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First Lilypond Score

From: Jonathan Wilkes
Subject: First Lilypond Score
Date: Fri, 31 Jul 2009 12:18:59 -0700 (PDT)

I made my first lilypond score for more than one instrument, and I 
thought I'd give some comments on some of the things that were really 
difficult from a beginner's perspective.  I think it would be helpful to 
have a section in the LM on "migrating from Finale/Sibelius", or a 
separate document, if there isn't one already.

I'm sure some of the following issues will become easier for me once I 
go through the docs again and do some more projects, but I imagine other 
first time users might run into some of these, so here are my 
"first project" experiences.

slurs - I had a lot of "cannot end slur" problems early on, evidently 
because I was trying to end a slur in a different voice (which isn't a 
problem in Finale).  Also, longer slurs ( more than a measure ) were often 
a little flat: the middle of the slur would get way too close to a notehead, 
tie, or something else.  Since there are so many settings for 
slurs, I didn't have time to figure out how to do a global override to 
make them more curvy.

cross-staff tremolos - when doing a "\repeat tremolo 4 { c16 d }", you 
can't put a "\change" inside the brackets, so I had to use an 
"\autochange" to get cross-staff tremolos.

vertical spacing - toward the end of the process, I needed to move a staff 
in the second system down slightly, and the only way I could find to do 
this was in the NR using explicit vertical spacing.  Since you have to 
use a list of numbers to specify the offsets for each staff, it's 
complicated to do this.  What I wanted was a way to say
\override Vertical-Distance-From-This-Staff-To-The-One-Below #'padding = 
#'[number of staff spaces]
or maybe \nudgeNextStaff #2.  Is there anything like this?

internals reference- I found myself going into the internals reference 
way too often.  Of course this is a good thing in order to gain more 
control over one's score, but a lot of it was wasting time, for example: 
spending 10 minutes to build and test a macro to flip a tuplet position 
when \tupletUp & \tupletDown already exist.

I'll keep this in mind the next time through the docs, and see if there's 
something I overlooked, or that is missing, about the built in commands. 

Pedagogically, btw, I think these macros are great.  If someone who uses 
Finale sees "\slurUp d( e)", it's pretty easy to comprehend that "Hey, 
that's basically the same as selecting a slur with the mouse and using 
ctrl-f to flip it up.  And no mousing!"  Whereas seeing:
\once \override Slur #'direction = #UP d( e)
means "dear lord, I have to learn a programming language just to move 
a slur? No thank you."

spacing - basically, if there is a macro just to nudge a note column to 
the left or right, and to turn on some kind of piano staff dynamic spacing so 
dynamics are placed in the middle, I think that would make it so that 
overrides are only necessary for more "advanced" stuff.

\mark - This is really handy.  Would be cool if spanners could be used 
with \mark so accel., rit., a tempo, etc., could be used.

resizing staff/score - since layout-set-staff-size does not 
resize the distance between staff lines, what's the best way to, say, 
make the pianostaff larger than the other instruments?

Finally, if anyone has tips on 'final touches', I'd appreciate it.
Basically I'm used to making a final pass through a score, and nudging 
a few notes/staves, to improve spacing and readability.  What's the 
easiest way to touch up the final score in Lilypond?

Lilypondtool is great, btw.  Looking forward to trying out the new 



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