Using a condensed font in lyrics

I often like to use a condensed font for lyrics as it doesn’t distort the proportional note spacing as much as a wider font would. I haven’t found a way of doing this in Dorico; the Edit Font Styles window gives a set of predetermined weights which are not determined by font availability and the program doesn’t recognise the presence of a condensed typeface. Does anyone have a solution?


I don’t have a direct answer. Dorico will use a narrow or condensed font if you have one on your system as a distinct font family.

For some years I’ve taken to using Garamond for lyrics in Sibelius, as it’s the Roman font with the narrowest “set” on my system, and is very legible. It causes less distortion to note spacing even than Times. I haven’t done much with lyrics yet in Dorico.

Michael Aves

Thanks for your post. I’ve also used [Stempel] Garamond extensively for many years but have recently switched to Minion Pro as a slightly more modern and more compact equivalent. I installed the condensed version of this font for use with lyrics because it’s just as legible and elegant but takes up less horizontal space but, because it’s imbedded in the Minion Pro font family, I can’t select it in Dorico.

In Engrave Menu - > Font Styles -> Lyrics Font.


That’s exactly where I was looking. As I said, that dialog box has a set of predetermined weights and none of these includes condensed, regardless of what installed. Instead of Dorico determining what weights we should want, it should give us a choice of which installed fonts we want to use.

Ah, it was the condensed version you were missing, sorry, my fault.


This is indeed a limitation at the moment, because lyrics use a font style rather than a paragraph style, and font styles don’t provide the same access to more detailed font settings that paragraph styles do. This is certainly unfortunate and I’ll need to talk to the team about how best to address it. We won’t be able to sort this out in 1.0.10 but we’ll try to take care of it for 1.0.20.

Thanks, Daniel!

Dear Daniel,
Any update on this ? It could be useful in some crowded pages to be able to change the lyrics font… And anyway, I’d like to be able to choose the condensed typeface without having to get rid of all other variations of the font on my machine, obviously.

It has worked fine since version 2, I believe. You can select Condensed in Font Styles/Lyrics.

Thanks Vaughan ! How could I miss that???

Now that would be amazing would be to be able to change the style inside the flow, on a system basis or page basis… But that’s already awsome.
Thanks to the team, of course !!!

Here comes the type nerd again… Sorry for the off topic, but what’s that tasty font we can peek at in the background?

Hi Luis!
First line (Opérette en 1 acte) is Roman Ionic (very popular here), the following is Amarante (gives an “Art nouveau” touch here).

They’re both beautiful. I’ve been meaning to buy Roman Iconic but keep forgetting. Jawher did such a great work on that.

It was the Amarante I was looking for. I usually go for Barcelona, but that’s too expensive to buy for myself to use when I don’t have access to a larger type library. Amarante looks great and it’s free! In fact, I already had it pre-installed with my font manager, but Google’s library is just too big to properly sift through… Awesome, Marc!

I enjoy Roman Ionic quite a bit however I’ve eased off on using it lately. It is a lovely font, and it definitely feels old-world however it seems out of place on some newer scores. I’m really liking Iowan Old Style as a nice versatile font that has a few extra font weights; it has become my new default. Nice thing is it comes baked in with Dorico.

Unfortunately, I’m discovering that there are very little fonts out there with narrow no-break space (necessary in french ponctuation)… and Minion Pro is not one of them. I asked Daniel to add that “glyph” to Academico, not knowing how scarce were the fonts that had it. I’m seriously thinking about learning to use some font app just to add this to some fonts… Any advice ?

My cursory reading shows me that it’s tricky indeed. There is a codepoint in the Unicode standard for it, but most applications don’t really support it, so it often behaves like a breaking thin space. Have you tried that instead?

If it’s just adding a space, you might try getting into font design software… Who knows where that will lead you!

Thanks Luis! I’ll try that thin space instead (U+2009 instead of U+202F), and use that if it’s available in the fonts I want to use (to have an alternate font with Linux Libertine).
[Edit] : I checked and it seems that the same fonts support both thin space and narrow no-break space… I’ll have to learn to create that glyph myself!
[Edit 2] : I installed FontForge and I am flabbergasted by how easy it is to edit the uni202F glyph (by default at 1000, I move it to 125 and that’s it!). I edited 20 of my most used fonts, it does work very well in Dorico!

Related issue to this: since Lyrics still don’t reference a paragraph style, is there any way to set the global default of a font to be an ABSOLUTE rather than a relative value? All my new projects default to 10pt relative. I always want 11 absolute. I have a feeling I’m just brainfarting about a setting.