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Make it easier to type music accidentals Apps
For as long as I have been writing about music. I've been frustrated with the choices for typing accidentals. I've been using music fonts, which weren't designed for text editors, or the clunky looking pound sign, lower case 'b', and natural written out (as in, the chord Ab, C, D-natural, F#).

Music fonts (designed for notation programs) usually compromise the spacing of a line, forcing you to use "exact" spacing. In addition, they are buried deep in the character set (with key combinations that only make sense when creating scores), and require extra dialogs such as Popchar or Special Characters.

Thanks to the Apple forums, I discovered most fonts do include the sharp, flat, and natural signs. But they too are not a key stroke away -- you have to use a character finding dialog. Likewise (and musicians are picky), the accidentals in most fonts (e.g., Times) look like an afterthought: cartoonish, and poorly spaced.

I'm now tickled with this solution: Use Ukelele to remap your keyboard so that Option-S, Option-D, and Option-F create the sharp, natural and flat characters. (I never use the characters that are normally mapped to these keys. And if I do need them, I can use the Special Characters palette to get them.)

A fellow Apple forum poster created a keymap for me (with instructions). It goes in Library/Keyboard Layouts. Choose it using the Input menu (after adding it in International Preferences).

The fonts that I think look "engraved" are Arial Unicode MS, Apple Symbols MS, and Lucinda Sans Unicode. I prefer Times, so I type everything in Times then change one accidental, create a character style in Pages, then find and replace that character style to swap them for Arial.
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Make it easier to type music accidentals
Authored by: afb on Sep 21, '09 08:07:40AM

Probably not very useful to most users here, but if you use Japanese input, you can get flats and sharps more easily, without editing the character map. Typing ふらっと (furatto) and しゃーぷ (sha–pu) will get you the respective symbols.



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Make it easier to type music accidentals
Authored by: boxcarl on Sep 21, '09 10:23:59AM

You can also get these symbols and a host of others by typing きごう and going through the list: ♭♯♪♬⁂♨† etc.



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Make it easier to type music accidentals
Authored by: Stormchild on Sep 21, '09 11:51:02AM

This is actually the same way I type a lot of symbols -- with Kotoeri (Japanese) input mode.

You can also type "onpu" for musical notes (there are several different ones).



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Make it easier to type music accidentals
Authored by: asmeurer on Sep 21, '09 08:33:24AM

I think it will only let you use the same font, but the new text substitutions in Snow Leopard might help you here too.



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Make it easier to type music accidentals
Authored by: pbeyersdorf on Sep 21, '09 09:30:38AM

This same hint can be applied to other non-standard characters. I used ukelele to make a keyboard layout for math and greek characters, so I can type
∇·E=ρ/ε for example by the keystrokes 4.E=r/e while holding down the option key. Very hand as I am a science teacher.



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With Snow Leopard you can just use text substition
Authored by: lowbatteries on Sep 21, '09 01:10:40PM

With snow leopard you can just use text substitution. I just set it up so typing *sharp gives me ♯, and the same could go for *flat, *natural, etc.



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With Snow Leopard you can just use text substition
Authored by: joerick on Sep 22, '09 02:41:49AM

Aha! This is the solution I'm looking for!



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With Snow Leopard you can just use text substition
Authored by: oblahdioblidaa on Sep 22, '09 02:57:24PM

Personally, I'd map A# to A♯ with text substitutions, and so on for every musical key. The initial setup would be more tedious, but typing the accidentals would be simplified.



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Make it easier to type music accidentals
Authored by: dcottle on Sep 21, '09 01:35:23PM

Yes, you can make other characters easier to get to too. Since I write about Apple topics so much I created a layout which in addition to the accidentals maps option z, x, c, and v with the symbols for control, option, command, and shift. It really is easy to do in Ukulele.

It looks like Snow Leopard has better options, which is good because this new keymap for some reason threw off all my shortcuts in Sibelius.



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Make it easier to type music accidentals
Authored by: scottbayes on Sep 23, '09 06:50:08PM

And typing おんせん will display ♨ in the list. I was looking for it the other day and finally had to bail to the character palette.

Too obvious.

Thanks for the great follow-on hints.



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