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Re: Manipulating instrument names and staff group names

From: Lukas-Fabian Moser
Subject: Re: Manipulating instrument names and staff group names
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 2021 22:50:51 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:78.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/78.13.0

Nice! This definitely solves the basic problem nicely.

Lukas sent me [off-list] a totally different solution that was also excellent.

Maybe we can/should discuss the pros and cons of each approach — and others, if they’re offered — with an eye to eventually submitting a patch…?

I don't know what Lukas proposed. For a new feature
added to LilyPond proper, I don't see a way around
the good old methods: define two new grobs and an
engraver to create them.

Well, the code I sent Kieren off-list was more-or-less equivalent to what Harm provided: We both had the same cruel idea of hijacking the Y-offset calculation using a procedure that changes the stencil as a side-effect. (Probably we were both inspired by the fact that the necessary computations of the StaffGroup's total Y extent are contained in system-start-text::calc-y-offset, the standard callback for InstrumentName.Y-offset.) We also both did not bother try to do the horizontal alignment the right way.

Here are some thoughts on the subject:

- I'm not sure if "staff-group names with brackets" should be done as a new Layout object / by a new engraver, or if this should be added to the functionality of InstrumentName and the Instrument_name_engraver. Conceptually, I was never really happy with the staff group names being called InstrumentName's, but I have to admit it's convenient, and for reasons of backwards compatibility, it should probably stay that way.

- The ability to deal with the needs of multi-staff groups specifically might make it reasonable to create a dedicated engraver (Group_name_engraver?) that mimicks and extends the Instrument_name_engraver. The context definitions of StaffGroups etc. then could be changed such that only Staff (and TabStaff etc.) contexts \consist the standard Instrument_name_engraver, whereas the grouping contexts should have the Group_name_engraver.

- Grouping staves visually by a bracketed instrument name means that it might be reasonable not to have SystemStartBracket's etc. for the same group. I think this is a good opportunity to add something I've wanted for a long time, namely a staff grouping context that provides _only_ logical grouping and has no hardwired visual grouping elements (SpanBar, SystemStartBracket etc.), and from which StaffGroup and all the other contexts should be derived. Maybe StaffCollection would be a suitable name?

- Vertical ("rotated") printing of the Group Name should be available as a boolean option, not depend on manual markup rotation.

- The hard part seems to be horizontal spacing. Two layout options come to mind which should both be supported: Staff names on the inside ("on the right"), group name with bracket on the outside ("on the left"); and vice versa: group name with bracket on the inside ("on the right"), and single staff names on the outside ("on the left"). These pose different layout problems: For the first option, the machinery creating the GroupName has to know the extents of all the single-staff InstrumentNames. For the second option, the GroupName machinery has to increase the padding for the single staff names. I'm not clear yet if this requires a separate implementation of the two options.

- The first option wished for by Adam (horizontal alignment of all the brackets) is very easy to implement; this is just a matter of fixed paddings.

As Harm already stated that he won't have time to work on this for now, I'd be happy to try my hands on this a bit.


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