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Re: Lute tablature

From: Laura Conrad
Subject: Re: Lute tablature
Date: 19 May 2003 09:20:56 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.0808 (Gnus v5.8.8) XEmacs/21.4 (Common Lisp)

>>>>> "Taco" == Taco Walstra <address@hidden> writes:

    >> I was just asking lily to print tab; I didn't say it should convert it
    >> into anything.
    >> It can consider it a funny kind of lyrics, for all I care.
    >> The abctab2ps tab output is really good, but the staff notation of the
    >> vocal line reminds me of why I switched to lilypond.

    Taco> Laura, you're fully right. I maintain an archive with early
    Taco> music typeset in abc (or perhaps better abctab), mostly
    Taco> lutemusic + some figured bass
    Taco> pieces. ( The nice
    Taco> characteristic of abc is the easy entering of the music (it
    Taco> takes about 50% of the time to typeset a piece in abc
    Taco> compared with lily).

And even more than that for lute tab, if my understanding of lily's
tab syntax is correct.

    Taco> abc is however very primitive (I saw some nice dutch remarks
    Taco> about the syntax in the abc2ly python script, which are
    Taco> indeed true).

If you feel like translating them and sending them on, I'd be
interested.  Probably also irritated, but certainly interested.  I
don't make any claims for the style of the parts of abc2ly I've
written, but I do claim that nobody much would be using it if I hadn't
done what I've done.

    Taco> For lute tablature it's ok, but for more complicated scores
    Taco> it's not. I moved over to lily for my figured bass scores,
    Taco> especially because singers always want to transpose a piece
    Taco> to a different key. 

I like the lily figured bass output, but after doing three sonatas by
adding lily figures to abc2ly output, I have added it to my TODO list
to have abc2ly translate "chords" that are just numbers to be figures.
My eyes just can't handle that sort of editing, and if I could put
them in the ABC, I could touch-type them.

    Taco> for combinations of lute tablature + voice / simple staff I
    Taco> still use abctab however, because lilypond support for tab
    Taco> is still very incomplete for lutetablature. Would be nice
    Taco> however if support is improved.

I agree -- that's the main reason I started this thread.  I was also
thinking that if someone figured out how to do a Dowland-style
tablature at all, maybe abc2ly could be made to handle it.  It looks
like it isn't theoretically impossible, but maybe the underlying
engine should be improved before anyone adds more bad syntax to

    Taco> About your Dowland edition: EVERY luteplayer prefers the
    Taco> lutetablature to some modern notation. A tablature part
    Taco> should exist in every dowland edition.  

Well, dra obviously disagrees with you, but my impression is that the
lute players I know agree.  So if any of the users of my edition were
lute players, there would be a tablature part, but so far they aren't.
I'm still working on it, though.  Right now, I have a method for
producing the epsf file without headers from the abctab2ps output, so
that it could be added to the dowland edition, or compiled into a
separate booklet.  

One theory I have is that if I printed on legal-size paper, I could
produce an edition where all parts plus the lute tab would be on
facing pages.  I'd put them all in the same orientation, unlike the
facsimile, since I don't know anybody who wants to read looking down
at a table.

Laura (mailto:address@hidden , )
(617) 661-8097  fax: (801) 365-6574 
233 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

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