mudcat.org: ABC versus Standard Notation
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ABC versus Standard Notation

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 meself 06 Jun 18 - 02:07 PM DMcG 06 Jun 18 - 02:23 PM Jack Campin 06 Jun 18 - 02:41 PM The Sandman 06 Jun 18 - 03:47 PM Jack Campin 06 Jun 18 - 04:51 PM Tunesmith 06 Jun 18 - 07:13 PM Tunesmith 06 Jun 18 - 07:20 PM Jack Campin 07 Jun 18 - 01:51 AM DMcG 07 Jun 18 - 02:02 AM Stanron 07 Jun 18 - 02:36 AM GUEST,Jerry 07 Jun 18 - 11:22 AM Lester 08 Jun 18 - 07:00 AM GUEST,Jon 08 Jun 18 - 07:07 AM The Sandman 08 Jun 18 - 01:18 PM GUEST 08 Jun 18 - 01:41 PM meself 08 Jun 18 - 01:42 PM GUEST 08 Jun 18 - 01:59 PM The Sandman 09 Jun 18 - 12:08 PM Jack Campin 09 Jun 18 - 12:35 PM GUEST,CupOfTea at work, no cookies 09 Jun 18 - 12:39 PM Stanron 09 Jun 18 - 01:20 PM Howard Jones 09 Jun 18 - 01:22 PM GUEST,Richard Robinson 09 Jun 18 - 01:59 PM Jack Campin 09 Jun 18 - 05:23 PM GUEST 09 Jun 18 - 06:24 PM Jack Campin 10 Jun 18 - 04:53 AM Johnny J 10 Jun 18 - 08:56 AM Jack Campin 10 Jun 18 - 09:22 AM nigelgatherer 10 Jun 18 - 02:28 PM GUEST,Rev Bayes 10 Jun 18 - 03:57 PM GUEST,Richard Robinson 11 Jun 18 - 10:11 AM The Sandman 11 Jun 18 - 02:29 PM Jack Campin 11 Jun 18 - 03:37 PM The Sandman 11 Jun 18 - 04:17 PM GUEST 11 Jun 18 - 04:58 PM Jack Campin 11 Jun 18 - 05:20 PM Jack Campin 11 Jun 18 - 05:53 PM Howard Jones 12 Jun 18 - 05:37 AM Johnny J 12 Jun 18 - 06:15 AM Jack Campin 12 Jun 18 - 08:25 AM GUEST,Jon 12 Jun 18 - 08:25 AM GUEST,Richard Robinson 12 Jun 18 - 08:47 AM GUEST,Jon 12 Jun 18 - 08:53 AM Jack Campin 12 Jun 18 - 08:59 AM GUEST,Jon 12 Jun 18 - 09:30 AM Stanron 12 Jun 18 - 09:39 AM GUEST,Jon 12 Jun 18 - 09:43 AM GUEST 12 Jun 18 - 09:47 AM GUEST,Jon 12 Jun 18 - 09:48 AM Jack Campin 12 Jun 18 - 09:53 AM The Sandman 12 Jun 18 - 04:11 PM Howard Jones 13 Jun 18 - 03:21 AM FreddyHeadey 13 Jun 18 - 09:03 AM GUEST,Richard Robinson 13 Jun 18 - 09:11 AM Jack Campin 13 Jun 18 - 10:07 AM Stanron 13 Jun 18 - 10:11 AM Jack Campin 13 Jun 18 - 10:19 AM Stanron 13 Jun 18 - 10:31 AM Jack Campin 13 Jun 18 - 12:25 PM The Sandman 14 Jun 18 - 03:30 AM GUEST,Mark Bluemel 14 Jun 18 - 03:39 AM Howard Jones 14 Jun 18 - 03:55 AM GUEST,Grishka 14 Jun 18 - 04:09 AM FreddyHeadey 14 Jun 18 - 04:18 AM Jack Campin 14 Jun 18 - 04:19 AM Will Fly 14 Jun 18 - 04:26 AM Howard Jones 14 Jun 18 - 04:52 AM GUEST,Richard Robinson 14 Jun 18 - 05:12 AM Stanron 14 Jun 18 - 05:26 AM Johnny J 14 Jun 18 - 05:43 AM GUEST,Richard Robinson 14 Jun 18 - 05:44 AM Howard Jones 14 Jun 18 - 06:01 AM GUEST,Richard Robinson 14 Jun 18 - 06:42 AM Jack Campin 14 Jun 18 - 10:56 AM GUEST,Richard Robinson 14 Jun 18 - 11:48 AM FreddyHeadey 14 Jun 18 - 11:59 AM GUEST,Jack Campin 14 Jun 18 - 12:01 PM GUEST,Richard Robinson 14 Jun 18 - 12:12 PM Jack Campin 15 Jun 18 - 09:25 AM GUEST,Richard Robinson 15 Jun 18 - 12:26 PM GUEST,ripov 15 Jun 18 - 08:20 PM GUEST,Richard Robinson 15 Jun 18 - 11:00 PM The Sandman 16 Jun 18 - 03:28 AM DMcG 16 Jun 18 - 03:42 AM The Sandman 16 Jun 18 - 04:09 AM GUEST,09 Jun 18 - 06:24 PM 16 Jun 18 - 05:04 AM GUEST,Richard Robinson 16 Jun 18 - 11:41 AM Jack Campin 16 Jun 18 - 05:29 PM GUEST,ripov 16 Jun 18 - 07:15 PM Johnny J 17 Jun 18 - 05:39 AM Howard Jones 17 Jun 18 - 06:38 AM GUEST,Richard Robinson 17 Jun 18 - 11:13 AM Jack Campin 17 Jun 18 - 12:59 PM Jack Campin 17 Jun 18 - 01:33 PM Howard Jones 17 Jun 18 - 03:40 PM GUEST,Rev Bayes 18 Jun 18 - 06:45 AM GUEST,Jon 18 Jun 18 - 07:39 AM The Sandman 19 Jun 18 - 03:19 AM GUEST,Rev Bayes 19 Jun 18 - 07:33 AM GUEST,Jon 19 Jun 18 - 07:55 AM Jack Campin 19 Jun 18 - 11:10 AM Stanron 19 Jun 18 - 01:43 PM GUEST,Jon 19 Jun 18 - 01:54 PM GUEST,Jon 19 Jun 18 - 02:27 PM Stanron 19 Jun 18 - 02:46 PM GUEST,Jon 19 Jun 18 - 02:49 PM GUEST,Grishka 19 Jun 18 - 03:34 PM Stanron 19 Jun 18 - 03:42 PM GUEST,Jon 19 Jun 18 - 04:03 PM Stanron 19 Jun 18 - 04:14 PM GUEST,Jon 19 Jun 18 - 04:26 PM Stanron 19 Jun 18 - 04:40 PM Jack Campin 20 Jun 18 - 05:55 AM Will Fly 20 Jun 18 - 06:04 AM Jack Campin 20 Jun 18 - 08:23 AM
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 Subject: ABC versus Standard Notation/Sheet/Dots From: meself Date: 06 Jun 18 - 02:07 PM Those who would like to argue the merits of ABC notation vs standard notation (sheet music, dots, etc.) are invited to do so here, rather than cluttering up the ABC TO Standard Notation thread. Thank you, you're welcome.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: DMcG Date: 06 Jun 18 - 02:23 PM In my opinion was a bit of a silly argument, over on the other thread . The two systems were designed for different purposes. ABC in particular was designed to share music before it was possible to share images over the Internet. To achieve this, it used a pure text form, which happens also to make it ideal for searching.   Traditional notation is inherently image based, so if you want to do very precise layout, like slightly altering the physical positions of notes, but not timings, the image will be superior. Or to put it another way, each has strengths and weaknesses, and how important each of these are is entirely dependant on how you use it.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 06 Jun 18 - 02:41 PM It isn't helpful to say they were designed for different purposes - they were meant to serve complementary ones. ABC was designed to express a large and useful subset of what you can by "standard" notation (which in fact is very un-standard, shading into downright paper artwork with things like Trevor Wishart's "Vox"). Exactly how large that subset is depends on the version, the implementation and how far the user is prepared to use weird tricks. (I got Phil Taylor to add quite a few features in Barfly because I wanted them for the old Scottish music I was transcribing). Conversely, if you write staff notation in such a way that ABC can represent it, you have a better chance of it being portable to other notation systems, not just ABC. (In particular, if you get formally precise about bar lengths, you will be doing the world a favour; the way some traditional notation plays fast and loose with the lengths of upbeats is not a desirable tradition). And some ideas originating in ABC can also be taken over into staff notation: writing mode names explicitly, using the part construct to abbreviate, thinking of ornament patterns as macros.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: The Sandman Date: 06 Jun 18 - 03:47 PM Subject: RE: ABC to standard notation From: Jack Campin - PM Date: 06 Jun 18 - 12:28 PM You don't have a fucking clue, do you? Quote     Jack, a case of the pot calling the kettle black

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 06 Jun 18 - 04:51 PM We still haven't seen any notation you've written. I have a few thousand tunes I've transcribed on my website, which people have been downloading (free) and using for about 20 years. Have you got even one notated tune or song that anyone can access and use?

