Dorico‘s dealing with fonts

Couldn’t find an appropriate post…

For a test, I exported some of my Sibelius files in musicXML and imported them into Dorico and Newzik, an iOS app that I am currently exploring.
Both apps replaced the fonts I had originally chosen in Sibelius.

Assuming musicXML files contain information about the font initially used, I am surprised that Dorico does not seem to see the Sibelius fonts on my system. I thought that there is a somewhat established interchangeable standard regarding music fonts?
Also, I first thought iOS doesn’t know of any Inkpen2/Reprise/Helsinki or Opus fonts – but then again, I have Scorch installed on my tablet and the partitions do look exactly the way they look in Sibelius, too, so the fonts are somehow installed on the tablet, although it seems only Scorch has access to them.

Is there a way to cause Dorico to use the fonts originally chosen, although they are not Dorico fonts in the first place?
And, although this is off-topic in this forum, is there a way I can cause Newzik to use the fonts that seem to be installed on my tablet via Scorch? NB I even went to downloading an app called AnyFont to install the fonts in question on the tablet, but to no avail.

Commenting more or less in the order in which you brought up the issues:

I do admit I’ve never needed to peek at this particular detail, but I’m not sure MusicXML stores information about what font is used on a score. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

Still, even if it did, the “somewhat established interchangeable format regarding music fonts” you mention is actually SMuFL, which was created in the run up to Dorico’s development, and hasn’t been adopted by Sibelius or Finale. This means that the fonts that one software uses aren’t compatible with the others (not in the sense that the glyph mappings are different). Whatever limited immediate compatibility there might exist between Sibelius and Finale’s fonts rests on loosely adopted unofficial practices regarding glyph mapping in musical fonts.

And Dorico reads all correctly installed fonts in your computer. You’re most certainly looking at the Music Fonts menu. This menu will be populated exclusively by SMuFL fonts with available metadata. To force Dorico to use other kinds of fonts, you’ll have to look to the menu just below and set the adequate Font Styles.

Posso ver das teus outros comentários que estàs trabalhando sobre os teus próprios (lindos) fontes manuscritos. Utilizas Fontographer por isso? Como fazes para causar o programa de respeitar as especificações SMuFL?
Sorry for practicing my neglected Portuguese…

If I wanted to go my own way creating my individual house font for my “corporate design”, how would I go about it apart from getting used to working with a font creating software?
Can I adopt an existing commercial font and expand it (or create a musical pendant) or would I run into copyright issues?

And does anybody know if a MusicXML file contains the font in use, similar to web code containing the intended font, a recommended substitute and the font family (loosely specified as e.g. “non-serif” etc.)?

Caro Eddo,

desde que exporte fontes, há-de funcionar. Se não quiseres usar um software específico, sei que existem plugins para exportar fontes directamente do Illustrator, por exemplo. Há também alternativas open source, como o FontForge, onde podes experimentar. O Fontographer funcionará certamente, não conhecia mas parece-me ser uma versão mais pequena do FontLab, que é talvez o standard da indústria. Posso também aconselhar o Glyphs, que tem uma versão Mini bastante barata.


As for modifying an existing font, that depends on the font’s license.

Eddo, Dorico is not compatible with Sibelius’s music fonts. It’s true that MusicXML is able to encode some font data (it can encode the default music font to be used, and can encode the text font to be used by each text direction in the document), though not all applications that export MusicXML include this information. In any case, Dorico deliberately ignores this information (at least for the time being) and instead uses its own intelligent defaults to set up the look of the music – Dorico treats MusicXML as a means of importing the musical data only, effectively a shortcut for typing in the music yourself.

@Eddo, I use FontForge exclusively for all my font work, but most folks like other font editors more. They’re all pretty good choices, each having their strengths and weaknesses. Try them all and pick from there!

In any case, you shouldn’t edit/extend a commercial font without permission from the owner, especially if the license prohibits it. For fonts that come with pretty much any notation app, the license situation is less clear, but since fonts are software, they almost always fall under the same license as the notation software. There’s no reason you can’t use a commercial font as a reference point so you know where symbols are supposed to be encoded, where the glyph outlines should be positions, and what the metrics should be.

I’m excited to see what you come up with (that is, if you’re willing to share some screenshots)!

Sorry for the late reply!
Just wanted to say thank you for your advice and participation.
Having tweaked fonts in my student’s days on ATARI ST I’m not quite unfamiliar with it and am eager to get something done. It’ll take me some time to get acquainted though. I hope I can show something some day. The SMuFL thing is a bit obscure for the time being, but I hope to get along, maybe with some advice from a typo forum.