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abc2ly and dance music (was: autobeam adjustment)

From: Laura Conrad
Subject: abc2ly and dance music (was: autobeam adjustment)
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2005 09:11:44 -0500
User-agent: Gnus/5.1007 (Gnus v5.10.7) Emacs/21.3 (gnu/linux)

>>>>> "ES" == Erik Sandberg <address@hidden> writes:

    ES> abc2ly seems to use a weird method of dividing the music into
    ES> bars. Remove the \set Score.defaultBarType = "empty", and
    ES> insert a \partial 8 in the beginning of the piece, and it will
    ES> work fine.

I had actually figured out about the "\partial" issue.   But if you
don't set the default bars to "empty", you remove the ability to use
ABC with unevenly barred (or unbarred) music.  

There are a number of issues with translating ABC to lilypond.
Writers of ABC expect to specify the barring and beaming, and
sometimes the linebreaking. Lilypond expects to do these
automatically.  When I was first using lilypond, my major use was for
production of unbarred renaissance music, and so I modified abc2ly to
respect the barring (or lack thereof) in the ABC source.  The
Renaissance sources I was using didn't do beaming, so I wasn't at the
time interested in preserving the ABC beaming, and as an ABC writer I
had always used the option of letting the ABC printing program figure
out the linebreaks.

This state of abc2ly 2.0 is being problematic with my current project,
which is producing some large type printouts of dance music.

    ES> (Also, you might want to change all the \bar "|" commands to
    ES> barchecks, |)

I was going to sugest that abc2ly should put in a barcheck in addition
to the \bar "|", which would eliminate the oddities in line breaking
and beaming after the repeat sign.  But it seems to me that this is a
misfeature in lilypond -- the barring seems to be reset by a repeat
sign but *not* by a regular bar, whereas in all the music I know
anything about it's the other way around -- repeat signs don't
necessarily happen at rhythmic unit boundaries, but regular "|" bars
usually do.

The attached file shows a possible  ABC that will give lily enough
information that she won't confuse a dance musician with her beaming
and linebreaking.  This will be a little less necessary if abc2ly
takes to respecting the ABC writers' beaming, but some form of it is
still necessary if you don't want line breaks at wierd places.   

Description: Binary data

So my immediate proposal is that abc2ly insert 

         \property Staff.barCheckNoSynchronize=##f

and barchecks after each \bar "|".  I also think there should be an
option to insert 
          \bar "empty" \break 

after each end of line in the ABC.

I think there are a couple of orders of magnitude more ABC files
available on the internet than any other form of computerized musical
notation.  Here's a quote from John Chambers about his ABC tune
finder <>:

    JC> I try to run the search about twice each month. (At the time
    JC> of the interview, there were exactly 288 sites with ABC
    JC> tunes.) The number of "sites" is actually a bit higher,
    JC> because some machines have ABC files that belong to more than
    JC> one person, and those really do qualify as multiple sites. The
    JC> number of URLs is a bit trickier, but the last search revealed
    JC> 53,839 URLs. These had 137,407 tunes and 154,583 titles. Some
    JC> time ago, though, I did a count and found that each title
    JC> occurs between three and four times. This is mostly because of
    JC> copying and a lot of ABC transcriptions appear on more than
    JC> one site. Also, a tune can have several names, and a name can
    JC> go with more than one tune. This doesn't take into account
    JC> variant spellings, and musicians are very sloppy about
    JC> spelling! I'd estimate that there are 50,000 or so actual
    JC> distinct tunes online in ABC form, but the exact number is
    JC> impossible to determine.

So I think it's worth keeping abc2ly maintained so that all that
information is available to people who love the beauty and flexibility
of  lily's typesetting.

Laura (mailto:address@hidden , )
(617) 661-8097  fax: (501) 641-5011
233 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

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