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Re: Lute tablature

From: Laura Conrad
Subject: Re: Lute tablature
Date: 22 May 2003 09:16:16 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.0808 (Gnus v5.8.8) XEmacs/21.4 (Common Lisp)

>>>>> "David" == David Raleigh Arnold <address@hidden> writes:

    David> Tablature does not require stems if it is with notation,

I'm sure you have some specific notation in mind that would substitute
for the information provided by the stems in Dowland's tablature.
However, I don't know that anyone has ever transcribed Dowland lute
songs with this kind of notation.  And if I were going to do a
transcription of the lute tab into standard notation, I would want to
do one that would be useful to keyboard players.

The reason a keyboard transcription wouldn't be as useful to a lute
player as the original tablature is that while the stems *look* like
the stems that are used in staff notation, they don't actually
describe the length of any particular note; what they describe is the
distance between the beginning of the "chord" they are over, and the
beginning of the next chord.

To make a transcription of a Dowland lute song that would be useful to
a keyboard player, you need to disentangle the voices from the lute
part, and figure out how long the individual notes played on the lute
(and on the lute frequently just left to ring until they fade out or
until that string is plucked again) should be played.  And this means
that not all the notes in the tablature "chord" have the same length,
and therefore in the notation they wouldn't have the same stem.  I
really don't think any lute player would be able to deal with this as
easily as they can with Dowland's stems, which just tell the performer
when to hit the next chord, and don't say anything at all about how
long the notes in the previous chord are played.

Anyway, it's on my list to see what I can get lilypond's current
tablature to do about simulating Dowland's.  I'm hoping to write up
some specific bug reports or enhancement requests that will let a
developer with more knowledge of lilypond internals than I have help
remove any existing limitations that prevent lily from doing the job.

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

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