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Re: String Number Appears, Then Disappears

From: Mark Mathias
Subject: Re: String Number Appears, Then Disappears
Date: Fri, 3 Mar 2023 13:38:04 -0500

On Fri, Mar 3, 2023 at 11:44 AM Jean Abou Samra <> wrote:

Le vendredi 03 mars 2023 à 09:56 -0500, Mark Mathias a écrit :

Why does a String Number appear under a Horizontal Bracket in the first instance, but disappear in the following score?

That's tricky stuff. It has nothing to do with horizontal brackets by the way, you can see it on the simpler example

\version "2.24.1"

\new Voice << { c' c' } { s\1 s-1 } >>

Well, for articulations, LilyPond also needs to keep track of the relationship between notes and articulations even when several of each appear at the same moment. Consider <c'-1 e'-3 g'-5>. There are several notes and several fingerings at the same moment, and the only way LilyPond has to associate a fingering with the right note is to look at how the input is formed. By separating articulations from notes, you defeat this logic. Your way of entering the music is not general, since it's unclear how you would enter that with separate articulations: << <c' e' g'> ??? >>.

For fingerings, there is separate logic that also runs for "orphaned" fingerings and attaches them to whatever note comes. For string numbers, there isn't. I'm not sure why. This is an area of LilyPond that has long been in sore need of a cleanup, to be honest.

And a tangential question: why don't certain engravers, such as Horizontal_bracket_engraver, have a context?

If there is no obvious default, LilyPond will let you add them yourself to the context you want. You can add Horizontal_bracket_engraver on Voice level but also on Staff level. Both have their use cases.

 Very helpful on both questions, Jean! Thank you. 

If there is a more felicitous means of separating notes and fingerings, I'd be happy to see it. (Cf., "Your way of entering the music is not general...") 

I teach the violin family of instruments to children, mostly ages 9-10, and they learn melodies first, so I keep notes in one file and each instrument has a separate file for fingerings, position shifts, etc. I use a circled fingering for the first note after a shift and the string number indicator (e.g., "c4\2") is simple to enter, but I can avoid using that by means of a markup instead. The horizontal bracket may seem redundant, but it helps them group what notes are in the shifted position and prepare for the next shift. Once they are advanced enough in both reading and shifting, a simple circled finger without a bracket suffices.

Best Regards to All,

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