Typesetting question concerning score size
  • Heath
    Posts: 713
    Friends, Happy Eastertide!

    Working on my third collection of English motets and I would love to gather some feedback on an issue . . .

    I've attached two versions of the same motet, one set to a bigger size which bleeds into a third page, the other with a smaller size, two pages only.

    And so . . .

    Would you as a consumer prefer a situation where there was no page turn, but the score was a bit smaller? (This would be in a bound volume where the two pages would be on facing pages.)

    Or is it preferred to increase the score size, have the page turn (so three pages total), and also make the entire book 20-30 pages longer and also a hair more expensive?

    Finally, is there a standard for this sort of thing that I don't know about?

    Thanks!
  • The big is really big, I'd prefer the smaller. No page turns means no need to go and xerox the third page and put it on a second music stand.
  • According to the Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association, the most readable staff size for all instruments is 8.5 mm.
  • JesJes
    Posts: 382
    As a singer I'm not worried but that big is big. Depends, when I'm about 20 years older I'll need this!
    If it were organ I can tell you the less page turns the better but choral you can have as many as you like and I won't be flustered, I have both my hands and feet free to turn them.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,099
    My eyes like the smaller.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,283
    It looks to me like the issue in this case is with the margin sizes.
  • bangerman
    Posts: 2
    There is a discussion about staff size in Behind Bars. Gould's guidelines for choral music are a size between 4.8 mm (Rastral 7) and 5.5 mm (Rastral 6). Text would be set with the x-height equal to a staff space.
  • Heath
    Posts: 713
    Very helpful, all, thanks! Seems the smaller size is preferred . . .

    "It looks to me like the issue in this case is with the margin sizes."

    Richard, care to flesh that out? More margin space or less?
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 493
    At least on my phone, I can tell that the smaller looks normal, but the larger looks alright, as well.
    Your margins are quite large, though, and it seems like a waste of paper, either way.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,506
    Unless one is printing at resolutions considerably above 600dpi, Elaine Gould's recommendations (which are for professional output) are on the small side for choral scores ... and they are based on old printing practices.

    Absolute minimum staff height should be 16pt (0.222inch, or 5.644mm). Much better is something like 16.5pt - 18pt. Rastral 6 at 5.5mm is close to the minimum. Rastral 7 at 4.8mm is way too small for output from typical PDF scores printed out with printers at 600dpi or less - its staff height is only 0.189in or 13.6pt!!!

    The Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association size of 8.5mm is actually 24pt (1/3 inch) ... and that is standard for instrumental music (for orchestras, bands, etc.) placed on music stands in front of the instrumentalist, where the distance from the music to the eye can be as much as 3ft or so. Choral music is typically closer to the eyes of the singer, and if it is held (rather than being placed on a music stand), a small size can also be difficult to see from ones hands moving about while singing. Add to that the weakened eyes of many older singers, one sees why 16pt (2/9 inch) is a useful minimum staff height.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,283
    Richard, care to flesh that out? More margin space or less?
    There's a lot of white space, especially between the title and the first system. 3 pages are unneeded, even at the first, larger size.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Speaking of instrumental music and how far it is from the eye, I remember loving going to the orchestra concerts while in college and watching the trombone players. They have an extra movable part. And to keep from hitting the stand, they keep their music sometimes up to 6 feet away. They have to get out of their chairs to flip pages on a multiple page piece. It seemed like a matter of pride to see who could keep their music the furthest away. Maybe Jefe could chime in on this
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,506
    Yes, the other issue is spacing between staves in a system, as well as spacing between systems. This is where much adjustment is possible.