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Planning a MEI-to-LilyPond project

From: Urs Liska
Subject: Planning a MEI-to-LilyPond project
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 2015 18:23:56 +0200
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Dear developers,

most of you will know or at least have noticed that I have thought about
integrating LilyPond and the XML based MEI format. If not you might
consider reading my current post on for an
introduction. Today I would like to make kind of an announcement and
call for discussion.

Chances are pretty good that there will be a publicly funded development
project with the goal of integrating LilyPond and MEI or - in a somewhat
grander context - integrating professional music engraving in current
digital music edition concepts. The project is intended to be hosted at
the institute for music informatics at the music university in
Karlsruhe/Germany and the ZenMEM (, a Digital
Humanities institute founded for coordinating German research on digital
music edition. The ZenMEM will also submit the application to the DFG
(German Research Union). The actual scope and scale of the project
application will have to be considered carefully but we start discussion
with a three year project with two full positions. If we can make it
plausible there might be the option to add some portions to commission
individual development tasks externally.
So while we still have to write an application and hope for its
acceptance it is at least clear that the application *will* happen and
there are reasons to consider it a promising application.

I think this is a huge opportunity to bring LilyPond forward. First this
will bring us a whole new range of users and use cases, maybe even to a
point where a general audience will take notice of LilyPond on a
different level. Second this potential new user base (the academic music
edition community) can be expected to contribute back to LilyPond, in
short and on the long run. And finally this project would mean
significant amounts of money (= development capacity) thrown at us, and
one can assume a significant share of that going into LilyPond
development itself, and a significant share of *that* part benefitting
LilyPond users in general, without considering the MEI/Digital Edition part.

The task at hand is to produce the application which starts with
outlining the development tasks, starting with ideas and wishes but
pinning them down as concretely as possible. We intend to submit the
application by the end of the year and have a meeting where people from
the MEI and the LilyPond developer communities get together and outline
possible tasks, with special consideration of the obstacles to overcome
because of some conceptual incompatibilities.

The actual discussion should take place on another, dedicated list, and
I'll post to that about the outline as it currently stands. But I want
to invite anyone from here to participate in that discussion as it's
presumably an important and hopefully fruitful one for LilyPond. If
you're interested in it please get in touch with me (if you aren't already).


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