Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Up at 3:30am (ouch), left at 4:30 to carpool with a co-worker to Logan Airport, where we caught a 6am shuttle flight to Planet New York. Did some work, then caught a return shuttle at 11am, home by 2pm. Slept for about an hour, then read while listening to Rachmoninov's Vespers (The Robert Shaw Festival Singers recording -- absolutely sublime).

7:49 pm - have practiced one hour: harp-style scales in D minor/F major, G minor/Bb major. Have found a tune from the Real Book in Bb to play during my final 1/2 hour of practicing. Also played Cello Suite 1 Prelude (Bach) for about 2o minutes, then practiced my new arrangement of Father Fielding's Favorite (out of O'Neils).

I have discovered a music notation program that is far superior in terms of output quality, to any other software (certainly free software) I have thus far used. It is called LilyPond, and it works by reading text files in its own text-based markup format and producing PDF, PNG, even MIDI files.

Here is an example of my DADGAD Cello Suite 1 Prelude transcription rendered in LilyPond:

Just gorgeous. The source for this part looks like:

\version "2.10.29"
\header {
title = "Cello Suite no. 1 - Prelude"
composer = "J.S. Bach (Arr. Astolfi)"
}
notes = {
% uncomment the temp indication when layout engine is fixed
% \tempo 4=80
\key d \major
\relative c' { d16 a'\3 fis' e fis a,\3 fis' a,\3 }
\relative c' { d16 a'\3 fis' e fis a,\3 fis' a,\3 }
\relative c' { d16 b'\3 g' fis g b,\3 g' b,\3 }
\relative c' { d16 b'\3 g' fis g b,\3 g' b,\3 }
\relative c' { d16 cis'\3 g' fis g cis,\3 g' cis,\3 }
\relative c' { d16 cis'\3 g' fis g cis,\3 g' cis,\3 }
\relative c' { d16 d'\2 fis e fis d\2 fis d\2 }
\relative c' { d16 d'\2 fis e fis d\2 fis cis }
\relative c' { d16 b'\3 fis' e fis d cis d }
\relative c' { b'16\3 d cis d fis, a gis\4 fis\5 }
\relative c' { gis'16\4 d' e\3 d e\3 d e\3 d }
\relative c' { gis'16\4 d' e\3 d e\3 d e\3 d }
\relative c' { cis'16\3 e\2 a gis a e\2 d e\2 cis\3 e\2 d e\2 a,\4 cis\3 b\4 a }
\relative c' { b16\5 fis'\4 d' cis d fis,\4 d' fis,\4 }
\relative c' { b16\5 fis'\4 d' cis d fis,\4 d' fis,\4 }
\relative c' { b16\5 gis' a b\3 a gis fis e d' cis b\3 a' gis fis e\2 d\2 }
\relative c' { cis'16\3 b\3 a a' e\2 a cis,\3 e\2 a,\4 b\4 cis\3 e\2 d cis\3 b\4 a }
}
\score {
\new StaffGroup << \new Staff << \override Staff.VerticalAxisGroup #'minimum-Y-extent = #'(-10 . 10) { \notes } >>
\new TabStaff << \set TabStaff.stringTunings = #'(+14 +9 +7 +2 -3 -10) { \notes } >>
>>
\layout {}
\midi {}
}

Go download it and play around with it!

In my (non-)abundant spare time, I have created a simple web-based front end for LilyPond which I hope to expand upon in the future. I am working with a friend to get that online - I'll repost here when/if that happens.

2 comments:

Ben said...

Let me know when you want to get this going, I forget exactly what I have to do or if you still have FTP access...

How To Guitar Tune said...

I really wish that I could read guitar music, but I can't. I understand that value of guitar tabs, but knowing music is probably what really separates the men from the boys.