A great thing to know about Sonova is that all symbols relate to a specified unity-width, so any symbol can be thought of as directly and precisely translate to a duration in seconds. How that can be made depends on the font size and how much space you allot to a minimum time interval.
It can be a little confusing to get one’s head around. But let’s try with an example. Let’s say that the font size is 12 and you decide that a second should take up 4 spaces, then you can make a “time line” like this:
The numbers can be written with Sonova using any natural language Keyboard Layout (such as English U.S.). The principle of a unity-width in Sonova applies to alfa numeric letters and numbers as well. Though they will not look good if you write words with them, they will be excellent if used one-by-one e.g. for indicating sections and motives or making time-lines such as the one above.
The “circle” (pitched) symbol above has the same width as a space character. Translated to time this will correspond to 0.25 seconds, given the premises above.
When making graphic scores the translation to points or pixels is also of interest. The unity-width is defined to be half of the font size. With a font size of 12 points and if a second is 4 spaces, a second will measure 6×4 = 24 pixels on the screen. Meaning that each pixel will correspond to 0.041666… seconds. Maybe not the easiest number to make addition with, but say you use a font size of 20 points and 5 spaces per second you will end up with a pixel-width corresponding to 20 milliseconds:
1 second / (5 spaces × 20 points / 2).
For precise placement Sonova has a range of special “spaces” as well, such as ½-space or ⅟10-space for even greater precision in dealing with timing and placement.
Put in technical terms Sonova is a monospaced, non-kerning Unicode-font. The precision in exact placement this affords, hinges on the text editors ability to handle all this. Microsoft Word for example used to move characters to nearest pixel unless you specifically chose to use “fractional widths”. Fortunately, I haven’t come across any major problems with placement of the Sonova font in any application I have used the last five years or so.