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Re: Jazz notation

From: Alec Julien
Subject: Re: Jazz notation
Date: Mon, 05 Jan 2004 08:54:05 -0500
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Hello, all. I'm a newcomer to Lilypond and this list. Thanks to all for creating/molding Lilypond; and apologies to any whose feathers I may ruffle with my newbie ravings.

Cheers to Carl for re-raising the idea of Lilypond's handling of jazz notation. Boo to the person who wrote previously that those who want handwritten notation should write by hand -- as Carl noted, this is an absurd stance.

Eric makes some good points; however, I think he is missing Carl's point. The point is not that there are jazz scores out there that are beautifully engraved, but that there is a very substantial genre of notation out there -- the jazz leadsheet -- that is not currently handled by Lilypond. Whether or not jazz leadsheets *should be* typeset in the same way as more traditional scores is a very valid question; however, it is also a valid question whether or not Lilypond should accommodate the jazz leadsheet as it is. And make no mistake about it, there *is* a de facto standard for jazz leadsheets, including the typographically "awful" fonts that so offend Eric. (Personally, I find those awful fonts extremely readable. Maybe it's just a bad habit of mine. But there's something to be said for how bold and articulated those fonts are when you're sight-reading in a dimly lit venue.)

It would certainly be nice for those of us who produce jazz leadsheets to have a high-quality, free, open-source option to use. But I for one would understand if Lilypond decided not to re-work itself to output what many may feel to be inferior typesetting.

Which leads to what I think is the key question:

Is there any way for Lilypond to use its superior engine to make standard leadsheets better, while keeping their handwritten look?

Cheers to all,

Eric Wurbel Wrote:

Hi everyone

Le lun 05/01/2004 à 02:39, Carl Youngblood a écrit :

>> The subject of what it would take to get lilypond to do jazz notation
>> was brought up a while back (in Sep. 2003, I believe).  I think this is
>> an important discussion that shouldn't be treated so lightly.

Some modest comments about so-called "jazz notation" :

Concerning this "problem", I don't think there is a special "jazz
engraving". I try now to explain this point of view.
In Carl's examples, I see mainly three items which he points as "jazz
specific : chord coding, chord fonts, and music fonts.

chord coding : I never saw a single coding style. From what I know,
there is no standard on this subject, except if you consider that
"this r**l book chord coding style is the standard" ;-).
I've seen TONS of chord coding... All are acceptable in some sense.
Developping alternative chord coding styles shouldn't be very difficult.
Comment developpers ?

chord fonts : Carl's examples  show the usage of a font which
is reminiscent of the historical "Real Books" (which are compilations of
Jazz standards, for those who don't know much about jazz).
Personnaly (but this is only personal taste), I hate it. If find
this font unreadable, and very eye tiring.
But, here, a little question : what font choice has to to with
specificities of a music style ?
Again, adding the capability to choose the font for chord printing
should not be unreachable... But what do main developpers think about
this ?

music fonts : same remarks as above, including my personnal taste.
One exception though : this "Real Book" music font is *truly* horrible.
And the examples pointed by Carl are really typographically (spacing,
readability, etc.) awful. And I'm saying this being an amateur Jazz
performer and *not* being a typographic dictator !

A last note : Carl, don't take this as an offense, but I really don't
like sentences like "this is THE style to use".
There is NO reason to say this. You want an exeample ?
Take the score compilations edited by Charles Mingus, who was a great
figure of jazz and who did a particulary remarkable job in the field
of music diffusion.
His scores NEVER use these awfull "real book" fonts.
(I have other examples of good quality jazz scores).

So, as a conclusion, this is not because the vast majority of jazz
score editors use poor fonts and poor typesetting rules that typesetting
engines like lilypond have to follow this mediocrity.

This was just my 2 cents...

By the way, happy new year !


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