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Tunesmith Date: 06 Jun 18 - 07:13 PM Well, It is easier to "read" a melody/harmony in standard notation. There is no doubt about that.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Tunesmith Date: 06 Jun 18 - 07:20 PM That last post didn't come out right. in standard notation it's easier to understand the relationship between the notes.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 07 Jun 18 - 01:51 AM So what? Mudcat sends HTML to your computer, do you read it in source form?

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: DMcG Date: 07 Jun 18 - 02:02 AM I think it important to make a distinction between representation (which notes for how long in what order) and presentation (layout on pieces of paper or screen) ABC started as a system with no presentation and limited representation but it quite rapidly grew so that all commonly encountered 'patterns of notes' could be represented and there is no inherent reason this should not continue so that increasingly rarer sequences can be denoted. At the same time a set of tools grew up to address the separate presentation aspect, so the raw and could be printed in standard notation. Since these work hand in hand with the notation itself, there can be a lag between what the notation can hold and whether the presentation "Looks nice". These are less capable than tools like Finale which have the presentation at their core. For example, if you look at children's music books it is quite common that all Cs are one colour, all Ds another and so on. That's pure presentation and nothing to do with representation. I may just be unaware of it, but I know of no ABC presentation tool that can do that. Which gets me back to my original point. Both tools cover representation and, if there is a shortfall in ABC, it is rare and getting increasingly rarer. For most practical purposes, both systems are equivalent. They differ in presentational aspects and, as I said before, the textual nature of ABC makes searching for 'that tune that goes de-dahh-diddle-dah' out of thousands feasible in a way that is not possible in traditional notation. But which of these aspects matters more to you is entirely dependant on how you use it, so I don't think 'better' is meaningful: fitness for your purpose is what matters.q

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Stanron Date: 07 Jun 18 - 02:36 AM There's this quote from a book I can't remember; "A difference that isn't different makes no difference". That's not the exact quote but it is not without relevance. The code, in a file of abc, is the text file starting with X: and ending with an empty line. We then enter this into a converter which displays the notation on a screen and may print it onto paper. In programs like Sibelius or Musescore, the code of the file, which would be unreadable to us, is immediately entered into an inbuilt converter and displayed, note by note as entered, as musical notation. EasyABC does the same and I imagine most ABC editors do it too. When we write a score by hand the code of the file is our knowledge of music and what is written on the paper is the notation. All three systems have code, converter and display. I've no doubt that there are advantages and disadvantages in all three methods. An advantage of abc is the minute size of the files and the wealth of collections of files available on-line. An advantage of programs like Sibelius and Musescore is their ability to present tablature connected to a score. An advantage of handwritten notation is that you can write it and read it without any hardware other than pen and paper. In all three the result is a musical score. They are only as good as your ability to read them.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Jerry Date: 07 Jun 18 - 11:22 AM Just for the record, I am aware that the subject of the other discussion thread was not about the merits of different notations. Also, that conventional notation has only been possible electronically in relatively recent years, and whilst abc has served us well for some time it still has some advantages when it comes to transferring it to other systems, etc. Personally, I still think though that all players are better off becoming reasonably fluent in standard notation, as well as the likes of abc, and tablature for fretted instruments; sometimes it’s only when you compare them side by side that you can actually nail the tune/arrangement.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Lester Date: 08 Jun 18 - 07:00 AM Why do people who prefer conventional notation have to bash us who are quite happy with ABC. Never seems to be the other way round.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Jon Date: 08 Jun 18 - 07:07 AM It gets quite silly and the fact is, a lot of people who use abc do read standard notation. Me, I read neither in a sight reading sense but did a tone time have a fair amount of involvement in the sharing and helping to make available to others folk songs and tunes... As far as I'm concerned, abc is a great format for what we tried to do...

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: The Sandman Date: 08 Jun 18 - 01:18 PM I have not bashed anyone , i prefer standard notation and find ABC G UNSATISFACTORY. that is my opinion,which i am entitled to, if abc was so good why would be people need to transfer it to standrd notation, i asked before and noone has answered

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST Date: 08 Jun 18 - 01:41 PM Because it's very convenient format that, even with free tools, can easily be converted to standard notation for those who want or prefer it as well as to midi for those who prefer to learn by ear. Some even choose abc purely for the sheet music it can produce. Now tell me Dick. How are you going to do all that with your piece of sheet music. Would it be a hand written sprawl that could only be photocopied or rewritten or would you using notation software to do that. And if the latter, in doing so, would you be completely oblivious that the software would be converting some (in most cases unreadable) other representation,internal or on file, format into your dots~?

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: meself Date: 08 Jun 18 - 01:42 PM Okay, I'll bite: ABC can be produced on a conventional keyboard with a conventional word-processing program; standard notation cannot.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST Date: 08 Jun 18 - 01:59 PM Perhaps Dick would prefer this, it is after all a graphic of sheet music in a format I can post directly to a thread - kesh jig as a svg. 

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: The Sandman Date: 09 Jun 18 - 12:08 PM if abc was so good why would be people need to transfer it to standrd notation, i asked before and STILL noone has answered

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 09 Jun 18 - 12:35 PM Ordinarily you'd say to somebody like Dick "when you're in a hole, stop digging" - but in this case it seems more appropriate to say "keep going, they're waiting to throw a party in Australia when your feet break through".

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,CupOfTea at work, no cookies Date: 09 Jun 18 - 12:39 PM After a number of Mudcat postings urging learning ABC notation, I acquired an iPad and got the ABC app "the Craic" which imports ABC files, plays the music in a breathy flute sound, and makes PDF print outs. I had previously tried working with Finale, but without some instruction, couldn't do the simpliest things. A couple of pages of ABC instructions, and I was on my way, accessing tunes, inserting chords, listening to tunes, playing along, learning, making clean versions of hand written tunes. It has come in very handy when given a tune name for a dance that's not in the standard books. I've found, with ABC printouts, some of the same problems as notation done with more sophisticated programs. In ABC I can fix some of them. I also find ABC a grand way to take down notation as "shorthand" to be gussied up & sorted later when acquiring a new melody. OTOH I am NOT a sophisticated musician, and perhaps the shortcomings of ABC don't bother me because I don't need the things missing? To answer Sandman - if you have a recording of music, why would you need an actual performance? It's a tool. Having an ABC version that shows in standard notation is a process. As the looooooooong file above shows, it's a nice SHORT process with ABC! Joanne in Cleveland (who takes about an hour or three to put a tune from hand written to ABC)

