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Mudcat ABC Tune Guide

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Joe Offer 25 May 00 - 07:03 PM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 25 May 00 - 07:17 PM
Jeri 25 May 00 - 07:22 PM
Sorcha 25 May 00 - 07:38 PM
Snuffy 26 May 00 - 08:11 AM
John in Brisbane 30 May 00 - 09:43 AM
rabbitrunning 21 Aug 00 - 07:37 PM
MMario 21 Aug 00 - 08:15 PM
Shamrock 21 Aug 00 - 08:30 PM
John in Brisbane 21 Aug 00 - 08:44 PM
John in Brisbane 22 Aug 00 - 02:36 AM
Gervase 22 Aug 00 - 12:11 PM
rabbitrunning 23 Aug 00 - 08:11 AM
Ian@whitby 15 Mar 02 - 06:43 PM
MMario 15 Mar 02 - 06:54 PM
GUEST,MCP 15 Mar 02 - 09:22 PM
MMario 15 Mar 02 - 11:08 PM
pavane 16 Mar 02 - 07:54 AM
Kernow John 16 Mar 02 - 05:00 PM
GUEST,MCP 16 Mar 02 - 08:33 PM
pavane 17 Mar 02 - 05:10 AM
GUEST,MCP 17 Mar 02 - 07:25 PM
GUEST 19 Mar 02 - 02:39 AM
reggie miles 19 Mar 02 - 03:52 AM
pavane 19 Mar 02 - 12:22 PM
reggie miles 20 Mar 02 - 01:50 AM
GUEST,pavane 20 Mar 02 - 07:07 AM
John in Brisbane 12 Sep 02 - 01:54 AM
Mark Clark 12 Sep 02 - 10:16 AM
MMario 12 Sep 02 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,Ed 12 Sep 02 - 01:06 PM
John in Brisbane 12 Sep 02 - 08:12 PM
MMario 12 Sep 02 - 09:12 PM
John in Brisbane 13 Sep 02 - 04:09 AM
pavane 13 Sep 02 - 05:10 AM
DMcG 13 Sep 02 - 05:22 AM
DMcG 13 Sep 02 - 05:25 AM
MMario 13 Sep 02 - 09:50 AM
DMcG 13 Sep 02 - 10:03 AM
MMario 13 Sep 02 - 10:08 AM
Mark Clark 14 Sep 02 - 03:53 AM
GUEST,Jon Freeman 14 Sep 02 - 10:08 AM
MMario 14 Sep 02 - 03:44 PM
GUEST 15 Sep 02 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,John Freeman 15 Sep 02 - 11:25 AM
John in Brisbane 15 Sep 02 - 08:05 PM
John in Brisbane 16 Sep 02 - 03:44 AM
DMcG 28 Sep 02 - 01:17 PM
pavane 29 Sep 02 - 06:52 AM
GUEST 29 Sep 02 - 07:21 AM
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Subject: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 May 00 - 07:03 PM

Here is my attempt to provide help for newcomers. Believe me, it is quite easy to learn, and a lot of fun as well. Any feedback is welcomed. johninbrisbane@hotbot.com

Regards
John


MUDCAT USER GUIDE FOR abc NOTATION

This document is meant as a user guide for beginners, not as a full reference specification.

For a complete reference please see the Official abc Notation Site http://www.gre.ac.uk/~c.walshaw/abc/

What Do I Need To Know About Music Before I Start?

Not a whole heap!

· What a treble clef looks like

· How to read the basic names of notes on the treble clef. Remember for notes on the lines - Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit. And in the spaces between the lines - F A C E

· How to read the length (duration) of a note. There is a Section below covering Note Length, but you may need a quick refresher from a basic music text on this subject.  This is probably the more tricky issue, but like the rest of music notation - fairly logical.

This document will give you some clues, but there are lots of Web sites that give a good grounding. I like http://www.jazclass.aust.com/bt1.htm (Lesson 1) and http://www.jazclass.aust.com/bt2.htm (Lesson 2). Don't be put off by the reference to Jazz Classes.

About abc Notation

It was designed primarily for folk and traditional tunes which can be written on one stave in standard classical notation. It is ideally suited for songs included in the Digital Tradition. You don't need any fancy hardware, just a word processor - and a small(ish) number of rules.


The abc Notation System - Basic Construction

Each tune consists of a header and a body. There should be no line spaces between any lines of the entire block of notation. A line space is the convention used to indicate that a different tune has started.

Header Fields

The information fields are used to notate things about the music, but not the music itself.

