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 Forum index » Discussion » Composition
Notation software
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dewdrop_world



Joined: Aug 28, 2006
Posts: 858
Location: Guangzhou, China
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 8:39 am    Post subject: Notation software
Subject description: Or, James promotes LilyPond
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So, I recently started using Lilypond for (Western) music notation. (Most of my pieces don't involve notation, but when I'm writing for other performers, it becomes really important.) I used Finale on the Mac, but after switching to Linux last year, that was no longer an option and Lilypond looked like the best FLOSS notator around.

Well, today, I was previewing some notation in a new piece and saw something that just knocked my socks off (attached -- 3/8 bar). The equivalent in Finale would require manual adjustment of the lower voice's horizontal position and of the dots. Lilypond -- out-of-the-box, no tweaks, no damn "special tools" clicking about -- not only adds a slight offset between the stems (making it very easy for the eye to tell that it's not one chord with stems improperly extending above and below), but it also lines up all the dots vertically. Perfectly legible -- and, mind you, no manual adjustment.

After years of shuffling things around by mouse in Finale, I'm just gobsmacked. It's not that Lilypond does everything perfectly -- no program could -- but this is a level of sophistication I never saw in commercial software costing hundreds of dollars for a license (and usually about $100 for a roughly annual upgrade -- the so-called "Finale tax"). Finale users would say the GUI is easier to learn, but I'm totally convinced that this free software performs demonstrably better.

Maybe a bit off-topic for this board, but I can't help myself -- I'm seriously stunned by this and had to share.

James


lily-is-awesome.png
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Such clean notation... default lilypond output. Amazing.
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lily-is-awesome.png



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Tony Deff



Joined: May 25, 2008
Posts: 42
Location: Suffolk, UK

PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:56 am    Post subject: Using LilyPond Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Such clean notation... default lilypond output. Amazing.


Yes, agreed, good output provided that there is nothing non-standard about what you require and that you are inputting finished music.

If you attempt to experiment with the music as you go (to hear what changes sound like), you can get very frustrated. Changing just one note in a chord can put dozens of subsequent notes in the wrong octave. Sad

If you attempt something not yet provided as standard, you spend more time learning a programming language than in composing music.

I started learning LilyPond some 3 years ago and have not finished one composition using it yet.
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