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Thoughts on typefaces.

old git

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Interesting theory came up on Today, today. Someone queried why they couldn't remember how far they had reached in a book on a Kindle yet if they read the book in hardback, the same problem did not occur. They carried out a test on one of the presenters and found that they retained more information from 'difficult' to read faces with curlicues and similar resemblances to handwriting than those designed to be 'easy' as the brain relishes the challenge. This could explain a low I.Q. as my preference is Gill Sans.

A similar situation would probably be present in music scores. Would genuine sight readers or any Forum member care to comment on any music face with which they have experienced difficulty and does it explain why even the most messy copyists or arranger's scrawl, does not cause problems?
 

gladsaxisme

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Very interesting

It may be part of the reason that I can learn and remember tunes but find it impossible to learn and remember all the different scales.

C and D major is about it for me anything else is a struggle ....john
 

MandyH

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Interesting OG.
I have real problems reading hand-written music, or that stuff that's made to look handwritten.
I like nice printed straight notes :)
Mind you, on the Kindle front - unless I've not found it yet, the books I have on my Kindle don't have page numbers, just section numbers and a percentage through the book.
I vaguely recall that fonts with the curly bottoms or the straight line bits at the bottom (are they the serifs?) are easier to read because it causes the eye naturally to flow to the next letter.
So although it's often used in primary schools, Comic Sans is actually not that easy to read.
 
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never mind remembering where you are on a Kindle, i have trouble remembering full stop!
on the question of music scores i am ok as long as the arranger hasn't used some obscure shorthand
 

Young Col

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2,419
Not so much type face, but paper type. I was discussing with my teacher recently about how difficult some scores apeared to be to to read - we get some in my ensemble that are printed on coloured paper...*. She reckoned the easiest colour to read against was the old style slightly cream ms paper. It is true too - black staves and notes stand out more clearly than against a purer white.

*Some are handwritten charts too. We had an argument the other night over why he wanted some dynamics different to what he had written, until we realised he writes his dynamics under, not over, the score!
YC
 

kevgermany

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My wife was saying the same thing about white paper - I bought her some scores for Christmas, and she siad one of the books was pinted on paper that was too white/bright, so she was having difficulty reading it.... She said that if it had been in a shop, she wouldn't have got it. Debating whether or not to send it back to Amazon, but it's not their fault, it's the publisher/printer.
 

jonf

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3,680
The reason you can't remember where you are in Kindle is that you can't turn over the corner of the page as a reminder......

Re music, I find it vastly easier to sight read from clear black print than even the neatest hand written stuff. Clear black print on bright white paper makes a difference as well. I think it's a combination of contrast, edge definition and regularity.
 

old git

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Back in '59, when I first became interested and worked in reprography, we used chalk faced paper for camera ready originals which worked marvellously in the litho camera. The normal advice used to be Serifed faces for body text and non Serifed for heads, sub heads etc. There is also an opinion that yellow would be a better background colour as used on the IOM in the sixties over the Mountain, as yellow shows up better in mist, most necessary when the chat handle is fully open. America still uses yellow centre lines.

On the Music F(r)ont it seems that the mechanical printing is preferred to handwritten items but this could be that the complainants are not used to the house style, a total necessity as all newspapers know.
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
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695
The legibility of a printed text depends on several factors, but the most important probably are the font, the linespacing and the length of the line. Most people find books easiest to read when they used serifed type, such as Times New Roman, Garamond, Baskerville or Caslon. Times New Roman was in fact developed for The Times newspaper. It combines high legibility with economical width and is therefore well suited for relatively narrow newspaper columns. Gill Sans is still easy to read, but probably better in short texts. It is also familiar to many as the font used for the London underground station signs.

The right spacing is needed to allow us to separate the lines easily. In compressed text it can happen that one misses the start of the next line, especially if the lines are long. Sixty to seventy letters a line seems to be near the optimum. When we read a text in a familiar language, we read in fact groups of words or, in the case of speed readers, groups of lines. If the lines or the words are too far apart, it gradually gets harder to see them in intelligible groups.

Written music is subject to the same principles. I find the handwritten notes in the Charlie parker Omnibook much harder to read than the printed texts one expects of good publishers. As far the distance between the notes, I find that some of the old editions of Bach keyboard music use as little space as possible. I also have an old edition of the Ferling studies that is printed that way, and they look much harder than some of the modern ones. In fact, some well-presented music looks much easier than it is simply because we can see more easily how it hangs together. On the other hand, if the notes are closer together and the staves more narrow, less page-turning will be required.
 
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Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
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505
I don't know about fonts so much, but when it comes to violin music the bow markings drive me batty.

ex_1.gif

The fat bar with the two thin lines pointing down indicates a DOWN bow. The "V" indicates and UP bow.

Now I know this should be easy enough to remember, but intuitively they BOTH look like they should be DOWN bows to me.

I wish they would have just stuck with a single symbol and just inverted that symbol. Then it would be crystal clear which is up and which is down once you know the convention.

I just can't get used to the Vee meaning UP. It's pointing down. And really does mess me up. I just can't seem to get used to this convention. Intuitively I see that Vee pointing down and I just can't seem to associate it with and UP stroke.

I've even tried to think of it as two arms held up like cheering Victory. But it doesn't help. I still want to intuitively pull the bow down when I see this symbol.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
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5,545
Sweet Dreamer. The same system is used in violoncello scores where bow strokes are horizontal and so the Vee downward pointing symbol is not confusing. Might I suggest that you play the fiddle between your knees.
Sorted!
 

Pauline

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The reason you can't remember where you are in Kindle is that you can't turn over the corner of the page as a reminder......
Actually, you can!!
And anyway, the Kindle remembers where you are up to. :welldone

Love my Kindle! :w00t:
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
Sweet Dreamer. The same system is used in violoncello scores where bow strokes are horizontal and so the Vee downward pointing symbol is not confusing. Might I suggest that you play the fiddle between your knees.
Sorted!
I actually play around with the cello a bit too. Mostly Jazz. I've been ignoring the bow markings in my Jazz lesson book. I just decided to play whatever feels natural. I may take a peek at their bowing suggestions in certain situations. But overall, if it feels good to just play it intuitively I just go with that.

On the fiddle, I just recently bought an "Irish Fiddle" book. They use bow markings all over the place. The other thing I noticed too is that they start just about ever piece with a down bow. I don't know why, but my natural intuition is often to start playing with an up bow. So I'm usually 180 degrees out of phase with them anyway.

I'm doing the same thing with the fiddle. I just play what come naturally, and maybe look at the bowing suggestions in specific places were I might be having difficulty. I see no reason to bow it the way they say if I'm just as happy bowing it exactly the opposite.

Why fight intuition? I'm sure the strings don't care where way the bow is going. Bow markings are just more junk to read. I'd rather just focus on the notes, timing, rests, phrasings and dynamics. Let bow flow where it will. That's my motto. "Let the flow".
 

rhysonsax

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4,381
Very slightly off topic but I have been sent a link to a website that lets you generate your own letter fonts based on handwritten letters that you write on a template, scan in and upload.

The website then turns it into a TrueType font that you can use on your computer in lots of software.

Have a look at: http://www.yourfonts.com/

And if you are keen to give it a go, your very own font costs $9.95 a time.

But if you wait until 23 January (US National Handwriting Day) you can use this code to get your own font free ! And the code is CPN2011FUN

Rhys

PS I've done it and my letters are a complete mess. What would a graphologist say ?
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
Thanks for the link to the font site Rhys.

I just used one of their fonts and some graphics from this site to make up a little Cafe Saxophone membership card. :)))

sc.JPG
 
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