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Re: GSoC 2020: Shape-note notehead encoding

From: Owen Lamb
Subject: Re: GSoC 2020: Shape-note notehead encoding
Date: Thu, 23 Jul 2020 16:28:53 -0700

Aha! Apparently all the old issue conversations have been migrated to
GitLab. The links and attachments work fine here:

(It starts to get confusing to keep track of diagonal directions after a
while, so for the sake of clarity, I'll be talking about diamonds with
thick NE and SW sides as Calimaine, and those with thick NW and SE sides as
Florington, after the states roughly in the corresponding corners of the
continental U.S. A bit fanciful, but the portmanteaus are easier to
distinguish than jumbles of capital letters.)

The person who claimed the mirrored mi noteheads' existence in Funk's *Harmonia
Sacra*, 25th edition provided a page scan from the book. It seems to me
that there isn't a particular rule as to which version to use at what time.
The top voice of Morning Psalm L.M. uses Calimaine for some whole notes,
which are near the beginning of the line, and Florington for others, which
are near the end. (Note that these whole notes are all the same pitch, E
above high C, so potential "stem" direction isn't a factor.) All other
hollow mi noteheads in this song, whether up- or down-stemmed, are
Calimaine. Meanwhile, the song directly below on the same page, Kingsbridge
L.M., uses Florington for up-stems (which are all in alto voice) and
Calimaine for down-stems (which are all in bass voice), opposite to what
the poster claimed. My guess is that the engraver didn't consider thickness
pattern to be of much importance, simply going for consistency with what
was done immediately earlier in the line.

This book being the only source cited for such differences, I don't think
there's any reason at the moment to propose the two variants be
distinguished within SMuFL itself. Bar objections, I'll go ahead and call
Emmentaler's mirrored versions stylistic alternates and leave it at that.

I'm also going to hold off on asking for distinction between half and whole
noteheads, because, as far as I can tell, there isn't enough of one. It
appears that Walker always defaults to down-stem notes unless lack of space
necessitates up-stems, so that would explain why whole notes are only found
in their down-stem variants. There's no situation where using the up-"stem"
variant of a stemless note would free up space or avoid a collision, so
down-stem is simply used all the time!

Of course, this raises the question of what to do with our current
whole-half distinction. I motion to scrap it, and have \walkerHeads and
\walkerHeadsMinor default to downwards stems and noteheads to achieve the
same effect. It'll be more accurate to Walker's originals, to boot. Any
objections here?


On Thu, Jul 23, 2020 at 12:25 PM Karlin High <> wrote:

> On Wed, Jul 22, 2020 at 4:31 PM Owen Lamb <> wrote:
> > Firstly, none of the corpora (aha!) you provided or ones I found myself
> > seemed to present both mirrored versions of mi in the same document, as
> > Massive Lion claimed on the original Google Code archive should be the
> case
> > depending on stem direction at least in Funk's system. I'd be hard
> pressed
> > to make a case for our mirrored Aikin and up/down Funk variants if I
> can't
> > show them in action.
> >
> > In addition, I could not find anywhere in the corpora an example of a
> whole
> > notehead being distinct from its corresponding half notehead in any
> style.
> So far I haven't been able to find mirrored notehead examples either.
> Maybe the old shape-note tunebook scans I'm checking aren't from the
> right editions for finding them.
> And I've read over the archived Google Code discussion. That was
> before my time in the LilyPond community, I have very little
> experience prior to 2016 or so. If we could find the image attachments
> from the original postings, those were claimed to have examples of
> these mirrored noteheads. But none of the attachment links seem to
> work, and doesn't have them either. Maybe the link format
> changed at some point, and would have them if I only knew
> how to ask?
> --
> Karlin High
> Missouri, USA

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