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Byzantine notation with Lyrics tool

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 8:36 am
by VanDariu
Hello everyone. I am a composer and a 10+ years user of Finale trying to switch to Dorico. This is my first post as I usually find the information that I need, but on this subject there is nothing relevant. First of all, congratulations to the Steinberg team for doing such a good job. I am almost entirely convinced that in a few years time, this program will be insurpassable. Of course, it does have some drawbacks as it is newly-built, but in due time, things will surely be resolved. That being said, my problem is the following:

I am working on a large (for a lack of a better word...) "opera" piece, which, at some point requires Byzantine notation. There is a specialized Byzantine music ensemble involved that needs the specialized notation, and of course, there is the conductor who needs the normal notation. Double notation (Byzantine neums along with European staff notation) is very common in my country, and I'm trying to make (or fake/force) Dorico go in this direction. In Finale this would be done quite easily in the lyrics tool, I used the Lyrics window panel for the introduction of "text" (byzantine neums) and then Click assignment to attach each lets say "syllable" to the corresponding note (by the way, features that I greatly miss in Dorico :cry: but who knows, maybe Dorico's approach is indeed objectively better). This is an example of what I was able to do:
Exemplu Podoleanu.jpg
(205.93 KiB) Not downloaded yet
The byzantine fonts used are free, downloaded from this site: http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/musi ... Fonts.html. Apparently, the link is broken, so here are the original files:
EZ Byzantine music fonts.zip
(771.97 KiB) Downloaded 37 times
I experimented a while with the font in Dorico, and I was not able to reproduce this example. The first problem was that I could not change the font within a syllable or lyric line, and then, the font also has some intrinsic blank space below the "character baseline" (I don't know if this is the correct terminology) that messes Dorico's internal spacing algorithm. Of course, I didn't stop there and, in a font editor, I somehow (probably unprofessionally) eliminated the space below all of the characters and that made Dorico properly display the Byzantine notation. GREAT! Now I know it is possible, but I still can't change the font mid-syllable or any other things that are needed for this job. Probably, if I were to dig deeper into this problem, I would eventually find a hack but the reality is that I do not have the skill set necessary to resolve this problem. Perhaps Mr. Daniel Spreadbury (to my knowledge the creator or contributor to SMuFL) may offer a viable solution...

Before I end my post I need to state the following: I am not interested (at least not right now) in reproducing fine aesthetic details of this niche notation. I know this would require perhaps a lot of work from the Dorico team, and I'm not even implying that. Rather, I just want to have the byzantine notation above the music, properly spaced etc., just like lyrics already are. I am convinced that there are some "easy" solutions to this problem, maybe just the merger of all the separate fonts into one single font file so it is usable as lyrics in Dorico, or maybe the introduction of these glyphs into Bravura... I don't know. I only wish that I find a solution in time for the summer deadline for my piece...


Thank you

Re: Byzantine notation with Lyrics tool

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:21 pm
by Daniel at Steinberg
Unfortunately I don’t think there’s a good solution for this: you have no doubt discovered that you can change the font of e.g. the translation lines for lyrics, or indeed the chorus lyrics, so you could set your Byzantine notation font for that font style, but if you need to change font in order to achieve some specific combinations of symbols, I’m afraid you’re out of luck.

One possibility could be that you find a single font that has implemented all of the Byzantine music notation symbols: as far as I know these symbols are now completely implemented in Unicode (per this note and this table) but I’m not sure whether or not any single font yet implements this block of characters fully. The closest thing I could find with a bit of Googling is this but I’m not sure how complete it is. In theory if you could find a single font that implements the whole of the Unicode range you could use that to reproduce the notation using one line of lyrics and its associated font style.

Re: Byzantine notation with Lyrics tool

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 4:44 pm
by VanDariu
Thank you for your suggestions, I think I'll manage to solve this problem. Perhaps, in a distant future, Dorico will offer some kind of support for Byzantine music also... ;)

Have a good day!