Tantacrul on making a music font

As someone who has no experience in this sort of thing, I found this interesting: https://youtu.be/XGo4PJd1lng

I’d be curious to hear about the process from others who have experience designing music fonts, maybe even Daniel if he has time to weigh in!

I’m not interested in trying this myself, but I definitely find it fascinating.

I am interested in more granular projects, like custom clefs, but those are more straightforward one-off designs.


That was a fun trip down memory lane! I haven’t used SCORE in probably 20 years, but I did a lot of inputting in the late 90s. I was never good enough to do all the layout and formatting, but I was the newbie just out of grad school that would do inputting and proofreading for cheap, LOL. The woman I worked for was a SCORE wizard whose output was really fantastic. IIRC Finale had a SCORE converter for a while but they killed it off, I suspect because it never quite imported accidentals correctly. I think I might even still have a copy of the DOS version of SCORE sitting on an Iomega Zip drive somewhere in my basement.

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Interesting video - thanks for posting.

Glad I never had to use it, from the look of things!

He’s right: making the shape is just half of it. You’ve then got to see how that shape fits on the staff alongside all the other symbols. Multiply that by 3000 if you want the full SMuFL set. Even the minimum for Dorico’s panels requires around 800 or so.

There’s also a very small window for variation between “what is traditionally expected” and “what makes this font compellingly unique”.


I had the feeling to hear Daniel Spreadbury’s words during some parts of this video. I suppose it can be held as a tribute :sweat_smile:


In addition to my earlier comments: while MuseScore’s previous font already supported SMuFL, it’s good that there’s active development of more SMuFL fonts, free or otherwise.

It’s a bit boring if everyone’s output looks the same, and when it becomes ‘obvious’ to tell what app was used.

That having been said: I’m actually not wild about the combined flags in Leland.

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“Ok, I’m going to make a better music font, watch this”

“Woah this is really hard”


Nor am I. They get weird at the top. I also find the sharps a little odd.

Definitely not the most user friendly program, and of course it was just for copying, not really for composition. If you’re interested, I found a 3.0 manual online, which is the version I used. I remember doing the tutorials on starting on pg 6 and 97, LOL! The crazy process of “rippling” the files together (that’s what we called it anyway) in order to print is described starting on 36. There’s an example of a part on pg 151-152 too.

It’s nice that somebody is developing a new font and giving it a lot of thought. I watched the video and couldn’t help but notice some problems in the overall finish of the music engraving. What’s with those ties? Takes a lot away from the care lavished on the font symbols.

Take a look at the G. Henle website’s sample pages to get an idea of how ties should look.

I hope that the font will evolve, and that it will spark better defaults, as well as some rebuilding inside the program to make the engraving better from the start. Right now the program is demanding lots of changes to the starting file, and I hope delving deep into font territory, getting burned and redoing it iteratively will spark some precise focus on other aspects of the software as well.


You’re quite right, but all that’s coming in time. Unfortunately we can’t do everything at once :slight_smile: