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Re: MIDI dynamics parsing error

From: Knute Snortum
Subject: Re: MIDI dynamics parsing error
Date: Sat, 17 May 2014 18:15:38 -0700

My situation is I need to transcribe a crescendo starting without a dynamic marking.  If I put in a \mf then I don't get warning.  If I can hide the dynamic mark, all will be fine.  Is there a \hide syntax that will work?

Knute Snortum
(via Gmail)

On Fri, May 16, 2014 at 3:14 PM, Conor Cook <address@hidden> wrote:
It is my impression that a decrescendo starts where you are and gets quieter.  Does Lilypond not have a default (e.g. mf) MIDI dynamic like Sibelius?

Conor Cook

On May 16, 2014, at 4:32 PM, Simon Albrecht <address@hidden> wrote:

I recently encountered this problem in a composition of my own and just ignored the warning, because the MIDI dynamics rendition did not have any importance for me.
As a matter of fact, this notation may seem illogical, but there are many occurences of it, and many have asked what it means. I find it pretty straightforward, once you have an idea of its use: With a decrescendo, its meaning is similar to an accent, only perhaps more gentle and espressivo; that is to say, start a little above the dynamic you previously had and return to it by means of a diminuendo. With a crescendo, there is some ambiguity: either you return to the dynamic value from before the crescendo, or you stay where you arrived through the crescendo. Other interpretations may be possible, but I don’t think unambiguity needs to be avoided, since it’s a question of style also: in the 18th century and beginning 19th, dynamics are specified with increasing exactness, but for a long time remain incomprehensive and from later perspective leave gaps, which the performer is required to fill himself. And it would be inadequate to eliminate these seeming inconsequencies, which are typical. As I said, I was very happy to have this in a composition of my own (which was actually kept in some early 19th century style) and it expressed exactly what I meant. So don’t be over-correct :-)

Simon Albrecht

Am 16.05.2014 18:15, schrieb Phil Holmes:
Well, LilyPond has the same problem as a performer would.  If you're crescendoing, at what dynamic are you starting from?

Phil Holmes
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, May 16, 2014 3:21 PM
Subject: MIDI dynamics parsing error

Short Description: I get an error from LilyPond that it can't figure out the MIDI volume to start a crescendo with in some situations.

Details:  The error message is...

(De)crescendo with unspecified starting volume in MIDI.
    { bf4 %{ \mf %} 
                    \< a16 ( \sf gf' f ef ) bf4 %{ \mf %} \< a16 ( \sf gf' f ef ) }

programming error: Impossible or ambiguous (de)crescendo in MIDI.
continuing, cross fingers

The source code is...

\version "2.18.2"
\language "english"

upper = \relative c'''' {
  | gf16-. \f ef-. df-. cf-. bf ( \sf df cf af )
    gf-. \sf ef-. df-. cf-. bf ( \sf df cf af )
    { bf4 %{ \mf %} \< a16 ( \sf gf' f ef ) bf4 %{ \mf %} \< a16 ( \sf gf' f ef ) }
    { <af, f>16 q q q a4 <af f>16 q q q a4 }

\score {
  \new Staff = "up" {
    \clef treble
  \layout {
  \midi {
    \tempo 4 = 120

If you uncomment the \mf in line nine, the problem goes away.  At first I thought this was because of the two voices, but when I compile the \relative part by itself, that is, no \score section, there is no warning.

I'm assuming this is a bug in LilyPond and adding the \mf dynamic mark is a workaround. If not, please show me the correct way to do this.

Since Mussorgsky didn't write the \mf, I want to hide it, but \hide Dynamics doesn't seem to work.  How would I do this, or is there a better way around this problem?

Knute Snortum
(via Gmail)

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