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Re: Distance of a grob from its reference point

From: Aaron Hill
Subject: Re: Distance of a grob from its reference point
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2020 19:50:24 -0800
User-agent: Roundcube Webmail/1.3.8

On 2020-01-14 7:10 pm, Paolo Prete wrote:
On Tue, Jan 14, 2020 at 9:08 PM Aaron Hill <address@hidden> wrote:
 I am not connected to the world of modern notation, but I
cannot envision any musical meaning for the exact vertical position of
an OttavaBracket.

This is not true. There are many and many cases in which you need to tune
the position of the ottava bracket as well as any other bracket.
And I'm not talking about modern notation. Even in nineteenth century
notation this is absolutely necessary.
The first obvious example is when you have slurs near brackets. Which
happen *very frequently*
In this cases a common algo is to:

1) choose which of the two objects has to be placed above (there's not a
rule for that: it depends on aesthetical choices)

That was what I suspected. This is aesthetics, not semantics. The vertical position of a bracket carries no musical intention; unlike how the vertical position of a note head relates to pitch. In my mind, LilyPond syntax is largely about communicating the musical content and letting the software deal with putting the right ink on the page in the right spot.

That is not to say that aesthetics does not matter, and LilyPond should strive to meet what is generally considered good and pleasing to the eye. But in order for aesthetics to be codified, one just needs to surface all of the important aspects and constraints, and it sounds like LilyPond does not yet have that level of information. As such, you are finding it necessary to step in and shift things around.

Side note: I should be clear that I am not "against" the prospect of manual tweaking tools. Even if it were just your life that was made easier--and it is clear you are not the only one who would benefit--then such tools are justified. But my view and practice of software engineering is largely focused on automation and getting the computer to do the heavy lifting. I dislike manual tweaking, as I have wasted away many hours on such details. For my own sanity and productivity, I have to restrain myself. As such, I very much need LilyPond to be able to make the smart decisions on my behalf. That is why I am trying to defend getting the automatic parts working better; but I need to be more mindful to not hinder progress on the manual parts.

2) move them according to decision 1) and then *tune* their coordinates
(which is tedious even with WYSIWYG editors, and requires trial-and-error
even with them!).
Please note that you can't simply say: "ok, let's move this up and this
down and all is done". You have to make heavy micro-tuning as a consequence.

I would disagree with the notion that everyone has to do fine tuning. I certainly do nothing of the sort in my work, but I do not work on the same type of projects. My needs and requirements are quite likely much less strict. When it comes to the matter of manual tweaking, my use cases are largely irrelevant. I should, therefore, really bow out of this conversation as I am not the target audience and am probably doing a better job of muddying the waters.

-- Aaron Hill

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