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All-purpose bass tablature

From: address@hidden
Subject: All-purpose bass tablature
Date: Thu, 13 Jun 2019 10:48:55 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.3; WOW64; rv:60.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/60.7.0

I am getting close to what I want, and yet the last bit eludes me. I am regularly transcribing bass parts from performances played on 5 or 6-string basses. Invariably my intended audience is a 4-string player and so needs either a modified part or a pencil. My idea is to accommodate all basses on a 4-string TabStaff, by using ledger lines to represent the low-B  or high-C string notes, while allowing 4-string players to see the difference. It seems this idea is not original. Lilypond-user Laura Conrad was asking the same thing for lute in 2003. It does appear that in 'Internals' there is a mention of ledger-line-spanner in TabStaff but I'm not good at internals. For instance, I am confused that changing the line positions on the tab staff requires Staff.StaffSymbol and not TabStaff, so I guess one must be a sub-thing of the other.

The following builds a tablature for 6-string bass to enable the outer string fret numbers.
The staff is then redrawn with just the middle 4 strings.
The low-B string is chorded with its substitute note an octave higher, and the fret numbers appear correctly.

The chord construct wouldn't work for high notes as I couldn't obscure one notehead of the same note within a chord, so I opted for the temporary 'multiple voice' construct.
The low note and the high note needs a tab ledger.

% BTW this also works with the stable release
% \version "2.18.2"
\version "2.19.83"

num = {
    \omit StringNumber
stm = {
    \omit StringNumber
    \omit Stem
pattern = \relative c,,  { < c c'> f bes ees aes << \stm des\1 \\ \num des\2 >>  }
    \new Staff {
        \clef "bass_8"

    \new TabStaff \with {
        stringTunings = \stringTuning <b,,, e,, a,, d, g, c>
        \override Staff.Clef.font-size = #-2
        \override StaffSymbol.line-count = #4
        \override Staff.StaffSymbol.line-positions = #'(-3 -1 1 3 )
        %\override = ##f
        %\once \override Staff.StaffSymbol.ledger-extra = #2.0

It occurs to me that I might duplicate the ledgers from the top staff and severely reposition them, but it would be a last resort.

Any feedback welcome.


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