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Re: number of staff lines

From: Bockett Hunter
Subject: Re: number of staff lines
Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2012 22:18:19 -0500

My understanding is that the scholarly convention for describing
clefs is the clef's note (g1, c1, f, G) followed by the line number, counted
from the bottom.  Thus on a five line staff, French violin clef is g1, 
treble clef is g2, soprano clef is c1, mezzo-soprano clef is c2, 
alto clef is c3, tenor clef is c4, baritone clef is c5 or f3, 
bass clef is f4, sub-bass clef is f5, gamma clef is G3
(where gamma in the bottom of the gamut [ gamma to ut ], a bass
singer's low G ).

The merit of the scheme is that it specifies pitch unambiguously for
the common five-line staff, chant four-line staff, which has a clef
signature for c1 on any of the four lines, and Escorial, which has a six line staff,
or for a staff with any other number of lines.  It does, however, assume
that the various specified notes fall on a  line, which is not the case with
a staff displaced by octaves, such as the common convention of notating
a tenor line in tenor clef an octave down.  Such cases, however, are
normally notated as an octave (or more) up or down.

LilyPond in my experience supports the cx (x=1,...) nicely for a five
line staff.  I haven't tried it out for other number of lines in the staff.
I think also the fx (x=1,...).

On Tue, Feb 7, 2012 at 6:57 AM, Nils <address@hidden> wrote:
On Mon, 06 Feb 2012 15:42:03 +0100
David Kastrup <address@hidden> wrote:

> Nils <address@hidden> writes:
> > Hello,
> >
> > I would like to ask for a quick confirmation, since I never worked
> > with an even-numbered staff line count.
> >
> > If you reduce your stafflines with
> > \override StaffSymbol #'line-count = #3
> > or #1 or any odd number there is no question. With a treble clef the
> > b' is on the middle line and lines are removed/added above and below.
> >
> > with even numbers like #2 or #4 the b' is not on a line anymore but
> > all stafflines move one step down so a' and c'' are now on the lines.
> >
> > Is this correct and common engraver practice?
> Anything but a line count of 5 is not common engraver practice with
> modern clefs.  The various clefs have a dedicated _line_ they are
> focused on.  G for the treble clef, F for the bass clef, C for the viola
> (tenor?) clef.  For square chant notation, you tend to have four lines
> and an older clef pointing out the C.
> Personally, I don't know the vertical position of the standard clefs
> when using four lines, but I would be very much surprised if they lost
> the fixed relation to their "key" line.
> --
> David Kastrup
> _______________________________________________
> lilypond-user mailing list
> address@hidden

Hello again,

I talked to a few persons in the university today and they all agreed that the line on which a clef is is variable for any number of lines.
But a clef should be never be in between lines, which is what Lilypond does.


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