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maintaining a lilypond library
maintaining a lilypond library
Thu, 10 Feb 2005 12:10:37 -0500
Gnus/5.1007 (Gnus v5.10.7) Emacs/21.3 (gnu/linux)
I'm doing some design/maintenance on my website
<http://www.laymusic.org/>, which contains a large repository of
lilypond source, and the scores generated from them.
I'm hoping the collective wisdom of this list can come up with better
solutions to some of my problems than I've been able to do on my own.
Here's the idea:
When I typeset a piece of music to play, either by myself or
with friends, it goes into a database which includes
information about the title and composer, where the source is,
whether it's part of a larger work, whether the source I
transcribed it from is copyright, etc.
Non-copyright works in that db are uploaded to the website.
Each of them has an html page, automatically generated from the
database, which contains links to the other works by that
composer, and to the compilation, if the piece is part of a
When I originally wrote the code that writes the html pages,
it made "lilypond --preview" images for each part of the
piece. This is currently broken, and in any case only ever
worked when the piece had been coded in the current version of
If the piece is part of a larger work, it eventually gets added
to the "book" for that work, which is basically an input file
to lilypond-book, and the book is also uploaded to the
website. For some of these books I offer hardcopies for sale.
The problems include:
It isn't practical to convert all the lilypond on the site to the
latest lilypond version. Convert-ly doesn't do everything
automatically, and a lot of the scripts that I use to implement
non-standard features in my scores need to be updated when the
Some of the lilypond is old enough that it isn't practical to just
install it when I need to change something. I recently had to
make a fix to a piece that was in lily 1.4. I actually found a
.deb package of that version, but it wouldn't install on my current
debian unstable system. convert-ly wouldn't convert automatically
to 2.0, which is what I'm currently running. So I compromised and
updated to 1.9.5, which convert-ly handled fine, and I could
This doesn't matter so much for individual pieces, but in the
larger works, when I update one file, I have to update all the
others so that lilypond-book will work. The Elizabethan composers
I transcribe most often published their work in books with 20 or
so pieces, each having 2-5 parts. These days each part has two or
three files, since I'm now putting the incipit information in a
separate file, and I'm thinking about doing the same with the
preview file. So finding one error can potentially require
changing a couple of hundred files. And it's worse than that with
the Dowland project, where my initial plan was to transcribe all 5
volumes I have in facsimile into one book.
I seem to be the only, or one of a very small number of people,
using abc2ly for production work. Since I haven't been keeping
current with lilypond, this means that when I do test out a new
version I quite often find a serious bug in abc2ly, which prevents
me from testing it further by using it for production work on
So here's my current idea for how to deal with this. Suggestions are
Make sure all lilypond files contain a \version statement.
This would be easier if abc2ly would insert one, which it
currently (lily 2.0.2) does not.
Leave all lilypond files in the version that they were entered
in, and make sure that all useful output is saved, including
incipits and previews.
All files in one "book" need to be the same version, so only
upgrade lily during the course of a "book" if there is a clear
advantage to doing so.
If a file compiled under an older version needs a correction,
attempt to install the older version and do it without
Keep up with Pedro's lilypond-snapshot, maybe even to the
extent of having snapshot versions of my own tools if I can do
it without too much trouble. That way I could sometimes use the
snapshot version for standalone pieces that weren't part of a
"book". And upgrading to a newer version at the start of a
new "book" would be less trouble.
(Subsidiary problem with the above item -- Pedro doesn't
always release new snapshots in a timely enough fashion for me
to be doing real testing. So maybe the above should be
modified to installing Han-Wen's development releases from
source, or even to pulling CVS at intervals and installing that.)
Change my website-generating script to use the archived
previews rather than expecting to be able to generate previews
Laura (mailto:address@hidden , http://www.laymusic.org/ )
(617) 661-8097 fax: (501) 641-5011
233 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139
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