Bring on that sweet figured bass!

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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by PjotrB » Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:40 pm

Update: the OpenType feature that makes the figures stack bottom-up does work as you intended, if you type figured bass combinations in TextEdit on the Mac. TextEdit apparently is quite Unicode and OpenType-compliant. It's supposed to handle most of the world's writing systems, after all. Unfortunately, the Qt framework Dorico is built upon is too limited here, at least the Mac version.

No doubt a related issue: when I add figured bass (shift-X method), it's almost impossible to re-select an existing FB text item to e.g. correct it, or even to delete or copy it. It looks as if Dorico cannot determine the clickable area where the text object lives. Most of the time, I have to click more or less inside the staff to grab an item that's clearly way below, which, of course, very often results in selecting the whole bar or the nearest note in the staff. Marquee-dragging works a little better, although I often have to de-select notes that become selected too.

It would definitely be less clever, but I think a figured bass font that simply works top-down, with ordinary returns to go to the next line, would mitigate these issues.
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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by fkretlow » Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:02 am

Thanks for the feedback, Pjotr.

For the current approach to work the glyphs need to have zero width, unfortunately. That's why you have difficulty selecting them as text objects. I find that it works reasonably well if I click on the lower left corner of a figure or with arrow key navigation. Interestingly the problem doesn't occur when you input them as lyrics.

For what it's worth, you can use figurato with normal line breaks as well. (Of course it would have been easier to do it just this way – but I wouldn't be having so much fun!)

I think I have found a way to solve all the issues without abandoning the automatic positioning. I've taken a different approach that I'm currently writing the feature code for. Give me a few days. :)
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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by benwiggy » Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:33 am

FWIW, I actually prefer top-down! I think of figures as 7 5 3, not 3 5 7.
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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by fkretlow » Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:53 am

benwiggy wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:33 am
FWIW, I actually prefer top-down! I think of figures as 7 5 3, not 3 5 7.
Interesting. That makes sense. After all we read everything else top-down too. And come to think of it... when I write figured bass by hand top-down does feel more natural.

Hm! Ben, I think this was an invaluable comment: don't try to impose what's (arguably) logically correct if mind and perception work the other way around...
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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by PjotrB » Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:01 am

Thanks Florian, for your clarification. Good to know it's the zero width I'm struggling with. Now I know better where to aim my mouse clicks. Although I'm used to read chords bottom-up (following music theory), I wouldn't mind at all to enter them top-down, like benwiggy. I'll finish my current project using the last published version of Figurato, but I am also curious to test the next one.
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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by MarcLarcher » Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:51 am

Dear Peter,
Music theory… is taught differently in different countries. Here in France where I learned my profession, I can tell you those figured bass are read from top to bottom.
What is really interesting with music is that, with the same score, even if we do not read it the same way, we still can play it together and achieve a nice performance :-)
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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by LAE » Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:57 am

figures.PNG
(3.68 KiB) Not downloaded yet
Thanks a lot Florian for Figurato, it works very well for me and is a pleasure to use.

For what I am doing now, I am trying to enter , to skip layers: I need to have the numbers "hanging" instead of stacking. In the image attached I have typed

,6
246
,,6

Image

and it seems that the ones starting with , gets a different alignment than the middle one. It works if I type a nonbreaking space before the first comma, but maybe I am doing something wrong and there is a better solution?
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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by davemacdo » Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:46 pm

Sorry I'm late to this party. I have been struggling to find a good way to show figured bass, and this looks fantastic! Definitely giving it a try.

For what it's worth, in the U.S., we also speak about figured bass from top to bottom.

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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by MarcLarcher » Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:10 am

Hi Florian.
I'm trying this fantastic figurato font on my mac, and I cannot find the way to have slashed figures — when I input 5/, I get a 5+ figure. I use a french full sized keyboard and high sierra.
I'll let you know my feelings once I've worked on the whole project I've just started. But thanks so much !
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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by fkretlow » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:31 am

Hi everybody, my apologies for coming back late to this thread.

There are bad news, unfortunately: I have been in touch with Daniel, and it has turned out that the different positioning results on Mac and Windows are caused by a bug. The bug is not in the Dorico code but in the underlying Qt framework. That means that the Dorico developers can't fix it. Daniel has forwarded the issue to the Qt developers, but we have no idea wether they'll fix it anytime soon.

If you are using Figurato on a Mac, please be aware that if you export your score as pdf, the positioning of the figures will be turned upside down in the pdf, and what's more, this will most likely cause collisions with pretty much every figure that consists of more than one layer.
The reason for this is that – unlike Mac-Dorico itself – the pdf layout engine interprets the positioning code correctly, but of course Dorico has previously positioned the figures according to how its own layout engine renders them. There is nothing I can do about this from inside the font.
Sadly, I must therefore discourage all Mac users from using the current version of Figurato. 😢 (For what it's worth: you should be able to use the figures without automatic positioning in text objects with carriage returns.)

I am not willing to abandon this project. To make Figurato usable on Mac with the current version of Dorico I see no other way than using precomposed figures for every possible combination — which is a bit frustrating because that's exactly what I wanted to avoid. I will add ligatures for the most common figures one by one, but it will take some time. I'll let you know…

If you would like to support this project, please take a look at the Qt bug report and consider voting for the issue (annoyingly, if you want to vote you need to sign up for a Qt account first). I don't have high hopes, but perhaps we can speed up things on their side a bit.
Also, if you have a bit of time, take a moment to think about which advanced figured bass combinations you need most, especially which combinations of figures and accidentals, and let me know, so I can prioritize them.
Florian

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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by fkretlow » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:34 am

LAE wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:57 am
figures.PNGThanks a lot Florian for Figurato, it works very well for me and is a pleasure to use.

For what I am doing now, I am trying to enter , to skip layers: I need to have the numbers "hanging" instead of stacking. In the image attached I have typed

,6
246
,,6

Image

and it seems that the ones starting with , gets a different alignment than the middle one. It works if I type a nonbreaking space before the first comma, but maybe I am doing something wrong and there is a better solution?
Yes, this is an annoying issue.
After the discussions in this thread I have decided to change the stacking aproach from bottom-up to top-down. I'm working on another version that should make it much easier to get what you want, and it should also mitigate the alignment issue. It still needs a bit of work though… I'll let you know once the new version is on the repository!

Thanks for the positive feedback!!
Florian

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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by fkretlow » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:38 am

MarcLarcher wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:10 am
Hi Florian.
I'm trying this fantastic figurato font on my mac, and I cannot find the way to have slashed figures — when I input 5/, I get a 5+ figure. I use a french full sized keyboard and high sierra.
I'll let you know my feelings once I've worked on the whole project I've just started. But thanks so much !
Hi Marc!
This is intended. Would you really prefer a slashed five? If so, let me know and I'll add it (this would be a matter of minutes… compared to that positioning mess…) You do get a slashed six and nine, right?

Thanks for your kind words… please think twice whether you want to use Figurato for your project, see the above post about the positioning issue. I would hate if you or other users got frustrated after typing many figures and seeing them messed up in the pdfs!
Florian

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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by MarcLarcher » Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:31 pm

Thanks for the tip, Florian.
Actually, I do not master figured bass at all : I do opera singing, and only post-Mozart repertoire. I am trying to replicate this for a friend, and I did not know "modern" figuring did not admit slashed 5… Actually, when I learned the bases of figured bass (here in France), 6 5slashed is a common figuring for a dominant (I think it is the figuring with the 3rd at the bass). Hence my question.
Image
Since you tell me there can be trouble — and I have lyrics to input too, so that's quite a problem with this font, I think I'm going to try another route : create playing techniques with shortcuts on the Stream Deck. This will be fun and won't take the place of my lyrics font !
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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by LAE » Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:11 am

MarcLarcher wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:31 pm
Actually, when I learned the bases of figured bass (here in France), 6 5slashed is a common figuring for a dominant (I think it is the figuring with the 3rd at the bass). Hence my question.
In your example the slashed 5 seems to be a mistake; that's clearly a plain 5 that is intended. a#c#e# would not make any sense. Or do you mean that the slash on the 5 should mean something else than a #?

Furthermore, the 6 5 (with any kind of alterations!) can exist on any note in the scale, and hold many different functions.
Last edited by LAE on Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by LAE » Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:14 am

fkretlow wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:34 am
Yes, this is an annoying issue.
After the discussions in this thread I have decided to change the stacking aproach from bottom-up to top-down. I'm working on another version that should make it much easier to get what you want, and it should also mitigate the alignment issue. It still needs a bit of work though… I'll let you know once the new version is on the repository!
Thank you Florian!
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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by MarcLarcher » Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:08 am

Dear LAE,
As I explained in my #63 post, I'm not a specialist at all, and I was merely trying to reproduce the document. I'll see with my friend (she IS a specialist) if I need to change some figures, but I thank you for pointing that there could be a problem here — anyway, that score looks very strange to me, there are flats instead of naturals… I had never seen that before!
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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by LAE » Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:36 am

Dear Marc, of course! Just a bit too interested not to comment. :-)

Using only sharps and flats is quite common in early music, actually also in the figuring. As a side note, I have gotten into the habit of only using sharps and flats when i figure my scores because of the simple reason that it is much more convenient when you suddenly have to transpose something in a rehearsal. The figures are so to speak independent of what key you are in.
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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by k_b » Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:10 pm

further to mention, figured bass quite often has obvious mistakes in early prints.
I am quite hesitant to replicate these mistakes when copying old material - as I am also not an expert.
I guess similar is valid for Jazz Chords or chords in Pop music. There are mistakes, but people don’t really care - because for every expert the mistakes are so obvious that they will be just ignored..
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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by MarcLarcher » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:53 pm

