Changing the font of mid-measure clefs?

In the first screenshot below, I’ve changed the font of the entire score (of a truly dramatic and groundbreaking piece!) via Engrave → Music Fonts → Petaluma. Note that both the initial and mid-measure clefs are now in Petaluma.

In the second screenshot, I’ve then tried to change just the music symbols back using Engrave → Font Styles → Default Music Font → Bravua. Note that the initial treble clef has changed, but the mid-measure bass clef has not.

Where does the mid-measure clef get its font setting from? I don’t see anything in the list of font styles that seems like it should affect it other than the “Default Music Font.” Am I missing something obvious?

That’s very odd, Paul. When I try this in a new project, I find that the clef changes happily switch from Bravura to Petaluma and back again. Could you attach a project that reproduces the problem?

Daniel: Note that Paul is changing the Default Music Font font style in the second step, differently than the first step. After the change to Petaluma in the first step, the small F Clef glyph is styled as font.petaluma (and not Default Music Font), so the small clef doesn’t change when changing that single style. The default font style for the small clefs is font.bravura. I was able to reproduce with his steps.

Paul: As an interim test, you could see what happens when you change the Petaluma Font Style using Engrave → Font Styles → Petaluma → Bravura, though that might seem a little confusing and may affect glyphs you didn’t expect.

Ah, I see. Yes, changing the font used by the ‘Default music font’ font style doesn’t do the same thing as using Engrave > Music Fonts to change the music font. The latter is definitely recommended, as it goes through the symbols defined in the score and updates them as needed. The clef change glyphs are non-SMuFL ones, i.e. they exist in the optional range of code points, and so they won’t be updated simply by changing the music font. Although it so happens that the code points for those glyphs are currently the same in Bravura and Petaluma, there’s no guarantee that this will always be the case, so we have some special mapping that is only carried out when you change music font by way of Engrave > Music Fonts.

Correct. Sorry, I should have emphasized that difference to begin with. The point here is that Music Fonts seems to be changing a secret setting that not exposed in Font Styles.

Yes, that changes it! Though bizarrely it seems to only have an effect if I’ve first done the Music Fonts step. (Also why is there even a Font Style named after a specific font? :thinking: The whole thing is fishy.)

Done. (Zipped because this forum apparently won’t accept .dorico files.)

I’ve noticed what appears to be a second “secret setting” problem: after the steps above, upstems no longer connect completely with the noteheads. See attached screenshot.

Mid-measure clef font (256 KB)

Alas, the real reason I’m asking the question is to change the clefs to a custom font that doesn’t show in the SMuFL list.

FWIW, I managed to work out that Dorico is reliably using SMuFL-defined variants uniE050.ss01 and uniE062.ss01 for the mid-measure clefs.

As things stand, you can’t do that, I’m afraid. In due course you’ll be able to do it when we have a more general editor for all such built-in symbols, but until then you’re out of luck, sorry!

composerjk’s suggestion does it. A hack, but it works.

I haven’t found a fix for the stem positioning problem, however.

In the forthcoming update you will in theory be able to fix this by adjusting the stem attachment points in the new graphical notehead set editor.

But you’re definitely colouring outside the lines to some extent making these kinds of changes at the moment, since they’re not really supported by the tools provided.

Sounds fantastic!

Does this mean I’ll be able to adjust properties to noteheads and other small details like thickness of beams etc, (as in the beautiful chord symbol editor), and then save them as my main font? Like, make a ‘copy’ of Bravura, adjust, and save as new default font?

On another note, I wonder if someone could tell me the ‘ease’ of undertaking this task: if I just designed my own clefs, in Adobe illustrator or something, is it possible, to replace the clefs stored within one of the default fonts?
I know this is a bit of tinkling under the hood, which I am admittedly, completely inadequate in my knowledge, but I would be tempted to try if it were possible.


Sure it’s possible.
At least I know one way (there may be other easier way now or in the future)

Due to the SMuFL standard this is a little bit more complex than with fonts for Finale for example.
This solution assumes that you have already created your new glyphs, know how to import them in a font editor, know how to use a font editor and have some knowledge on how to install a SMuFL font including make small edit to the metadata json file (this last step is very well documented by Steinberg).

I can describe you the way but you will have to search for some details on how to exactly accomplish one task or another.

Generally speaking you simply have to edit the few glyphs you want in Bravura, install it and use this edited version instead of the original.
Of course it is usefull to keep the original Bravura font and install the edited version under another name.
Note also that it makes sense to adapt the overall width and heigth of your new glyph to the proportions of Bravuras glyphs.
Doing this you probably then will not have to edit other things.

Here the description of the main steps to follow:

  1. Make a copy of Bravura and load it into a font editor of your choice (I use FontForge)

  2. Open the Bravura glyph you want to change, copy it to the background of your editor and import your new glyph into the foreground of the editor. This way you can easily compare the Bravura glyph with your glyph.

