Working with lyrics and vocal music presents a special set of challenges and opportunities to burnish your music engraving skill set. In this first of a two-part episode, Philip Rothman and David MacDonald discuss many of the conventions and principles that govern lyric text.
Staff position, alignment, and spacing must all be carefully considered when setting vocal text, and we sort through the best approaches for presenting the music clearly in relation to the lyrics. Beaming is an issue that has often confounded notesetters — specifically syllabic beaming, where the beams reflect the text instead of the rhythmic groups — and we talk about the change from traditional to modern notation and how best to handle melismatic passages.
Fonts, always a favorite topic of conversation on Scoring Notes, are again worthy of exploration, and why certain fonts are better than others for lyrics. We offer our suggestions there, and also discuss the topics of hyphenation and word extensions that are necessary components of any instance where vocal text is present.
There’s much more we cover in this episode, and then in the next episode, we’ll talk about where in the music notation software you can find the settings to control these various aspects and some tips to achieve good results.
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