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Re: <<aes,2. \\ {s4 ees2} \\ {s2 bes4}>>

From: Aaron Hill
Subject: Re: <<aes,2. \\ {s4 ees2} \\ {s2 bes4}>>
Date: Sat, 05 Jan 2019 12:20:56 -0800
User-agent: Roundcube Webmail/1.3.8

On 2019-01-05 11:30 am, Wols Lists wrote:
On 05/01/19 17:34, Aaron Hill wrote:
But for matters of the not-so-unusual, have no disillusion your
engraving (or writing) will be readily clear if you choose to stray too
far from the path.


But standards are of no use if applying them results in output that is
not "fit for purpose" as English law puts it ... :-)

One could say it is misapplying the standards if it results in poor output. But also keep in mind, styles and conventions are primarily about consistency, not correctness. That is to say your content must be correct in and of itself before you apply any guidelines of style. Following or not following style is not inherently correct nor incorrect.

Consider the silly example: you have notated an A flat with a whole note when you intend the player to play a D natural for only a brief moment, but you are concerned about how much space to place on either side of the whole note. This absurd situation is well beyond the scope of style as the original notation is quite likely objectively wrong. (I leave some room for subjectivism here, simply because I'm sure some composer somewhere either has or will eventually write a piece where notes don't mean what we typically think they mean and all bets are off.)

Providing we are solid on the intent of the music, then we can look at improving the overall fitness. Bringing things close to our collective notion of standard notation (but no closer than necessary) helps us ensure consistency. That is what provides a readily clear interpretation to your audience. But ultimately these rules themselves need to be applied with care and intention, not as a one-size-fits-all solution.

LilyPond's defaults try to be the one-size-hopefully-fits-most solution, and it sounds like many of them are born from the guidance of folks like Gould. But rarely will any rule be universally applicable, so it is necessary to be able to adjust default behavior in certain cases. Otherwise, we are stuck with LilyPond applying standards without any thought to the situation. We can try to provide LilyPond with more data to make a better-informed decision; but it's still going to be a machine. It will likely always take a human to make the final choices.

And I guess that is my long-winded conclusion: be the master, not the machine. Do not blindly follow rules nor blindly reject them. Use your own critical thinking while leveraging the conventional wisdom around you. Feel confident in the choices you make, but always be prepared to reevaluate them as new information becomes available.

P.S. I would like to add that, as a performer who has great disdain for annoying page turns, I will join you in the battle for promoting sane typesetting. Slightly squished and/or "creative" notation is far better than wrestling with (and wasting) paper.

-- Aaron Hill

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