FR: tweak baselines of dynamic suffixes for P

Hello, in the future I’d love it if prefix/suffix text was centered relative to P dynamic markings. Here you can see that the text lines up and sits nicely next to fortes, however the pianos look low and out of alignment. I was using the suffix property so I cannot adjust the elements individually. I think the dynamics would benefit if lined up on the vertical center, not the footer. I’m guessing that the piano symbol is set so that text is supposed to line up with the symbol as if it were written lower case on ruled paper, however a floating dynamic symbol shouldn’t be held to this type of alignment since it isn’t a regular alphanumeric character.

Edit: I just confirmed my theory by tweaking the baseline in the symbols editor and it’s much better. I adjusted the Y axis offset to 1.5 which gives a much more pleasing result.

I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but if I want to write something like “p dolce” or “f sempre legato” the baselines look fine to me as they are.

You seem to be using a different text font from the default Academico, I wonder if that is messing with the base line positions.
dynamics baseline 1.png
dynamics baseline 2.png

FWIW, I’m not using Academico either, but the baselines look fine on my system.

Mine too, Minion Pro (the fake one).

this is exactly my point: it doesn’t make sense to have the baselines line up like that. The P is functioning as a symbol, not a letter as such, hence it seems odd to line up the text this way. The forte is handled differently (as a symbol, as best I can tell), for example. There also seems to be a practical advantage to using the center anchor point: it will scale better with any size/shape of text font.

Gould doesn’t seem to say anything explicit about this (e.g. in “Dynamics / Typography” p.101) but all the examples in the book agree with Dorico’s vertical positioning.

If you follow through the consequences of the “vertical centering” idea, you will probably get into a tangle making mf, mp, fz, and fp positioned consistent with each other, even if you treat them as single symbols and not as combinations of two letters.

Ross doesn’t seem to say anything about it either. Stone doesn’t say anything, but his subito examples on pg 19 show a level baseline. Read doesn’t seem to say anything explicitly either, and his subito examples on pg 255 are pretty sloppy looking. The “p sub.” isn’t even straight so it’s kinda hard to tell alignment.

Nothing in Roemer or Ken Williams, UE style guide shows level baseline, didn’t see anything in Boosey. Schirmer is a bit peculiar. On pg 38 they state “Expressive markings usually go below the staff, often with the dynamic markings, and all at a level position.”

It looks like a level baseline, but the alignment line is above?!?

Thank you all for your research. This is all very interesting to me. And Fred, your example, in particular, is fascinating because yes, it is with the top of the p, not the bottom of the swoop of the p.

I still maintain that the defaults created odd results with my first example above. The f+p’s were aligned, but then the suffix text attached to them was not. So even though they share the same baseline, in theory, and were grouped together for alignment, the suffix text was not aligned. The manual tweak I made to the position of the P’s in the symbols editor solved this issue, but it is odd to me that it was necessary to begin with. I feel safe in the assumption that you all agree the second example I posted looks better, even if it is bending the (implied) rules. (Please correct me if I’m wrong on this. I genuinely strive to have beautiful scores and as a part of that philosophy, I also strive to adhere to best practice as well.)

Your second example does look better, but pairing “p” with organ manual changes is not the same as adding aligned technique or expression text; so you may have to consider pairing dynamics with organ manual changes a “manual” process.

Derrek, good pun. While my example isn’t perhaps a standard use case (tbh, it was just an easy way to kill two birds with one stone since I needed both markings) but isn’t my preferred method most of the time) it ultimately makes little difference if I type “Gt.” or “marcato” or what have you. So in a certain sense, there is perhaps still some improvement to be made here.

I see “Gt.” and “marcato” as two different cases. We’ll just have to disagree on this one. (But the world will survive. :smiley: )

I do too, and perhaps “marcato” was a poor choice of example since that would qualify under technique text, but my point is, if you had:

f marcato | p legato | f marcato | p legato

like my example, the marcato and legato texts wouldn’t line up even though the p’s and f’s do. That’s what strikes me as odd. It doesn’t really matter what text you use as a prefix/suffix, it’s the fact that whatever it is displays as uneven due to the current way things are defaulted. Perhaps the fact that the literature (as multiple posts above have shown) is hazy on this is the reason that it seems a little rough around the edges. I realize that this is also a bit of a rat’s nest in that different fonts/font sizes could affect how this turns out too.

If you group “f marcato” and “p legato” they line up perfectly.

Of course there are times when you don’t want all the dynamics on a system at the same vertical position, to save vertical space. AFAIK Dorico only groups adjacent dynamics (e.g. a dynamic and a hairpin) automatically.

True, Rob, as I acknowledged earlier up the thread. The question isn’t about getting the dynamics to line up, which grouping does perfectly. The issue is the suffix text which lines up with the p & f’s differently, thus when you line up p f p f the suffixes are out of alignment with each other.

Actually, I take that back: I went back to the jpg of my original image and applied a line tool and the suffix text DOES line up. It’s the smaller size and alignment of the p, relative to the f, that actually tricks the eye. Interesting.

Aha! :mrgreen:
(And they said the 18th century was the Age of Enlightenment.)

I still think there is an argument for your adjustment of the Organ Manual assignments in your original posts.