Specific Hymnal Style in Dorico

This is from the Hymnal in St George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem.

Don’t suppose there’s a Layout Option for that…?


Is that “O Little Town of Bethlehem?” :smiley:

10 points to Gryffindor.

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I once had the great privilege of playing Triduum for a Maronite Catholic Church. It was quite something (I found Good Friday particularly moving, as the crucifix had articulating arms and they physically removed Christ from the cross before processing the corpus in solemn procession to a tomb prepared on a side altar; it was really quite moving and I’ve never seen anything like it) but the one thing that really threw me was this mirror-imaged music. I really strugglebussed through it. It’s funny to me now but at the time I was rather panicked.

I should add that for a well-known hymn tune like this I’d be ok; it was the unknown ancient melodies, sung in Aramaic, with backwards music, in a script I couldn’t read to follow along if I got off, that made it all so difficult.

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Interesting that it turns out pretty easy to read. Rather like driving on the other side of the road – feels persistently wrong, but it’s doable. I wonder why they went to the trouble of printing the music RTL without the lyrics? (I thought the lyrics would be the point.)

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The lyrics are on the left hand page, (from my interpretation of the show-through from the following pages). I imagine trying to read two directions at the same time might be tough.

(“boustrophedonically” is a great word for writing that alternates direction: it means ‘turning like an ox ploughing’)

I wonder what software (or other process) was used.

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Ah! :bulb: Of course – you wouldn’t print Arabic script one letter at a time, because the letters have different forms when they’re joined!

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What I find fascinating is that it is not a strict mirror image. Many things are still drawn correctly, but in a reversed order. That’s partly what makes it even harder.

Finale can handle this with aplomb, IIRC.

I think I’ve seen the Mozart Mirror canon somewhere, but (like many things) it’s a bit of a fudge. (And there aren’t any dotted notes in it!)

Here we are!

  1. Create SVG files of mirror image noteheads. (Easily done in Affinity Designer. copy a notehead into a new AD document, flip, and export.)

  2. Import the SVGs into the Notehead Set Editor, replacing the default noteheads.

  3. Switch the position of the stem attachments to the opposite side of the notehead.

That gives you this:

  1. Export PDF from Dorico.

  2. Import into Affinity Designer. Flip the whole thing; then flip the clefs, key sig, and quaver flags.



Is that all? :wink: