Historic tablature: 'grid' of beamed values mixed with symbols.
Following several requests (at the moment I can only find this
, but I remember there were others as well), I am working at implementing the mixture of value symbols and beamed 'grid' of stems found in historic tablatures, like for instance this one (taken from the 1605 Windet print of Dowland's Lachrimæ):
This applies only to the TAB with "Note Values | Shown as" set at "Note symbols"; the other settings do not use symbols at all and either do not have any value indication or always use 'standard' hooks and beams. My current in-progress implementation is at moment like this (several details are still to fix):
The points I am concerned with and the guide lines I am using to approach them are three:
1) Beaming input or how to tell the programme where to use the beaming and where not; for this I decide to use the beaming commands themselves, found in the "Beam Properties" palette. In particular:
- If a chord has "Auto" beaming (the default), it has the same behaviour as now (value symbols, with appropriate symbol repetition and so on).
- If a chord has "Beam start" beaming, it does not use symbols but just a stem and it will be the first element of a beaming group.
- If a chord has "Beam middle" beaming, it does not use symbols but stem and beam(s) and will connect its beam(s) to the previous element.
- If a chord has any other beaming value, it will generate a single value symbol, regardless of repetition settings.
I don't know if (and how) this will affect linked staves (does beaming propagate to linked staves? might different beamings in different linked staves be necessary?). Use cases about this points are welcome.
2) Stem and beam sizes: different symbol styles have a different total height and may require a different stem and beam width.
My idea is to hard-code these three values (stem height, stem width and beam width) in the style definition: when one chooses a note value style, it will bring these values with itself (currently there are three note value styles: Modern, Italian, French, and a couple more are on the way).
3) Beaming level: the number of beams used in historic tablatures does not necessarily correspond to the modern conventions; in fact, in the above Dowland example, one beam applies to minims, two beams to crochets, three beams to quavers and so on.
Again, my approach is to hard-code the beam level in the style definition (so, the note value style used in the example above uses an equivalence 1 beam level = minim). A future extension might allow to overcome the style default on a per-score basis, but not initially.
Work is going on, but comments and suggestions are welcome.
1) It is not my plan to implement any contextual management of beams: "Beam start" generates a simple stem and "Beam middle" generates a stem with the appropriate numbers of beams, regardless of what come before and after; it will be the user responsibility to built meaningful sequences.
2) The current plan is not to support "broken beams", which as far as I know do not occur in literature. Advices are welcome.
3) The current initial implementation gives 'for free' the possibility to generate value symbols at points where none of the current symbol repetition settings would apply.