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Practicing abc notation

18 Jan 04 - 08:53 PM (#1095900)
Subject: Practicing abc notation
From: GUEST,Sheila

Hi all. Before requesting help for an airwurm that is haunting me, I hope someone will print out "Row, row, row your boat", and/or "Silent Night" in abc notation so I cam compare what I know with what would be comprehensible. Thank you. I get confused after a point. Sheila


18 Jan 04 - 08:55 PM (#1095902)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: GUEST,Sheila

In the key of C. Sheila


18 Jan 04 - 09:25 PM (#1095913)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: Mark Clark

Here you go.

      - Mark





X:1
T:Row, Row, Row Your Boat
M:C
L:1/4
Q:1/4=96
K:C
%%MIDI program 1 % Acoustic Grand Piano
CCC/D/E|E/D/ E/F/G2|
w:Row, row, row your boat, gent-ly down the stream,
c/c//c// G/G//G// E/E//E// C/C//C//|G/>F/ E/>D/ C2|]
w:mer-ri-ly, mer-ri-ly, mer-ri-ly, mer-ri-ly, life is but a dream.


18 Jan 04 - 10:38 PM (#1095966)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: Mary in Kentucky

Here's my version with a dotted eighth note on the 3rd beat of the first measure and triplets on merrily. Somehow though, the merrily sounds rushed. We did sing it in a round that way didn't we? (You can hear it at concertina.net)

X:1
T:Row, Row, Row Your Boat
M:4/4
L:1/4
K:c
CCC3/4D//E| E3/4D//E3/4F//G2 |
w:Row, row, row your boat, gent-ly down the stream,
(3c/c/c/ (3G/G/G/ (3E/E/E/ (3C/C/C/| G3/4F//E3/4D// | C2z2 ||
w:mer-ri-ly, mer-ri-ly, mer-ri-ly, mer-ri-ly, life is but a dream.


19 Jan 04 - 02:22 AM (#1096049)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: Mark Clark

Mary's version definitely sounds better. I didn't really sing it through or even play the MIDI on mine <g>, I just typed in the notes. Still, for the purpose of example, it's good to have both versions to compare, since alternate codings have been used. I thought about using triplets but then didn't do it for some reason. Note that Mary's coding
G3/4F//E3/4D//
is musically identical to my
G/>F/ E/>D/
except that she had beamed them as a single group and I beamed them as two sets of two notes each. The characters < and > serve to indicate the same broken rhythm as expressly specifying each note duration. According to Guido Gonzato's wonderful manual
When a note is dotted and the following is halved or vice versa, we're talking of broken rhythm. It's
obtained using the characters ">" or "<" between two notes.
When you use ">", the first note is dotted (that is, its duration increases by half) and the following note
is halved. The opposite with "<". To indicate a note followed by two or more dots, use ">>", ">>>"
and so on.
ABC+, as you will discover, offers a simple and powerful way to create scores and MIDI files for music ranging from a simple melody line or lead sheet to elaborate scores for large ensembles.

      - Mark


19 Jan 04 - 04:19 AM (#1096068)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: treewind

shouldn't those (3c/c/c/ be (3ccc ?
The triplets should be a third of a quarternote(crotchet)
As shown the triplets were a third of an eighth-note/quaver

Anahata


19 Jan 04 - 10:16 AM (#1096240)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: GUEST,Sheila

Thanks all. How's this?

T: Silent Night


19 Jan 04 - 10:17 AM (#1096241)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: GUEST,Sheila


19 Jan 04 - 10:26 AM (#1096252)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: GUEST

Sorry again. Don't know what went wrong. How's this?
T: Silent Night
M: 3/4
K: C

G>AGlE3l(repeat) d2dlB3lc2clG3lA2Alc>BAlG>AGlE3l(repeat last 4 measures) d2dlf>dBlc3le3lcGElG>FDlC6ll

This is exhausting! And why in 3/4 time is the default note length an 8th note? Sheila


19 Jan 04 - 10:55 AM (#1096283)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: GUEST,Jon

Guest/ sheila?

Posting the way Mark did here does need some knowledge of HTML and I think that is probably (I've not looked at the source) where things go wrong for you.

The symbols < and > play hell with HTML as they are opening and closing tags for HTML. I stand to be corrected on this but although the issue has been known for years, we at folkinfo are one of very few sites who have tried to find a means of allowing something to get through without having to have a user "pre-process" what is there - in that case, it is primitive - a check box at the end of the thread will set it to convert the symbol to HTML for you - a bit like the "auto line breaks here"

Be wary of the broken notation BTW. The Midi conversion at Concertina.net and other implementations of abc2midi break the standard for the midi. Unless the Midi has an explicit %%Ratio statement (I'd need to check on the documentation for exact details) the MIDI output is one where it is adapted to sound good for English Horpipes. It is not as written and can for example make a complete nonsense of a Strathspey. It's no problem though - as long as you know...

Jon


19 Jan 04 - 10:58 AM (#1096286)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: Mary in Kentucky

treewind, I think it's OK like it is. I had to listen to it in Cakewalk and hear the round. Somehow the rhythm at concertina.net is a little awkward. You're right in saying that there should be 3 notes for each quarter note...but to notate this.....you have to put c/ (which means 3 notes in the place of two eighth notes). If you put c......then you end up with 5 measures.

Sheila, you probably know this....I like to put a slash for an eighth note and a double slash for a sixteenth note. It's just faster for me.

My main problem in this one was trying to decide if it should be 4/4 time or 2/4. Anyone know how to decide?


19 Jan 04 - 11:00 AM (#1096288)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: GUEST

I used "midi" where I should have said "abc" on a couple of occasions above. Hopefully the gist of the message will still be understood.


19 Jan 04 - 05:18 PM (#1096551)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: Mark Clark

Here is an ABC encoding of Silent Night found using John Chambers' tune finder. He uses ABC chord notation (i.e., [ … ]) to get harmony and uses guitar chord notation as well. The meter switches between 3/4 and 2/4. I see other versions are encoded using 6/8. It's also available in a number of other keys. I chose one in C because that was Sheila's preferred key.

      - Mark




X: 1
T: Stille Nacht
T: Silent Night
R: Zwiefacher
C: Franz Gruber
Z: John Chambers
N: Arrangement by the Cambidge Folk Orchestra (Massachusetts, USA)
M: 3/4
L: 1/4
K: C
| "C"[GE]>[AF][GE] |[E3C3] | "C"[GE]>[AF][GE] |[E3C3] \
|[M:2/4][L:1/4] "G7"[d2G2] |[B2-F2-] | "C"[c2E2] |[G2E2] \
|[M:3/4][L:1/4] "F"[A2F2][AF] |[cA]>[BG][AF] | "C"[GE]>[AF][GE] |[E3C3] |
|[M:2/4][L:1/4] "F"[A2F2] \
|[M:3/4][L:1/4] [cA]>[BG][AF] |"C"[GE]>[AF][GE] |[E3C3] \
|[M:2/4][L:1/4] "G7"[d2G2] \
|[M:3/4][L:1/4] [fB]>[dG][BF] \
|[M:2/4][L:1/4] "C"[c2E2] \
|[M:3/4][L:1/4] [e3G3] \
|[M:2/4][L:1/4] [cE2][EC] \
|[M:3/4][L:1/4] "G7"[GB,2]>F[DB,] | "C"[C3-C3-] |[CC]zz |]


19 Jan 04 - 07:57 PM (#1096664)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: GUEST,Sheila

Mark, I can't thank you enough for your efforts. I'm afraid I'm hopelessly out of my league here. Mercifully, I remembered the piece I originally sought (it was "Homeward Bound") which I wouldn't even attempt to put into abc now that I know how ignorant I am. Gratefully yours, Sheila


20 Jan 04 - 12:53 AM (#1096813)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: Mark Clark

Actually, Sheila, ABC is pretty easy once you've entered a few tunes. Pretty soon you'll be able to look at a score and just touch type the ABC code. You can see a list of several different versions of Homeward Bound at JC's ABC tune finder unless you are looking for Paul Simon's song of the same name.

If you'll download Guido Gonzato's manual that I linked above, you'll find things aren't as tough as you imagine.

      - Mark


20 Jan 04 - 05:33 AM (#1096893)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: GUEST,Jon

Another, and I think gentler introduction to ABC is Steve Mansfield's Tutorial.

I'm uncertain as to the status of the abc+ project but would be more inclined to look at the abc 2.0 draft as I think that is the direction abc will take. Most of it is the same but I think it addresses for example problems with the 1.7 draft which I believe was mostly based around abcm2ps (part of the + project). One problem that is well known is that abc2win (pretty well oblolete but a lot of abc's created with it exist) used the ! symbol for a line break and abcm2ps used it for defining symbols on a score. This is documented in section 10.2 of abc 2.0

Jon


20 Jan 04 - 07:43 AM (#1096953)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: GUEST,pavane

But be warned.
The abc 2 draft contains some examples with syntax which is not described in the document! It obviously still needs some work in tidying up.


20 Jan 04 - 08:06 AM (#1096963)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: GUEST,Jon

IMO, it also needs pressing to get through. From my position as a user that also makes abc available from the Internet, all I want is one clear reliable standard that every program can follow. I'll probably get shot down by many for saying this but I find that the one big problem for what is otherwise an ideal medium for representing folk songs and tunes.

Jon


20 Jan 04 - 11:05 AM (#1097139)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: Mark Clark

I agree that Mansfield's tutorial is very good, especially for one just starting out. I should have referenced that as well. He provides an index page to help navigate to particular subjects and when he introduces a subject, he doesn't try to give us all the information there is all in one gulp.

I like Gonzato's manual for other reasons. As a life-long computer guy, I've learned so many markup and scripting languages that ABC is just ‘another one of those.’ I can get more value from a complete reference manual than I can from a primer, and I like having the contents/index side by side with the text for navigation. I also prefer having my electronic documents look like well-composed and properly typeset printed pages. I do most of my work on a notebook computer with a very high resolution screen and keep my font sizes consistant with an actual printed page. Mansfield's tutorial is excellent but requires too much jumping around for someone past the tutorial stage.

Neil, can you point me to the examples of syntax which have no support in the standards document? I know you follow the evolution of the standard way more closely than I and I'd like to check this out.

Jon, I agree with you about the nonstandardness of the standard. The ABC standard really needs to be turned over to the IETF or W3C and undergo a proper standards process. Having ABC recognized as a MIME type doesn't mean developers have a stable and complete standard to work with. In my view, ABC+ is elegant, simple and covers the needs of most musicians and composers. The original ABC was clever and useful to fiddlers and tin-whistlers but too limited to replace MusicTeX and LilyPond. ABC+, on the other hand, has the potential to become a musical lingua franca on the Internet and makes far fewer technical demands on the user.

      - Mark


20 Jan 04 - 01:05 PM (#1097245)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: GUEST,pavane

Mark,
I will look through and post later. From memory, the main areas are in the :K (Key) V: (Voice) and %%MIDI areas.

The main criticism I had is that the examples showed constructions which were not described, i.e. the document is internally inconsistent.

(PS I am not familiar with the definition of abc+)


21 Jan 04 - 03:10 AM (#1097652)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: GUEST,pavane

abc draft 2.0

The discrepancies I noted are as follows (I don't claim that they are very significant, though)

a) The example 13.4 Canzonetta uses

%%MIDI program 1 75
The {program} keyword is not defined anywhere in the draft text, although the meaning of the statement is clear.

It should possibly have been coded
%%MIDI Voice 1 Instrument=75
although voices are not necessarily synonymous with MIDI channels

b) The same example uses
%%STAVES [1|2|3]

This directive (staves) is not defined in the document

c) In the Voice command, the examples (Zochartiu Loch) use abbreviation sname= which is not defined. I assumed it meant subname, but the abbreviation for that is snm=


21 Jan 04 - 07:43 AM (#1097738)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: GUEST,Jon

Mark, I'm in complete agreement with your assesment of the merits of both references.

I'm not sure whether I'm reading you correctly but I'm not convinced abc will ever replace Lilypond. It will however become more useful to more people with the ideas I think (I'm not sure) came from abc+.

From my own viewpoint, I love it. We can pretty well portray information as found in folk music texts, have a very concise "description" of a song which is (to some) human readable, easy to store in a plain text file as well as in a database field, quality software such as abcm2ps that produces lovely output (and from my viepoint does not make great demands on system resources), etc. And even if a few niggles remain, I think it can only get better.

I'd like to think that in time Dick Greenhaus will move from Songwrite to abc as I believe that would be a major turning point for the acceptance of abc as an important standard for folk songs (as opposed to just tunes) on the Internet. It's happening already with some sites but the DT (and Mudcat) has so much more "clout".

Jon


21 Jan 04 - 01:45 PM (#1098040)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: Mark Clark

Neil, As far as the snm= command is concerned, take a look at the latest version of the document at the link Jon provided above. I think you'll find this error has been corrected.

On the points about the %%MIDI program reference and the %%STAVES command, these commands are already in wide use all over the Internet. They are described in detail in Guido Gonzato's manual—linked above—and Gonzato's manual is, in turn, referenced by hyperlink in the introduction to the 2.0 standard (draft IV, 14/8/2003). You are no doubt correct that the standards document itself doesn't yet describe these commands but it seems pretty clear that they mean to include them.

In an earlier post (20 Jan 04 - 01:05 PM) you noted that you aren't familiar with the ABC+ standard. ABC+ isn't really a standard, it's just a project to combine the most common and practical ABC extensions into a unified document with supporting software. However, I think the evolving 2.0 standard is really trying to use ABC+ as a starting place while improving consistancy and adding some features that seem practical and have broad support. Given that you are a developer incorporating ABC notation in your products, you may want to familiarize yourself with ABC+ as it has become the de facto standard until the 2.0 draft has been finalized.

Jon, I didn't mean to say that ABC will replace LilyPond, per se, I only meant that, for most people needing the ability to produce musical scores on a computer, ABC will provide everything they need and there will be no need for them to install and learn Tex, LaTeX, MusixTeX, LilyPond and the computing environment needed to support them. ABC will be sufficient for 95% of all users.

When Dick began the Digital Tradition project, there weren't many suitable programs that would allow him to distribute melodies that users could hear. Not only was there no ABC, but PC's commonly had no sound cards and the available sound cards typically did not include MIDI. Now, 9000 or so songs later, it would be a huge undertaking to convert all the melodies to ABC. Still, I agree that ABC would be a much better format for sharing the music. It seems clear that Dick expects the DT to evolve and perhaps one day ABC will become the standard format. In the meantime, we're just so fortunate to have the DT at all, I can easily live with any imperfections.

      - Mark


21 Jan 04 - 06:58 PM (#1098294)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: GUEST,Jon

Mark, just as I may have missread you (and I knew I might have been over possible interpretations of the abc lillypond bit), I'd like to explain what I meant above as I feel that just maybe I was missinterpreted.

While I believe that abc is the better way, I was not trying to criticise DG for his choice at the time or for his (and Susan's) efforts. The main concern to me (and feel free to shoot me down for this) is this:

Last time I had this feeling was with the latest MC MIDI project you are involved with. I know there are people like you who can and do analyse the merits of various software but I also feel that as the largest and most successful folk site and database support songwrite and MIDI, a side effect is that others will consider this the best way to go and we we will never effectively get out of MIDI and an obsolete notation program.

I know this will come over as being nasty but I can't think of any other way of expressing this feeling... If for example MC did decide to back abc, I think many that support both NWC (a proprietary format) and MIDI would end up supporting abc.

All that said, please in no way read this as me not appreciating the efforts made in folk music by Dick and team. It's more a case to me of say VHS vs Beta, etc.

Jon


22 Jan 04 - 12:38 AM (#1098520)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: Mark Clark

Jon, That doesn't sound nasty to me at all. And your second explanation is exactly how I interpreted your earlier remarks. I just included the background in my reply so the thread would make more sense to someone like Shelia who may not have been hanging around here as long as we. I didn't think you were being critical of Dick and Susan, it's just that a lot of people don't remember how primitave personal computers were when they began the DT project.

I too believe MIDI is a poor repository for music. It was never designed as a music repository, it's really a digital language to control devices. Just like the “g” codes that drive numerically controlled machining centers don't fully describe the part they are producing, MIDI doesn't fully describe the music it's making, it just controls the synthesizers that make sound. If you want detailed information about the machined part, you have to have the drawing or the CAD file that created the drawing. If you want to fully understand the music, you have to have the score or the application file that represents the score. ABC+ have the ability to represent all aspects of the music and may be used to produce correct MIDI files as well.

It's good to have a song's melody stored with the lyrics in such a way that people can listen to it without much fuss but that should really be generated from an ABC+ file in real time. The same ABC+ file may then be used to produce a nice looking score or lead sheet complete with chords, harmony and parts. Far easier to work with and users are't required to buy any software products.

      - Mark


22 Jan 04 - 03:35 AM (#1098560)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: GUEST,Jon

Thanks for clearing that up, Mark.

For Sheila, in case she has not been around long... I actually do like MIDI and have fun in the past playing with it using an old version of Cakewalk. here is one site I stumbled upon a few weeks ago and thought the MIDIs I listened to were particularly good.

Jon


22 Jan 04 - 01:02 PM (#1098831)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: Mary in Kentucky

Jon, I found that link several years ago. As a matter of fact I found a few typos and wrote to John Roache. I also asked him for permission to use one of his midis on my pages. He was very gracious when he wrote back. I was sorry to hear that he died shortly after that.

Those midis and several I found at a piano site are made from input on a very good keyboard -- and by fantastic piano players! They can input all kinds of nuances which is extremely difficult to do by manipulating the midi event list -- things like subtleties in the rhythm and loud/soft, balance between the voices, phrasing, etc.


22 Jan 04 - 01:44 PM (#1098871)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: GUEST,pavane

These nuances are what I am trying to reproduce in HARMONY by the use of Note styles.

I have written for my own use a small program which extracts from a MIDI all of the controls applied to a specific note into a file, which I can use to create suitable note styles. (It is a bit like what you can do with text using a word processor.)

Sometimes a single note will be subject to 10s or even 100s of events.
It is therefore easier to find an effect you like and copy it (like sampling, in a way)

I am currently planning a style editor as an add-on to HARMONY
A few style files made by hand have been distributed with the latest version of HARMONY, just as examples of what is possible.
(They are CSV format text files which can be edited by hand)

For example, to simulate a trill, the events in the style file will turn the note on and off repeatedly, with change of pitch if wanted.
(Just changing the volume and pitch does not give the right effect)

Some really wierd effects can be obtained by simple actions, such as panning each note left and right.


22 Jan 04 - 03:39 PM (#1098971)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: GUEST,Jon

Thanks for the info Mary. I must admit I had thought they had been made by people very skilled at sequencing. Either way, the ones I have listened to are more than just straight notes on a score. Hopefully they do show the opposite situation to the one Mark and I had been discussing, i.e. showing an example where you might want to use MIDI to give a "performance".


22 Jan 04 - 05:21 PM (#1099055)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: Mary in Kentucky

The Internet Piano Page is the other link I was talking about. As best I remember, for a period of time I couldn't hear them -- it may have something to do with various software programs. Also, back when I had a better sound card they sounded fabulous. They're still not bad on my present sound card.

Listen to the Chopin, Barcarolle I think. The timing is very "easy" to do by a good pianist, but almost impossible when sequencing by hand. It's all a matter of interpretation, and that's where there are differences in different performers. Some are technically perfect, but have no soul. Others are too "schmaltzy" and take too many liberties with the rhythms and notes. Then again, much is just a matter of personal taste, much like the voices each of us like best.


23 Jan 04 - 03:05 AM (#1099396)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: GUEST,Jon

I've just tried it in a couple of programs but can't get it to open. I'd agree with what you say about performers though.


23 Jan 04 - 06:52 AM (#1099539)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: GUEST,pavane

I can confirm that (at least some of) the companies which supply professional backing tracks as MIDI files do actually create them by playing them (in one case on MIDI guitar), though sequencers are used for tweaking afterwards.

The quality of these tracks is far superior to most of the stuff found on the net.


23 Jan 04 - 08:08 AM (#1099582)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: GUEST,Jon

Thanks again for the info Pavane - always good to know how these things are done...

Mary, this drifts further from the original ABC (!!!!) thread but I think I've just remembered why I came onto that site (may even have been Ed pointing me there) - didn't we have a search on the Annexe to find a tune Pip thought existed called "Kitten On The Keys" after our own little kit cat (Delia) had taken to pouncing on the keys of Pip's piano?


23 Jan 04 - 09:59 AM (#1099652)
Subject: RE: Practicing abc notation
From: Mary in Kentucky

I think the site may require Crescendo...not sure...but it really is worth it.

I think you're right on the "Kitten on the Keys." I think I played that one in my youth...also, Golliwogs Cakewalk. My piano teacher loved ragtime piano and I was exposed to several. I found that page looking for Mapleleaf Rag (Scott Joplin).

****************************

Another question...maybe Pavane knows this.

I've noticed that some midi sequences sound like a guitarist made them...some a pianist...and some are more orchestrated. I think like a pianist...my "arrangements" are very piano-like. I really like Milton Okun's arrangements. Masato told me he also did some for Peter, Paul and Mary. (Barry Taylor said he does his by hand, but they sould like guitar accompaniments.) Can anyone explain these differences? How can I learn "orchestration"?