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Re: Lilypond as a composing tool

From: Graham Percival
Subject: Re: Lilypond as a composing tool
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2003 01:12:08 -0700

On Mon, 14 Apr 2003 09:00:49 -0700 (PDT)
David Jaquay <address@hidden> wrote:
> I'm pretty new to the whole world of music, so please forgive if this
> question is clue-free, but how useful is Lilypond during the composing
> of a piece? After lurking here for a while, it seems that Lilypond is
> *very* useful to people wanting to put together top-quality scores to
> hand to performers, but is it a good tool for use during the composing
> process?

It really depends on how you work as a composer.  I've been studying
composition for the past two years at university, and I'm quite happy
with lilypond (the only program I use).  Occasionally I've wanted to
have a graphical score editor program so that I can play a few bars in
the middle of the piece, make a minor change, then play it again
(instead of compiling the whole score each time), but most of the time I
know what I want before I start putting it onto the computer.

I can definately see the advantages of a graphical editor, though, and I
image that some people would find Lilypond extremly cumbersome for

The biggest problem is that you can only see one instrument at a time
in the text file, although I tend to keep xdvi and vi open at the same
time.  In addition, there's a tool called "sly" that IIRC addresses
this problem, although I'm not totally certain how it works.

> I'm primarily running Linux and am rather committed to Open Source,
> and am interested in getting into composing, and am starting to look
> into tools to help me record and/or massage my (ahem) genius.

For casual recording and editing, I recommend audacity.  For serious
recording, look into alsa/jack/ardour.

For composing, you might want to have a look at noteedit and rosegarden4
(not rosegarden 2.3.  There's no real connection between rosegarden 2.3
and rosegarden 4).  They can both export lilypond files, so you could
compose something using the graphical editor, then output it to lilypond
to make it look nice.

It really comes down to your personal method of working on compositions.

(one last word about lilypond and composing: make sure you take the time
to set up point-and-click.  I normally don't do that, but then regret it
later on when I'm trying to find the 53rd bar in the second violins.  :)

- Graham

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