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Re: Jazz notation

From: Matthias Neeracher
Subject: Re: Jazz notation
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 2004 11:02:03 -0800

From: Alec Julien <address@hidden>

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.

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.

But it IS handled! If you consider music notation as a means of communicating with other musicians, then the leadsheets that Lilypond is already capable of producing
are already perfectly functional–I've never met anybody who was incapable of reading them. It is primarily if you consider music notation an aesthetic form in its own right (and I believe that idea has always played a certain role in Lilypond development) that the currently produced leadsheets are not entirely satisfactory.

(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.)

Let alone a smoke-filled, dimly lit venue :-) (Regarding Han-Wen's point about the sight reading needs of classical vs. Jazz musicians, my impression is that in a public Jazz performance, it is much more common (and acceptable) for some of the performers not to have rehearsed the particular piece to be performed in advance, which would account for the importance of readable sheet music).

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.

I think you're misunderstanding the objections that the Lilypond developers are raising. I've never seen them flat-out refuse to accommodate "standard" Jazz leadsheets. The issue is that the change would require substantial investments in time and talents, especially for the creation of a Jazz font (and one that is not encumbered by commercial copyrights, I might add) and for changing Lilypond to accommodate a variety of font styles. I believe that if somebody set out to to the former, the Lilypond core developers would be quite happy to think about the latter (especially with the substantial font work now being done in the 2.1 series).


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