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Re: LilyPond, Finale and Sibelius (was Review of Valentin's Opera)

From: Jonathan Kulp
Subject: Re: LilyPond, Finale and Sibelius (was Review of Valentin's Opera)
Date: Fri, 03 Apr 2009 06:43:10 -0500
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20090318)

Nick Payne wrote:
That's a real interesting report!.  You note that entering chords in
lilypond is real slow as compared to using MIDI entry.

While that's no surprise, I wonder if there's anything  that we can or
should do about it.  Typing <> is just real awkward...

Try setting guitar scores. I just did a quick count on the first page of the
BVW1004 Chaconne that I have been playing around with setting for guitar in
Lilypond, and I have 187 left-hand fingering indications, 10 right-hand
fingering indications, and 23 string number indications. A typical note
entry would be something like

<f-1\4-\RH #1 >

If only there was some way to avoid all those <>...


The way I avoid this on my guitar scores is to put minimal fingerings, only ones that I really, really care about that are not obvious from the context. If I'm actually performing the piece later I'll write in more fingerings with a pencil. :)

My thoughts on this thread: I can enter music much more quickly in Lilypond than in Finale, in most cases. It helps that I've gotten comfortable with Vim and learned how to take advantage of some of its editing features, too. The syntax for entering expressive markings like slurs, articulations, and dynamics is excellent and much quicker than in Finale, where you have to switch from one tool to another. Chords are slower, though, for sure. What takes longest for me is precise positioning of things like fingerings, because I usually don't like the default placement and have to use extra-offset to get them exactly where I want them.

What's nice about Lilypond from my "composer's" point of view is that it's gotten me back to writing music with pencil and paper instead of doing it in Finale. I've realized for a while that in some pieces Finale was making me lazy as a composer (and the same happens with my students). I was using the copy-and-paste function way too much and not thinking enough about the content of the music. With Lilypond I'm again separating composition from typesetting, which is a good thing IMO. Last semester I bought a book of staff paper for the first time in more than 15 years!


Jonathan Kulp

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