Mandatory Header Fields

X:tune no.                        X:1

T:title                               T:John Brown's Body, T:Dick's Mazurka

M:meter                          M:3/4, M:4/4

K:key                              K:A, K:F#

Optional Header Field

L:default note length         L:1/4, L:1/8

Some additional notes on header fields:-

X:1  This should always appear as the top line

T:tune title. (I am not aware of any real restrictions here).

M:meter.  Apart from the normal meters, eg. M:6/8 or M:4/4, the symbols M:C and M:C| give common time and cut time respectively. If there is no specific indication as to the correct meter just use 4/4.

K:key.  The key signature should be specified with a capital letter which may be followed by a # or b for sharp or flat respectively. To help you figure out which key the tune is in please refer to the Section below What Key Is It In?

L:length - Default note length; i.e. L:1/4 - quarter note, L:1/8 - eighth note, L:1/16 - sixteenth, L:1/32 - thirty-second. The default note length is also set automatically by the meter field. Do not bother with this field if you are very new to abc Notation.

What Key Is It In?

Key Number of

Sharps (#)

Number of

Flats (b)

 C

0

0

G

1

0

D

2

0

A

3

0

E

4

0

B

5

0

F#

6

0

C#

7

0

F

0

1

Bb

0

2

Eb

0

3

Ab

0

4

Db

0

5

Gb

0

6

Cb

0

7

No dramas here, just look beside the treble clef sign - and count them up, Then look up the table above.


The Body

Reading The Notes

The following letters are used to represent notes:

------------------------------------f-------------------

                                  e

--------------------------------d-----------------------

                              c

----------------------------B---------------------------

                          A

------------------------G-------------------------------

                      F

--------------------E-----------------------------------

                     D

               -C-(Middle C)

              B,

           -A,-

         G,

In fact the full range includes the notes C, D, E, F, plus e',f',g',a' and b'. These notes are quite legitimate to use as abc Notation, but are typically outside the range of normal song tunes. The notes in bold below represent the range of notes you are likely to come across in folk tunes:

Bass Range and Large Quadrupeds     C, D. E, F, G, A, B,  
Middle Range C  D  E  F  G  A  B
Higher Range c   d   e   f   g   a   b
High Sopranos & Small Animals c'  d'  e'   f'  g'   a'  b'

Normal Sharps And Flats

You have already given instructions in the Header Field as what key the tune is in. There's no need to be too clever beyond this! If you read from the sheet music that the note is on the line associated with f just type in f in your abc Notation. If there's no special symbol before the note to indicate that it is different in any way, then press on.

Accidentals

The symbols ^ = and _ are used (immediately before a note) in abc Notation to generate respectively an accidental sharp, natural or flat. Please note that _ is an under-score symbol rather than a hyphen.

Sharp            

   ^   

Natural

=

Flat

_

Rests

Rests are generated with a z and can be modified in length in exactly the same way as notes can. (See below). ABC software appears to only like the lower case version of z, so please don't use capital letters for this symbol.  (Sorry, but it is not possible to display here what these symbols actually look like).  http://www.jazclass.aust.com/bt1.htm (Lesson 1) gives a good pictorial of the various types of Rests and their note value.

Note Lengths (The Slightly Tricky Part)

Throughout this document note lengths (as well as rest lengths) are referred to as sixteenth, eighth, etc. You may know them by another term:

In This Document Alternative Name What It Looks Like
Whole note Semi-breve An open circle
Half note Minim An open circle with a plain, vertical stick attached
Quarter note Crotchet A filled-in circle with a plain, vertical stick attached
Eighth Note Quaver A filled-in circle with a vertical stick and one wiggle attached (or one hat)
Sixteenth note Semi-quaver As above with two wiggles attached (or two hats)
Thirty-second note Semi-demi-quaver As above with 3 wiggles (or three hats)

Each meter (M: in the Header Fields) automatically sets a default note length. And a single letter in the range A-G, a-g will generate a note of this length. For example, in 3/4 meter the default note length is an eighth note and so the input DEF represents 3 eighth notes.

Notes of differing lengths can be obtained by simply putting a multiplier after the letter. Thus in 2/4, A or A1 is a sixteenth note, A2 an eighth note, A3 a dotted eighth note, A4 a quarter note, A6 a dotted quarter note, A8 a half note, A12 a dotted half note, and so on,.

To get shorter notes, either divide them - eg. in 3/4, A/2 is a sixteenth note, A/4 is a thirty-second note. Note that A/ is shorthand for A/2.