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Stanron Date: 09 Jun 18 - 01:20 PM The Sandman wrote: if abc was so good why would be people need to transfer it to standrd notation, i asked before and STILL noone has answered Sandman, most people use ABC in conjuction with a converter. Either in a program like ABCExplorer or EasyABC or in an internet converter like http://www.mandolintab.net/abcconverter.php All of these convert the ABC file to notation. It's not really a case of ABC or notation. The ABC file is a means of storing and/or generating notation. I suppose some people can look at an ABC file and hear the tune. Most people won't even try. The ABC files are minute compared with files generated by Notation Editors like Sibelius and Musescore. There are great collections of traditional tunes in this format on the net and their small size makes them well used and well usable.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Howard Jones Date: 09 Jun 18 - 01:22 PM The original premise is mistaken in trying to make a distinction between ABC and notation. ABC is simply a way of representing the musical information contained in notation in a way a computer can use. In this it is no different from other music-writing programs such as Sibelius, Finale etc and any comparison should be with them, not with notation. What seems to confuse people is that the code ABC uses to represent this information is ordinary text, whereas with the other writing systems the digital code is unintelligible without the appropriate software. However that is incidental, and in practice I suspect most users of ABC (myself included) use software to turn ABC code into notation rather than read direct from the code. If some people can play straight from the code without first converting it to notation, that should be seen as an additional level of usefulness rather than a reason to find a false dichotomy between ABC and notation. I prefer ABC over other programs because it is free, and for writing down simple melodies I find it is easier than the others I have tried. Other programs have more complicated entry systems which make it possible to write more complex music but which I find are slower when entering only a single line of melody. If I were writing more complicated scores then I would probably use something different, but I'm not. If I were usually writing more complicated music and was therefore already a proficient user of another program I would probably stick with that rather than use ABC instead, but I'm not. If I needed more control over the visual appearance of the finished score I would use a different program, but I don't. I also find it handy that I don't need specialist software. I'm not allowed to install music software on my work laptop, but I can still use an ordinary text editor to write ABC and an online converter to turn it into notation or play it back. At a pinch I don't even need a computer, and for jotting down a tune on the back of a beermat ABC takes up less space than writing out a score (besides I can't draw straight lines) It is also useful that ABC has become the de facto standard for sharing folk tunes over the internet (and can be posted on forums like this where .xml files cannot) so there is a vast library of tunes available in this format. However these are all reasons for using ABC rather than a different program. The end result is still notation.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Richard Robinson Date: 09 Jun 18 - 01:59 PM "if abc was so good why would be people need to transfer it to standrd notation" ABC is useful because you *can* generate the 5-line thing from it. Along with MIDI, various tab notations, and anything else the wit of humans can write programs to translate it into. And because it's ordinary text that can be posted around on the web, emailed, etc, and written in an ordinary text editor. And, likewise, use your ordinary text-search stuff to find tunes in amongst your collection of ABC tunes, if you have one, which is why it's useful to have one. Because computers can be told what it means, basically. It's not a competition. I have heard of people who claim to be able to sight-read ABC, personally I can't. I write a tune as ABC because it's easy to generate standard notation from it, and I also get all the other advantages of having ABC on my hard disk (or webserver, or whatever) for other programs to do useful things with when I need them to.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 09 Jun 18 - 05:23 PM I can sightread my own ABC because I make an effort to make it readable; Nigel Gatherer's is just as easy. I wouldn't have a prayer of sightreading John Chambers's or stuff that uses Gonzato's typesetting directives. Not very different from staff notation - I can easily sightread David Young's 18th century Scottish tunebooks, or Bartok's field notes, but no way could I play off one of Janacek's manuscripts or one of Beethoven's umpteen-times-revised efforts.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST Date: 09 Jun 18 - 06:24 PM Could it be that 'The Sandman' is only familiar with the "ABC" that is used at workshops in Ireland rather than what the rest of you are talking about? That seems to do the job that people who use it want done but appears limited compared with the (?newer) ABC code that most people use.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 10 Jun 18 - 04:53 AM Added features always make ABC less readable in source form and harder to re-use. You use them only when you absolutely have to. ABC can easily represent everything in the O'Neill or Breathnach tune collections, providing better typographic quality than the originals, and with no need for any funny extensions to the basic formalism.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Johnny J Date: 10 Jun 18 - 08:56 AM Aaarrrgghh. Not this argument again! They both have their uses and pros and cons...   ABC was and is ideal for the portable transfer of tunes on The Internet and e-mail. Also handy for jotting tunes down at a session or workshop. For me, sheet music is much easier to read but all I have to do is convert the ABC with one of the many programmes out there. However, I will often also write out tunes in ABC form too and convert them into sheet music myself. It's a very easy and cheap way to create simple sheet music without having to buy expensive programmes. Having said that, you can add just as many different "instructions" as you want on sheet music which isn't always possible to translate into ABC although there's much you can do with the latter these days too. However, why do you need to make things so cumbersome unless it's a special arrangement for a concert, performance, or a group of musicians? In such a case, you'd probably want to be using "the dots" anyway. Anyway, I shall continue to use both methods and, also, play "by lug" as I see fit. ;-))

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 10 Jun 18 - 09:22 AM I suppose the music Dick writes down must look like the samples in this book: https://monoskop.org/File:Cage_John_Notations.pdf

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: nigelgatherer Date: 10 Jun 18 - 02:28 PM ABC notation isn't better than staff notation, but in certain circumstances it has advantages, as outlined above. Where it scores big is in the ability to search for tunes - either locally or on the WWW - using snippets of ABC, something that one cannot do, as yet, with staff notation.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Rev Bayes Date: 10 Jun 18 - 03:57 PM Sandman, I have one observation, and one question. The observation is that you do not seem to actually understand what ABC is. I suspect this may be because you have seen people use it in a way that is not in accordance with the standard, but that is their problem. The question is, what do you think of Lilypond?

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Richard Robinson Date: 11 Jun 18 - 10:11 AM Jack's John Cage pdf - Blimey. The only way I'd want to write that as ABC would be with copious %%EPS statements. Nigel, search etc - yes. Perhaps the biggest single argument in its favour would be John Chambers's Tune Finder.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: The Sandman Date: 11 Jun 18 - 02:29 PM Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST Date: 09 Jun 18 - 06:24 PM Could it be that 'The Sandman' is only familiar with the "ABC" that is used at workshops in Ireland rather than what the rest of you are talking about? That seems to do the job that people who use it want done but appears limited compared with the (?newer) ABC code that most people use." EXACTLY

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 11 Jun 18 - 03:37 PM What have you notated that couldn't be done better by an ABC newbie using even the simplest form of the system? The one thing you HAVE made crystal clear is that you have never written anything down in any form of notation that anyone else either could or would want to make use of.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: The Sandman Date: 11 Jun 18 - 04:17 PM How ridiculous, I regularly use standard musical notation for pupils,using old fashioned manuscript, your abc system that you suggest needs a comouter, believe it or not, i do not use them during my lessons i prefer to teach by ear or by old fashioned musical notation   Jack do you have some sort of aggression problem? I remember you got very aggressive with roy harris, so much upset was he that he sent me a personal message Greetings Dick, Thanks for backing me on Mudcat. Who is this Jack Campin? Outside of Mudcat I've never heard of him. All Best, ROY .

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST Date: 11 Jun 18 - 04:58 PM

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 11 Jun 18 - 05:20 PM Let's see something you've written then.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 11 Jun 18 - 05:53 PM I just searched for "dick miles sheet music" and this was what I found: Coffee in Brazil The whole first page is doable in ABC with nothing at all left out. Seeing more than that page costs money. There is another version out there with guitar chord diagrams. I don't know of an ABC implementation of those (or ukulele chords, which is where the idea started) but if there was enough demand somebody would include them.k

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Howard Jones Date: 12 Jun 18 - 05:37 AM Dick, do you write out music notation using a computer? If you only write it out by hand on manuscript paper then you probably have no need of ABC (although it is a useful shorthand for jotting music down). If you already use a music-writing computer program then there is probably no need to learn another system. Don't think of ABC just in terms of the text language. It is part of a package which includes programs to render the text as conventional notation or to play it back. This is how most people use it, to write music notation and hear how it sounds. Being able to read and write ABC without a computer is a useful bonus, but is not how most people use it. However by ignoring ABC you are missing out on the vast library of tunes on the internet in ABC format. Like it or not, it has become the de facto standard for sharing folk tunes. If you use another program you may be able to import ABC into it to render it as notation, or you can use an online converter such as this one. http://www.mandolintab.net/abcconverter.php Even if you don't feel a need to learn ABC yourself, don't dismiss it.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Johnny J Date: 12 Jun 18 - 06:15 AM You are right, Howard. Unlike Jack and Dick both, I'm not unduly interested in whether or not ABC is better, worse, more or less efficient than the dots. I just see it as another extra useful tool. While I can write and compose ABC, I'm not particularly great at reading it but there's no real need. It's just a case of converting to sheet music one way or another. There's plenty of programs but I could actually do it by hand too if really necessary. Of course, not everyone can read music either and I would encourage them to do this before trying to learn to "sight read" ABC but that's just my view.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 12 Jun 18 - 08:25 AM Unlike Jack and Dick both, I'm not unduly interested in whether or not ABC is better, worse, more or less efficient than the dots. They aren't comparable as "better" or "worse" and only Dick in this thread is seeing it that way.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Jon Date: 12 Jun 18 - 08:25 AM As I said before, I read neither - and am unlikely to as, despite knowing the rules, just can't get the timing. Still,I understand both well enough to do what I've needed (eg. the converter at mandolin tab is one I put together and was transferred when I closed folkinfo) and get midis out of it for my own learning. Incidentally, while the programs may be a bit old now (I don't think these or the plain abc ones have been updated since 2012), the manolintab converter actually attempts to handle 2 formats. It will attempt to detect musicxml input in the abc entry box and produce both types (timewise and partwise) as output. So there's another format to think of... Nowhere near as useful as abc for the sharing, etc. of folk stuff but can be handy for those transferring from one computer program/format to another.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Richard Robinson Date: 12 Jun 18 - 08:47 AM I think perhaps we make too much of the differences between ABC and the 5-line thing ? They're both ways of representing the same concepts - different ways of showing a quaver, a bar-line, a slur, etc (the only significant - to me - difference is ABC's ability to handle more than 2 modes, which from the POV of The Tunes is a big gain). If somebody can read standard notation I'd be surprised if they found it very hard to get to grips with ABC (if they needed to, of course. If somebody doesn't see a need for it, fine, carry on as you are …). And likewise, if somebody works by ear, I'd expect ABC to be about as hard to pick up as standard notation.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Jon Date: 12 Jun 18 - 08:53 AM Well Richard, a problem such as not being able to turn say "this note is twice as long as that one" into practice just transfers from one system to another...

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 12 Jun 18 - 08:59 AM Here's an example of something it would have been hard to do any other way. Mostly I did it on my phone while sitting on a park bench in a small town in Hungary at lunchtime during a folk camp where I was learning the tarogato. I used both the (rather crap) Tunebook SD phone app and the mandolintab.net converter, playing bits of the tune from memory on recorders while comparing it with some rather scrappy and inaccurate notation I'd photographed using the phone's camera, revising it a bit later. I think you can find the original field recording on the Meta band's "Bodrogkoz" CD - very expensive for what you get so I don't have it. http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php?topic=21282.0 There is no other transcription of that version of the tune on the web, in any format and at any price. I think price is key to the way Dick sees things. ABC is very good for distributing music free, and not designed for payment at all. Dick doesn't do the giving-stuff-away thing; he's always used Mudcat as far as possible as free advertising (it's probably never put a single bum on a seat and driven quite a few folks away from his gigs, but he's never going to see that). Which is why we are never going to see a scan of anything Dick has written down.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Jon Date: 12 Jun 18 - 09:30 AM I think you are being far to harsh on Dick, Jack.I think it's more a matter of a bee in the bonnet and an unwillingness to consider. Shame really as I'd guess it could be a useful addition for him.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Stanron Date: 12 Jun 18 - 09:39 AM What is it with you guys and Dick Miles. I can see his point of view clearly. Sometimes it is just simpler to sit down with a pen and some manuscript paper and write out the notation.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Jon Date: 12 Jun 18 - 09:43 AM I see that too. It's the manner of his dismissal of abc I don't get.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST Date: 12 Jun 18 - 09:47 AM (eg, Starting from the other thread that caused this one: "Music clef is more accurate than abc,if it were the other way round classical orchestras would be using ABC, they do not they use standard music clef notation. if poeple cannot bebothered to learn music notation ,that is their decision,but do not try and pretend that ABC it is as accurate." )

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Jon Date: 12 Jun 18 - 09:48 AM opps, missed name above.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 12 Jun 18 - 09:53 AM Sometimes it is just simpler to sit down with a pen and some manuscript paper and write out the notation I don't think anybody's disputing that. Though ABC can be quicker and more legible if you don't have ruled paper already: Janacek's fanfares from the Sinfonietta

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: The Sandman Date: 12 Jun 18 - 04:11 PM "I think price is key to the way Dick sees things. ABC is very good for distributing music free, and not designed for payment at all. Dick doesn't do the giving-stuff-away thing; he's always used Mudcat as far as possible as free advertising (it's probably never put a single bum on a seat and driven quite a few folks away from his gigs, but he's never going to see that). Which is why we are never going to see a scan of anything Dick has written down."    You are making a lot of assumptions "dick doesnt do the giving away things free",quite wrong I have given my time for free running a festival for 7 years. 2.At the moment i have loaned out two instruments for free to pupils 3. you have never been to any of my gigs and therefore base your remarks on no knowledge whatsoever 4.I give away my time for free running a session every week. 5. I have no problem about trad music being given away for free, I do believe that Composers have the right to be asked before their music is given away, that is Ethical,JACK SOME OF MY OWN COMPOSOTIONS ARE AVAILABLE ON YOU TUBE AND GIVEN AWAY FOR FREE If you continue to libel me,I will get in touch with the mods on this forum and ask for your libellous remarks to be removed, you have been warned you have overstepped the mark

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Howard Jones Date: 13 Jun 18 - 03:21 AM As someone who is not good at reading notation, I have found my understanding of it has greatly increased as a result of learning ABC. Apart from a few instructions to the computer, nearly everything in ABC corresponds directly to something in notation. Being able to play back what I have written to check that I have got it right is a huge help. Of course the same can be said of any music notation program, and ABC happens to be the one I use. However I believe that having to think about the musical syntax to write it out in ABC has probably given me a greater understanding than I would get from simply dragging and dropping notes onto a stave. For me, ABC complements notation. It is a quick and easy way of writing out a tune so I can print it off as notation. It is the most efficient way of jotting down a tune on a scrap of paper when no manuscript paper is to hand. If I am struggling to make sense of a written score I can quickly copy it in ABC and play it back. I have access to a huge online library of tunes on the internet, and compared with other file types the ABC files take up very little memory. However my hard copies of music are all in notation, not raw ABC.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: FreddyHeadey Date: 13 Jun 18 - 09:03 AM I'm most impressed by you folks who can read abc from the page and turn it in to music in your head fluently. I've always assumed it was there as a simple text form for sharing a tune when pdfs or photos were not an option. I think I've found it most useful via mandolintab when I've wanted to create a midi in a different key. Or change the line breaks. Or change the font size. For me the snag with being given a piece of paper(\pdf) with the dots is its lack of adaptability.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Richard Robinson Date: 13 Jun 18 - 09:11 AM Ye, the ability to re-format a tune for increased readability can be very handy.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 13 Jun 18 - 10:07 AM One advantage isn't just reformatting but editing. The way I align ABC by time value - corresponding beats of parallel phrases occur in the same column of monospaced text - means that if two phrases share exactly the same notes for a stretch, I'll see it. That may mean I can represent the same sequence of sounds more economically by introducing a repeat - and when generating the staff notation, less dots means you can make them bigger. If you're writing directly in tadpoles on paper, you probably won't do the edit even if you can see how it's possible, because it means starting all over.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Stanron Date: 13 Jun 18 - 10:11 AM "For me the snag with being given a piece of paper(\pdf) with the dots is its lack of adaptability." With the right hardware and software any sheet music can be made to play. It's years since I had, or had access to, a scanner but Sibelius can take a scan of a score and turn that into a Sibelius file, which you can then play, edit, save and export as midi. It's years since I did it and I can't remember how well it worked. It's probably cheaper to learn to read the dots.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 13 Jun 18 - 10:19 AM I'd like to see what Sibelius and a scanner could make of the Janacek sketch I linked to.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Stanron Date: 13 Jun 18 - 10:31 AM Jack Campin wrote: I'd like to see what Sibelius and a scanner could make of the Janacek sketch I linked to. I vaguely remember it having it's problems. It would probably come up with three blind mice.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 13 Jun 18 - 12:25 PM Example of how ABC slots in to other versions of a tune in an online discussion. Somebody else quoting bit of ABC I wrote years ago; what this gives you, in the context, is something you can edit yourself to add chords or a bass line, or transpose it. This short discussion thread also includes links to videos, scans from books and historical info. If you've any interest in this particular song, Alastair and his FB followers have put everything you'd want to know together in one accessible place; the ABC is only part of the picture but adds a handy extra. Willie's Gane to Melville Castle

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: The Sandman Date: 14 Jun 18 - 03:30 AM All this is dependent on having online facilities, and is not of much use to people with no money and who do not have access to internet technology and internet facilities who will continue to learn orally. To clarify my earlier remark., I was referring to ABC[ AS USED IN WORKSHOPS IN IRELAND].. which has been my experience of it so far to date, which is in my opinion less efficient than old fashioned standard notation. Jack , we are talking about two different ABC systems

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Mark Bluemel Date: 14 Jun 18 - 03:39 AM Someone suggested the Irish workshop context as at the root of the disagreement 5 days ago...

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Howard Jones Date: 14 Jun 18 - 03:55 AM This discussion was started to discuss the standard ABC, so if Sandman is referring to something different we are clearly at cross purposes. And whilst ABC is intended as part of a package of software resources the text language itself does not require a computer, so to criticise it for not being much use to people who don't have access to a computer is completely wide of the mark. If you're writing music by hand on paper then of course conventional notation is probably the best way. Even so, ABC is handy when you don't have ruled manuscript paper to hand, and it takes up a fraction of the space of the equivalent notation so is much better for jotting down tunes on a beer mat or the traditional back of a fag packet. Standard ABC (I don't know about the Irish version) represents all the conventions of notation in text form, so to use it requires an understanding of notation. It is simply a different way of representing exactly the same thing, and which you use is a matter of choice. I don't understand your claim that it is "less accurate" as everything in ABC is exactly equivalent to the same score written in notation.   The two are entirely complementary, and which you choose will depend on what you want to use it for.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Grishka Date: 14 Jun 18 - 04:09 AM Sandman or someone else, would you please point us to a website about "ABC that is used at workshops in Ireland"? Do we need another thread "ABC versus ABC" (or perhaps "ABC versus abc", as the English inventor seems to spell it)? And must ABC code be converted at the Irish border after Brexit ;-) ?

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: FreddyHeadey Date: 14 Jun 18 - 04:18 AM "ABC" that is used at workshops in Ireland Could anyone give an example of what you'd be presented with? ~~~~~~~~~ The FB link to Willie's Gane to Melville Castle is "not available" to me. Maybe it is set to friends or a closed group? ~~~~~~~~~ Given the facilities of only a pen \ paper \ straightedge I'd plump for a music stave. But I can see that on the back of a bus ticket abc would be handy. On occasion I've tried Tonic Sol Fa. But there are already threads thread.cfm?threadid=95820&messages=57

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 14 Jun 18 - 04:19 AM Most Irish tunesters seem to use ABC via TheSession, whose implementation is only slightly different from the other common ones. (The main difference is in the admin's weird categorization system, which doesn't recognize a lot of important rhythm types and won't allow you to name the composer). It doesn't require a lot of internet connectivity to get a tune coded up, debugged and distributed - I did that Hungarian tune using this iPhone 4, a scrap of paper, a few small instruments and a village school's wi-fi, and emailed it to a friend in Spain the same day. I don't even have home internet at the moment and it makes very little difference.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Will Fly Date: 14 Jun 18 - 04:26 AM ABC at its simplest is a handy device for transmitting tunes in text form across the internet, for jotting tunes down at a pub session, etc. At its most complex, I personally think it is less intuitive to understand than standard notation, and this page is worth a look: http://abcnotation.com/wiki/abc:standard:v2.2 If I had to read this to learn music, I think I'd prefer the very visual appearance of standard notation. One of the problems of alternative systems like ABC and tablature is that they can start off very simply and then become gradually more complex - so much so that the advantage of their original simplicity is lost.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Howard Jones Date: 14 Jun 18 - 04:52 AM Will, What you've linked to is part of the technical standard, it's certainly not necessary to understand that in order to use abc. This is far more understandable: Steve Mansfield's ABC tutorial Like everything, it takes a bit of effort to learn, just as notation does, and some understanding of music notation which is what it represents. I'm sure many people use it as I do, as a keyboard-entry method of creating notation which I can then play back, print or save as a pdf using either a software package such as ABCExplorer or a web converter.   I find this quicker and simpler than drag-and-drop which other software packages use (some also offer keyboard entry, but I prefer ABC as it is the de facto standard for sharing folk tunes). Being able to play it back helps me check that I have written it correctly and so helps improve my understanding of notation. ABC is most efficient when writing out single-line unharmonised melodies, so it is ideal for folk tunes (which is what it was designed for). It can handle more complex music but rapidly becomes unwieldy, and there are better alternatives if that is the sort of music you want to write.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Richard Robinson Date: 14 Jun 18 - 05:12 AM At its most complex, it can be horrible, yes. If somebody was mainly interested in complex cases, I doubt if they'd even think of using ABC (and I wouldn't recommend them to). There are some things I've typed up as ABC that would have been much more pleasantly done using standard notation. But then I'd have needed 2 different systems for handling my stuff, given that most of what I want is much easier as ABC. "Given the facilities of only a pen \ paper \ straightedge" ... If I had manuscript paper handy I'd use it (and then type it up as ABC when I got home), if I only have the back of an envelope I use ABC rather than draw the 5 lines. Standards ... "the nice things about standards is that there are so many to choose from". 2.2 is still draft, after 5 years ? I tried to get involved in one or two threads of that discussion, but retreated, baffled. Is there very much ABC out there that conforms to any standard other than its own ? I don't think I've seen much, but I may be behind the times. I think Will's right about learning to read. The concepts are the same either way, but seeing them in pictures would probably be easier (for a majority of people), ABC's more of an abstraction. Not hard once you're familiar with the ideas, but probably an extra step if you're picking the ideas up in the first place.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Stanron Date: 14 Jun 18 - 05:26 AM I'm not disagreeing with anyone here but you can use lined paper to produce rough manuscript. Take three lines and hand draw lines in between them and you get a serviceable score. You can link two of these together if you want treble and bass clefs like a standard piano score. It worked best, if I remember correctly, with a propelling pencil and eraser.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Johnny J Date: 14 Jun 18 - 05:43 AM " "ABC" that is used at workshops in Ireland " I went to a four day harp course with Michelle Mulcahy two or three years ago. Michelle is a brilliant multi instrumentalist and musician. She taught us using a combination of "By ear" and handwritten ABC. I learned that doing things this way was quite common in Ireland. While I coped with this system, I wasn't too comfortable with the ABC aspect. However, because she was still teaching us "by ear" and on hand to explain things, I managed. When I went home at the end of each day, I transposed the ABC to "dots" and this also made things easier to follow. The one issue with this was that the "abc" wasn't exactly the same and I had to tweak and "correct" parts of it while typing it into the converter on my computer... So, in a sense, I see Dick's point. While ABC is a useful tool, it would be much better if everyone used a *standardised* system when it comes to musical education and other more "official" purposes, e.g. transmission and/or storing versions of tunes on computer databases and so on. Of course, if you are just jotting things down for your own use or to pass on to a friend in the pub that's a different matter. You can do what you like.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Richard Robinson Date: 14 Jun 18 - 05:44 AM Maybe at least some of this comes down to how people feel about their ability with a pen & paper ? Personally, my handwriting / musicwriting has always been messy (and then got a lot worse following an incident involving a deer, a motorbike and a handful of little broken bones), so I find a text editor much, er, handier than doing it by hand, and scribbling ABC onto a scrap of paper more likely to be legible in a couple of days' time than something involving 5 not-very-parallel lines.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Howard Jones Date: 14 Jun 18 - 06:01 AM 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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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Richard Robinson Date: 14 Jun 18 - 06:42 AM I don't think the ABC/tadpole distinction is nearly as significant as the gap between those who are more comfortable reading (either) notation and those who are more comfortable using their ears. But that may be a separate thread ...

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 14 Jun 18 - 10:56 AM ABC is most efficient when writing out single-line unharmonised melodies, so it is ideal for folk tunes (which is what it was designed for). It can handle more complex music but rapidly becomes unwieldy, and there are better alternatives if that is the sort of music you want to write. The problem with most such more expressive alternatives is that they aren't as easy to distribute widely as ABC. Some are binary, which creates its own problems, but even the structured ASCII ones have pitfalls. Of the ones I can think of right now: Bagpipe Music Writer and PiobMhor: OS-dependent. Guitar tab: never really recovered from OLGA getting shut down - the sharing community isn't what it was. Diatonic accordion tab: seems to be the perserve of a few sites who keep the display code to themselves. MuseScore: has a centrally managed code base, which is great for keeping online and standalone versions consistent, but what happens if the mothership fails? And the public archive of music is small and rather crap.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Richard Robinson Date: 14 Jun 18 - 11:48 AM "even the structured ASCII ones" I think there is also a whole history of academic attempts at music description languages. I'm not aware of any that have been used in anger (unless possibly the Nottingham Music Database counts ?) As opposed to ABC, which can be used in (relative) peace&quiet ... I mean, for purposes of making music. Some of them may have been useful in their own terms.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: FreddyHeadey Date: 14 Jun 18 - 11:59 AM Thanks. I see a similar thread on TheSession https://thesession.org/discussions/34648 btw a link to "a brief history of abc" by Chris Walshaw http://abcnotation.com/history

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Jack Campin Date: 14 Jun 18 - 12:01 PM I was thinking mainly of Bagpipe Music Writer, which I once saw described as "gnarly" by one of its users. One of its main problems was that everything was laid out like this. MusicXML isn't much better.   Seems that no two implementations are even close to agreeing on a common standard.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Richard Robinson Date: 14 Jun 18 - 12:12 PM The session thread ... "Why bother with this horrible ABC nonsense when you can listen to mechanically-generated midi ?" *laughter*

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 15 Jun 18 - 09:25 AM I'd never heard of anyone using ABC the way Johnny J describes Irish harp teachers doing, but it occurred to me there is a precedent. The oldest music notation we have is clay tablets in Sumerian cuneiform from about 3000 years ago. They seem to be instructional notes about how to play the harp or lyre, and the notation is letter-based, much like ABC. Seems to have worked for them. The extra feature they figured out that the Irish haven't yet got round to is that if you bake your class notes in an oven they last longer.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Richard Robinson Date: 15 Jun 18 - 12:26 PM Beethoven's never-to-be-forgotten 10th "Cake" Symphony ...

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,ripov Date: 15 Jun 18 - 08:20 PM Thanks for the Janacek, Jack. I think i've heard our horn section playing that actual version!! And I'm still giggling even after reading the rest of the thread! I learnt notation nearly 70 years ago, so found it difficult to understand the purpose of ABC, other than for transmitting tunes via text on forums like mudcat, where its advantage is that no provision for images is needed. And as it used so widely it's worth the effort of learning. I see it as having the same relationship to notation as the guitarists "G7" type notation has to a figured bass. ie it refers to actual notes, rather than intervals. Does this make it harder to transpose, particularly at sight? or do you get used to eg thinking "Bb" when you read "C". Although as guitarists transpose (but only upwards) by using a capo, and mentally playing (so I believe) the original chord, is this mainly a question for melody players?. The advantage of notation I find is that it shows the pattern of the notes; and is easily transposed, either by mentally shifting the whole pattern up or down, or by changing the clef; and so is an natural development of the cryptic markings over the text in plain chant (which I think continued in baroque music as representing ornaments) But neither format is so prescriptive that it leaves no room for individual interpretation. While writing on the back of whatever is now used instead of fag packets is mentioned, It is self-evident that mudcat members have pc's, and so probably printers. And so no excuse for not having a bit of MS paper in the instrument case or back pocket! As an aside - Transposing in midi is a simple procedure (if you can code - I can't), just change all the pitch values by the same amount. Changing mode is a bit more difficult. And despite midi's bad name as having a "mechanical" sound, this is only when it's produced by transcription from notation. Files produced by live performances will replicate the nuances of the performance almost exactly. I don't think I'd consider trying to read a midi file on the fiddle though.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Richard Robinson Date: 15 Jun 18 - 11:00 PM Point is, it's a more-or-less workable compromise between humans and computers, a workable way for us to describe tunes to them. The back-of-the-envelope thing can be a handy trick in its own right, given that you know ABC already. If I was scribbling a lot of tunes, I might possibly think it worth learning for that (ISTR, the last time I wrote ABC by hand was on a sheet of manuscript. I find it quicker & simpler for easy tunes, but anything where the notation involved a significant amount of extra markup I'd probably go for the tadpoles). But very possibly, without computers it would have remained Chris W's idiosyncratic back-of-the-envelope sol-fa. Mechanically generated midi isn't very musical, but that's because the notation (either as tadpoles or as mapped onto ABC) doesn't describe enough of the musicality in the first place. Apart from the advantages already mentioned, ABC also has ... what else is anyone going to run a tunes webserver off ? People who say they don't see the point - I wonder have many of them looked up a tune on the web ? and what are the chances that what they found was fueled by ABC ? I'd guess pretty high. If the users don't even have to know that, that's a bonus.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: The Sandman Date: 16 Jun 18 - 03:28 AM "Point is, it's a more-or-less workable compromise between humans and computers, a workable way for us to describe tunes to them" yes, but is dependent upon access to a computer, so to some extent is exclusive,and is dependent upon people having wealth to buy the technology. yes i do look up tunes on the web and use standrd notation, each to their own, but after many years playing i reckon the best way of learning trad tunes is by ear, [if you can sing the tune you will know it] playing by ear is inclusive for everyone

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: DMcG Date: 16 Jun 18 - 03:42 AM But, Sandman, notation of any kind and by ear are not mutually exclusive. Notation is a permanent record, whereas things learned and played by ear are ephemeral. You may forget a section, for example. Personally, when it comes to playing an instrument, I find written notation easier than by ear, though the opposite is true when singing. It is because I have developed a stronger relationship between 'that visual position on the stave to the key press' than I have 'that sound to the key press'. The analogy with printed literature is extremely close. Sometimes, if you are telling a child a story, it is better to do so directly from memory, alert to how the child is reacting. Sometimes, it is better to read a book with them. As I said way back in post #2, it is a bit of a silly argument because it is really all about fitness for purpose: depending what your exact purpose is at that instant, the best approach will vary. Choosing one or the other doesn't make much sense to me.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: The Sandman Date: 16 Jun 18 - 04:09 AM if it is necessary to use a computer to use abc as described [rather than the written scribble used in workshops in ireland ]it is dependent on being part of the consumer society and having money to buy the technology, whereas a standrd manuscript book is much cheaper, so by its nature having to buy the technology makes it to some extent exclusive, however now that i know what is being refered to as ABC TECHNOLGY i would agree that it can be useful under certain circumstances. Personally i have had no need to use it, but some people like gadgetry and modern technology, and enjoy using it, why not ,if you have the money and do not find standrd notation useful in all circumstances. ,personally i am content to use standrd notation as i have been doing for many years. FOR ME IT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO IMPROVE MY EAR PLAYING ABILITY , AS IN TRAD SESSIONS this is the norm of playing music,further more i disapprove of people taking their gadgetry into sessions and trying to play tunes from technology rather than trying to pick the tune up by ear, this music IMO[when you are in a trad session is about listening to how others are playing] NOT LOOKING AT A SCREEN

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,09 Jun 18 - 06:24 PM Date: 16 Jun 18 - 05:04 AM I am glad my suggestion, way up the thread, that some of you were at cross-purposes with The Sandman seems to have been helpful. It is interesting that The Sandman had not come across what he refers to as 'ABC technology' and that Jack Campin had not come across the less technical usage that The Sandman was referring to. Can I suggest to The Sandman that the limited functionality of the ABC he dislikes may actually be a deliberate choice. If workshop is primarily 'by ear' then *not* having standard notation, with it's poor representation of the rhythm being taught, may be an advantage. Many people pick up rhythms be ear much faster than they can find the notes so being told what some of the notes are helps move things along in a workshop.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Richard Robinson Date: 16 Jun 18 - 11:41 AM ABC depends on "gadgetry" ? So does this conversation. Playing by ear is not "inclusive for everyone", some people are not comfortable with it at all. I've been in sessions where people insisted of fiddling with "print technology" because they think they're helpless without the dots. It *is* a nuisance, when the other players don't need to wait for them to find the right bit (whether it be a pile of paperwork or a little electric box). I was brought up to play from "the music" (meaning dots), I had to work hard to get the hang of using my ears, (decades later, I'm still not reliable at recognising intervals). I think most people are more comfortable with one than the other, not many people are equally capable of learning a tune with their eyes and their ears. To my mind, the bottom line is that I don't see how anyone's going to play a tune unless they know it, have it in their mind, their memory, their fingers - are familiar with it. *How* they do that is up to them, and best kept out of other peoples' way (apart from when we're swapping hints, like now). A learning technique is not necessarily useless just because some people don't have a use for it. The point is to learn the tune and play the damn thing. Pass it on.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 16 Jun 18 - 05:29 PM I have a few hundred pages of pencilled ABC in school notebooks - transcriptions from sources in research libraries - testifying to "less technical usage". Though I didn't know about the Irish harp tutoring culture.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,ripov Date: 16 Jun 18 - 07:15 PM Thanks Richard. No, not all can learn by ear. Even after 60-odd years I can only do it if the tune is familiar, otherwise I need the dots. To learn a tune I normally write it down in notation and play it over and over, then take the dots away and find I can't remember it! In a session I can play along generally with whatever is played, but often I am "sight-hearing", in other words I play a note as soon as I hear it played by the others. I don't see why some have referred to needing a computer to use ABC. As has been said, you can write a tune down in abc on a piece of paper, and then play it on an instrument. No pc involved. You can give the piece of paper to someone else to play. No pc involved. The pc comes in either for dissemination over the web; or for transcribing into notation - although that's fairly easily done by hand, or to another format, midi, sib, nwc etc, which the pc makes very much easier; but you will only need to do this if you have a pc or synth to start with.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Johnny J Date: 17 Jun 18 - 05:39 AM Jack says "Though I didn't know about the Irish harp tutoring culture. " It's not specific to harp music, as far as I'm aware, but traditional music in general. Michelle is a multi instrumentalist and also plays fiddle, concertina, accordion etc

