What’s the most suitable notation software for trad music

What’s the most suitable notation software for trad music

Hi All!

I’m about to start putting a book of tunes together for my local branch of Comhaltas. I have been using MuseScore up to now to print out tunes, which I have found mighty, to be fair.

The only problem is that if I want to put multiple scores, as in multiple tunes, on one page, with a title on each tune, MuseScore can’t help 🙁 .

It was grand out up until now, as I was only looking for one page at a time, and physically stuck one score on the page underneath another and photocopied them, but that’d be no good if a the printers want pdf’s when they’re putting the book together.

The question is, does anyone know of software which can support multiple scores on one page? What trad-friendly software is out there?

Thanks a million in advance for all the help!
Go raibh míle!
Con

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Re: What’s the most suitable notation software for trad music

EasyABC can output multiple tunes per page as a PDF.

For a book, they might have particular needs for formatting? There might be other programs better suited for that.

Re: What’s the most suitable notation software for trad music

The workaround I use in Musescore is to add line spaces to the title and staff spacers to create a gap for the second, third… titles to fit. The title does get in the way for editing so worth leaving as the last task. Hope that helps…

Re: What’s the most suitable notation software for trad music

The way I do it, is to have MuseScore output each tune as an individual PDF file. Then I import them into Photoshop, create a new blank page, select and copy the PDF images into the new page. That lets me resize and arrange the tunes as needed. Then I save that page out as a new PDF containing both tunes.

If you don’t have Photoshop, any decent image editor like the free GIMP editor should be able to do this.

Re: What’s the most suitable notation software for trad music

I do Musescore —> export to xml —> convert in EasyABC —> go to mandolintabs and you have a whole tunebook.

Re: What’s the most suitable notation software for trad music

Because I do a lot of multi-instrument scoring, I’m using Sibelius (Ultimate). With that program, having multiple scores per page is straightforward. I’m assuming that’s not possible in Musescore.
Could you save all the individual scores as pdfs and then use a pdf writer to combine them? The last book I did I put together as a single pdf in Preview (on a Mac) from individual pdfs of the text and scores.

Re: What’s the most suitable notation software for trad music

You can do what the OP wants in Musescore by inserting a section break at the end of the first piece, then adding a text box for the second title, composer etc.

Re: What’s the most suitable notation software for trad music

It’s very simple in Lilypond, the powerful open source engraving tool. There’s a longish learning curve, but you will be up and engraving jigs and reels very quickly. There’s a mighty helpful user mailing list for the Lilypond community also. It can handle vastly large and complex scores including symphonic ones of hundreds of pages. Not for everyone, but more than capable of what you need. Fully extensible with the Scheme programming language if required, so there are no limitations. Your investment of time learning Lilypond would be more than repaid in the long run. There is a GUI for development called Frescobaldi, also open source. Lilypond is a text based programming language, so it’s not mouse based note entry like the others. But this is a much more powerful way of specifying music precisely.

Re: What’s the most suitable notation software for trad music

Here’s a fair example of a three-tune set with two tunes on the left page and the last tune on the right (facing) page with a gutter for hole-punching. Because abc notation is text, I have the luxury of unix shells script adding all of the separators and page format stuff. I use EasyABC but I’m not pushing either abc notation or EasyABC with this example but rather pointing out there are methods for getting the format you want and they probably exist in any of the editors. I have included the EasyABC header so that the additional tune titles are sized correctly. If you’re doing a whole book, it can get very messy keeping everything correct while printing double-sided.

I:abc-charset utf-8
%%titlefont Times-Bold 18
%%subtitlefont Times-Bold 16
%%gchordfont Times-Bold 14
%%composerfont Times-Italic 16
%%notationfont Times-Bold 16
%%annotationfont Times-Bold 16
%%textfont Times-Italic 16
%%infofont Times-Italic 16
%%partsfont Times-Bold 14
%%printtempo 0
%%printparts 1
%%partsbox 1
%%bstemdown 1
%%withxrefs 1
%%pageheight 28cm
%%pagewidth 21cm
%%%staffsep .01
%%topspace 0
%%botspace1.5cm
%%notespacingfactor 1
%%stretchlast 0
%%titleformat T, R-1 A-1 C1
%%%leftmargin 2cm
%%%rightmargin 2cm
%%footer "Page $P"
%%pageheight 11in
%%pagewidth 8.5in
%%scale 0.7
%%
Q:160
X:2
T:George White’s Favorite, The Merry Blacksmith, The Donegal Reel
%%leftmargin 1.5cm % RIGHT GUTTER
%%rightmargin 2.5cm % RIGHT GUTTER
T:_______________________
T:George White’s Favorite
A:My Set
R:Reel
L:1/8
M:4/4
K:D
P:A
"Em" eBBB eBdB|"D" AGAB "G" GEDE|"G" GBBB dBBB|"Em" eBdB "D" A2 Bd |
"Em" eBBB eBdB|"D" AGAB "G" GEDE|"G" GABd "C" gedB|1"D" AGAB "G"G2 Bd :|2"D" AGAB "G"G4 ||
P:B
|:"G" gede "Am" gaba|"Bm" gfga "C" gedB|"G" dega "Em" b2 ag|"C" eaag "D" a2 ga |
"Em" bgeg "D" d2 eg|"C" gede gaba|"G" gfga "C" gedB|1"D" AGAB "G"G4 :|2"D" AGAB "G"G2 Bd ||
%%leftmargin 1.5cm % RIGHT GUTTER
%%rightmargin 2.5cm % RIGHT GUTTER
T:____________________
T:Merry Blacksmith, The
R:Reel
O:Ireland
M:4/4
L:1/8
K:D
P:A
"D" d2 dA "A" BAFA | "D" ABdA "A" BAFA | "D" ABde f2 ed | "G" Beed "A" egfe |
"D" dcdA "A" BAFA | "D" ABdA "A" BAFA | "D" ABde "G" fdec |1 "A" dBAF "D" D2 AB :|2 "A" dBAF "D" D2 ||
P:B
|: fg | "D" a2 ag "(A)" f2 fe | "D" d2 dA "A" BAFA | "D" ABde f2 ed | "G" Beed "A" egfe |
"D" abag "(A)" fgfe | "D" dcdA "A" BAFA | "D" ABde "G" fdec | "A" dBAF "D" D2 |
%%newpage
%%leftmargin 2.5cm % LEFT GUTTER
%%rightmargin 1.5cm % LEFT GUTTER
T:________________
T:Donegal Reel, The
R:Reel
M:4/4
K:D
P:A
"D"D2DEF2 FA|"Bm"dFEF BFAF|"Em"E2EF G2 GA|"G"BdAF GFEF|
"D"D2DE F2FA|"Bm"BFEF AB"G"de|"D"f2 fe "D"dBAG|"D"FD"A"EA "D"D4 :|]
P:B
|:"D"defg afdf|afdf a2 gf | "Em"edef gfed | "A(or G)"(3cde ef g2fe|
"D"defg afdf|afdf a2 ag|"G"fdec "Em"dBAG|"A"(3FGA EF "D"D4 :|
%%newpage

Re: What’s the most suitable notation software for trad music

Lillypond is not a million miles away from ABC. They both use text files as entry and the file structure and size of both are pretty similar. Methods of stating pitch and note length are quite different.

A year or so ago I learned Lillypond with another correspondent on Mudcat. It was interesting but in the long run I have done far more with ABC than Lillypond. As a resource for folk music ABC is unbeatable. There are thousands of tunes in ABC format online.

Lillypond claims high typesetting qualities. Maybe because I was doing folk tunes this quality didn’t show itself. I used Frecobaldi for Lillypond and EasyABC for ABC. Both are free.

There’s nothing wrong with either but there are more tunes in ABC format online than any other. If I want to notate music I use Musescore. It’s the closest thing to writing notation by hand apart from Sibelius. However Musescore is free. Sibelius is definitely not.

Musescore can export a music.xml file and that file can be imported to EasyAbc and then saved as an .abc file.

ABC can definitely do a song book but also Musescore can export .pdf files. There are several free PDF editors that can combine individual PDF files into one combined file so that may be your simplest route without having to learn ABC or Lillypond.

