Handwritten Fonts/SMuFL

From following the board here, it seems pretty clear that Dorico will not include a handwritten font in the first version. Are there any third-party developers working on compatible jazz/handwritten style fonts? I’ve tried Googling SMuFL fonts and haven’t come across any. Does/will anyone offer compatible third-party handwritten fonts in the near future?

I’m working on a handwritten font myself, but it takes hundreds (if not thousands) of hours to build a font of the scope of Bravura, and I won’t be able to get it into a sufficiently ready state for the first version, I’m afraid.

I’m not aware of any existing SMuFL-compliant handwritten fonts, but perhaps Abraham Lee would be interested in being commissioned to produce one based on one of his existing fonts:


I know that chord symbols probably won’t make it to the very first (1.0) version, but regarding the architecture/implementation of chord symbols in Dorico, could you envision a possibility of allowing the user to use any text font as the basis of root notes (CDEFGAB/H, possibly “Latin” Do-Re/Ré…Si as well?) and numerals? Or would the chord symbol “font” need to be constructed as a separate font altogether (akin to Opus Chords Std, etc.), with all the extensions etc. as symbols?

Since I’m pretty certain that people who need a handwritten font for their charts, would also need the chord symbol support: if the upcoming chord symbol support was built in a way that any standard font could serve as its “basis” (with only some specific elements such as accidentals, repeat signs, etc. etc. needed from the “chord symbol engine”), that could possibly make the transition smooth when the chord symbol support PLUS a SMuFL compatible handwritten style music font finally become available — as well as provide the user with far greater flexibility than Sibelius and Finale have so far with regards to chord symbol formatting. (Apologies if this has already been discussed in another thread.)

The plan is to allow the use of any text font for the regular text components of chord symbols, with only the specific symbols used within chord symbols (the small upwards-pointing triangle, the slashed O, etc.) taken from the music text font.

That sounds very promising. By the way (and apologies again if SMuFL/music fonts have been discussed in detail in some other thread), would Dorico offer the possibility of “mixing & matching” characters from different music fonts in a project/layout/“house style” in the same manner Sibelius allows, via the Symbols menu?

Yes, eventually you will be able to edit each of the “composites” used for each element that is drawn in the score, so that you can use any character from any font (or indeed, say, a graphic in SVG format) if you wish. It is possible that the user interface required to edit these individual elements will not be present in the initial version, but in the longer term it will absolutely be possible.

That’s only because I don’t have Dorico (yet) to test them on :wink:

I’m in the process of converting my suite of fonts to be SMuFL-compliant as we speak, but it can be slow-going at times. A little commissioning would be some excellent motivation to have them ready when Dorico launches. Anyone interested can send me a PM.

I’m also happy to field recommendations if anyone knows a great source for LEGIBLE handwritten scores to base a design off of. I’ve created my own already (see the font store in my signature below), but I have some other ideas on my to-do list.

BTW, Daniel, I’m excited to see your design when it’s ready!

My own font is getting closer to useable. (Changed it over YEARS, by now).

  • still, there are some things that I wonder about, concerning how Dorico handles (or, eventually WILL handle) the fonts:

•Is the json file (with the font-name) important, concerning spaces? If yes; why can’t I “position” stems on notes using this file?!?!
–(that’s MY logical place to look for this…)
•How does Dorico handle the loading of the json-file? (spacing) - Once (when the app is loading), or each time I change a font?
–(important to know when changing small things in a font - while testing).
•The bounding boxes, at the beginning of the json-file are unfortunately not providing any glyph-codes… is this intentional or just not finished?
–(The glyph-explanations further down all have unicodes)
–(And, why are the bounding boxes not at the same place as the glyph explanations??? …this I can’t really understand???
Why not just add the data “bBoxNE…” where needed, at the actual glyph!!! ).

•How is the app handling the “Music Fonts” situation?!?!
In some of the (original) Demo-Files, it seems that the Petaluma “Set” changes also the TEXTS correctly, and on others it DOESN’T! Why?
–Will you change this completely in later versions? or is this 3-file situation your path for the future? (music/text/script-fonts).
–Is it possible to make a HUGE font, including all regular text-glyphs as well? (so only ONE font-file is needed).

One question not really belonging in here, but:

  • how can I use the alternate multibar rest in Dorico?? (uniE4EE) (this is rather “splashy” when writing Jazz-music…).

Yes, the JSON metadata file is important: Dorico won’t show the font in Engrave > Music Fonts unless it can load a valid SMuFL metadata file. That metadata file is read only when Dorico first starts up. The bounding boxes use the SMuFL glyph names as references, not the Unicode code points.

It is of course possible to make a font containing all musical symbols and all alphanumeric symbols, but Dorico won’t use such a font automatically. I think in the fullness of time we should add some additional properties to the SMuFL metadata file to specify the name of the corresponding font that contains symbols sized appropriately for use in text (e.g. Bravura vs. Bravura Text) and also which text font family the font designer recommends as a good partner for the music font.

Dorico does not support the use of a font glyph to draw the H-bar of a multi-bar rest.


Please have a look at my BopMusic Fonts for Dorico: