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Re: Naming question: \function

From: Urs Liska
Subject: Re: Naming question: \function
Date: Thu, 09 Jul 2020 14:52:34 +0200
User-agent: Evolution 3.36.3-1

Hi Lukas,

Am Donnerstag, den 09.07.2020, 13:55 +0200 schrieb Lukas-Fabian Moser:

Hi Urs,

I have the impression I have no choice but to follow Carl's suggestion and add a clarifying adjective, although that makes for  quite "expansive" user interface. E.g. \harmonicFunction might be the best bet so far.
I agree. In Malte Meyn's original package he included helper functions that switch enconding of functions on for a whole context (\lyricsToFunctions etc.), which reduces the hassle of long keywords.
The next question would be how to name the corresponding commands in the other planned modules (roman numerals analysis and "Bassstufen", another system obviously tied to German-speaking music theory - I didn't even find an English reference on Google. It is a system originally devised by E.A. Förster around 1800 ( and heavily built upon in certain very influential streams of German music theory since about 2000.)

That's not quite true, since the use of circled numbers for bass (and, for that matter, also melody!) notes relative to a scale/root is common in theory texts dealing with "Partimento" practice, which is not restricted to German-speaking countries.


To be honest, I think Holtmeier borrowed the idea of circling bass steps from this field (Förster did not use circles), but I'm not sure on that.

Well, when you want to reuse the idea of numbering the scale steps like Förster but with different semantics then circling seems like a natural choice.

A standard English-language reference is Robert O. Gjerdingen's "Music in the Galant Style", which I'm sure you can find in lots of your friends' offices in Freiburg :-). I just include one example:

(For what it's worth, this is one example of a standard textbook in which the musical examples plainly insult my LilyPond-pampered eyes.)

Hence ...

Maybe this set?
  • \harmonicFunction
  • \romanNumeral
  • \bassStufe

... I would prefer an English name here, but failed to come up with a good one in the last few minutes. Maybe \bassDegree or just \degree?

\degree is definitely too generic and has more non-musical  than musical associations. The combination with "bass" seems to be good but excludes the idea of numbering the melody too (which I didn't know, honestly, but is something our package should cover as well). This brings me back do "scale".

What do our native speaking friends think, how should one name the numbers indicating certain positions in a scale?

something different?

I think it would be desirable to have multiple styles of circled numbers especially when dealing with minor scales: I know Holtmeier's up- and down arrows, but also something like b6 and #7 might be preferred by some (and obviously some applied-dominant sonorities need this anyway). And for my personal crusades, I'd even like to be able to completely customize the used numbering (because I would like to write something like do/re/mi instead of 1/2/3.)

Making all this configurable to accomodate different schools/dialects as well as personal preference and overall document layout will be built in the foundation of the package. Actually this is why I have implemented the property set functionality.

The property set for harmonic functions (so far) includes:

\definePropertySet analysis.harmony.functional
#`((double-letter-offset ,number-pair? ,(cons 0.37  -0.37))
   (number-size ,number? 0)
   (arrow-width ,number? 1.5)
   (arrow-Y-offset ,number? 0)
   (arrow-thickness ,number? 2)
   (arrow-head-gap ,number? 0)
   (arrow-head-filled ,boolean? #f)

I've only begun so that just gives a glimpse (I wanted to use it to show the property set behaviour). You can configure the offset between the letters of double functions ("DD") to change appearance or accomodate different text fonts, the relative size of the numbers, and various aspects of an arrow to indicate intermediate functions ("Zwischendominanten").

There will be lots of properties to configure, and presets to easily reuse settings.

With regard to the circled numbers I didn't think of the inverted ones, but there will be various options:

  • Circled, without circle
  • (Should be extensible to have other shapes if someone wants them)
  • Regular document font, Notation font numbers, arbitrary font
  • Dotted (Johannes Menke says, "1." "2." lends itself to spoken language)
  • Direction indicated by arrows
  • Accidentals before/after the number, inside/outside the circle
  • positioning details
  • more?

However, since we're still in a computing environment I'm afraid the reference to roman numerals might be similarly problematic as "function". What do you think?

I don't think so. Roman numeral analysis seems to be the accepted term in English-speaking music theory, as far as I can see.

So right now we're at

\loadModule analysis.harmony.functional
\loadModule analysis.harmony.roman-numerals
\loadModule analysis.harmony.scale-degrees





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