Ambitus 1.2 adds octave lines, parenthesized notes


I’m happy to announce that the 1.2 update of Ambitus, my font for pitch incipits, scales, and range diagrams that can be used in any word processor or music notation software, has been released.

After the 1.1 update which added soprano, mezzo-soprano, and percussion clefs, noteheads, and some related playing techniques (thanks to users for the suggestions!), I went to work on some other, slightly more complicated feature requests.

Octave lines

Octave lines (8va/8ba etc.) are now available. By adding a K or J after the note, you get an 8va or 15ma indicator above the staff. A lowercase k and j result in a corresponding 8ba or 15ma indicator below the staff. They will automatically move out of the way if the note they are anchored to protrudes beyond the staff lines.

If you need longer lines, just repeat the character, and the line will extend to the right, so for example Tq3KKKK/q2/q1/q/ Bh-5jjjjj/h-4/h-3/h-2/h-1/ will give you

About here is where the limitations of what can be done with a simple font (as opposed to actual music notation software like Dorico) become even more obvious. If one of the following notes is lower than the “anchor”, the line can‘t move out of its way. You can, however, specify an offset after the octave line to compensate for that:

Compare Bq-3kkk/q-0/q-5/ and Bq-3kkk4/q-0/q-5/ here:

Parenthesized notes

I have implemented parenthesized notes using contextual alternates, which could be described as a set of rules that allow precise placement of characters (in this case, parentheses) depending on which other characters precede or follow them.

Since the varying shapes of accidentals and notes require fine-tuning the positions of parentheses around them, those rules have become quite complicated, and there may be edge cases I have overlooked – so if you notice something that doesn’t look quite right, please let me know.

But for the most part, it should be easy now to place parentheses around notes or just around accidentals:

Other changes

Digits and hyphen/minus are now empty characters; they only modify other glyphs, but aren’t rendered by themselves.

Get the font

I hope you find this update useful, and I’m always open for suggestions.

Ambitus is available at Notation Central. It was created and is made available under the SIL Open Font License, and as such it is available at no charge; however, a suggested contribution of $10 or whatever you care to contribute towards this project is greatly appreciated.

If you have already registered and downloaded a previous version of Ambitus, you will already have received an update notification via email. You can obtain your downloads and updates by logging into your account at Notation Central, or by going to the Retrieve Files page and entering your e-mail address to obtain the download link.

For more information about Ambitus, please read my post about the initial release.

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