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Introducing myself

From: Robert Gaebler
Subject: Introducing myself
Date: Wed, 12 May 2021 18:21:23 +0000

I am a retired avionics systems and software engineer. Most of my career has 
been in the avionics industry. But my training, at both undergraduate and 
graduate levels, has been in computer science, with a significant dose of 
languages and systems.  So, I am already familiar with LISP (Scheme) and C++ 
and Python, a little bit with Unix (Linux) and its shells, and with grammars 
and grammar-directed parsing.  In short, I am already quite a ways up the 
learning curve on a lot of the underlying implementation technology.  My main 
deficiency is in lacking familiarity with the vast volume and complexity of the 
underlying Lilypond implementation.

I am working on developing a system for engraving music for the diatonic button 
accordion (the "Steirische Harmonika"). My target notation is the most popular 
notation used in German speaking countries and surrounding areas.  It is called 
"Griffschrift." It is essentially a tablature, but the notation coopts the 
traditional musical staff and notes to represent, not pitches, but, which 
button in which row is to be pressed. The rhythm, note duration values, rests, 
and dynamic markings are inherited exactly as in traditional musical notation, 
so most of the notation is already familiar to most people learning 
Griffschrift. Plus, it lends itself well to already-existing and widely 
available music engraving technology, for creating Griffschrift scores.  The 
most conspicuous difference in appearance between a Griffschrift score and a 
musical score, is that often as much as half of the notes are represented with 
"x" note heads, and half the notes with traditional oval note heads.

I wish to provide a simple input notation in Lilypond for encoding the music.  
I have gotten as far as I can using the surface features of the Lilypond 
language, with satisfying success as far as the final appearance goes.  I have 
engraved two of the polkas that I am currently working on learning, as 
exercises to develop the notation (and relearn Lilypond after a 15 year hiatus).

However, the notation I have so far is rather awkward and quirky. I think it 
might now be time to delve into Lilypond internals, to see if I can develop a 
cleaner user input notation.  There are a lot of kludges and hacks in my score 
template, that had to be put there to work around some of the artifacts 
produced by Lilypond's normal behavior, which ended up getting in the way. The 
profligate intermixture of "x" note heads with traditional note heads is 
handled adequately with macros, but this imposes other quirky workarounds into 
the notation.

So, I am trying to set myself up as a developer in order to explore and 
experiment with more sophisticated capabilities of the inner workings. I hope 
experienced users can help me through the pains of setting up a working 
development system, as well as using the inner facilities effectively.

For the benefit of anyone who may be curious, or anyone who might want to help  
me somewhere down the line, but wants to see an example to better visualize 
what we are dealing with, I have included a Lilypond source file and its 
Griffschrift .pdf output.

Thank you


Attachment: auf-26.pdf
Description: auf-26.pdf

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