  3. Edit the heigth and width of your new clef according to the Bravura one.

  4. Save your work and install the new font

  5. Find the json metadata file for Bravura, make a copy of it

  6. In the json file search for “fontName”: “Bravura” (it is at the beginning)
    Let say you name your font “MyBravura” edit the FontName then to “fontName”: “MyBravura”
    Rename and save the edited json file to “MyBravura.json”

  7. Place this new json file at the right place.

If your glyph has similar proportions to Bravuras glyphs the metadata json file will work for your edited font and you should then be able to use your new font within Dorico.

If you try this, good luck :wink:

Having done quite a bit of both, I dream of the day that Finale can use SMuFL-compliant fonts rather than its archaic, bug-prone way of doing it now. I’ll take SMuFL any day of the week due to it’s modern use of font technology. I still think everything should be all within the font itself (including the metadata file contents), but I can live with creating it for as long as I need. The only thing that makes sense to have external to the font is the engravingDefaults suite of properties. Everything else can be done with modern OpenType functionality or calculated as needed.

We are working on a new “music symbols” editor dialog that will take the by-now-familiar editor that you can use to create your own noteheads, accidentals, chord symbols and playing techniques and allowing you to edit all of the other built-in symbols that Dorico uses, including clefs, time signature digits, tuplet digits, and so on. For clefs you can’t change the musical meaning of any of the symbols, just their appearance (though we may yet add a dedicated clef editor in the future as well, though not in the immediate future), but you can certainly (say) use a clef from another font without too much bother. (To be clear, this is not in the 2.1.10 update released today but will be coming in the next bigger update.)

Daniel, following the steps that teacue described above, if you change all clef change glyphs of your own font, you still get the ones from Bravura (original font). Is this the expected behavior (and isn’t planned to change) or these glyphs should be font-dependent when changing the font?


For clef changes, it is indeed currently not possible to change the font to something else, but this will become possible in the next update because you will be able to edit the symbols used for the “small” clef for the G, F, and C clefs in your project directly.

Guys, thank you for all your wonderful replies. Teacue, your method and directions sound great, although I’m a bit nervous though to start replacing and messing with the default font, even though that’s what I want to do. Haha. It seems my lack of font terminology is the cause of said nervousness. (Which is rather embarrassing due to the majority of my posts on this forum being about fonts). But if what Daniel says is coming, a dedicated editor for symbols, than I’m happy to wait. That sounds great!
I just want a little smoother, more modern clefs. I’ve designed many in my hand written scores, and I feel that the look of symbols helps with the overall aesthetic, and hopefully interpretation, of the piece of one is writing ‘modern’ music.
Thanks everyone. The future is looking bright.

Once you have succesfully done it one time, you may find that it is not terribly difficult any more and it does not take a long time.
Designing a great looking glyph takes a lot more time.
But of course the “Music symbol editor” Daniel announced will be great and easier.

The thing is that when you begin to play a little bit deeper with music notation fonts for Dorico at one point or another you have to know how to create and install a SMuFL font including metadata.
Changing the clef of Bravura can be seen as a little exercise as it is not too difficult and you learn a few basic things about dealing with SMuFL.

I must add to my description that it works well and I use several edited versions of Bravura for my own font-experiments but there are some pitfalls one should pay attention to.
One of them is the fact that it is not really easy to quickly see which glyph from Bravura is used for what in Dorico!
For example you can find the G-Clef at several places in Bravura!
It means you have to know first which of them you want to edit.
But with some patience, research and the great documentation found at one can find a way.

About pitfalls: see also albert0984 remark and Daniels answer that even if you create the appropriate glyphs for “small” clefs, at the moment Dorico will not use them.

This is something I don’t understand.
Why should it be necessary to go through an individual editing of the clef change symbol within Dorico if you use a SMuFL font with all necessary “small” clef glyphs?
Should’nt Dorico then automatically use the appropriate glyph without any intervention from the user?
To me it sounds not consequent.

BTW if you choose Petaluma, Dorico will automatically use Petaluma small clefs.
This reminds me of something similar about third party text music font associated with notation fonts not automatically used by Dorico.
It is as if there would be first class SMuFL font (Bravura and Petaluma) and second class SMuFL fonts (all third party fonts)!

The glyphs that Dorico uses for clef changes are not e.g. U+E07A (gClefChange), U+E07B (cClefChange) or U+E07C (fClefChange) because those glyphs are reduced in size by a fixed amount. Dorico allows you to specify the scale factor for clef changes, so it needs to use full-sized clefs in order for the scaling to work in a predictable and useful fashion. Therefore it uses some Bravura-specific stylistic alternates (in the U+F400+ range) for the clef changes, and because the code points of those glyphs are not stipulated in SMuFL, Dorico will not change their font when you change music font.