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Re: Is Lilypond right for me?

From: Guido Amoruso
Subject: Re: Is Lilypond right for me?
Date: 11 Mar 2003 21:27:50 +0100

On Tue, 2003-03-11 at 12:02, Beton, Richard wrote:
> MusicXML (, on the other hand, is in 
> its infancy. IMHO, is should be an important way forward. However, the 
> major software vendors to be grudgingly supporting it and the open 
> source community is moderately small. I wish this were not so. Project 
> Xemo ( seems to be the major open source MusicXML 
> activity and it's only a couple of guys at an early stage in the 
> project. One chap is writing a MusicXML to SVG converter to fill the 
> gap; this is attempting to reproduce for XML something Lilypond is very 
> good at for TeX. 
I know are some people that are already working on (or thinking about) a
MusicXML-->SVG converter. IMHO it will be a hard task and I doubt there
will be concrete results in the near future, but that is little
important, because developmente branch of Lilypond can already produce
beautilul SVG, too! And to match such high output quality will be very

> Where does Lilypond fit in? Not at all in an XML framework, but it's a 
> very competent music formatter. It has some quirks and a shortage of 
> GUIs, but otherwise it is undeniably very good. I expect it will have 
> users and developers for some time to come. Are there converters to/from 
> MusicXML? I don't know; there should be.
I'm writing such a converter ( and I'd be
happy if you give me some feedback in case you test it. Only don't be
scared by the low version number (I'll increase it someday...): it is
pretty usable already.

> In the longer term, TeX will 
> give way to XML I think. But if you've tried writing raw XML text, 
> you'll already know that XML is only really useful when you have the 
> right tools.
TeX and XML are indeed very different [and possibly complementary]
things, and also Lilypond and MusicXML are: MusicXML is intended as an
interchange format (so mostly used by applications), while Lilypond is
both the formatting engine and the human "writeable" language. You could
think to make Lilypond understand MusicXML input (read a recent thread
on this list), but one very important thing in Lilypond it its concise
input language, you could no replace with any XML.


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