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Dr. Wiggy
Early music: modern methods



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   Posted 11/15/2016 5:18 AM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Choosing a font for lyrics is one of the more fastidious parts of music notation. The font must be clear and legible, but not be so large as to displace the notes from their intended spacing. I've been trying to find the ideal lyric font for ... years. blush Here's my current list of candidates:

ITC Century Book Condensed: Perhaps a little too condensed, but one of the best for lyrics. Century Book (non-condensed) is very similar to New Century Schoolbook, both of which are a little too fat, causing note displacement, IMO. Possibly closest to Ricordi.

Times New Roman MT Condensed: Monotype's condensed style of TNR is very good. It's more compact and more legible than Finale Lyrics, which is also a condensed TNR.

Minion Pro Display: The "Display" styles of some of the openType fonts are slightly condensed, but not as much as the actual "Condensed" styles. Similarly, the "Caption" styles are slightly expanded: Minion Condensed Caption is therefore all but identical to Minion Display. ;)

Bulmer MT Display: This is the one I have just chosen for my house style. It's a very crisp, modern face, and the Display style has a nice metric that avoids displacing notes.

ITC Clearface: This works well, though it has a very particular, strong look, which is perhaps a bit informal. It might not sit well with other typefaces on the page. One publisher (can't remember) definitely uses it for their house style.

Bodoni Book, Monotype Modern Condensed: These modern faces are quite good, though the high contrast can sometimes be difficult to read at small sizes, when the lines are thin. (Conversely, other styles of these fonts may suffer from being too thick.)

Humanist typefaces like Bembo, Garamond tend to be 'square' (i.e. as wide as their x-height), so they frequently displace note spacing. ITC Garamond has a Condensed style, but the x-height is still quite small, which can affect legibility.

Palatino can also work well in uncramped conditions.

One other thing to remember is that Finale reduces the lyric size along with the staff reduction. A 16pt lyric on a 70% staff size will appear as 11.2pt, unless you set a Fixed size for your font. And of course some fonts appear smaller than others at the same point size.


Finale v.25.1, 2012 MacMini; 2012 MacBook Pro (10.11.6 / 10.12.1)
Edirol FA-66; Roland A-49, HP Laserjet 5200 DTN
Ancient Groove Music www.ancientgroove.co.uk

Post Edited (Dr. Wiggy) : 11/15/2016 4:21:11 AM (GMT-6)

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Vaughan
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   Posted 11/15/2016 6:49 AM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thanks for this, Wiggy! I'm a bit of a font geek, too. Over the years my preference has moved from Stempel Garamond to Minion Pro. The only problem I have with fonts like Minion Pro Display (or Bulmer or Bodoni) is, as you mentioned, the great difference between the thick and thin lines (contrast), making them more difficult to read at smaller point sizes. The difference between Minion Pro Regular and Condensed doesn't seem to be as great as with a font like Century Book or ITC Garamond, making it my choice. I'm still not much of a fan of TNR...


Vaughan

Finale 3.2 - 25, Sibelius 4 - 7
Patterson's plugins, Tobias' plugins, full version, waiting for Jari's plugin update
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Amsterdam

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Christopher Smith
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   Posted 11/15/2016 7:51 AM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Hey Wiggy!

Thanks for the list; it's very helpful, especially coming from someone with an eye and experience.

What do you think of TimesLyrics? Taller and bolder than Times, but it still matches if you are using Times New Roman elsewhere in the document.


Christopher Smith

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OCTO.
The radical answers.



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   Posted 11/15/2016 8:06 AM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Christopher Smith said...
Hey Wiggy!

Thanks for the list; it's very helpful, especially coming from someone with an eye and experience.

What do you think of TimesLyrics? Taller and bolder than Times, but it still matches if you are using Times New Roman elsewhere in the document.

Not asked me, but here is another fork: notat.io/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=184&start=10#p3804




Finale 2014.5 • OS X: Yosemite, MPB 15', 16GB RAM

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Dr. Wiggy
Early music: modern methods



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   Posted 11/15/2016 8:35 AM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Christopher Smith said...
What do you think of TimesLyrics? Taller and bolder than Times, but it still matches if you are using Times New Roman elsewhere in the document.

Vaughan said...
I'm still not much of a fan of TNR...


Mark Elder's Finale Lyrics is a good font to have bundled as Finale's default, and much better than "straight" TNR. As said, Monotype's Condensed TNR is very good, and has more glyphs. As with Vaughan, I'm not a big fan of TNR generally on a page of music.

I have had a couple of people saying that my lyrics were on the edge of readability, particularly for those of choral society age. :p So I'm keen to improve that, without spreading the music onto any more pages.

It makes for quite an interesting exercise: change the lyric font with the Miscellaneous plug-in; Apply Note Spacing, and then print the page. Rinse and Repeat.


Finale v.25.1, 2012 MacMini; 2012 MacBook Pro (10.11.6 / 10.12.1)
Edirol FA-66; Roland A-49, HP Laserjet 5200 DTN
Ancient Groove Music www.ancientgroove.co.uk

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tisimst
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   Posted 11/15/2016 1:16 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Dr. Wiggy said...
Choosing a font for lyrics is one of the more fastidious parts of music notation. The font must be clear and legible, but not be so large as to displace the notes from their intended spacing. I've been trying to find the ideal lyric font for ... years. blush Here's my current list of candidates: ...

This is a great list! I wonder if it would be helpful to post a graphic showing each of these fonts in use as lyrics. A composite image would be wonderful and instructive.


Music Typeface Designer & Engraver - LilyPond | Sibelius | Finale | Dorico | SMuFL | Inkscape | FontForge
leighverlag.blogspot.com | www.musictypefoundry.com

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Dr. Wiggy
Early music: modern methods



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   Posted 11/23/2016 1:28 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Here's a PDF of the same text and music, all set with a different lyric font on each system. There's not as much variation as I thought there would be. Maybe if I put less or more on each system?

But it provides a nice guide to legibility. Note that some faces have been set at different point sizes, for a similar optical ... err... size.
Also: see how wide TNR is!

Some of this may say more about Finale's lyric & note spacing than the fonts themselves, of course.


Finale v.25.1, 2012 MacMini; 2012 MacBook Pro (10.11.6 / 10.12.1)
Edirol FA-66; Roland A-49, HP Laserjet 5200 DTN
Ancient Groove Music www.ancientgroove.co.uk



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Mike Rosen
himself



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   Posted 11/23/2016 4:17 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thanks for that, Doc!



Mike Rosen
www.specialmillwork.com

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"As a musician, he's a damn fine woodworker."

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MikeHalloran
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   Posted 11/23/2016 10:17 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I see the attraction of Bulmer. Finale Lyrics holds its own nicely.


Finale 25.1, 2014.5, 2011c, SmartScore X Pro II, Encore 5.07, GPO 5
2010 iMac i7, 32G RAM, 2T SSD, Late 2013 MacBook Air, OS 10.12.1
MOTU Digital Performer 9.12, 9.02, Logic Pro X 10.2.4

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bartvisser
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   Posted 11/29/2016 2:39 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Nice list indeed. I prefer fonts with a relatively large x-height (and/or a small cap height). They work especially well in hymn-like settings with multiple lines of lyrics. Examples: Swift, Utopia.
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Michael Pitts
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   Posted 11/29/2016 10:35 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thank you for posting! I've been out of action for a bit, but will definitely monkey around with these.


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Finale 2006d, 2008br.1 & 2011c.r1

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