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Howard Jones Date: 17 Jun 18 - 06:38 AM Text-based shorthands have been used for a long time, and Chris Walshaw's computer abc language derives from other text systems which were already in use, which he refined into computer software. Learning by ear has many advantages but you sometimes need a reminder of how a tune goes. Music readers can use incipits, but if you don't read then just jotting down the name of the notes can be a useful reminder of how a tune which you've heard before goes - you already know other things like rhythm and speed. A text system can be refined to include other information, until you achieve something with the complexity of Walshaw's system which can reproduce very nearly everything standard notation can. Conventional notation allows you to learn tunes you haven't heard before, so there are obvious benefits from learning that. However it does involve an extra level of interpretation. A player who sees "A" written as text only has to remember the fingering for "A". Reading from notation they first have to recognise the tadpole as "A". Of course with practice that becomes automatic, but I can see that in a workshop in particular that might be an additional barrier to what the tutor is trying to get across. I certainly agree that it is advantageous to learn conventional notation, but other systems, including tablature and text, have their uses. Walshaw's abc in particular is simply another way of representing the information contained in notation in text form, which can then also be interpreted by a computer and rendered as notation and sound. And to hammer home the point which has already been made many times, despite the title of this thread notation and ABC are complementary, not "versus".

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Richard Robinson Date: 17 Jun 18 - 11:13 AM And again, I reckon the eyes/ears thing is as Howard says, complementary rather than opposed. Having (to some extent) taught myself to pick up tunes on the fly while playing along, I sometimes find myself getting the sense of a tune and most of the notes, with a few bits I can't quite get straight in my understanding. And at that point, a quick look at the dots will probably show me what I'm not getting, quicker than going for the slow-down software. Which, again, is complementary to the other techniques ... I wonder, does anyone have any info concerning the effect of ABC on book sales ? I'd like to think this is, again, complementary, but I don't know.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 17 Jun 18 - 12:59 PM I suspect ABC has competed more with not-very-good sheet music paid-download sites than with physical books.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 17 Jun 18 - 01:33 PM What I would expect to happen to Irish paper ABC is that it would evolve extra features, becoming something very different. That's happened with ABC I've written myself: it's quicker to write a triplet or phrasemark over the line (as in staff notation) rather than in it. There have been many text-based notations over the millennia and they've all done that. A harpist friend of mine says the notation system of the Ap Huw MS is perfect for her instrument and brilliantly readable - if you're not an early harp wonk it looks like feeping creaturism to the max.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Howard Jones Date: 17 Jun 18 - 03:40 PM As I'm not a very fluent reader, if I want to learn a tune from a book I usually copy it out in ABC and play it back to learn by ear.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Rev Bayes Date: 18 Jun 18 - 06:45 AM I am still curious to know what The Sandman thinks of Lilypond, though I see my observation appears to have been borne out.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Jon Date: 18 Jun 18 - 07:39 AM Well here is my view on Lilypond, not that I've looked at in a while... It probably is a great system to those who are more focused on complex scores and getting the best quality "typesetting". But it's overkill for the purpose of sharing folk songs and tunes.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: The Sandman Date: 19 Jun 18 - 03:19 AM None of the above excuses ill mannered ignorant[ unknowing] post from Jack Campin "I think price is key to the way Dick sees things. ABC is very good for distributing music free, and not designed for payment at all. Dick doesn't do the giving-stuff-away thing; he's always used Mudcat as far as possible as free advertising (it's probably never put a single bum on a seat and driven quite a few folks away from his gigs, but he's never going to see that). Which is why we are never going to see a scan of anything Dick has written down." the above is a n example of how to not use the internet as a tool of communication, an example of somebody saying things on the net that they would never dare to say to someones face, in time, people will be proseccuted fort this particular kind of internet abuse and bullying, may that day come very shortly, those ilmannered remarks are unnecessary and only reflect badly on the person that spouts them

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Rev Bayes Date: 19 Jun 18 - 07:33 AM Presumably to ask a third time would be bullying, and as I don't wish to be sued, I shall presume that no answer will be forthcoming. > they would never dare to say to someones face You've clearly never met Jack in person.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Jon Date: 19 Jun 18 - 07:55 AM I doubt Sandman will have used lilypond. Anyway, here is an abc2ly conversion of a version of the an abc of Kesh Jig taken from the Internet. Original abc: X:1 T:The Kesh Jig O:Ireland S:John B. Walsh Session Tunes R:Jig M:6/8 K:G P:A |:D|"G"~G3 GAB|"D"ABA ABd|"G"edd gdd|"G"edB "D"dBA|     "G"~G3 GAB|"D"ABA ABd|"G"edd gdB|"D"AGF "G"G2:| P:B |:A|"G"~B3 dBd|"C"ege "G"dBG|"G"~B3 dBG|"D"ABA AGA|     "G"BAB dBd|"C"ege "G"dBd|"G"gfg "D"aga|"G"bgf g2:|  Lilypond:  \version "2.7.40" \header {         crossRefNumber = "1"         footnotes = ""         origin = "Ireland"         subtitle = "John B. Walsh Session Tunes"         tagline = "Lily was here 2.18.2 -- automatically converted from ABC"         title = "The Kesh Jig" } voicedefault = { \set Score.defaultBarType = "" \time 6/8 \key g \major   \repeat volta 2 {   d'8 \bar "|"   g'4. ^"G"^"~"    g'8    a'8    b'8 \bar "|"   a'8 ^"D"   b'8    a'8    a'8    b'8    d'8 \bar "|"   e'8 ^"G"   d'8    d'8    g'8    d'8    d'8 \bar "|"   e'8 ^"G"   d'8    b'8      d'8 ^"D"   b'8    a'8 \bar "|"       g'4. ^"G"^"~"    g'8    a'8    b'8 \bar "|"   a'8 ^"D"   b'8    a'8    a'8    b'8    d'8 \bar "|"   e'8 ^"G"   d'8    d'8    g'8    d'8    b'8 \bar "|"   a'8 ^"D" g'8    fis'8      g'4 ^"G" }    \repeat volta 2 {   a'8 \bar "|"   b'4. ^"G"^"~"    d'8    b'8    d'8 \bar "|"   e'8 ^"C"   g'8    e'8      d'8 ^"G"   b'8    g'8 \bar "|"   b'4. ^"G"^"~"    d'8    b'8    g'8 \bar "|"    a'8 ^"D"   b'8    a'8    a'8    g'8    a'8 \bar "|"       b'8 ^"G"   a'8    b'8    d'8    b'8    d'8 \bar "|"   e'8 ^"C"   g'8    e'8      d'8 ^"G" b'8    d'8 \bar "|"   g'8 ^"G"   fis'8    g'8      a'8 ^"D"   g'8    a'8 \bar "|"   b'8 ^"G"   g'8    fis'8    g'4 }    } \score{     <<         \context Staff="default"         {             \voicedefault         }     >>         \layout {         }         \midi {} }  I've put the resulting pdf at http://jonbanjo.com/temp/kesh.pdf

