Too curvey and problematic slurs

• Jun 6, 2019 - 07:59

Here are three examples of slurs that need manual intervention to improve positioning and shape:
Screenshot from 2019-06-06 07-31-29.png
Bars 1 and 5 are as ms 3.1 would create the slurs. Bars 2 and 6 are my manual interventions to achieve something visually more pleasing (to me) with autoplace still active. Bars 3 and 7 are the same as 2 and 6 without autoplace active.

The problems I see are these:
bar1 1st slur: left hand end curves under the slur. I don't see any need to pin the end of this type of slur to the proximity of the note head. Many printed editions don't.

bar1 2nd slur: the parabolic bend is ugly. Again, visually much better if the left hand handle is raised, however, with autoplace active, layout alterations elsewhere will undo any manual corrections, as has happened here. in bar 3 I had turned off autoplace, and achieved a similar shape to bar 2 but bar 2 got messed up again when I added bar 4.

bar1 3rd slur: ms doesn't seem to be consistent in the way it combines the end handle of a slur with a tie. I much prefer to see a slight separation as in bar 2 and 3.

bar5 shows similar problems, but exacerbated by the presence of accidentals. I don't understand what the 1st slur is placed through sharp, but the 3rd is raised a considerable distance above the flat. For me, preferable alternatives are in bars 6 and 7.

I wouldn't say that autoplace is to blame, but in the end, turning it off for all slurs leads to much less work in the final stages of preparing a print-ready score. Autoplace does seem to cause excessively parabolic slurs as in bar 1 bear 2 and bar 4 beat 2. Also, one can't raise or lower an end handle without the curvature of the slur flexing in an unpredictable way or pivoting about a centre handle. With autoplace off, the slur is a more aesthetically pleasing shape; raising or lowering an end handle doesn't cause the shape to flex. I wonder whether there are ways to control slurs from the style settings that would required far fewer interventions?

MS file of these examples: slurs.mscz


Thanks for the examples! These things tend to be very subjective, so finding a one-size-fits-all algorithm is probably not possible. For the record, originally autoplace would not try to curve those slurs as shown, and the result would be flatter slurs with ends further from the notes. This yielded a number of complaints, so I implemented a scheme that would try to detect such cases and curve the slur a bit more in such cases. See for example #280466: slurs too high, outside staff and #285173: Slurs too flat in some cases. It the fact that we take multiple passes o try to get a curve that allows the endpoints to be close enough that is responsible for the fact that things can change while you're editing - your edit might eliminate the need for the second pass.

It would be possible indeed to have a style setting and/or property in the Inspector to control whether we do the extra pass to curve the slur more.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I agree that subjectivity is a major part of this and therefore one can't be overly prescriptive. The templates suggestion is interesting. I'd like to hear how that could be developed. I like the idea of a few more controls in inspector. Its a difficult issue to suite all users all of the time. In the mean time I'll make a judgement on how I tackle slurs on a case by case basis. For me it may be the one place autoplace has to be turned off.

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