Optical sizing

Music may need to be printed in a range of sizes. Originally, this was accomplished by creating punching dies in each of the required sizes, which meant that each die was designed to look its best at that size. With the advent of digital fonts, a single outline can be mathematically scaled to any size, which is very convenient, but at the smaller sizes the glyphs will appear very light.

In LilyPond, we have created fonts in a range of weights, corresponding to a range of music sizes. This is a LilyPond engraving at staff size 26:


and this is the same engraving set at staff size 11, then magnified by 236% to print at the same size as the previous example:


At smaller sizes, LilyPond uses proportionally heavier lines so the music will still read well.

This also allows staves of different sizes to coexist peacefully when used together on the same page:

[image of music]

Essay on automated music engraving v2.25.18 (development-branch).