John Rethorst posted a message in the French section about the comparaison of six notation programs, using an engraved page of the Elegy by Vyssotsky. The same page is done in Encore
. Click on:
By inadvertance, I gave a long reply in English, forgetting I was in the French section. So first, I would like to post my reply in the right section:
Thanks John, for this interesting document. I made a laser out-print and did the exercise to find differences and to do a critical analysis. First of all: I'm a Sibelius
user and many of my observations depend on my personal preference and on what I'm used to. Second remark: this page of music isn't much of a challenge! Just standard, three voice writing without any special problems. Not even some fingerings or technical indications. Third remark: the PDF quality is not the same for each program. Encore
look like a photocopy of an ink-jet out-print. Lilypond
are OK and Score
is the sharpest.
: elegant impression. Rhythm dots in the bass line go the wrong way. The beam position often causes « wedges »: these small eye-irrating triangles, produced by the stem, the staff line and the beam. No specific stem-length rule for stems going up in high voices or down in low voices. The phrase « D.C. al $ et poi la Coda » doesn't very good, especially for the big $. No gap between the double barline and the Coda.
: a bit rigid impression. Of all six programs, the longest stems for all quavers and the shortest for all crotchets. The arpeggio lines are slightly too fat. All ties are almost touching the rhythm dot they start on. Wedges are acceptable, but this is mainly due to the long stems. Furthermore, I think this is a rather poor copyist job, nothing to blame the program for: D# in bar 3. Bar 9: start repeated looks cramped. Bar 15: The 1 for the first ending is floating and looks more like a fingering. Same bar: why a separation between f and e on the 5th quaver? Bar 18: the $ seems not well positioned. Bar 19: dotted rest is too high. Bar 23: The 1. is colliding with the stem. Bar 30: « D.S. al Coda »: wrong indication and wrong position. The copyright is too close to the music.
: a solid impression, slightly restless, cramped, because of the 5 bars per system and the uneven spacing between staves. The 8 attached to the key looks too small. Why indicating « 6-str guitar » when it's mentioned just above? Ties do not touch the rhythm dot, but are getting very close. The arpeggio line looks cheap, almost a corkscrew. The choice to indicate barnumbers straight is rather uncommon. Bar 18 has a wrong 2nd ending, but the lines themselves look OK for me. Correct (non-redundant) indication of D.C. (but why DC?) There's a gap before the Coda, but it looks like an empty bar. Part of the copyright text is aligned, part is centered.
: slightly restless, because of the long stems and small noteheads. Again: stems for crotchets and minims seem to have a fixed length, not adapting to direction or voice level. Rhythm dots go the wrong way in the bass line. Fat arpeggio lines. Many wedges. Bar 15: E and F are overlapping on the 5th beat. Bar 18: the double barline interferes with the first note. Bar 27: 2. collides. Bar 30: D.C. phrase poorly done. No gap before the Coda
: very professional impression. Everything looks solid, neat and mostly just as it should. Some wedges could have been avoided. Ties look very good, starting after the rhythm dot and ending before the tied note. The 1. and 2. Ending lines stop before the end of the System and start just somewhere above the music and too high on the next system. Is this OK? If the reason is to avoid the collision between 2. and E in bar 27, there should be a better solution. The D.C. phrase is poorly done. You immediately see the mixture of two fonts. No gap and « Coda » slightly too far to the right.
: as I said, this is my own program. I would have used some other options than Daniel Spreadbury did. For example: ties between notes and starting after the rhythm dot. Arpeggio lines are sometimes too close to the notes and the final barline is missing.
It would be interesting to compare these programs with a page in real advanced notation. A very important aspect of a good looking score is not the notation itself or the good looking font. It's the amount of white, empty space which surrounds each object. With long stems and small noteheads I perceive a tension in between these black and white elements.