Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Re: [abcusers] Why I like ABC

Expand Messages
  • RWW Taylor
    There has already been a lot of testimony expressed here regarding the merits of abc as a musical notation, provided mostly from a personal viewpoint. Perhaps,
    Message 1 of 14 , Mar 28, 2007
      There has already been a lot of testimony expressed here regarding the
      merits of abc as a musical notation, provided mostly from a personal
      viewpoint. Perhaps, though, a few more words could be added considering
      the question from a wider perspective, considering both the intrinsic
      advantages of the notation (as compared with alternatives) and the
      practical, situational advantages that the use of abc offers the
      contemporary user.

      First, it has to be noted that the simple fact that music written in
      abc is expressed as a string of standard text characters, to be found
      on any keyboard, is of tremendous importance — no special environment
      or device or software is needed to enter or display an abc
      transcription. As has been noted, a useful bit of abc can be (and, I am
      sure, often has been) scrawled on a cocktail napkin for future
      reference. Transcriptions expressed in abc can be compactly stored and
      cheaply transmitted, with assurance that the content can be read
      unambiguously at the receiving end. Stored abc transcriptions can be
      easily edited, searched and indexed with standard text-oriented
      utilities. Because abc piggybacks on the text-based infrastructure of
      our literate society we can be sure that the abc we write today will
      still be intelligible hundreds of years from now (assuming of course
      that there is still anyone around to read it).

      Further qualities of abc that argue for its continued use (some of
      which have already been noted in earlier posts) are:

      * abc provides a natural, readable translation of traditional music
      notation. The correspondence between the graphic elements used to
      portray a score via "dots" and the symbols chosen in abc to correspond
      to these elements is direct and intuitive. A musical bar is represented
      by a character that looks like a bar; there are very few, if any,
      arbitrary choices of characters to represent a musical idea in abc.
      Anyone who can read standard musical notation and is comfortable with
      the naming of pitches with alphabetic characters can immediately grasp
      the correspondence. It is even reported to be possible, with practice,
      to be able to visually apprehend a written-out abc transcription to the
      point of being able to directly play off the music it represents
      (though probably few individuals are likely to ever get that
      practiced!).

      * abc is concise. The critical information about a tune setting is
      noted immediately, in just a few lines. The details of an actual line
      of music can be captured with extreme economy, in mere seconds.

      * abc is capable. As the idea of abc has grown and spread over the last
      thirty-odd years, ever-more-refined ideas have been worked into the
      basic concept, to the point where (as is attested to by the
      correspondence on this list) notational challenges that it was surely
      never dreamed that abc might ever need to meet have been incorporated
      into the understood range of the notation. Another way of putting this
      is to say that abc is extensible, capable of growing to meet
      newly-perceived needs.

      * This is possible only because abc is an open notation — no-one owns
      abc. Any user can do whatever he or she wishes with the notation; the
      only test of what modifications or additions to the understanding of
      abc may occur is public acceptance.

      * abc has been accepted. Unlike other music notation systems that have
      never gained more than local, marginal use, there is at this point no
      question about whether abc will take a permanent place in the set of
      notational tools our society uses to store and carry forward our
      accumulated cultural heritage. No longer just the parochial plaything
      of a small community of enthusiasts, abc has become widely enough known
      and used to serve as the basis for major public projects that would
      never have been undertaken without its availability, and it is becoming
      increasingly important for anyone involved with the distribution of
      bodies of transcribed music (especially copyright-free bodies of music)
      to pay attention to abc.

      * abc is supported. As others posting here have noted, there is a very
      wide range of excellent software utilities available to anyone wishing
      to work with abc transcriptions, in almost any current operating system
      environment. This has been true for a long time, of course, but the
      fact that vigorous development in this respect continues and that
      support for the abc user has been extended to at least one open
      internet utility is highly significant. It is really inconceivable at
      this point that abc will be left an "orphan", as has happened to so
      many other beautiful schemes that have appeared to great fanfare, only
      to fade away again, over the several decades now since the computer
      revolution started shaking our society.

      In short, it appears that you can at this point safely put at least a
      reasonable number of your eggs into the abc basket.

      /RWWT
    • jcolburn@soltec.net
      ... Oh, I do. When I learn a tune, I often take it down in ABC as I m listening to it, then, when I have my instruments handy, work it up off the ABC. Jerome
      Message 2 of 14 , Mar 28, 2007
        Quoting RWW Taylor <rwwt@...>:

        > It is even reported to be possible, with practice,
        > to be able to visually apprehend a written-out abc transcription to the
        > point of being able to directly play off the music it represents
        > (though probably few individuals are likely to ever get that
        > practiced!).

        Oh, I do. When I learn a tune, I often take it down in ABC as I'm listening to
        it, then, when I have my instruments handy, work it up off the ABC.

