lilypond: That gray area

I am very much on the fence when it comes to including lilypond on this list.

As I understand it, lilypond — the program — just converts text-based sheet music into a visual format (I believe the home page calls it “engraved”) not unlike what LaTeX does … although I know very little about that either.

So the net effect of lilypond is this:


Text-based coding for sheet music converted into pdf format, without much of an interface or interaction.

That doesn’t discount it as a text-based application, any more than imagemagick or even inkscape, or some other tools that follow the same style.

That does drop it into a gray area though, where the benefit is in the output, and not the interface.

So is it a command-line application? Is it a true-blue text-only program?

I’m not going to fight through this one. I humbly submit that it does its job, interface or no interface, and if you need to draw some sort of line in the sand to reinforce an us-and-them mentality … then you’ve overlooked the real beauty of software like this — making life easier, and more beautiful.

10 thoughts on “lilypond: That gray area

  1. todixu

    I think it counts just as much as a roff or TeX implementation. After all, you can feed the output file to a printer control program without ever seeing it displayed on screen.

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