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Re: sharping naturals

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: sharping naturals
Date: Sat, 25 Jul 2015 01:17:45 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.0.50 (gnu/linux)

J Martin Rushton <address@hidden> writes:

> Perhaps your approach is causing you problems?  I tend to think of
> Lilypond in the same way that I would regard other markup scripts:
> LaTeX, DSR, Postscript and HTML come to mind.  They are not
> programming languages like C or FORTRAN, and to expect them to have
> the same functionality is unfair.  You are not "coding", you are
> performing "data preparation" for someone else's code to work on.
> I will accept that interpreted languages do blur the data/code
> relationship somewhat, but even comparing Lilypond to Python you can
> see radical differences in emphasis.

LilyPond has Scheme as its underlying programming language, and it is
straightforward enough to let the \key command redefine the note names
on the fly. so that a...h correspond to the pitch of the key signature.

In a similar vein, you can use LaTeX's underlying TeX engine to redefine
catcodes and commands in order to create a different input language, and
you can use C's preprocessor to redefine reserved words and things like

Creating your own language in that manner means that nobody but you and
the compiler will understand your code any more.  In particular, editors
which otherwise help with things like indentation, completion, syntactic
highlighting or even more complex things like transposition or
augmentation will stop understanding your code.  Tools like convert-ly
which upgrade your files from one version of syntax to the next will no
longer work: you'll have to maintain all of your code manually.

So yes: one could teach LilyPond to do things differently.  People don't
do it not because it is impossible but rather because it comes with a
price tag attached, and the price is a permanent tax as opposed to
adapting your thinking to that of LilyPond, a one-time cost.

That is: people who have the skills to change LilyPond's ways have been
exposed to LilyPond's ways long enough not to feel the desire to do so.
And those who don't have the skills trust the others to do what is
sensible.  And so we arrive at explanations and justifications and
arguments which approach that of religious fervor, based not on rational
necessity or insight but rather the trust in your elders' wisdom and
your rationalizations of their ulterior motives.

Going elsewhere is not sacrilege or impossible, but it means that you
are out on your own.

David Kastrup

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