Meter

2/2

3/4

6/8

2/4

Default Length Eighth Note Sixteenth Note
ThirtySecond Note

Sixteenth Note

Eighth Note

Quarter Note

Dotted Quarter Note

Half Note

Dotted Half Note

Whole Note

A/4

A/2 (or A/)

A or A1(Default)

A2

A3

A4

A6

A8

A/2 (or A/)

A or A1 (Default)

A2

A4

A6

A8

A12

A16

Dotted Notes (Useful)

Remember in classical music notation that a dotted note, (a note with a dot immediately to the right of the head of the note), has a note length that is 50% greater than the normal note with no dot. Hence, a quarter Middle C note in 3/4 meter would be written as C2. The same dotted quarter note would be notated as C3.

(One little tip - occasionally it MAY be necessary to use a note length of 1.5. Apparently abc doesn't like decimals, but is quite happy to accept a note such as C3/2).

Repeat/bar symbols (Useful)

Bar line symbols are generated as follows:

| bar line

|] thin-thick double bar line

|| thin-thin double bar line

[| thick-thin double bar line

:| left repeat

|: right repeat

:: left-right repeat

Tied Notes (Useful)

Conventional printed music often ties two notes of identical pitch together. In these cases individual notes are printed on the page - but the note is only struck once when it is played, and the durations are added together.

You can tie two notes together either across or within a bar with a - symbol, eg. abc-|cba or abc-cba. (Notice that in both cases that the two c notes would have appeared on the original sheet music with a horizontal looped line joining the heads of the notes).

Guitar chords (Useful)

Guitar chords can be inserted in the melody line by enclosing the chord in inverted commas, eg. "Am7"A2D2 .

Comments Symbol (Useful)

A % symbol will cause the remainder of any input line to be ignored.  And don't forget that blank lines in abc Notation are meant to symbolise a gap between tunes.


MORE ADVANCED STUFF

First and second repeats (Nice To Know)

First and second repeats can be generated with the symbols [1 and[2,

eg. faf gfe|[1 dfe dBA:|[2 d2e dcB|]. When adjacent to bar

lines, these can be shortened to |1 and :|2, but with regard to

spaces | [1 is legal, | 1 is not.

Broken rhythms (Nice To Know)

A common occurrence in traditional music is the use of a dotted or broken rhythm. For example, hornpipes, strathspeys and certain morris jigs all have dotted eighth notes followed by sixteenth notes as well as vice-versa in the case of strathspeys. To support this abc notation uses a > to mean `the previous note is dotted, the next note halved' and < to mean `the previous note is halved, the next dotted'. Thus the following lines all mean the same thing (the third version is recommended):

L:1/16

a3b cd3 a2b2c2d2

L:1/8

a3/2b/2 c/2d3/2 abcd

L:1/8

a>b c<d abcd

As a logical extension, >> means that the first note is double dotted and the second quartered and >>> means that the first note is triple dotted and the length of the second divided by eight.

Similarly for << and <<<.

Changing key, meter, and default note length mid-tune (Nice To Know)

To change key, meter, or default note length, simply put in a new

line with a K: M: or L: field, eg.

ed|cecA B2ed|cAcA E2ed|cecA B2ed|c2A2 A2:|

K:G

AB|cdec BcdB|ABAF GFE2|cdec BcdB|c2A2 A2:|

Slurs (Nice To Know)

Slurs can be put in with () symbols. Thus (DEFG) puts a slur over the four notes. Spaces within a slur are OK, eg. (D E F G), but the open bracket should come immediately before a note (and its accents/accidentals, etc.) and the close bracket should come immediately after a note (and its octave marker or length). Thus (=b c'2) is OK but ( =b c'2 ) is not.


MUCH MORE ADVANCED STUFF

See the ABC Homepage mentioned at the start of this paper. http://www.gre.ac.uk/~c.walshaw/abc/  There isn't too much that abc Notation can't do.


Note:I copied this from a message John in Brisbane posted in another thread. It's a great piece of work, and deserves its own thread.
Thanks, John. Because of the value of this information as a permanent reference, John and I will maintain this thread. Feel free to post messages to this thread, but note that we reserve the right to keep this thread as a reference by editing or deleting messages.
Thanks, John.
-Joe Offer

Jack Campin has three online ABC converters listed on his Web page. Two of the three work for me. Here are the links:

For all of them, you just paste some ABC into a box and it'll give you both staff notation and a playable MIDI file. (When using your browser as an ABC application in this way, set it to display the ABC with a fixed width font like Courier).


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 25 May 00 - 07:17 PM

John's ABC intro is great. Thanks, Joe. T.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: Jeri
Date: 25 May 00 - 07:22 PM

Note: Although you can manage without a special computer program, there are quite a few choices at Chris Walshaw's ABC page (website given above). The programs take the text and turn it into sheet music or play it. These programs are free or relatively inexpensive. This is much easier than trying to read ABCs straight from text.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: Sorcha
Date: 25 May 00 - 07:38 PM

BRAVO!!


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: Snuffy
Date: 26 May 00 - 08:11 AM

The K: must be the last item in the header, because abc treats anything after that as the notes of the tune.

Putting a meter in M: will set a default note length, which a following L: can change. Putting them the other way round may not always have the desired results.

The recommended order is therefore: X: T: M: L: K: If you use Q: to set the tempo it is best between L: and K:

If a tune has alternative titles you can have additional T: lines, thus:
X:1
T:Danny Boy
T:Londonderry Air

Wassail! V


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 30 May 00 - 09:43 AM

There is quite a nice collection of 222 tunes from the Digital Tradition in ABC format at http://www.mucl.de/Home/mdoering/konzertina/en/music/abctunes.htm. If you would like to see how easy it is to notate them, just try the following:

- Download the 222 tunes from the above site. If you don't have any ABC software just open the file with your favourite simple word processor.

- Go to the Alternative Digital Tradition site (http://www.numachi.com/~rickheit/dtrad/) and print a tune that's in the 222 Collection - preferably one you know.

Enjoy, Regards, John

- Use the ABC MIDI Guide to compare the Print version of the tune and the ABC Notation.


    John's link to the 222 tunes no longer works - anybody know a location for the most recent collection of ABC tunes for the Digital Tradition?
    -Joe Offer, December 2006-


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: rabbitrunning
Date: 21 Aug 00 - 07:37 PM

Is it possible to _practice_ abc notation and then listen to it and see if it came out at least close to right? I think I can pretty much manage transcribing from a sheet of music, but I'm not sure how to put down the tunes I'm having to pick out on the piano. My last music lesson was in 1967...


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: MMario
Date: 21 Aug 00 - 08:15 PM

Most of the ABC programs have a playback feature


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: Shamrock
Date: 21 Aug 00 - 08:30 PM

If you are using ABC2Win you type the tune alphabetically, then goto Draw command and sheet music version is displayed. Goto Play option and it does just that. Whlst playing you can interrupt to change tempo. Pretty neat. Drawback is that sound output is from system squeaker only.

Download ABCPlay from the homepage and it'll play through the stereo output on different instruments etc. Drawback is it won't display / print sheet music.

It's all free at the ABC homepage.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 21 Aug 00 - 08:44 PM

This program may be overkill but MUSE is an outstanding package which allows input of both ABC and MIDI files plus it prints standard notation and TAB. And of course it plays and transposes and makes coffee. http://web.ukonline.co.uk/Members/laurie.griffiths/. (Laurie is one of the ABC afficianadoes and all his work is excellent). Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 22 Aug 00 - 02:36 AM

ABCPlayer is available at http://www.geocities.com/Nashville/8773/abcplay.htm. While it looks to have all the goodies and was written by a fellow Australian I have never been able to set it up properly - it bombs out while trying to install some of the Visual Basic files. Before I contact the author, are there any other experiences (good or bad) that I can convey to him? Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: Gervase
Date: 22 Aug 00 - 12:11 PM

For those on Macs, about the best ABC prgram is Barfly, which can output to Midi or Quicktime, can play slurs, grace notes and rolls, and also produce printable sheet music.
It's a terrific program and makes abc as easy as, well...


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: rabbitrunning
Date: 23 Aug 00 - 08:11 AM

Computers hate me.

*grump fuss WHINE!*

I was kind of hoping there was a place on the 'net where I could fill in a form and hear the playback. But I will keep trying to get a program to a) download and b) work...


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: Ian@whitby
Date: 15 Mar 02 - 06:43 PM

Can someone please suggest a source for abc progs that I can download without a Master's in Computer Science? Chris Walshaw's site is great, but when I chase up the links I find myself buried in lists of folders... Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: MMario
Date: 15 Mar 02 - 06:54 PM

home page for abcmus

do a title search in the forum for HARMONY - Pavane's program as well - very powerful - oh heck - lemmee do it for you

thread with link to Pavane's program - Harmony


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 15 Mar 02 - 09:22 PM

I have been converting Dick Greenhaus's new file set to MIDI via abc and will have the complete set available in abc (about 4000 tunes with words). If anyone wants the full set in this form I would be happy to supply them (for politeness, after Dick releases the MIDI).

(I do a batch conversion of SongWright to abc and use abc2midi to do a batch conversion of the abc to Midi. The process takes me a little over an hour for the 4000 files. In fact I have a some work to do on the synchronization of words with tune in the abc - it's handled slightly differently from Songwright - and when I do I'll create the MIDI files with text so you can use the Karaoke style Midi players to get words and tune played together, the way the DT player did on the PC speaker).

Mick


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: MMario
Date: 15 Mar 02 - 11:08 PM

Mick - you are fantastic!


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: pavane
Date: 16 Mar 02 - 07:54 AM

Did I mention HARMONY can do KARAOKE MIDI?


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: Kernow John
Date: 16 Mar 02 - 05:00 PM

Mick that sounds a first class piece of work!
I have been using ABC Navigator (a freebie) for a while. You can use it for playback, creating a midi, searching for tunes, writing abc etc.
You can get it here http://perso.libertysurf.fr/groink/
Don't forget to download the English pack. Just unzip this to the installation directory for an English language version.
KJ


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 16 Mar 02 - 08:33 PM

Kernow John - thanks for that link. I've just had a quick look at the program (literally a few minutes) and it looks quite good. I'll check it out more throroughly later

Pavane - If you have the abc files with the (synchronised) words on 'w' lines (instead of on the older, unsynchronised 'W' lines) abc2midi will generate Karaoke midi files automatically (and it's free!). (My technical problem in the batch conversion from Songwright to abc is that originally I was outputting only 'W' lines (trivial n this case - simple copy of the input words) but to output 'w' I have to actually process the text(Songwright and abc handle syllables on tied notes differently), so for now I've only generated the vanilla midi files).

(The generated abc also makes use of the newer V: lines for separate voices in the dozen or so DT files that have mutivoice tunes, and the K:bass and K:treble for the handful of DT tunes which use the bass or bass and treble clefs. also the !fermata! and !tenuto! notations. These are in the newer draft specs for abc on the abc homepage).
It shouldn't take me long to do this, but unfortunately (not really!) I'm off to Bruges for the week, so this will have to wait until I come back. I'll put up a post when this is available, along with the abc files (and probably PostScript scores too - another trivial production from the abc via abcm2ps).

Mick


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: pavane
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 05:10 AM

I haven't seen a definition of the w lines - can you point me to one and I will see if I can include it.

Currently, HARMONY does not import text from abc, but it can from MIDI.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 17 Mar 02 - 07:25 PM

Pavane - The draft version of the newer version of abc can be found on the abc Home page at abc-draft.txt

You might also look at The abc plus project which has implementations of some of these new features.

While you're on the abc Home Page, if you're in the mood you might also look at the Beethoven 7th work for use of some extensions to abc.

I'm off to Bruges now - I'll check this thread out again when I get back. (Or if you want to e-mail me use MCPearce0ATaolDOTcom - that's a zero before AT)

Mick


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Mar 02 - 02:39 AM

Thanks Mick


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: reggie miles
Date: 19 Mar 02 - 03:52 AM

I know nothing or very little about the technical constructs of written music and all of this info, hmmmm, seems to simply reinforce that I may never get there. Is there a program or wizard involved for the complete idiot?


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: pavane
Date: 19 Mar 02 - 12:22 PM

I have studied the abc synchronised words spec (w: lines) and should be able to incorporate this into HARMONY quite easily.

Harmony already reads and writes multivoice files (V:)

I did already have the text of the abc draft spec, but had overlooked parts of it.

I could also add K:, because Harmony already handles Bass and Treble clefs.

Reggie: You can start with the simpler stuff and work up from there, but there really is no substitute. Musical notation has evolved over 1000 years or more, to try and capture the essence of the live performance, but it is still a compromise. All performances require an element of interpretation, the written score is just the bare bones, an aid to memory.

There are many good books on musical theory for beginners, and it is well worth learning the fundamentals. Or you could find a friendly trained musician to teach you just as much as you need to know - is it for an instrument you play or want to play? Which one?


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: reggie miles
Date: 20 Mar 02 - 01:50 AM

I'm not certain why or what I had in mind. I simply thought it might help if I understood more about that which I've devoted so much energy toward during the last thirtytwo years of my life. Some of the instruments I play with, like washboard, saw or even slide guitar seem to me to be beyond the reach of any kind of technical translations of this sort as I primarily improvise on them as I do with my singing. I guess being mostly unaware of the benefits that such a pursuit would offer, I have no clearly set goals in mind, except to be able to translate what I find that others have written down.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: GUEST,pavane
Date: 20 Mar 02 - 07:07 AM

The next version of HARMONY will have synchronised lyric import from, and export to, abc format. (It already has Songwright export). I have finished the code, I just need to get it built and uploaded.

So, for example, you could IMPORT a Karaoke MIDI and export with lyrics to abc or Songwright.

Maybe someone can find me (links to?) some abc tunes with synchronised words to do some more testing.

There are also facilities for applying unsynchronised (W:) lyrics to the notes and exporting as synchronised.

It fully implements the K: clef extensions - I had already done that, and forgotten the fact!

About the only real thing left now is to implement the P: facilites (Not an easy task)


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 01:54 AM

A quick update on ABC.

There has actually been a lot happening behind the scenes when it comes to ABC Notation as it effects songs with lyrics.

(1) Thanks to the considerable talent and hard work of Mick Pearce, a very considerable part of the DT database has been converted to ABC format with both aligned lyrics and additional lyrics and explanatory notes for each song (anout 4,000 of them from memory). This still needs some work to get the conversion output from SongWright up to scratch, but the results to date are pretty b----- good.

(2) There has been a tremendous amount of software development done over the last few months to create programs which handle synshronised lyrics for folk songs. I'll take the opportunity now to just briefly list them - and leave details until later.

Mac - A new version of BarFly is now abailable. This is probably the best package for Mac which handles lyrics.

Melody Assistant (Mac and Win) - I'm not a user but the developers were due to have expanded the lyrics functionality by now.

SKINK (aka 5 Line Skink) - Uses Java and operates on both Mac and Win. No nonsense freeware which plays, displays and prints ABC songs. A trifle slow to react, but bear with the mnor delays for very reasonable quality output.

iabc (Win only) - Again no nosense score display and print. Under continuous development freeware. Doesn't handle some of the ABC notation exotica, such as grace notes and different modes - yet. Probably of interest to dabblers only at this point.

Muse - new beta version (Win) - Shareware. The original version was very powerful, so would expect good things when this new lyrics enhance version is released as a final version.

Harmony (win) - Pavane from Mudcat is re-writing for an imminent release. To be fully featured re lyrics. Previous version had unique features based on chord/melody generation.

Abacus (win) - A new freeware package to display, (play?) and print scores. Unfortunately Bryan seems to have an aversion to accomodating lyrics, so there is no lyrics function.

abcm2ps (Win, Mac, Unix) - This is a fantastic freeware package for propeller head folkies. Irs PostScript output quality is excellent and provides for lots of variations with a lot of grunt.. If you're a Win user, don't even think about it unless you're prepared to run this via command lines in DOS. Know nothing about the Mac environment. If you're a UNIX/Linux type you've probably stopped reading this and are already downloading it. THERE ARE LOTS OF ABC@PS CLONES. Unless you know otherwise none of the other variants CURRENTLY support lyrics - Sept 2002.

ABCRUN - A Win freeware front end to abcm2ps and clones. Designed to avoid the command line hassles, plus to integrate with other freeware ABC utilities such as play, edit, transpose. I wouldn't recommend it for Australians, but if you live elsewhere and the weather is gloomy for a couple of days on end then give it a try. It requires a number of discrete downloads plus a complex maual linking process.

Older ABC Software - Chances are that most of the older ABC 16 Bit software will bomb out if you try to read files that have lyrics lines in them (commencing with W: or w:).

I don't have an exhaustive list but ABC2WIN (Score Printer Shareware), ABC Checker (syntax cchecker from Bryan Creer) and ABCTWIN (Win freeware harmony writer) are among those that will refuse to co-operate.

It is indeed fortunate that a crop of new ABC softwate is now emerging.

I'll try to elaborate on the above when I get some time. In the meantime drop me an email if you have any queries.

Regards, John johninbrisbane^lycos.com The change required to make this a valid address should be self evident.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: Mark Clark
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 10:16 AM

John, Thanks for the update. I'll check them out.

Propeller head folkies who use TEX or LATEX may also be interested in Chris Walshaw's program abc2mtex that converts ABC input to MusicTeX format for inclusion in a LATEX source file. This was Walshaw's original publishing method.

I don't think there have been any recent enhancements to abc2mtex but if someone wants to publish a book and include music notation, this is a powerful capability.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: MMario
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 10:52 AM

the latest Noteworthy Composer upgrade will import and export lyrics from midi's with embedded lyrics or karaoke files. (no - they are not the same thing)

and there is a third party utility that will convert back and forth to ABC.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 01:06 PM

Thanks, John.

Do you have a download link for ABCRUN? I couldn't find it with google.

Ed


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 08:12 PM

Ed, you'll find ABCRUN here:

http://ifdo.pugmarks.com/~seymour/runabc/top.html

The best maintained site for finding ABC applications is at Frank Nordberg's Musica Viva - sorry should have included this address in my earlier thread:

http://www.musicaviva.com/abc/abcapp/index.tpl

Mark, I haven't tinkered with the TEX programs. I was operating on the presumption that they were developed prior to the latest lyrics standards, and hence lacked that functionality. If you know something different please let me know.

Any further feedback on this whole subject would be warmly welcomed.

Best Regards, John

MMario, I'd be keen to find out more about the latest NWC version (I'll look at it). The original MIDI standard was pretty lean with regards to lyrics. Has this changed?

Bryan Creer has a shareware program known as ABC2NWC or NWC2ABC which you can find at ABACUS Music on the Web. It's a great utility, however it doesn't from my tests appear to handle the lyric conversion to NWC perfectly. Bryan has told me that he MAY be prepared to fix it if somone can deduce what elements of the lyrics causes the hiccups. I've sought volunteers from Mudcat in the past, but MMario's is the first concrete offer that I've had. (I haven't looked too seriously at the reciprocal conversion from NWC to ABC).


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: MMario
Date: 12 Sep 02 - 09:12 PM

I haven't done too many of the conversions with lyrics FROM ABC to NWC - but I've done a number the other way and they appear to convert correctly.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 13 Sep 02 - 04:09 AM

While I'm on the subject, some poor bugger got his head nearly pulled off in another thread for daring to ask for a mandolin TAB for Dirty Old Town.

On the basis that having the right tools means you can produce 4,000 TABs as easily as 1, has anybody used any ABC or MIDI FREEWARE to produce Mandolin TABS. I have downloaded the abc2ps clone that does this but I haven't yet taken a large enough breath to work through the command line instructions in order to produce the simplest of output. If anyone has any experience with it would you mind please sending me a simple common command line - or advice about any other freeware that might do this easily.

John

johninbrisbane^lycos.com


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: pavane
Date: 13 Sep 02 - 05:10 AM

I would be interested to hear about the difference between embedded lyrics and karaoke MIDI. HARMONY can produce KARAOKE MIDI, which works on the PC KARAOKE software I have. It can also create KARAOKE files using the chords instead of the lyrics.

I am still working on the new version of HARMONY, and hope to release a test version soon. (Been on holiday recently, so no progress for a couple of weeks)


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: DMcG
Date: 13 Sep 02 - 05:22 AM

Update on Melody/Harmony: The existing version does handle ABC lyrics properly most of the time. There are a couple of issues with the DT because the @ characters used to signal classifications (@bawdy, etc) are not allowed. There are also some problems with the really special ABC lyric stuff that Barfly does not appear to handle either - things like two words on a single note. (It may be the latest Barfly does address this).

I am currently beta testing the next release of Harmony and concentrating on its ABC capabilities and will keep you informed when it becomes available.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: DMcG
Date: 13 Sep 02 - 05:25 AM

Sorry all, I mean Harmony (from Myriad), not Harmony (from pavane), of course!


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: MMario
Date: 13 Sep 02 - 09:50 AM

I was getting a bit confused there for a minute

DMcG - the NWC forum (http://www.noteworthysoftware.com/nwcforum/recent.php) has some discussion about the difference between midi with lyrics and karaoke files ; it rapidly got over my head.

see this thread

url=http://www.noteworthysoftware.com/nwcforum/recent.php


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: DMcG
Date: 13 Sep 02 - 10:03 AM

Thanks, MMario, but I think you meant to tell pavane that!


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: MMario
Date: 13 Sep 02 - 10:08 AM

whoops!

told you I was confuzzled!


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: Mark Clark
Date: 14 Sep 02 - 03:53 AM

John, I think Your assumption about the MusicTEX programs is correct, the program abc2mtex has not been updated since the lyrics feature was added to ABC notation. I don't think the lyrics would make it through the translation.

I have taken another look at the GNU LilyPond program that Murray first told us about in 1998. That package includes a program (abc2ly) that converts from ABC to LilyPond notation and may include conversion of lyrics as well. LilyPond support lyrics and, unlike Walshaw's early translation program, is still in active development.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: GUEST,Jon Freeman
Date: 14 Sep 02 - 10:08 AM

I suppose it will do no harm to post our recent experience here...

Overall, abcm2ps has worked quite well for us. I, and I think ed have been using Noteworthy and converting to abc using ABC2NWC. Apart from getting an extra staff (easily removed from the abc) there have been few problems.

Our biggest problem to date came to light with a song called The Bloody Garden

We found that abc2ps (as used at concertina.net) and ABC2NWC handle lyrics under grace notes differently to abcm2ps. abcm2ps (correctly according to the abc draft) does not align lyrics under grace notes but the other packages do.

abcm2ps does appear to have its own quirk with the handling of slurs and grace notes in that it seems impossible to end a slur on a grace note. (a{bc}) would produce a slur that continues to the end of a bar but (a{bc}d) would end the slur where expected.

