you do even smaller the white space inside of the minim in New Sebastian? By smaller I mean just to change the size of the inner circle (centered), for about 10-15%. I think the effect of legibility could be even greater (only my guess).
Freelance Composer. Self-Publisher.
Finale 25.5 • Sibelius 2020.12• MuseScore 3 • Logic Pro X+ • Ableton Live 10+ • Digital Performer 9 /// MacOS Mojave (secondary in use systems: Fedora 35, Windows 10)

benwiggy
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Re: Half-note (Minim) notehead shape

Post by benwiggy »

Yes. I'll try. It might depend on the optical size, e.g. large or small staff height.

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Fred G. Unn
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Re: Half-note (Minim) notehead shape

Post by Fred G. Unn »

Looks nice Ben! So the glyph is exactly the same width as Bravura now? So it could be swapped in the Notehead Set without any horizontal change in the music at all?

benwiggy
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Re: Half-note (Minim) notehead shape

Post by benwiggy »

Yes, you could swap it in (though you might have to manually set the stem anchors). TBH, even if you swapped in a glyph of a different width, the differences are so small that there is usually sufficient 'play' in any given system to accommodate them.

Even if you swapped in Engraver for Bravura, you'd need more than 8 minims on the line to gain 1 extra space on the system.

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OCTO
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Re: Half-note (Minim) notehead shape

Post by OCTO »

benwiggy, what software do you use for it? Can you export that glyph as a FontForge file? Or just a font?
Freelance Composer. Self-Publisher.
Finale 25.5 • Sibelius 2020.12• MuseScore 3 • Logic Pro X+ • Ableton Live 10+ • Digital Performer 9 /// MacOS Mojave (secondary in use systems: Fedora 35, Windows 10)

benwiggy
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Re: Half-note (Minim) notehead shape

Post by benwiggy »

I use FontLab, which can export to a variety of formats that others, including FontForge, can read. The "UFO" file in the Sebastian github repository should be readable by FontForge.

FontLab is "the Finale of fonts". It's a bit clunky, with a terrible interface, and various legacy issues, but it's very capable, once you've learnt it...! :lol:

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