        Jerome Colburn
        jcolburn at soltec dot net
      • Gary Lawrence Murphy
        Somthing that may not be totally obvious but is nonetheless important, abc, being text tokens, is easily open to analysis through common text-processing tools
        Message 3 of 14 , Apr 6, 2007
          Somthing that may not be totally obvious but is nonetheless important,
          abc, being text tokens, is easily open to analysis through common
          text-processing tools (you don't have to be an expert MIDI-protocol
          programmer to write abc analysis or abc generator software) and can
          be stored, searched and retreived with common database tools.

          just try putting your MIDI or Cakewalk files into a spreadsheet :)

          --
          Gary Lawrence Murphy <garym at teledyn.com> =============================
          www.teledyn.com - blog.teledyn.com - justus.teledyn.com - sbp.teledyn.com
          ======================= The present moment is a powerful goddess (Goethe)
        • Jim C
          I ve been trying out ABCEdit and I like it much better now that it types out what I type in. I do have another question. When I press F1, it plays the tune
          Message 4 of 14 , Apr 6, 2007
            I've been trying out ABCEdit and I like it much better now that it types
            out what I type in. I do have another question. When I press F1, it
            plays the tune and I can play along with it, but it stops after one time
            through the tune. How can I get it to repeat so I can practice with it
            and not go to a jam and stop once through the tune to press the F1 key?


            Here is FLowers of Edinburgh


            X: 48
            T:Flowers of Edinburgh
            R:Reel
            O:Scotland
            O:Ireland
            M:2/4
            L:1/16
            K:G
            "G"GE|D2DE G2GA|BGBd cBAG|"D7"FGFE DEFG|ABAF E2GE|
            "G"D2DE G2GA|"G"BABd "C"efge|"D7"dcBA GFGA|"G"B2G2 G2:|
            |:"G"Bd|"G"g2gf gbag|"D7"f2fe fagf|"C"edef gfed|"Em"B2e2 e2ge|
            "G"dBGB d2dd|"C"edef "Am"g2fe|"D7"dcBA GFGA|"G"B2G2 G2:|
          • Phil Taylor
            ... I know that abcEdit uses abc2midi to generate a midi file, but I don t know what program it uses to play that file. That s where you need a loop setting
            Message 5 of 14 , Apr 6, 2007
              On 6 Apr 2007, at 16:24, Jim C wrote:

              >
              > I've been trying out ABCEdit and I like it much better now that it
              > types
              > out what I type in. I do have another question. When I press F1,
              > it
              > plays the tune and I can play along with it, but it stops after one
              > time
              > through the tune. How can I get it to repeat so I can practice with it
              > and not go to a jam and stop once through the tune to press the F1 key?

              I know that abcEdit uses abc2midi to generate a midi file, but I don't
              know what program it uses to play that file. That's where you need a
              loop setting to make the tune repeat easily. Another option might be
              to use the Part fields to specify a repeating playing order like this:

              X: 48
              T:Flowers of Edinburgh
              R:Reel
              O:Scotland
              O:Ireland
              M:2/4
              L:1/16
              P:A16 % Play it 16 times!
              K:G
              P:A
              "G"GE|D2DE G2GA|BGBd cBAG|"D7"FGFE DEFG|ABAF E2GE|
              "G"D2DE G2GA|"G"BABd "C"efge|"D7"dcBA GFGA|"G"B2G2 G2:|
              |:"G"Bd|"G"g2gf gbag|"D7"f2fe fagf|"C"edef gfed|"Em"B2e2 e2ge|
              "G"dBGB d2dd|"C"edef "Am"g2fe|"D7"dcBA GFGA|"G"B2G2 G2:|


              Phil Taylor
            • John Chambers
              Actually, this is the main reason that my ABC Tune Finder site only deals with ABC so far. It s the only online music format I ve found that 1) has enough
              Message 6 of 14 , Apr 6, 2007
                Actually, this is the main reason that my ABC Tune Finder site only deals with
                ABC so far.  It's the only online music format I've found that 1) has enough music
                available to be worth the effort of programming, and 2) can be parsed easily
                without a huge effort.  I've looked around for other usable formats.  I've considered
                adding Lilypond and Rosegarden to the list, because they both have published
                syntaxes that don't look to horrible.  But so far, neither seems to have enough
                music online to be worth the effort (more than for ABC) to write the parser. And
                getting converters to all the formats that I currently deliver is also questionable.
                Similarly, neither of the XML music encodings seems yet to be in use enough
                to make the effort worthwhile.

                Of course, this is just a comment from one programmer writing one package
                that a few people find useful.  Others' mileage could vary a lot.  And some people
                do seem to find the fancy proprietary encodings worthwhile for their own uses.
                They just aren't very useful if you want to share your music with others or write
                your own software to do something with the music.

                On 4/6/07, Gary Lawrence Murphy <garym@...> wrote:

                Somthing that may not be totally obvious but is nonetheless important,
                abc, being text tokens, is easily open to analysis through common
                text-processing tools (you don't have to be an expert MIDI-protocol
                programmer to write abc analysis or abc generator software) and can
                be stored, searched and retreived with common database tools.

                just try putting your MIDI or Cakewalk files into a spreadsheet :)

                --
                Gary Lawrence Murphy <garym at teledyn.com> =============================
                www.teledyn.com - blog.teledyn.com - justus.teledyn.com - sbp.teledyn.com
                ======================= The present moment is a powerful goddess (Goethe)

              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.