The word "vir-gin" in The Bloody Garden is an example where we have modified the position of the slur in order to produce reasonable output. In this case, the text we were working from has markings that could be interpreted in more than one way so I don't see any harm in using our own interpretation but I do see the problem itself as less than desirable.

I've been a bit critical about one small item but overall, I do like abcm2ps and it seems to suit our purpose of generating files on the fly very nicely. There are a lot of features that we haven't tried yet, several of which are not available from the long list of command line options but can be set via a "configuration file" or by adding lines starting with %% in the abc.

I guess John is right in a way by suggesting you need to be a "propeller head" but on the other hand, it is a nice clean, compact (<200K) efficient program. Although the options are duanting, I think it would be possible to work out your faviourite opions and (Windows users) write a small DOS batch file, perhaps passing output to Ghostsript if you can't print postscript and create yourself a very simple command line.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: MMario
Date: 14 Sep 02 - 03:44 PM

Thanks Jon


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Sep 02 - 11:22 AM

X:18 T: Collier's C:Trad S: The First Month of Spring, John Vesey and Paul Brady I:speed 250 M:4/4 F:http://ceolas.org/pub/tunes/abc.tunes/xir 2002-09-15 14:40:48 UT K:D |:(3FED (3EFG A3 B | =c2 cB cAGc | Ad d^c d2 (3efg | fdec dcAG | (3FED (3EFG A3 B | =cedB cAGc | Add=c (3ABc AG |[1EFGE D4:|[2EFGE D3 g:| |:fd (3efg fdec | Ad dc Ad dg | fd (3efg fdec | A^GAB =c3 d | eaa2 efge | dged =cAGc | (3AB=c AG (3EFG AB | =cAGE ED D2:|


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: GUEST,John Freeman
Date: 15 Sep 02 - 11:25 AM

John,

I don't know what you were using but I found a program called abc2tab.

The program seems to be fussy but I have had some success (producing output - I don't know how accurate it is) as well as failures I can't explain.

I have just been using the command line:

abc2tab -m [abcfilename]

As I've had 1/2 hr to spare, I have put up an example at http://www.folkinfo.org/abctest/mandotest.htm which you may like to look at.

Bear in mind it is a hack together job and the output will be the last successful conversion which need not be the abc entered. Also, a tune must start X: 1 as abc2tab uses the Xref to produce the name of the output file and I can't be bothered extracting that for a test.

Sorry about my post above - it was an accident - I've got several browsers open here and hit the wrong key. That is abc that seems to convert ok though.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 15 Sep 02 - 08:05 PM

Thanks Jon, yes I've been playing with this and will report when I have some more time.

There's a new version of iabc at http://www.sourceforge.net/projects/abc

This is easy to download and use for Win users - no propeller heads need apply, but from my quick assessment it has come a long way for average Nudcat needs. File loading is still a bit quirky, but please bear in mind that this is a work on progress.

I'll pass any feedback on to Aaron if that will help.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 16 Sep 02 - 03:44 AM

Jon,

There seem to be a number of factors at work here:

- Is there a good (enough) piece of freeware available that a beginner can download?

- Is it user friendly for beginners?

- What's the best sort of application to create TABs to post on the WEb?

- Can the Web page be viewed by all browsers?

- Is there a best practice so that published TABs do not disappear off the side of the page?

Of the various TAB packages I've looked at over time, the one that seened to work best was MUSE shareware, about 20 Pounds as I recall, (really clear and compact).

This topic deserves its own thread, even if it doesn't excite the average Mudcatter.

Regardsm John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: DMcG
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 01:17 PM

As promised, I am letting you know that the new versions of Melody and Harmony from www.myriad-online.com are now released. These now handle all the ABCs from the DT that I have tried, and also the tricky ABCs from www.folkinfo.org that were discussed above.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: pavane
Date: 29 Sep 02 - 06:52 AM

It appears that there is some confusion creeping in between HARMONY (mine) and HARMONY (myriad). Not sure when theirs apeared, but mine has been on the market since 1995 (originally in DOS format).

I would also be interested in more details of the difference between MIDI KARAOKE and MIDI Lyrics. I don't have access to do that myself (Internet cafe at work has been suspended).


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Subject: RE: Mudcat ABC Tune Guide
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Sep 02 - 07:21 AM

It would be better if the Myriad Harmony Assistant was called by it's full title.

According to this page (scroll down to the bottom). Harmony Assistant is the older product with version 1.0 being released in November 1994.


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