Dear LAE,
I was referring to flats instead of naturals ON THE NOTES (g flat on the picture, on the last bar, and right after the last note comes a c flat…). Was that common practice in 1730?
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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by Rob Tuley » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:54 pm

LAE wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:11 am
In your example the slashed 5 seems to be a mistake; that's clearly a plain 5 that is intended. a#c#e# would not make any sense. Or do you mean that the slash on the 5 should mean something else than a #?
Trying to interpret figured basses "in the wild" by the rules that you learned to do harmony exercises in music theory exams often doesn't work!

My pragmatic view (based more on looking at old scores than reading modern texts describing what the notation is supposed to mean) is that a slashed figure tends to mean "a semitone higher, unless that's obviously stupid, in which case it means a semitone lower".

The particular example is further complicated because the note with the figures has an accidental itself. Whether the figuring is supposed to be related to the original key signature, or just to the bass note, is another "non-standard, use your common sense" issue. (Some baroque recitatives are harmonically adventurous enough that they stretch the concept of "being in a key" to breaking point in any case).

Assuming that slashed 5 must mean something, otherwise it wouldn't be there at all: a 5 without a slash would mean a chord in root position (and would be unnecessary anyway) so it must mean something different from A# C# E#. An augmented chord A# C# Ex doesn't make any harmonic sense here, so it must mean A# C# E natural.

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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by MarcLarcher » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:59 pm

Dear Rob,
The thing I learned at the Conservatoire with 65slashed as first non root dominant chord meant, for a e, that the notes would be e g bflat c (dominant of f). Hence 5slashed would be a diminished 5th. I know nothing about slashes that augment the interval, but again, it's really NOT my field!
I'm just wondering whether there's something specific to french music when it comes to figuring basses.
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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by Rob Tuley » Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:10 pm

MarcLarcher wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:53 pm
I was referring to flats instead of naturals ON THE NOTES (g flat on the picture, on the last bar, and right after the last note comes a c flat…). Was that common practice in 1730?
Indeed it was. An accidental sharp or flat meant "raise or lower the key-signature pitch by a semitone". And a sharp earlier in the same bar would often be cancelled by a flat, not by a natural.

This has led to some long-standing mistakes - one infamous one was in J S Bach's chromatic fantasia and fugue (BWV 903) where the first attempts at publishing this in the 19th century obliterated one of the "best bits" of chromaticism by misunderstanding this notation!

In fact it sometimes meant "raise of lower the pitch that you would have expected to play by a semitone" irrespective of the key signature - a lingering relic of 16th-century "musica ficta" accidentals. As it happens, I recently saw a question about that on another forum, relating to a piece by Jean-Féry Rebel, (Ballet music "Les élémens", composed in 1737) where he has a descending scale written as C Bb Ab G F E# D C - i.e. "no, this isn't C minor, I want an E natural here". (And the very first chord of the piece has the figured bass chord printed as "5 4 3 2 7#" - find that one in a textbook!)

Incidentally, that piece by Rebel was possibly the inspiration for Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" - the ballet was done in Russia and Stravinsky may well have seen it. And it's just as wild as the "Rite," considering its age! https://imslp.org/wiki/Les_%C3%A9l%C3%A ... F%C3%A9ry)

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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by Claude Lapalme » Mon Sep 03, 2018 5:32 pm

I love the Rebel! Was going to perform it this November but plans changed. Next year!
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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by LAE » Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:22 pm

MarcLarcher wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:53 pm
Dear LAE,
I was referring to flats instead of naturals ON THE NOTES (g flat on the picture, on the last bar, and right after the last note comes a c flat…). Was that common practice in 1730?
Well, I did not even react on it - to me that's a perfectly normal way of notating a g natural. Just to clarify, this is my specialty, so I am quite used to that kind of notation.

Actually sometimes you might see a backward slash on a note, as a shorthand for flat. But the slash in your example looks like a normal one.

One thing to mention here is that when you are versed in the style, you will (as K_B implies above in regard to jazz or pop musicians) understand what harmonies to play regardless of the figuring. As a matter of fact most scores are not figured at all. Vivaldis footnote to some thorough bass figures in one of his works, "Per li coglioni", written as a message to the publisher, tells us a lot about the time.
(Absolutely no offense meant to anyone!)
Last edited by LAE on Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bring on that sweet figured bass!

Post by MarcLarcher » Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:24 pm

Well,
Many thanks for all these explanations ! You learn something new everyday. My apologies to Florian, because I caused this OT flow…
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