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Re: Jazz notation

From: Luis Oliveira
Subject: Re: Jazz notation
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2004 00:50:17 +0000 (UTC)
User-agent: slrn/ (Linux)

Hi, this is my first post in this list and I am new to lilypond, which
by the way is a great piece of software! Anyway I hope this mail doesn't
become off-topic.

On Mon, 5 Jan 2004 17:48:06 +0100, Han-Wen Nienhuys wrote:
> Just yesterday, a Jazz musician explained to me that it is the
> classical musicians that need to read everything from paper, while for
> the modern musicians, paper is just a simple reminder and often is a
> hindrance for getting a good performance . Given the complexities of a
> modern symphonic orchestral part relative to a Jazz parts, I tend to
> agree that ease of (sight-)reading is much more important for
> classical music.

I (lousily) play both classical and jazz music, so I hear these kinds
of arguments often :-).

First off, there are complex classical-like jazz parts too, namely in
big bands but not only. Anyway, I guess we're talking mostly about
realbook-like one-page parts, standards and such so I will only talk
about these from here on.

So, you say ease of reading is more important in classical music. I
disagree, I think it's important for both albeit in different ways.
As a rhythm section player, who usually doesn't read the melody, only
the chords, I find it _very_ important to have 4 bars per line (the
more their widths are alike the better), readable chords (extensions
and all), and clear distinction between the sections of the music (eg:
in a standard in AABA form) particularly if you're playing the tune for
the first time in a fast tempo :-)

For me, this is obviously more important than the readability of melody.

> If you think that LilyPond output is lacking in terms of readability,
> then we should focus on improving that. OTOH, I find it hard to
> believe that there are any music fonts out there that look bolder and
> more articulated than feta.

Speaking of melody, most realbook tunes are quite simple, some even
boring, (I think that is why most people play the melodies with different
rhythm, different notes even, sometimes no melody is played at all) and
perhaps that is why they look odd with classical music fonts.

I scanned some leadsheets from books I have to illustrate some of my
points, I'm not sure which are doable with lilypond right which aren't.
The images are a bit large, sorry.

1. <> [509k]
2. <> [626k]
3. <> [362k]

These come frome "The Pat Metheny Songbook", "Inside the Brazilian
Rhythm Section", and "Tudo e' som" respectively.

4. <> [362k]

This last one comes from "The New Real Book".

So, the first two use the style mentioned by the OP, and the third a
similar one. It looks nice for this kind of music, although the chords
aren't the easiest to read.
The last one has a more classic look and is probably my favourite in
terms of easiness to read. The chords are extremely legible and all
lines have 4 bars.

I would guess much of this is already possible with lilypond, no?

Luis Oliveira                                        Lisp is the red pill.           -- John Fraser, comp.lang.lisp 
Equipa Portuguesa do Translation Project

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