Notehead design - Default setting?

Simple question here. There are three notehead designs: “Default”, “Larger”, and “Note names”. Is “Default” or “Larger” initially set as the default in brand-new Dorico installations? From the descriptions, one might assume that it would be “Default”, but whenever I have started a project, it’s always been set to “Larger”, so I’m a little confused and wanted to ask. Thanks!

“Larger” is indeed, confusingly, the default choice in new projects. We were talking just this week about whether we ought to change the name of the option that’s currently called “Default”. What it really means is that “default” noteheads are exactly one staff space tall, whereas “larger” noteheads are around 8% larger than the “default” ones.

Nope, that’s correct. Larger is the default option for the Bravura font.

Why not calling the noteheads “normal” instead of “default”, so this wouldn’t be confusing?

Good to know that “Larger” is indeed the default and that my settings weren’t amiss. :slight_smile: I think a change of name for “Default” would indeed be helpful to avoid confusion. My suggestion would be to call it “Smaller” or something similar, because it doesn’t really imply any further meaning since it’s also a relative term like “Larger” is. HeiPet suggested “Normal” but I think that term might also suggest it’s the default choice. Thanks for the replies!

You could rename the “Default” note “Traditional.”

Why would a notehead be ~8% larger than a space? I would think a normal-sized notehead would be exactly the height of a space. Is this a long-lost engraving convention from the golden age? If you change the notehead size, does everything else—beams, flags, articulations, etc.—scale by ~8%? What do other scorewriters do?

Sorry for all the questions! Don’t get me wrong—the default output is fantastic and I would never have noticed that the noteheads are ~8% larger than a space without seeing this option. It’s just the quest for knowledge…

This thread at the MuseScore (an open-source scorewriter) website sheds some light on the Bravura noteheads and is good reading for anyone who enjoys techie/nerdy things. A user there contacted Daniel about design changes to Bravua’s default noteheads in 2015. (MuseScore offers Bravura as one of three options for the musical font.) Reading this makes makes it more clear why the options are named what they are.

If I’m understanding things correctly, the “Larger” noteheads were originally the default glyphs in the Bravura font family—drawn larger because larger noteheads coupled with thicker stave lines arguably aid in legibility. However, since Bravura (the reference font family for SMuFL compliance) is an open-source-licensed font family and can be used in other SMuFL-supported scorewriter applications, it was decided that the default notehead glyphs of Bravura should be a more conservative height of 1 stave space to increase its versatility with programs like Finale that use much thinner stave lines as their default; so the default glyphs for 5 noteheads (double whole note, double whole note square, whole note, half note/minim, black notehead) were reduced in size. However, since the larger noteheads were the original and preferred design choice for use in Dorico, a “stylistic set” of alternate oversized/larger noteheads was added to the Bravura font and included in the SMuFL specifications as “Recommended stylistic alternates”.

So, to sum things up, “Default” uses the default (aka 1-stave space tall) Bravura notehead glyphs and “Larger” uses the oversized noteheads in the “stylistic set” of the Bravura. “Larger” is the original and preferred design choice by the developers.

So, now I totally get why “Default” and “Larger” are called what they are. However, without knowing the background of things, I think most people would assume “Default” equates to the default notehead option for Dorico installations.

Indeed, and since a SMuFL-compliant font should encode its style in a metadata file that carries the preferred engraving options, there’s no real telling whether what’s called Default will really be a certain font’s default.

Old thread but my question is relative to this exact subject.

What exactly leads Dorico to always set “Large noteheads” in “Engraving Options/Notehead” settings as soon as Bravura is choosed as Music Font?
This setting does not belong to the engravingDefault of the metadata.

I am testing fonts at the moment and each time I change the “Music Font” this setting is “Default size noteheads” for all new fonts (and also Petaluma) but it is automatically set to “Larger noteheads” for Bravura.

I understand why the “Larger noteheads” are used for Bravura, it has been well explained in this thread, what I would like to know is where is this behaviour “backed” in Dorico, surely there must be a “mechanism” for this behaviour?
And is it eventually something we could change?

Dorico does this automatically when switching to Bravura because it’s the factory default. You cannot currently influence this behaviour.

I would guess it was done to make it easier to position note heads manually in plate engraving, and avoid thin white “wedges” between a notehead that was slightly out of position and a staff line.

AFAIK it doesn’t change the stems, flags, etc.

Thank you for your answer.