Small update to Norfolk Text font for Sibelius; more planned


It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since we at NYC Music Services released the Norfolk music fonts as a Bravura derivative for use in Sibelius. At the time it was released in 2014, Dorico, Steinberg’s flagship software for which Bravura was designed, didn’t even have a name, and it would be another two years before Dorico itself was available.

Since then, a lot has changed. On the Norfolk side, over the course of 2014 and 2015 we issued several updates as we tackled its use in metronome marks, kept pace with the most evident Bravura updates, and added automatic ligated dynamics for more beautiful scores.

In 2016 we expanded the original mission of the Norfolk project beyond creating a drop-in replacement for standard Sibelius fonts, and introduced Norfolk Harp, a supplemental font for harp notation containing Bravura symbols that mostly don’t exist already in Opus.

And in 2018 we introduced major updates to Norfolk in conjunction with the first release of Pori, the Sibelius-compatible derivative of Steinberg’s Petaluma handwritten font, which brought the ingenious angled slash chord (ASC) technology to Sibelius for the first time.

In 2019 we issued the most recent update to the Norfolk fonts, a major release which included a technical overhaul to the ASC fonts, an updated Norfolk Harp font and transfer document, a new house style, and bundling of the Figurato figured bass font and Gothic A1 and Academico text fonts.

If you’re wondering why creating these additional fonts are necessary, it’s because Sibelius’s font architecture doesn’t support the newer Standard Music Font Layout (SMuFL) standard, also created by Steinberg as as way to standardize the mapping the thousands of musical symbols required by conventional music notation into the Private Use Area in Unicode for a single (format-independent) font. Hence the reason for Norfolk, Norfolk Special, Norfolk Ornaments, Norfolk Text, etc.

Indeed, on the Bravura side, we’ve seen its adoption as the default font not only by newer applications such as StaffPad and Soundslice, but also its inclusion as an option in older software ranging from Musescore to Logic Pro X.

The update

Bravura itself has been updated as well. Although some Bravura updates made their way into Norfolk, the appearance of the Norfolk Text italicized numerals, used primarily for tuplets, was based on an earlier version of Bravura, and never got updated:

The new numerals, which have actually been in Bravura for quite some time, are more uniform in appearance:

So we’ve updated the Norfolk Text font to match. This is the only change for now. The Norfolk Text Std font is updated to version 2020-07-28. If you work with other applications that use Bravura, this will give your scores a more consistent look. Be aware that, however subtly, it will affect the appearance of any Sibelius files that currently use it.

We also took the opportunity to include the latest updates to the Figurato and Academico fonts in this most recent Norfolk update, which has the date of 2020-08-09. The most notable improvement to Figurato is that it is SMuFL-compliant, so that you can use the same font both in your Sibelius scores and as a substitute for the Figured Bass Font Style in Dorico. The Academico text fonts have been updated to correct various issues, most noticeably a baseline inconsistency with the Academico italic style.

The documentation is also updated.

How to get it

This one is a very modest update — after all, you really don’t want your fonts changing all that much, if ever, once they’re in use — but we still think you’ll want to get it.

If you’re already a registered user of Norfolk, head on over to Notation Central. You can always 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.

Please do not create a new order if you’re already a registered user.

If you don’t yet have the Norfolk fonts, you can get them at Notation Central. The suggested price is $20, and we really appreciate your support if you are able to provide it. However, you can pay any price you like for them, including $0, if you so choose.

Support our efforts

If you have supported the development of the music fonts at NYC Music Services by contributing, thank you! We truly appreciate your support.

If you obtained the fonts for free, and you use them, or even if you just enjoy any of the other Scoring Notes coverage we provide, we have a humble request:

Would you please support our efforts by donating?

We have more significant updates planned in the future, but we can only do it with your help.

Your support makes these high-quality fonts like Norfolk and Pori available for everyone to use and helps us maintain compatibility with the latest versions of Sibelius.

Please note: Scoring Notes / NYC Music Services is not a charitable organization and donations cannot be considered charitable contributions. However, your donation may be tax-deductible as a business gift or business expense. Consult your tax advisor for more information.

Thank you

Jeff Kellem is responsible for the latest Norfolk Text update, swapping in the new numerals and scaling them appropriately, all the while making sure everything else was left untouched in the process. Thanks, Jeff!

It truly does take a village to keep this project going. Over the years (in addition to Jeff and myself), Matthew Maslanka, Robin Walker, Bob Zawalich, and Bernie Cossentino have all made significant contributions to the Norfolk fonts. Florian Kretlow designed the Figurato font and HanYang I&C Co designed the Gothic A1 fonts upon which the Norfolk Sans Chord Symbol font is based. Sam Butler of Avid gave us permission to use the Opus font “shells” as templates which saved us a lot of time in the process.

And of course the Bravura and Academico fonts themselves were designed by Daniel Spreadbury.

I think the result is one of the most versatile and beautiful fonts in use in Sibelius, and a tremendous value no matter what price you pay for it. There’s more to come, particularly in the area of chord symbol fonts, so stay tuned!

For now, enjoy this small-scale update to Norfolk.

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