First look at the new Bravura music font used in Sibelius

by Philip Rothman on May 29, 2013 · 2 comments

in News

Introduced by Steinberg last week, the new Bravura music font is the first to conform to the proposed Standard Music Font Layout, or SMuFL, which is under active development. Rather than using a mnemonic approach to character mapping like most current music fonts (such as Sibelius’s fonts), Bravura aims to take advantage of the benefits of Unicode to map all of the symbols used in conventional music notation into a single range. Other SMuFL-compliant fonts created in the future would presumably work in the same way.

Bravura was made available under the SIL Open Font License, and while it is still very much a work-in-progress at pre-release v.0.1, I was as excited as a kid on Christmas morning, or the first night of Hanukkah, to try it out. Thanks to Andrew Moschou, a mathematician, engineer, teacher and musician based in Adelaide, Australia, I was able to do so. Andrew made a Sibelius-compatible version of Bravura called Taneyev.

I was able to drop it into Sibelius with relatively few modifications. The test document is an arrangement of Beethoven’s Romance, op. 50, transposed down a fourth and arranged for oboe and piano, which was a custom project I worked on recently. The baseline was a house style we use for a major publisher that uses Opus for musical symbols, Helsinki Text for music text, and Century Schoolbook for text. The only change I made between the Opus version and the Bravura/Taneyev version was to increase the thickness of the stems from 0.13 sp to 0.18 sp.

Feel free to click on each image to see the results in a 3-page PDF. Any engraving errors are entirely my own, and I take full responsibility for typos!

Beethoven's Romance, Op. 50 (solo part arranged for oboe), using the pre-release version 0.1 of Bravura, modified by Andrew Moschou as Taneyev, set by me in Sibelius 7.1.3 (click for PDF)

Beethoven’s Romance, Op. 50 (solo part arranged for oboe), using the pre-release version 0.1 of Bravura, modified by Andrew Moschou as Taneyev, set by me in Sibelius 7.1.3 (click for PDF)

Beethoven's Romance, Op. 50 (solo part arranged for oboe), for comparison using our house style using Sibelius fonts, set by me in Sibelius 7.1.3 (click for PDF)

Beethoven’s Romance, Op. 50 (solo part arranged for oboe), for comparison using our house style using Sibelius fonts, set by me in Sibelius 7.1.3 (click for PDF)

Did you enjoy this post? Subscribe to this blog

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrei June 6, 2013 at 11:14 AM

Personally, I still prefer Opus for its elegance. Bravura reminds me a little (too much) of whatever font Rhapsody/Encore uses…

Looking forward to Sib 8.

Janet August 2, 2014 at 3:08 AM

I am very excited about Taneyev/Bravura! I find Sibelius standard fonts all so “flat” – meaning they lack vertical lift from one note to the next. When I compare the two examples here, I find it much easier to read because the notes are round instead of oval, making a greater distinction from one note to the next. Now I just need to learn how to get the new font and install it…

Leave a Comment

Current ye@r *

Previous post:

Next post: