Tag Archives: notation

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.

abcm2ps and abcmidi: Coolness I didn’t know existed

I have all the musical talent of a brick. No, seriously. A dusty brick is more musical than me.

And a person’s got to know their limitations, so I tend to steer clear of anything music-related, if it doesn’t have a “play” button on it.

But the fun part of investigating all these little programs is finding gems like abcm2ps.


I know nothing — nada, zilch, zero — about musical notation or, for that matter, midi playback or conversion.

But with just a little bit of nudging and a quick search at abcnotation.com, and I get something that’s pretty cool — converting a short text file to something very visual.

But again, for all I know, that sheet music might actually just play random tones. I can’t read it. But the conversion looks pretty cool. :mrgreen:

Now, my next attempt was to run the same stuff through abcmidi.

Not so much luck there. What I got, or what I tried to play, ended up being empty, which is usually a sign that I did something wrong.

I suppose, technically, in an ideal world, there should have been sound coming out of my computer from somewhere. But it wasn’t happening.

I don’t blame abcmidi though. If I had more knowledge about midi, or maybe abc notation, or maybe just about music, my results might have been more … cool. 😉