New Emmentaler accidentals in 3.6 alpha are too sharp-looking

• Nov 18, 2020 - 16:26

... especially the flat accidental, with too much contrast in stroke width. The bowl is so thick whereas the vertical stroke is as thin as the note stem, and the counter is so tending left. Yet in most printed scores in my experience, the vertical stroke of the flat accidental is thicker than the note stem. The same can be said of the natural accidental.

If you check how roundish the flag of the 8th note is, that's the overall style of Emmentaler. I don't quite find these new acccidentals fit because they look "sharp". Also take a look at Leland and Bravura, neither has accidentals so spiky despite that they are relatively angular fonts in general.

These are links to that change. The second includes some figures of direct comparison.

Let's see if anybody else has the same complaint, and if there's chance to get it addressed.


At first glance, the results are looking nice over here. Alternatively though, to keep "most of the people happy most of the time", the alterations could potentially be provided as an extra font choice while keeping the "original" untouched. Like, maybe "Emmentaler (Parnassus Accidentals)" could be an actual font choice?

In reply to by worldwideweary

For clarity, I'm never against an "extra font choice", but I find a modular setup is much cleaner than bundling everything into one single installation. Do you have any professional theory or experience in software design to back that my argument is utterly "interesting"? Tbh this is not the first time I receive it when I speak of modular design and I don't understand what's going on. Can you elaborate?

In reply to by Flora Canou

Hmm, yes, allowing Musical (Text) Fonts as an extension (like MDL and the HQ soundfont, via Help > Resource Manager) would be nice to have some day. Such a font would need to come with a setting as to what the fallback font should be, like here "Parnassus Accidentals" fallback to "Emmentaler", if the fallback is not "Bravura" (which is the last resort in any case, being the only 100% complete SMuFL font).
Problem with that though is the compatibility of scores between MuseScore versions, even between the same version with and without such an additional font installed.

In reply to by worldwideweary

IMHO it's be way too much overhead and duplication to keep the old "Emmentaler" and add a new "Emmentaler (Parnassus Accidentals)", for just those 2 (flat/sharp) - 5 (flat, sharp, natural, double flat, double sharp) accidentals.

Hmm, we could have an "Emmentaler (Parnassus Accidentals)" with just those changed glyphs and a fallback to Emmentaler for the rest (and that then fallback to Bravura, as we have already.
Still to much of an overhead IMHO though.


In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

(Hm, didn’t get notified here, only in …)

It’s a bit more, about 1½ dozen accidentals are affected, but the new MScore font also contains various other corrections which you really want to have.

On the other hand (as I said in the original post), I made the new accidentals have almost the same advance width as the old ones: except for the double flat 𝄫, which sadly is a tiny bit wider, they are all the same size of the old ones or even a little bit thinner, and as such don’t affect the layout of scores (the difference is in the area of 0.02 sp). This was a thing I specifically looked out for.

The new accidentals also bother me, but it could be because I've become accustomed to the Emmentaler ones, as I don't have read a lot of engraved music.

The bowl is supposed to be this thick. I scaled the accidentals already to match the Emmentaler-derived glyphs, but if you look at decade-old prints from e.g. Breitkopf & Härtel or Bärenreiter, you see that:

b_und_h.png bärenreiter.png

Basically, the ♭ was too thin in Emmentaler already (and the ♮ looked as if a kid who barely knew notation had drawn it). The new accidentals really fit a more professional look, and I worked hard to integrate them with the overall look.

Since you prefer a ♭ with a less pronounced bowl, and taste is subjective, why don’t you have a look at the musical notation font Leland, which is currently being designed specifically for MuseScore (check Tantacrul’s Twitter for progress) and will be the default in MuseScore 4? It contains a slimmer-bowled ♭.

Fun you should mention the stroke width. The new Parnassus-based accidentals have a wider stroke width for the vertical strokes of the flat*, natural and sharp signs than the older Emmentaler-based ones, which were quite a bit thinner than the note stem (which, incidentally, is not part of the font but expressed in a spatium unit in its metadata). I had to widen the stroke on these glyphs a little, but specifically the vertical strokes are more Emmentaler than Parnassus in the new MScore accidentals.

*) the vertical stroke on the flat signs is thinning towards the bottom instead of a straight line, but that’s not a problem, it’s by design


You could be running into screen resolution issues. But if you zoom in or print it out, it’s right.

In reply to by mirabilos

If I understand correctly, you state the (average) width of the flat's vertical stroke of new Emmentaler is wider than that of old Emmentaler, and that of old Emmentaler is thinner than the note stem. So this:

old Emmentaler < note stem < new Emmentaler

In fact, your figures ( showed this:

new Emmentaler ~= note stem < old Emmentaler.

It can't be a resolution issue since it's the same for not only the downloaded alpha version but also all your figures.

In reply to by Flora Canou

It’s new MScore. Emmentaler is the musical font that comes from GNU LilyPond. MScore has long left that.

Anyway, no, not the average width, but I enhanced some widths throughout. Yes, they look sharper — mostly because they’re not boring uniform straight strokes any more. But they do look more professional.

I'd just like to chime in with some thoughts. The parnassus font was not made to mix and match with other fonts. It has a style on it's own, based on old engraved scores, like edition peeters, etc... The lilypond fonts in contrast are more styled like henle verlag or barenreiter. Both are quality designs, but they are not really made to mix.
I know parnassus is still work in progress, sadly I don't have much time to work on it...
I find that a music font should also be used together with a style for other elements, like beam-thickness, stem-thickness, note spacing, etc... The default musescore style doesn't blend well with parnassus. IMO it's a mistake to swap fonts without also changing other elements.

In reply to by kuribas

Perhaps, but the accidentals work much better, and those from Emmentaler (especially the ♮) look like an insult (and I really wanted the new ♭ as well).

I did adjust those glyphs I took from Parnassus to fit the rest of MScore better. Took me several person-days.

I don't think I like the accidentals either.

Incidentally, things like lyrics and stave text look too 'ye olde' for the kind of music I transcribe (pop music). It might look okay on certain genres (classical), but it would be nice to have the option.

In reply to by chen lung

There are other options for nōn-classical use. Try MuseJazz or something.

And for text, you can use any font installed in the system (I don’t use a default font either, I have my own “house style”). It’s just musical fonts for which things are extremely tricky.

I actually like the new accidentals. However, I have not been working with emmentaler a lot recently, and that's why I may not have seen a drastic difference.
However, I would be curious to test with wider vertical lines, and would gladly point you to a musescore build with them if you provide an updated font.

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