Music font displays slightly fatter

Hi everyone,

I am playing around with making my own music font, and have just imported some basic symbols from my font editor into Dorico. Since I’ve saved these symbols as an otf typeface, I import them into Dorico as glyphs.

It is not a dramatic difference, but the symbols seem to display slightly bigger than how I designed them. For instance, my black notehead is 330 by 280 units, but displays as roughly 333 by 282. This makes them stick out above and below the staff lines slightly, something I’d rather not have. All other symbols have become similarly slightly fatter.

Is there anything I can do about this, to have everything display exactly as I drew it?

Thank you!

I don’t exactly remember but I think there is a checkmark for “attach to staff” In where you are originally creating it I think that maybe resize it depending on your staff size?

Thank you for your answer, but I can’t find any checkmark like that…

Maybe someone with a lot of type design experience like @benwiggy knows what to do?

When you say “imported some symbols into Dorico”, what do you mean exactly? Have you created a SMuFL font? Or are you swapping in your glyphs in the Notehead Editor and Music Symbols editor?

Did you base your font on a UPM of 1000 units?

I’d be happy to take a look, if you want to PM me the font.

Thanks for your quick reply Ben! I wrote to you on your Ancient Groove e-mail, since it is not possible to attache OTF files in this forum.

(Any type of file can be added if it is wrapped in a zip archive)

@Janus I should have thought of that, thank you! Next time :slight_smile:

I’ll reply here, for the benefit of all…!

How did you measure your value of 333 x 282 after importing into Dorico?

First: Bravura uses the “Larger Noteheads” set by default. This is selected in Engraving Options > Notes. However, third-party fonts can’t create their own Larger set easily, for technical reasons. So the Bravura glyphs at E0A0…. are only used when ‘default’ set is selected.

280 is quite tall. The staff space is 250. If your staff lines are thinner than 1/8 spaces (31.25 units), then yes, you’ll see some overlap at that height.

Unfortunately, creating the JSON file is quite tricky, involving a variety of python scripts, installed libraries and/or software. I’ve sent you a minimal working file.

Thank you Ben,

I measured it by importing and scaling back into Affinity Designer (where I drew the glyphs in the first place, I just used the Glyphs mini app for turning it into a font file) using Dorico’s ‘graphic slices’. The scaling percentage I used was correct, the staff still measured exactly 1000 units, the staff lines exactly 30. But the noteheads and other glyphs that I drew had gotten bigger.

I did select the default smaller noteheads in Engraving options. And 280 might be a bit tall, but since my staff lines are 0,12 (30 units) it should fit precisely, 15 over the middle on the higher line and 15 under the middle on the lower, 250 + 30 = 280. Or am I making a mistake here? Regardless, also simple box-like glyphs like my whole rest (300x135) had grown.

Thank you very much for the JSON file, I’ll try to wrap my head around it.

One more thing I now tried; if I type my glyphs as 1000pt text in Affinity publisher, the proportions are exactly as I drew them. So something must happen with the scaling inside Dorico that makes the font display a bit differently. Again, we are talking about less than 1 % increase, it’s no big drama. But I’d like to know why it happens.

Coming back to @RZDorico comment, could there be a setting that I need to change, a “checkmark for “attach to staff””?

A quick test of :

  • exporting a PDF with my font in it;
  • importing to Affinity Designer;
  • copying a staff and a notehead to a new document;
  • scaling to 1000px high

shows my notehead at the correct, expected height and width.

I suspect there may be a ‘rounding’ calculation when using the Notehead Editor to import from non-SMuFL fonts, but I could be wrong.

I would see if you can use the font ‘properly’, now you’ve got a JSON file, and see what happens when you replicate this.

I installed the font properly using your JSON file, and did the same test as you describe. It still doesn’t come out exactly as I drew it. My black notehead (330 x 280) is now 332,6 x 282,2, the other glyphs are also a bit bigger.

Just one last attempt to figure this out, then I’ll stop bugging you all about this;

@benwiggy I looked at your Sebastian font in the Glyphs app, to get the measurements from the ‘source’ so to say, and then did the same test as you described above. A PDF export from Dorico, opened in Affinity, has Sebastian also showing about 2 pt bigger (at a 1000pt font size), 322,5 x 278,2 instead of your 320 x 276. Why this is different from your result I don’t know of course.

When I type glyphs from my font as text, in Affinity, but also in the Pages app, no resizing occurs. Is it possible that there is some kind of ‘rounding calculation’ in Dorico, like you mentioned before, also in SMUFL compatible fonts? If yes, can I turn it off?

And just to be sure, did I indeed make a mistake here?

If this is not wrong, then my 280 notehead shouldn’t stick out from my 30 (0,12) staff line, but it visibly does in Dorico. Which I think at least rules out the option that the problem is in the PDF export.

I know these are tiny differences, and if needed I can just take them into account when drawing the glyphs. But it would be nice to see Dorico output the glyphs exactly as I draw them, not a bit bigger, since sometimes I want this kind of precision.

Thanks for bearing with me so far!

Do not noteheads scale according to space size of the staff lines? I have not knowledge of the inner workings of font creation, but stating a notehead size without standardizing (stating) the space size could lead to misunderstandings.

@Derrek the space size in Dorico is not important here. A music fonts is scaled together with the staff, if the staff size in Dorico increases, then the font increases the same amount. When designing a music font you work with the assumption that the staff is one ‘em’ high (usually divided in a 1000 units per em, or ‘upm’), and scale everything accordingly. If one staff is 1000 epm, then one space is 250 epm. My staff lines are 0,12 spaces, so 30 epm, meaning my 280 epm high notehead should fit precisely between the outer edges of two staff lines.

1 Like

Are you exporting using Dorico’s built-in PDF export, or graphic slices, or another method?
Is this on Windows or Mac? Windows’ type rendering is a bit less accurate, I believe.

1 Like

I’ve tried both Dorico’s built-in PDF export, and graphic slices (PDF and SVG, which I then open in Affinity). Everything gives me the same size difference of about 2 pt. I’m on a Macbook air from early 2015.