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Re: lyrics for right-left writing systems such as hebrew or arabic

From: Ted Walther
Subject: Re: lyrics for right-left writing systems such as hebrew or arabic
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 2009 16:07:38 -0800
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.20 (2009-06-14)

I'm having the same problem.  I am mixing up Latin and Hebrew lettering
in the lyrics, and I want them ALL to render strictly Left-to-Right.  Is
there any way to do this in Lilypond?  You can see the problem it causes
in this example:

This causes problems because I am trying to put the Hebrew lettering
underneath a strict letter-for-letter English transliteration of the
text.  The English transliteration is Left-to-Right, but the Hebrew gets
munged as Right-to-Left on a syllable by syllable basis!


On Mon, Apr 20, 2009 at 03:34:41PM -0000, address@hidden wrote:
On Sun, Apr 19, 2009, Richard Schoeller <address@hidden> said:

One common approach when combining a right-to-left language with
left-to-right musical notation is to render each syllable of the lyrics
right-to-left but have the overall flow of the music left-to-right.  I
haven't tried this with any of the stuff that I've done (I present the
lyrics in transliteration).  So, I can't tell you how well this works in

However it is done, and by whatecer program, there are some pretty hefty
issues for position-contextual writing systems such as arabic.  Arabic
letters have variant shapes when used in different positions (opening,
middle, closing); fragmenting a wordd into sylables exposes middle
letters; not at all sure the common reader is used to seeing that.
Further, when placed correctly under the music they will be presented in
backwards order:

 hava nagilla

is shown as

 ah - av_   an - lig - al_

which is less of a challenge for a markup-based entry system like lilypond
than it is for a GUI-based system that attempts WYSIWYG editing of the
lyrics in place (of interest here should we someday go for that).  The
challenge being to re-order the syllables (unnaturally) as the user splits
the words for us.
Dana Emery

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