Re: What’s the most suitable notation software for trad music

Con, which version of MuseScore are you using. It looks like MarkM is on the right track. MuseScore has an album feature which works the way he has in his reply. I’m all about abc, as are most others here, but if you have tunes in musescore it’s worth learning how to join/print a page of tunes, etc.

Cheers,
AB

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Re: What’s the most suitable notation software for trad music

G’day Con.
Yes…, it is easily done with MuseScore. No muckin’ around at all. And, it is very tidy.
I’ve got many pages of ITM dots that I have written out, at 4 complete tunes, with titles, per page.
Shoot me a PM and I can head you in the right direction.
Pete.

Re: What’s the most suitable notation software for trad music

Ooops, we crossed there AB.

Re: What’s the most suitable notation software for trad music

Not really, Peter. I don’t know Jack about MuSco. Just browsing their forum’s queries, the replies & the tutorial online. You actually have the experience. I’m playing the part (on TV). ;

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Re: What’s the most suitable notation software for trad music

I use MuseScore for our ceilidh band. It’s free, easy to learn, has quite a few bells and whistles, and a large library of sheet music.

Re: What’s the most suitable notation software for trad music

I’ve been outside working, and thinking. So….
Further to my last post, I found that the procedures included in the MuseScore programme for breaking up the page, were terribly inflexible, so I found a "work around" that is eminently usable.
I’m just not sure that I should write the whole lot up on a post here though.

Re: What’s the most suitable notation software for trad music

More regarding Lilypond, although I use programs like EasyABC for ITM, Lilypond is designed for high end publication, and has deep facilities for making books, and page layout as you desire, and can be integrated with TeX for publication, and used for all musical engraving tasks from tiny to vast. It’s available for Windows and Linux, and Mac (although the latter has become somewhat uncertain with Apple dropping 32 bit support and their restrictive licencing, not compatible with many open source program developments).

Compared to Lilypond, Musescore is terribly limited in its capabilities, and although you can push it, Lilypond is a far more responsive and fluent environment. You don’t need a mouse to set music. This is not bashing Musescore, everybody will acknowledge this. It’s a simplified tool for common musical work, and does just fine for lots of people. The recent release is a lot better than it used to be two or three years ago (where for example you could not enter triple dotting.)

Lilypond has enormously powerful heuristic layout engines, producing glorious scores straight up for complex music, without requiring a lot of tweaking. This is of course not visible in simple jigs and reels of one melodic line.

If you want to transmit ITM, use ABC notation of course. If you want to make books of scores, Lilypond is certainly an excellent choice. As a software community goes, it has the most helpful and considerate group of experts on the user and development mailing lists, so you are never on your own.

[There is an ABC to lilypond import tool, but it is rather languishing I am afraid, and it’s quicker to type in simple jigs.]

Here’s the website:

http://lilypond.org/

Re: What’s the most suitable notation software for trad music

If you already have the tunes in ABC:
http://www.mandolintab.net/abcconverter.php

I’ve used it with great success, pasted a whole album (say, 13 sets with a couple of tunes each) and got a really nice pdf.

Re: What’s the most suitable notation software for trad music

Thanks a million for all the suggestions. I’ve plenty ideas to be playing around with now. Ye’re a great bunch altogether!

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Re: What’s the most suitable notation software for trad music

Does anyone know if EasyABC is 32 bit or 64 bit? The latest MacOS updates will prevent any 32 bit applications from even running at all.

Re: What’s the most suitable notation software for trad music

Not sure that’s absolutely the case, Mudchutney.
I was able to run Sibelius 7 on 10.15.1 before upgrading to Ultimate. It was rather clunky, though.

Re: What’s the most suitable notation software for trad music

Mudchutney, I use Windows and am not experienced with Mac or it’s latest OS.
Hopefully you can find some relevant information on the following link.

"EasyABC for the Mac - Experimental 64-bit builds"

"Here you can find experimental 64 bit builds of the latest version of EasyABC and some related material. These builds should work under Macos 10.15 (Catelina) and earlier, and on most Macs sold in the last 10 years or so."
https://brsn.org.uk/easyabc/

If I have this right a build file (experimental build(s)) does not have an installer. Which I think means you unpack it from a command line.

Good luck!

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