New music notation font

• Jul 15, 2013 - 09:45

Hi everyone,

I have been making a new music notation font. Parnassus is a haskell program I am making for
experimenting with music layout, but there hasn't been much progress. But I have a useable font,
and Nicolas has helped me porting it to MuseScore. It's not complete, but it has all the basic glyphs.
You can read more about it on my website:

Kristof Bastiaensen


Ooooh, I really like the accidentals in the Parnassus drafts/examples, they're not as hole-y/open and with more defined strokes.

I don't quite like the bleeding, though... guess I'll stick to MScore (Emmentaler) for now, I've been looking at musical fonts tonight and, given that even creators of alternatives praise it, and it looks "larger", not as filligrane, making it easier to read during a performance, really helps (though I never liked its natural accidental at all).

In reply to by mirabilos

Meh. Some scaling needed.


While I like the new ♯ already, the ♭ is rather weak. (And I need a ♮ for comparison, because that one utterly sucks in Emmentaler.) I suspect Parnassus is pre-SMuFL. I really need to understand its bbox values in the provided XML file… but probably just do size comparisons to noteheads and scale things to match SMuFL.

Incidentally, parnassus-mscore.sfd is provided under the correct licence to merge individual glyphs over ☻ (GPL with font exception, same as Emmentaler/MScore).

In reply to by mirabilos

Why merge Parnassus into Emmentaler rather than having it as a separate font?
BTW: A new font, Leland, is currently being designed/developed for MuseScore, by a staff member, AFAIK it is planned for MuseScore 3.6, and is planned to be come the new default for MuseScore 4 (and part of its development builds already, in an early form)

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

I actually like Emmentaler but hate its accidentals (and the 8vb clef bug). I don’t like the overall look of Parnassus, but its accidentals are much closer to the engraved music I collected over the years.

I saw the development of the new one (by Tantacrul on Twitter) but, as I said, I like Emmentaler per se.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

That’s what I wrote ☻

But I decided to split these and deal with the accidentals first.

My WIP is at in case someone wants to have a look at it (this branch may be subject to force pushes); I also had to fix a couple of other issues in the font (nōn-integral points, open paths, missing/outdated hinting information, etc) but learnt tons about fonts and SMuFL during it and had a blast ☺ (well as much as one can while ill in bed).

In reply to by mirabilos

OK, this is quite… well, the ♮ is a definite improvement (except for hinting of the rightmost vertical line at small sizes, like 100% view on my 91 dpi laptop in the software itself), the sharps are not much of a change (but go well), and the ♭… hmm… if sitting in a space it cuts the lower stave line somewhat fierce, but at a distance or smaller sizes it’s great. I think I’ll either increase the advance width of the accidental-opening-parenthesis a bit or move the ♭ so it begins at position 0, depending on how well MuseScore deals with the advance width (it seems to not honour it for the ♭+closing-parenthesis sequence… might be useful to investigate that instead or additionally).

MScore with Emmentaler accidentals:


MScore with Parnassus accidentals, WIP:


Check it from a slight distance. Zooming in you see more details than normally visible.

I think I also should investigate the differences between parnassus.sfd and parnassus-mscore.sfd regarding the ♭ vs. notehead size.

But, all in all, this is much closer to professionally typeset notation from the last century. (Looking at some real notation, the cutting the baseline is not a problem. I need to check the hinting and thickness of the vertical line in the ♭ as well. But this is only apparent on low-DPI devices.)


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