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 19 Jun 18 - 11:10 AM Another angle on the relationship between ABC and staff notation: there are many different dialects of staff notation, and you can use ABC as a common underlying coding for all of them. Changing clef is a matter of a line or two in the header. Changing between different conventions for bagpipe music (no key signature or two-sharps-and-a-natural; stem directions as in standard notation or as in pipe tune books) is even easier. A bit further out, and Barfly can generate Gregorian chant notation from the same notes as it uses for conventional staff notation (though to take full advantage of that you will want to use Phil's added syntax for the special symbols in chant). Generating non-staff notations like Curwen solfa or Byzantine chant notation is harder, but could be done if a sufficiently determined programmer took an interest. There are packages for some of these using TeX, and ABC to TeX was the original ABC implementation, so some TeX-head could surely do it.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Stanron Date: 19 Jun 18 - 01:43 PM Hi GUEST,Jon That Lilypond file is interesting. Do you actually write the files in text form as you can do for ABC?. I can see a bit of how it works but the beaming is not what I would expect to see for 6/8 time. Although I can see notes, chord symbols abd bar lines I can't see how the beaming is done. Is there Lilypond tutorial stuff like the ABC tutorials? I had it installed on a computer once but never figured out how to use it. All I knew was it was a Command Line program.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Jon Date: 19 Jun 18 - 01:54 PM Hi Stanron. My only sort of experience if you can call it that comes from times at folkinfo. I did go through times of wondering what other systems may offer as well as, eg. wondering whether our choice of abcm2ps for abc conversions was right, etc. As such (and as a non sight reader) my only encounters have been to try to get a brief understanding as to where and for who it might be useful... That lilypond file was a straight conversion from abc using the command line abc2ly program. From there, this time, I used frescobaldi which along with lilypond should be available on your (I can't remember which one but I'm pretty sure you are a linux user) distribution. That will allow you to preview and edit (although mine was straight copy/paste) as well as produce a pdf output without using the command line. Hope that helps a touch.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Jon Date: 19 Jun 18 - 02:27 PM Oh and yes,it is plain text input.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Stanron Date: 19 Jun 18 - 02:46 PM Jon In the interval I have downloaded Lilypond and found a tutorial .pdf file. I have now downloaded frescobaldi as well and I can see I will have some experimenting to do. Cheers Stan

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Jon Date: 19 Jun 18 - 02:49 PM Good luck. Let us know how you find it.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Grishka Date: 19 Jun 18 - 03:34 PM LilyPond is an old music typesetting utility and its input language. Nowadays it competes against other inexpensive methods of input, often found easier to use, and a file format MusicXML that is much more sophisticated (being relieved of the burden of easy editability by a human user). ABC, in contrast, was designed as a music definition language. Typesetting is considered secondary, thus (last time I checked) it does not cater for many details of layout. It is well suited for sharing tunes and simple arrangements on Mudcat. When I want perfect sheet music from an existing ABC source, I import it to my wysiwyg software via abc2xml for a "final" touch.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Stanron Date: 19 Jun 18 - 03:42 PM Hi GUEST,Jon I've just noticed that the Lilypond version of the Kesh is not the same as the ABC. The Lilypond version is displaying some notes an octave low. I was trying to reset the beaming but ran into problems that might be due to the chord symbols. I'll come back to it all tomorrow. Stan

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Jon Date: 19 Jun 18 - 04:03 PM Hi Stan, I guess that just highlights difficulties a non sight reader like me can have with these things. I just took it as right... For a comparison, I've placed an abcm2ps to pdf conversion of the abc at http://www.jonbanjo.com/temp/kesh1.pdf. I'd think the problems lie with abc2ly.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Stanron Date: 19 Jun 18 - 04:14 PM Just to correct my last post, your pdf of the Kesh is fine but when I put the .ly file into frescobaldi the octave errors showed. Beaming in a jig usually shows two triplet beats. Ideally that should be corrected. Grishka I find ABC much simpler to use for accessing the great collections of folk tunes on line. I will experiment with Lilypond out of curiosity. For serious scoring, like notation plus guitar tab, I use Musescore. Cheers Stan.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: GUEST,Jon Date: 19 Jun 18 - 04:26 PM Stan, it doesn't look as if abc2ly is maintained and it may be dropped. I've tried a more roundabout route: abc2musicxml then musicxml2ly here: \version "2.18.2" % automatically converted by musicxml2ly from kesh.xml \header {     source = "John B. Walsh Session Tunes"     encoder = "abc2xml version 84"     encodingdate = "2018-06-19"     title = "The Kesh Jig"     } \layout {     \context { \Score        autoBeaming = ##f        }     } PartPOneVoiceOne = \relative d' {     \key g \major \time 6/8 | % 1     \mark \markup { \box { A } } \repeat volta 2 {        d8 s8*5 | % 2        g4. g8 [ a8 b8 ] | % 3        a8 [ b8 a8 ] a8 [ b8 d8 ] | % 4        e8 [ d8 d8 ] g8 [ d8 d8 ] | % 5        e8 [ d8 b8 ] d8 [ b8 a8 ] | % 6        g4. g8 [ a8 b8 ] | % 7        a8 [ b8 a8 ] a8 [ b8 d8 ] | % 8        e8 [ d8 d8 ] g8 [ d8 b8 ] | % 9        a8 [ g8 fis8 ] g4 }     s8 | \barNumberCheck #10     \mark \markup { \box { B } } \repeat volta 2 {        | \barNumberCheck #10        a8 s8*5 | % 11        b4. d8 [ b8 d8 ] | % 12        e8 [ g8 e8 ] d8 [ b8 g8 ] | % 13        b4. d8 [ b8 g8 ] | % 14        a8 [ b8 a8 ] a8 [ g8 a8 ] | % 15        b8 [ a8 b8 ] d8 [ b8 d8 ] | % 16        e8 [ g8 e8 ] d8 [ b8 d8 ] | % 17        g8 [ fis8 g8 ] a8 [ g8 a8 ] | % 18        b8 [ g8 fis8 ] g4 }     } PartPOneVoiceOneChords = \chordmode {     \repeat volta 2 {        \repeat volta 2 {             | % 1             s2. | % 2             g4.:5 s8 s8 s8 | % 3             d8:5 s8 s8 s8 s8 s8 | % 4             g8:5 s8 s8 s8 s8 s8 | % 5             g8:5 s8 s8 d8:5 s8 s8 | % 6             g4.:5 s8 s8 s8 | % 7             d8:5 s8 s8 s8 s8 s8 | % 8             g8:5 s8 s8 s8 s8 s8 | % 9             d8:5 s8 s8 g4:5 }        s8 | \barNumberCheck #10        s2. | % 11        g4.:5 s8 s8 s8 | % 12        c8:5 s8 s8 g8:5 s8 s8 | % 13        g4.:5 s8 s8 s8 | % 14        d8:5 s8 s8 s8 s8 s8 | % 15        g8:5 s8 s8 s8 s8 s8 | % 16        c8:5 s8 s8 g8:5 s8 s8 | % 17        g8:5 s8 s8 d8:5 s8 s8 | % 18        g8:5 s8 s8 s4 }     } % The score definition \score {     <<        \context ChordNames = "PartPOneVoiceOneChords" \PartPOneVoiceOneChords        \new Staff <<             \context Staff <<                 \context Voice = "PartPOneVoiceOne" { \PartPOneVoiceOne }                 >>             >>               >>     \layout {}     % To create MIDI output, uncomment the following line:     % \midi {}     }  It looks a bit different but...

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Stanron Date: 19 Jun 18 - 04:40 PM That works a lot better. The beaming is correct. There are some odd spaces, after both upbeats, and between the two repeat signs in the middle. I'll do a bit more reading tomorrow. Stan

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 20 Jun 18 - 05:55 AM I tried to find out about Lilypond recently (to work what chance there was it might work for modal microtonal music) but found my library blocks lilypond.org as a malware site. Midlothian Libraries use ForcePoint for filtering, which is a subsidiary of the war criminal company Raytheon. It seems to have a thing about sheet music sites in general.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Will Fly Date: 20 Jun 18 - 06:04 AM My new Mac Book Pro also blocks Lilypond installation, as a program which has not been "approved", or is "suspect", or not from the Apple Store. I got round that with the security settings on my Mac and took a look. Didn't really interest me, to be honest - I get excellent music printing results from the French program "Harmony Assistant", which reads and outputs ABC, midi and a whole host of other music formats.

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 Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation From: Jack Campin Date: 20 Jun 18 - 08:23 AM Midlothian Libraries don't just block installation, they block any access to the Lilypond site. I just wanted to look at their forum and ask a few questions.

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