Achieving a darker tone to the page?

I’m trying to emulate an old G. Schirmer edition, which has a darker page tone than Dorico’s default — essentially, there’s more ink on the page overall. I made all the lines thicker by a hair (staff lines, bar lines, ledger lines, octave lines, and everything else, even the hatch marks in editorial slurs and ties!), and found myself a font with a medium weight that would stand up to the new darker music.

The one thing I don’t know what to do about is articulations: particularly, accents and tenuti. Designed as they were to fit Dorico’s default style, they now look lighter in tone than the surrounding page, like they were added to the paper with a stamp somebody didn’t press hard enough on.

Any suggestions, short of redesigning those font glyphs manually?

Yeah, you’re going to have to use a font with a thicker weight. You should be able to swap them for those of another font in Music Symbols Editor, if the font you’re using isn’t consistent.

Or you could apply a heavier stroke to everything from a PDF in a vector drawing package.

Dorico certainly gives greater weight to the page by default than Sibelius and Finale. The novelty of laser printers encouraged thinner, cleaner lines than the dot-gain of traditional print. But it’s equally true that a lot of old prints were over-inked (literally due to sloppy work!), even by the standards of the day.


Aw, rats. I guess I could export the handful of the worst ones (tenuto, accent, maybe staccato), redesign them, and then either use the Music Symbols editor or just import them into a customized Bravura. Some of the marks like the fermata are probably fine. The larger-noteheads variant of Bravura are a godsend. The accidentals I can probably do without thickening, particularly because they were designed to go with Bravura’s noteheads anyway.

I kind of like that over-inked look. It looks less lean, less aggressively machined, more human. Of course it isn’t as nice as a handtooled (and not-sloppy) 20th-century Henle or late-nineteenth Universal or Simrock print — those Brahms editions are unbeatable — but I find it heartwarming anyway. I guess I grew up on it!

What font are you using?

Or — here’s a genius way to go about it — I could pay somebody else to do the hard work. Does anybody sell a music font that’s up to the artistic standard of Bravura, including touches like rounded edges to glyphs, but just happens to be a darker weight? Bravura’s at the heavy end of what seems to be the spectrum in vogue in our day and age. This music font comparison is neat, but hasn’t yielded any results darker than Bravura yet. (Taneyev comes close, but it’s just a modified Bravura, and I’m convinced their Taneyev example uses Bravura’s Larger noteheads while their Bravura example uses Standard).

For music, so far, just Bravura, which for me is the gold standard in our century. For text, I’m using Ronaldson Pro Medium, and thinking about Baskerville Neo. Not a lot of good book faces offer a Medium weight; I’d really prefer Goudy’s Village, for example, or, for a less distracting appearance, Adobe’s Arno.

Have you tried November2? I’d say that’s the font that most tries to emulate ‘engraved-ness’.

I’ve looked at it but never tried it. Is it heavier than Bravura?

Oh dear — I’m trying a comparison, and the eighth flags in November2 are far too wispy, particularly on grace notes. They’re practically their own light tone.

Compared to Bravura, I guess Opus and Sonata tend to be a bit heavier…

I just tried those too. Opus’s notehead is really wide, and Sonata has the same wispy eighth-flags that I’ve only seen Bravura solve well. Thanks for the recommendations, though. I’ll try out any ideas anybody’s got!

W_R_R, if you like to post an example page? you made me curious :eyes: :slight_smile:
(sorry, bad English…)

Something like this one.

that looks nice, I would never had thought, it was over-inked…
How much of this can you achieve in Dorico with your tweaked settings?

How about NorFonts ?

1 Like


For the background texture you try to drag the pdf export from Dorico to my php script Haha!

I don’t think that’s particularly darker than Bravura. If anything, Bravura’s clefs are heavier than the example you’ve shown.

This is Sebastian, which has similar flags (if you must have syllabic beaming :roll_eyes:)

I’ve bumped up the staff lines to 0.18 spaces.

But of course, where you’ll really notice any difference is in the “other” sorts of symbols, like fingering, articulations, etc.

1 Like

I was thinking more that you would switch in the articulations only, if you preferred them, while keeping Bravura as the main font.

1 Like