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al niente / de niente - was Re: (no subject)

From: Marcus Macauley
Subject: al niente / de niente - was Re: (no subject)
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2006 21:16:29 +0000 (UTC)
User-agent: Loom/3.14 (

On Thu, 16 Mar 2006 09:29:43 -0800, Trevor Bača"" <address@hidden> wrote:

> On 3/16/06, Arno Waschk <address@hidden> wrote:
>> dear list,
>> for a contemporary music score i need hairpin having a circles around
>> their tip, indicating cresc./descresc. from/into silence.
>> what is the easiest way to enter these into the score? or does this need
>> to be implemented yet? i did not find that mentioned in the docs.
> I'm interested in this kind of 'al niente' / 'de niente' thing, too,
> but haven't had a chance to figure out the right settings yet.
> If it turns out to be difficult to do currently, maybe we could
> sponsor together once the 2.9 dev cycle starts.

Another way of notating this, which I prefer, but also I think needs to be
implemented, is to follow the decresc. (or precede the cresc.) with a
bold/italic "n" or "n.", for niente.

At least one music font/notation program, I forget which, includes for this
purpose a letter "n" in the same style as mrsfp for dynamics. So perhaps the
ideal way to implement this latter kind of niente notation (the hairpin circle
tip being the other kind) would be to create a new dynamic mark, called "n", and
syntax analogous to the other dynamics, thus:

c2~\> c~ c r\n

...would do a hairpin decresc. to niente, with the "n" marked under the rest
(and, like any other dynamic mark, signalling an end of the hairpin).

Perhaps, then, there could be a setting which would decide whether that syntax
prints a dynamic letter "n" on the one hand, or modifies the hairpin with a
circle at the tip, on the other hand.

Then one could switch globally between the two methods of notating niente
without rewriting each instance.

The syntax for a cresc. from silence would have to be a little less elegant,
though maybe simply:

c2~\n\< c~ c\! r

And for consistency, the first example could be modified to:

c2~\> c~ c r\!\n

...explicitly ending the descrescendo.

I don't know whether this sort of syntax is practical; it's just the first thing
that comes to mind.

Maybe more practical is 1) a setting to switch on/off circles at the point of a
hairpin, for the first method of notation, and 2) a new dynamic letter, "n" (and
command "\n"), for the second method.

As an alternative to the second method -- and a perhaps more conventional one,
recommended by Kurt Stone -- niente can be notated not with the dynamic letter
"n" but with the italic "n." (this time with a period). This should be possible
to do now, but I can't figure out how to switch off the boldface:

n = #(make-dynamic-script (markup #:text #:italic "n." ) ) % This makes the text

n = #(make-dynamic-script (markup #:text "n." ) ) % In fact, even this makes it
bold-italic, as if that's the default text font style. Why? And how to switch it

(I'm using make-dynamic-script, rather than a regular \markup command, because
the "n." needs to be aligned with the hairpin.)

Thanks in advance for any feedback on the "niente" implementation/syntax (I too
might be willing to co-sponsor it) and/or on this latter problem of bold-italic


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