Back to ABCs

I’ve been itching to get back to work on the ABC module (originally by SF from lastofthecarelessmen.blogspot.com, but my fork is the only version seeing current development work). A reference in an HN comment to Lilypond has provided the perfect. Lilypond is a long-lived open source project for music notation with very ambitious goals. In the past I’d tinkered with it a bit, but always come away unsatisfied. Today, though, I had a notion for an interesting project, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.

So, here’s a PDF of my tune “The Star of Rakudo” done with my usual slightly hacked version of jcabs2ps. And here’s a quick stab at a Lilypond version (with completely unnecessary 1st and 2nd endings added just so I can see what they look like). The Lilypond version has a heaviness to it I’m not wild about, but I think it’s pretty arguable that the various elements each look better than the other version. In addition, Lilypond appears to have good support for a more complicated musical elements. My inability to get jcabs2ps to portably generate all the musical elements I need has been a longstanding stumbling block to a side project of mine, so Lilypond is intriguing.

I don’t particularly like Lilypond’s music “language”, but that’s okay. My idea is to have the Perl 6 ABC code automatically translate ABCs to Lilypond for me, in effect generating good-looking notation from them. It will then be the best of both worlds — the lightweight, easy-to-type ABC format generating professional-looking output from Lilypond.

So, now I need to figure out how add actions to a Perl 6 grammar…

About these ads

3 Responses to “Back to ABCs”

  1. Bruce Keeler Says:

    Agree with your comments about Lilypond. Gorgeous output, and it does OK from the “complex things possible” angle, but misses the “simple things easy” mark.

    When I decided to learn it 6 years ago it took me probably about 80 hours to typeset one piece, though admittedly it was a complex one (http://www.mutopiaproject.org/ftp/ChopinFF/O52/ballade-4/ballade-4.ly or http://www.mutopiaproject.org/ftp/ChopinFF/O52/ballade-4/ballade-4-let.pdf), and I was learning as I went. Reviewing it now, I hardly recognize the syntax at all.

    • colomon Says:

      I wonder how much better your piece would look today, after six years of improvements to Lilypond? It seems like there are a few elements in there covering each other up, and I really don’t like the filled in flat signs. (Or was that a feature?)

      What an ambitious piece to tackle! I’m planning to focus on tunes that are about 16 bars long…

  2. Bruce Keeler Says:

    But still less ambitious than actually playing it! Some day…

    I’m sure it would require a lot of work to bring it up to date with latest Lillypond though. I tried running the auto-migration tool on it about a year later and it failed horribly. I hate to imagine what it would do these days. I might get around to it yet though.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: