When it comes to making your score look exactly the way you want, the right fonts can make all the difference. What symbol conveys the sound you wish to express? What style aligns with your musical sensibilities? What shape will quickly communicate information to the performer?
In terms of text fonts, sure, there are thousands of choices. But music fonts are a rarer breed.
All of the music notation software programs come with their own set of fonts, which may suit your needs just fine. Sooner or later, though, you’ll likely find yourself searching for a specialized look or a particular set of symbols that aren’t included with your software.
We are here to help!
Over at Notation Central, our marketplace for music technology, we have fonts from a variety of foundries that meet the challenge. This month we’ll feature many of them in a series of separate posts that highlight their particular features, but here’s a quick tour of what you’ll find.
Engraved style fonts
There are the beautiful music fonts from Music Type Foundry. All eight MTF fonts work with Finale, and five (MTF Arnold, Beethoven, Cadence, Haydn, and Scorlatti) work with Dorico, with future Dorico support to come for the others later. We’ve even bundled all eight MTF fonts at a terrific price.
The smart and sharp neueweise new music notation fonts from jef chippewa are there. You can get the Notes, Articulations, and Pitches fonts à la carte, but there’s also a nice bundle for you to save on all three.
We’re also thrilled to have for sale November 2 by Robert Piéchaud, praised for years by musicians, publishers and engravers as one of the finest and most vivid fonts ever designed for music notation software.
This premium font comes with extensive documentation for use in Finale, Sibelius, and Dorico. November 2 was the first commercial font developed for SMuFL, and Dorico users will be particularly pleased that switching to it is as easy as clicking a button.
Of course, there are the Norfolk and Pori fonts, the Sibelius versions of Steinberg’s Bravura and Petaluma, created by a collaborative group that includes Matthew Maslanka, Jeff Kellem, Bernie Cossentino, Bob Zawalich, and Robin Walker.
Norfolk brings Bravura’s bold engraved look to Sibelius with proportions that are aesthetically pleasing in many styles of music. Included in the bundle are Steinberg’s Academico text font created by Daniel Spreadbury, Florian Kretlow’s Figurato font for figured bass, and the Gothic A1 sans-serif font by HanYang I&C Co.
Handwritten style fonts
There are also the Pori fonts from NYC Music Services, which have a distinctive look that takes Anthony Hughes’s Petaluma font, designed in the style of the hand copyists for Sher Publishing’s Real Book series, Ernie Mansfield and Ann Krinitsky, and expressly reconfigures it to work with Sibelius.
And both Norfolk and Pori have angled slash chord (ASC) variants invented by Bernie Cossentino — the chord symbol font that automatically displays an altered bass note underneath an angled separator in a diagonal arrangement. This feature within Sibelius is exclusive to the Norfolk and Pori fonts.
Both the Norfolk and Pori fonts come with a Sibelius house style to get you quickly up and running, and come with extensive documentation. Support for both fonts is hardwired into the latest versions of Sibelius, meaning that you don’t need to manually configure them in Preferences.
We’ve just added Nor Eddine Bahha’s fonts — four music fonts for Sibelius and Finale — all on sale at 50% off of their usual prices. The music fonts come in a bundle that make it possible to get them at an incredible discount — 65% off of their usual price.
Nor also has a couple dozen handwritten text fonts that will surely give your scores a distinctive feel, like NorB Pen Cased.
One of Music Type Foundry’s fonts is of the handwritten variety — MTF Improviso, which was heavily influenced by hand-copied specimens found in the book Music Preparation: A Guide to Music Copying by Ken J. Williams. It’s currently only available for Finale and Lilypond, but a Dorico version is in the works.
We’ll explore many of these fonts more in the days and weeks to come, but there’s no need to wait. Head on over to Notation Central to start exploring ways to give your scores the distinctive look you’ve always wanted.