submitting tunes

submitting tunes

hi all,
it’s been a while since I opened a discussion so I figured I’ve got something now that people might be able to help me with.

I tried to submit a tune (several times over the past months) but I can’t because I don’t know the ABC notation of the tune. To me this whole ABC notation thing doesn’t make any sense but I think it’s a bit strange you can’t submit a tune if you can’t fill in the ABC notation.

It’s not that I’ve got loads of tunes to submit but there’s this one tune which isn’t (as far as I’ve heard) a tune that many people know off or play and I thought it might be nice to submit it but I can’t because I can’t do the ABC notation.

Can anyone help me on this?
Like; how can I submit without filling in the ABC notation or who can put this tune into ABC notation?

Thanks in advance,

Re: submitting tunes

I have software which converts ABC notation into standard notation. If there was a program that could do it the other way around, that would be a help to you (and me). Does anyone know of such a program?

Unfortunately, I haven’t mastered writing out the ABC yet, either, although it’s mostly laziness on my part.


Re: submitting tunes

ABC really isn’t that hard. It only takes about five or ten minutes to "get" it.

Basically, you write out the notes with letters. Uppercase for the lower octave and lowercase for the higher octave. This is low C going to high c:


If a note needs to be played twice as long, put a 2 after it. If it needs to be played 3 times as long, put a 3 after it:

AB2 c3

Separate bars with the vertical "pipe" symbol:

jigs: ABc def|gab agf|

reels: DEFG ABcd|efga bagf|

Use a colon to show the two dots that indicate a repeat:

|:ABc def|gab agf:|

That’s pretty much it.

The best way to learn it is just to have some fun with some ABC software (and you should always test your tunes in some software before submitting). You can find some useful links here:

Re: submitting tunes

What about quarter notes and sixteenth notes?

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Re: submitting tunes

I don’t know whether there is anything out there which will convert directly from sound (a WAV file) to ABC, but it can be done in two stages.

An application such as Intelliscore Polyphonic ( will take a sound file (WAV format) or sound direct from a microphone and convert it into a MIDI file; and B Parkin’s MID2ABC.exe v.2.00.02 will convert a MIDI file into ABC format.

However, be warned. Intelliscore Polyphonic, although good, is not always an easy program to use. It is quite literal in its interpratation and will convert unwanted sounds into MIDI - if printed out in piano score the result could look as if a gang of chimps have been let loose on a Steinway! So, to use it for ITM tunes you’ve got to try to play as cleanly as possible with a single instrument, and in strict time, in quiet surroundings.

BTW, I’d like to know if there is a WAV-MIDI converter that may be more suitable for ITM.

Having constructed your ABC file, and before submitting to the Tunes section, always play it through both at normal speed and at half-speed with something like ABCMUS20 (one of the best around), so that you can catch any mistakes - one of the commonest of which is getting a note in the wrong octave.

Before you start work on an ABC file read through carefully the help files in ABCMUS20 - they are quite good, and, in the Tunes section, look at a few tunes and compare the sheetmusic with the corresponding ABCs, so that you can see how ABC works.

Best of luck!


Re: submitting tunes

I agree that it’s not too difficult, Jeremy, and I already understand the basics. I just haven’t taken the plunge yet. You’re right when you say that the best way to learn is just to play around a bit before submitting a tune.

Avery, I find the thought of submitting tunes with lots of semi demi quavers etc tunes first, 🙂

Re: submitting tunes

Jeremy, I like your jig snippet! What comes next?

Re: submitting tunes

..gBe fAd|eag edc with 2#s…

Re: submitting tunes

Alternatively, Leenke, you could email a tune in staff notation to me (or someone else who has submitted tunes before, if they are willing) and I could write out the abc for you. That might give you a better idea of how it works.

Re: submitting tunes

Thanks for all the help. The problem is that I only have the tune on sheetmusic so I don’t even know what key it’s in 😉

But I’ll sent an email to david (once I’ve scanned it) and maybe he’ll be kind enough to put "la Bruxa" onhere (this tune can be found on a Solas album)

Re: submitting tunes

I’m trying to submit a tune, but how do you do sixteenth notes with the ABC format?

Re: submitting tunes

I am completely lost….do you have to submit a tune in the ABC format or can you just leave it out?

Re: submitting tunes

Never mind…got it!!!

Re: submitting tunes

I’m a new member … .I’d like to submit a tune. What symbol on the keyboard do I use for the bar lines, also described above as the "vertical pipe symbol?" I’m trying to trouble-shoot — I tried to submit, and I got the message "this doesn’t look like ABC notation." The only thing I can think is that I have that wrong — I understand how to type in the notes. Thanks!

Re: submitting tunes

whistlecat, do yourself a favor and *before* you post here, send your abcs to some kind member here to troubleshoot for you. I’ll edit it for you, if you’d like, and explain what needed fixing. PM me through my profile (click on my screen name at the end of this post).

The bar lines are the vertical line/slash key directly above the enter key on the right of your keyboard. Hold shift to get the vertical line.

You should also check your abcs with a converter *before* you post them here. I usually use the abc convert-a-matic over at There you can listen to a midi of your abcs and check the standard notation before pasting your tune here.

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Re: submitting tunes

A Bruxa
February 4th 2005 by gian marco.
This is one submission of the tune in question. Alternate versions & variations may be added in the tune comments.

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