Scaling of fingering, text, articulations to small notes

• Oct 23, 2020 - 12:11

As of MS 3.5.1 or 3.5.2 a significant change was made to the behaviour of fingering elements attached to small/grace notes. Beforehand, all fingering, whether attached to normal-sized notes or small/grace notes, was full size. Now it is proportionately reduced in size when attached to small/grace notes.

No provision was made for the negative impact this might have on existing scores.

While it makes perfect sense to scale articulations, for example, to note-size, text elements such as fingering need to be made an exception (to maintain readability etc.).

Suggestion: A new style setting allowing users to specify how text elements scale to small notes. 100% would indicate normal size text, and so on. There could also be a "Proportional" setting for users who want the text to scale proportionately to note size.


It's a bit of a misrepresentation to say no provision was made for negative impact. Every time we fix a bug, it has an impact on existing scores. We hope that most people will be happy to see the bug fixed, but for scores that happened to rely on the old behavior in some way, it might seem like a negative. That's the risk in fixing any bug.

In this case, I think the fixed bug had to do with the scaling of tuplet numbers, although there were a number of other scaling bugs alsio fixed so I'm not 00% sure. But it does happen that tuplets numbers go through a similar code path as fingering, so the change affected both. In some use cases, that's probably a good thing. In other cases, not so much. It's possible we could code up a special exclusion if there is a consensus that in fact tuplet number should scale, as should articulations etc, but fingering for whatever reason should not. To me there are arguments to be had both ways, and either way, the workaround is simple enough.

But it seems worth really taking a step back and considering all elements that can be attached to notes, or at that "appear" to be attached to notes (e.g., staff text is not actually attached to a note but appears to the user as if it is).

In an ideal world, which markings would you expect to see scaled, and which would you not?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Most guitar scores from the 19th c. to the present use full-size fingering throughout. E.g.

Romero (arr.). Rigoletteo (Rosenberg 1889). Instrumental Guitarist (Oliver Ditson, 1890). W. Jacobs. The Guitar Soloist (1895). Tarrega, Various (Antich Y Tena, Barcelona). Albeniz arr. Segovia, Mallorca (Celesta, 1947). Reflingen, Das Grieg Buch (Muzik verlag Hans Sikorski, 1960). Albeniz arr. Tarrega, Sevilla (1962 ed.). Francisco Tarrega Collection (Hal Leonard, 2000). B. Mermikides (Ed.), 32 Masterworks for Solo Guitar (Hal Leonard, 2019).

Though a fair minority use a reduced fingering size for small notes. E.g.

Coste, Autumn leaves, 12 Waltzes (late 19 c. ed.). H. D. Bruger, Bach: Kompositionen fur die Lute (Julius Zwiblers, 1921). Sor., 24 Prog. lessons (Simrock, 1921). F. Noad. Classical Guitar Collection, 3 books (Ariel, 1977).

So, for guitar scores at least, the fingering default should remain full-sized. But scaling of fingering to small notes should also be possible.

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