Norfolk, the free Sibelius-compatible version of the Bravura music font, was released nearly two weeks ago. Since then we’ve made a number of improvements to the fonts. Today we’ve released those improvements along with the final (for now) font in the suite: Norfolk Metronome.
If you want to get right to it, download the updated fonts from the NYC Music Services web site. Be sure to quit Sibelius first and uninstall the existing versions of the Norfolk fonts that you may have on your computer. A quick summary of the highlights:
- An important fix was made to Norfolk Std that results in time signatures displaying and aligning better.
- Norfolk Metronome Std is new.
- The House Style has been updated, with versions for Sibelius 7.5, 7, and 6.
- Many other important fixes since September 26.
Read on for a few interesting and helpful details.
Matthew Maslanka, my collaborator on this project, spent many hours thinking about the relationship of the symbols in the Opus Metronome font, and how to improve upon them in the Norfolk version. The Metronome font, despite its name, is used primarily for metric modulations in Sibelius (metronome marks use the music text font, i.e., Norfolk Text Std). Here are the results.
Opus Metronome handles triplets fairly inconsistently and displays them with the right hook over the final note rather than aligned with the stem. In Norfolk there are several changes that make that behavior work better, at the cost of breaking some of the default menu options a bit. The only issues will involve inserting an extra space in the following default menu items:
|Opus, Helsinki, etc.||Norfolk||Result|
Keep in mind, if you care about playback, you’ll need to made the above adjustments in Play > Interpretation > Dictionary. Click System Text and scroll to find the appropriate expression (i.e.,
qaa az=qa.aa i). Click Duplicate to add the Norfolk version to account for the extra space, and rename it accordingly (i.e.,
qaa az=qa.a a i).
You’re still reading and want to know how this magic was accomplished?
- The space bar now inserts a half-space rather than a whole space.
- The sidebearings for flagged notes are now at the right side of the stem, rather than the flag. This allows for more flexibility with spacing. Adding a half-space after the note inserts the expected amount of space.
- Dots are now 0-width; they can be inserted under beams easily and appropriately spaced.
A couple other goodies:
Stem lengths for 32nd notes have been shortened to fit under appropriate brackets and to look better.
Arrows are now in the font, mapped to
>. This means, for example, you can create the following entirely within the Metric modulation text style by typing:
< e =e >
If all that is a little much, here’s a Sibelius 7.5 file that demonstrates the basic concepts. If you want to get really fancy, you can update the default menus that appear when you add metric modulations, to account for these changes. To do that, go to File > Preferences > Word Menus. Find Metric modulations in the list, and go to town.
If the latest posts over at the Steinberg blog are any guide, the team there is thinking deeply about some of the same engraving minutiae for their new product. We hope the Avid team is pondering similar improvements for future Sibelius upgrades. In any event, it’s been a lot of fun bringing the best of both worlds together in this project.