Punctuation and Spacing

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Haruo's picture

First let me say that I was unaware that the rules of boy shorts swimwear were pertinent in any way, shape or form to hymnody. Been awhile since I saw such a spammiferous-looking post title here.

In some of the hymnals, mostly older and mostly British, I see some punctuation marks routinely printed with spaces on both sides. This is usually not the case for commas and periods, but is frequently the case with semi-colons at the ends of lines, and with exclamation and question marks there and in titles.

I was just entering some instances in Chriſtmas Carols New and Old, where both this punctuation-spacing issue and the long ſ commonly occur. I noticed that I inadvertently spaced the exclamation marks inconsistently. Look at the Titles (not First Lines) of hymns III. and IV. and compare my spacing there with my spacing in the Titles of hymns VII. and IX. I'll post page scans later today, but take my word for it that the spacing is not significantly different between the two pairs of hymns. Does it matter if this little jot or tittle is consistently reproduced (or ignored), and if so, which is preferable? I have tried to be scrupulous about these little details, for example in preserving the Titles' quotations marks and final periods, and in putting ſ where the page has ſ and s where it hasn't (for example in hymn VII., where the title has short s but the first line has long ſ; the absence of quotation marks from the title of hymn II. is also reflective of the page.

This is a wonderful old collection, with music edited by John Stainer, but boy oh boy does it take some careful typing! ;-)

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