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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Howard Jones ABC versus Standard Notation (115* d) RE: ABC versus Standard Notation 14 Jun 18

Where "raw" ABC is concerned it's true that there can be variations. Most users are self-taught so we have had to find our own way of doing things, which may not be best practice. Simply deciding whether the note length should be 1/4 or 1/8 makes a difference to how it is written, and people can get very confused over modal key signatures. You do see some pretty horrible examples (perhaps including some of mine). I wonder how many users who can sight-read their own ABC are able to handle text written by others. However the software usually manages to make sense of it and produce meaningful notation, which for most of us is the purpose of it.

I can see that because of these inconsistencies there might be some difficulty using ABC text as a teaching aid (although for someone who doesn't read music at all then seeing "A" written as text rather than as a tadpole is more understandable).

If you are completely musically illiterate then I would certainly recommend learning notation in preference to ABC. However if you have even a basic grasp of notation then ABC is a useful tool. Like any tool, it needs to be used appropriately and if it is used for purposes for which it isn't suited then it might cause problems.

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