I’m a retired, conservatory trained musician and I see Spencerian’s malleability as a means of controlling the linear rhythm of the text (emphases or accents). In fact, it is the inherent musicality of Spencerian, both in appearance and process, which draws me to it.
Shades are in Spencerian, more than in Copperplate, emphatic or gestural terms rather than structural elements. As in music, emphasis is used to control and direct the audience’s experience of the text (melody, monody), in particular the flow of the eye down the writing line.* Also, as in music, the rules for emphasis are complex and subtle, but ultimately come down to one question, whether an emphasis works, i.e., does it do something useful.
Mickey from Fountainpennetwork