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Topic: Musical Unicode Symbols (Read 5480 times) previous topic - next topic

Musical Unicode Symbols

With an extended Unicode character set now available we can now use (x266D), (x266E) and (x266F) instead of somewhat unsatisfactory substitutes, and because they are in the normal fonts you don't have to have several text items with additional user fonts if used in combination with normal characters. Sadly the double sharp and flat symbols don't seem to work.

Neither does the South East Arrow (x2198) in the actual score although it does work in the Text Edit window and in Notepad and here in the browser.

None of them show up in Charmap – how do you enter them, other than by cut and paste?

Edited to correct Hex numbers

Re: Musical Unicode Symbols

Reply #1
One of the reasons you might not be able to find the symbols via charmap is that you might not be using the right font. I have found all three in the Windows font "Arial Unicode MS", although it takes a bit of scrolling to find them. The default "Times New Roman" font appears to have only the sharp symbol.

Code: (nwc) [Select · Download]

Re: Musical Unicode Symbols

Reply #2
Most of the fonts do include these symbols – they just don't show up in Charmap. One way of getting at them is to go into Word, type the Hex code and alt+x. (This should work, after a registry hack, in other programs, but I've tried that without success so far). The rendering doesn't seem to vary from font to font, except annoyingly in Times New Roman which makes a mess of the Sharp sign.

My main question was why the SE Arrow symbol appears in the Text Property Edit window rendered correctly, but not in the actual NWC score. It would be so useful for indicating a part changing to another staff.

Edit:Most of the fonts don't include these symbols. Mike's conclusions below explain why TNR has different sizes for the accidentals since the sharp is native whilst the others are substituted.


Re: Musical Unicode Symbols

Reply #3
I don't know the exact mechanism involved (perhaps someone who knows more about this can explain it here) but certain applications will apparently substitute Unicode characters on the fly from other installed fonts if the currently selected font doesn't contain your character.

I did observe the odd behavior on the ↘ character in NWC, where it appears correctly in the Char Map input box, but not in the score. But again, that happens when the selected font is Times New Roman. If you change the font to Arial Unicode MS (or another font which contains the character), it will display in both Char Map and in the score.

Edit: The mechanisms I was searching for are called "font fallback" and "font linking". This article describes them.

Re: Musical Unicode Symbols

Reply #4
A side observation - it appears that the NWC Char Map browse feature will only show Unicode characters up to U+FFFF. Thus, it won't let you browse to the double sharp character, which is U+1D12A.

Re: Musical Unicode Symbols

Reply #5
If you change the font to Arial Unicode MS (or another font which contains the character), it will display in both Char Map and in the score.

Lucida Sans Unicode does the job too, but there doesn't seem to be a decent serif font already installed so I downloaded FreeSerif which imitates Times New Roman.

It doesn't seem that Windows/Office goes above xFFFF. Both Excel and Word fail above that.

Edit: Caught out again. Lucida doesn't have the Musical Symbol codes in the range x1D100-1E8, but FreeSerif does. Excel and Word work fine with codes above xFFFF as long as the font contains them.