Font designA large factor that makes LilyPond output look traditional lies in the blackness of the page. By using heavy stafflines, and a font design to match that, the overall impression is much stronger. This is also very clear from the following blowups:
|Henle (2000)||Bärenreiter (1950)||LilyPond (2003)|
Another typical aspect of hand-engraved scores is the general look of the symbols. They almost never have sharp corners. This is because sharp corners of the punching dies are fragile and quickly wear out when stamping in metal. The general rounded shape of music symbols is also present in all glyphs of our "Feta" font.
One of the problems that the Bach piece above inspired us to attack is the spacing engine. One of its features is optical spacing. It is demonstrated in the fragment below.
This fragment only uses quarter notes: notes that are played in a constant rhythm. The spacing should reflect that. Unfortunately, the eye deceives us a little: not only does it notice the distance between note heads, it also takes into account the distance between consecutive stems. As a result, the notes of an up-stem/down-stem combination should be put farther apart, and the notes of a down-up combination should be put closer together, all depending on the combined vertical positions of the notes. The top fragment is printed with this correction, the bottom one without. In the last case, the down-stem/up-stems combinations form clumps of notes.
Ledger linesLedger lines are typographically difficult. They can easily blot together with other signs, such as ledger lines or accidentals. Other software prevents these collisions by spacing the lines wider (thus taking up more space), or shortening ledger lines (which hampers readability.)
|Henle (2000)||Bärenreiter (1950)||LilyPond (2004)|
Next: Use the Source, Luke, or: what
goes into LilyPond.