Music Enhanced Text Fonts

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David Webber
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Music Enhanced Text Fonts

Post by David Webber » Mon May 19, 2014 12:21 pm

People who write text around music, or about music, often need fonts with just a few music symbols to be inserted in the text. And yet very few fonts actually have them.

So we've defined a 'Level 1 Music Enhanced Text Font' as one which contains the symbols:

U+00B0 ° - degree sign for diminished chord names
U+0394 Δ - Greek capital delta for major 7th chord names
U+203F ‿ - undertie for word elision in lyric lines
U+266D ♭ - musical flat sign for note, chord, and key names
U+266E ♮ - musical natural sign for note, chord, and key names
U+266F ♯ - musical sharp sign for note, chord, and key names

and a 'Level 2 Music Enhanced Text Font' as one which contains a few more in the Unicode private use area.
(See http://www.mozart.co.uk/information/fon ... -fonts.htm for a full spec.)

These symbols let you write 'Sonata in F♯ minor', 'B♭ clarinet' etc in a consistent style (ie without glyphs substituted from other fonts - which probably don't get the bearings right anyway).

Now that nice Mr Google has supplied lots of fonts, with a licence to edit them and produced 'derived versions'. So I've had my trusty Font Creator out, and have been doing just that, adding the appropriate music symbols.

Examples of the work so far are at:

http://www.mozart.co.uk/downloads/fonts ... d-text.htm

(They're free to download.)

Comments and constructive criticism welcome!

Dave

David Webber
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Music Enhanced Text Fonts

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon May 19, 2014 3:21 pm

There are more musical symbols in the range 1D100 - 1D1FF.
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David Webber
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Re: Music Enhanced Text Fonts

Post by David Webber » Mon May 19, 2014 4:06 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:There are more musical symbols in the range 1D100 - 1D1FF.
Yes I know about those. Unfortunately they're not a lot of use. They're designed for use by notation software, rather than in text, and even there, they lack some common symbols, and include a host of symbols which I can confidently say (without too much hyperbole) that no-one will ever want. Also as they're outside the BMP it isn't too clear how many applications will support them. They're more a catalogue of symbols than a font.

Dave

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Re: Music Enhanced Text Fonts

Post by William » Tue May 20, 2014 8:07 am

I notice that you are based in the United Kingdom.

Could you please consider the possibility of producing a pdf (Portable Document Format) document detailing the 'Level 1 Music Enhanced Text Font' format and 'Level 2 Music Enhanced Text Font' format and publishing it, specifically sending a copy to the British Library for legal deposit.

http://www.bl.uk/aboutus/legaldeposit/index.html

The British Library accepts pdf documents and various other formats, including font files, for legal deposit.

The British Library also harvests from the web for legal deposit from websites with a uk in the domain name: however they need to know of the existence of the website, so, unless you know that they already harvest from your website, if you inform them of your website they can add it to the list of websites that are harvested for archiving.

I notice that, for 'Level 1 Music Enhanced Text Font' format that only one of the mapped characters, yet two of the glyphs, are in a new font with included outlines as initially generated in FontCreator 7.5.

I notice that the Delta glyph that is used in 'Level 1 Music Enhanced Text Font' format is mapped to a code point that is different from the code point to which the Delta glyph in a new font with included outlines as initially generated in FontCreator 7.5 is mapped.

William Overington

20 May 2014

David Webber
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Re: Music Enhanced Text Fonts

Post by David Webber » Tue May 20, 2014 10:00 am

William wrote:I notice that you are based in the United Kingdom.
Could you please consider the possibility of producing a pdf (Portable Document Format) document detailing the 'Level 1 Music Enhanced Text Font' format and 'Level 2 Music Enhanced Text Font' format and publishing it, specifically sending a copy to the British Library for legal deposit....
I knew that documents all ended up in the British Library but didn't know about this mechanism for them getting there! I hadn't thought of anything so 'official' but I'll certainly consider it. But I'll need to check that my ideas don't evolve first. They already have once - to put the 'level 2' symbols at the same code points in the private use area as the 'SMuFL' initiative (http://www.smufl.org/) which (a propos of earlier discussion), also bypasses the Unicode musical symbols area.

And your other point is something I've been mulling over. To wit:
I notice that, for 'Level 1 Music Enhanced Text Font' format that only one of the mapped characters, yet two of the glyphs, are in a new font with included outlines as initially generated in FontCreator 7.5.
I notice that the Delta glyph that is used in 'Level 1 Music Enhanced Text Font' format is mapped to a code point that is different from the code point to which the Delta glyph in a new font with included outlines as initially generated in FontCreator 7.5 is mapped.
Unicode actually defines two capital Delta's:

U+0394 - the letter in the upper case Greek alphabet
U+2206 - the mathematical difference operator

Some comments:

1. I've used the first; Font Creator generates the second. (I think this resolves your points.)

2. I've been wondering why Unicode duplicates these. The difference operator IS a capital delta (and with a PhD in maths and 43 years research experience, I should know as well as anyone does). But I suppose if you have a set of mathematical operator code points, it would be churlish to exclude delta because it's in the Greek area, and it is possible that when you're using it as a difference operator you might just want it to be slightly taller than the Latin and Greek capitals - as indeed are the sum and product operators (capital sigma and pi).

3. This last is a point in favour of taking the Greek alphabet entry as my "major 7th" symbol- it is invariably drawn at, or very close to, the same height as the Latin capitals. But the idea of including a mathematical operator, rather than just one letter out of the Greek alphabet also has attractions. But in fact the maj7 symbol isn't either which is why I have included it in level 2. (It ought to have been included in the music symbols range in any sensible scheme, but apparently it isn't, presumably because, while it is used in jazz and popular music for almost the last 100 years, it is not used in classical music. This is just one of many annoyances over the musical symbols range.)

4. Maybe I should demand that the difference operator is included as well as delta. There is a case for that. I have in mind the situation where some has written some text including, for example, "consider the use of the GΔ7 chord" and has had to change fonts for the delta (explicitly or by automatic substitution). Just changing the font of the whole article to a 'Music Enhanced Text Font' will work fine if they've used the Greek delta, but not (with the current spec) if they've used the mathematical operator.

Dave

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