ubuntu and Abc notation Friendly..

ubuntu and Abc notation Friendly..

I’ve just got my old computer fixed by my son.
But its ubuntu, and seams Not, very Abc notation Friendly.
Any ideas what to use and how to get them to run on ubuntu ?
I downloaded a couple saying for ubuntu, but could understand
how to run it from the folder downloaded ?
Thanks - jim,,, F4

Re: ubuntu and Abc notation Friendly..

I’ve used ABCJ in the past on Ubuntu and it seems to work pretty well. I can’t actually find a link so I’m not sure if the software is still active.

I don’t use ABC often anymore but when I need to do minor stuff I just keep a text file and copy into this site: http://www.clivew.com/abc.php

Re: ubuntu and Abc notation Friendly..

Musescore should be supported - go to terminal and enter:
sudo apt-get install musescore

Re: ubuntu and Abc notation Friendly..

I haven’t got a clue as to how difficult this is to get working on linux but it’s certainly not going to be as trivial as the Mac or PC.

Re: ubuntu and Abc notation Friendly..

Hello Jim,

The main trouble to start with is there are a number of different programs that use abc, so you need to know which one you want in the first place!

Musescore is a general purpose music notation program that can import abc, but it’s not a general purpose abc system.

I personally only typeset music with abc, and to do so I use the abcm2ps program and a program called ps2pdf to turn the output of the first into PDF files. Although you have to learn to control these commands they’re very straightforward.

There’s also the EasyABC program which does all this for you and a lot of people like. To get this to work, you need to download the package file, which it sounds like you’ve found, and run some extra commands to get some supporting software as well.

Can you tell us what you’ve used in the past and how you’ve used it? We should be able to get you set up in the same way rather than force you to learn something new.

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Re: ubuntu and Abc notation Friendly..

Thank-You Guy’s…
For All of your Help…. I’ve tried all of the above, one link that has,
in turn, lead me to this… Haven’t tried or read up on it Yet !
Work in Progress 🙂 Best - jim,,,

Re: ubuntu and Abc notation Friendly..

Jim, I’m guessing abcjs is not what you’re looking for. That’s a code library for programmers to use to be able to incorporate ABC content inside their software projects or web pages. EasyABC might be the thing you’re looking for, but as with just about anything on linux, you need to get comfortable with package installation (and there are numerous ways to do it). EasyABC has some dependencies that need to be installed first. More information here: https://www.nilsliberg.se/ksp/easyabc/using_EasyABC_in_Linux.txt

Re: ubuntu and Abc notation Friendly..

WOW Reverend !
This is to much for this auld 63 Years old Granda, who’s wee grand-kids,
can work my Mobile, much better that I can - lol..
I’ll leave The ABC for the Trad-Musician app, on mobile.
And Ubuntu, can look after my Classical Music Interests. But thank’s Rev,
and all here, who helped me with this… My Best - jim,,,

Re: ubuntu and Abc notation Friendly..

I use Linux Mint, which is based on, or derived from, ubuntu. After a lot of trial and error I found Abcj good for single voice music and Five Line Skink for multi-voice files. I got both of these to enter, edit and play files but both are not altogether standard abc, sometimes files need editing. I eventually got EasyAbc to work all except for playback. This is by far the best program and imports and exports lots of different file formats.

I now do most of my Abc work in EasyAbc and then transfer the file to one of the other two programs if I want to listen to it.

I use Musescore for all other notation projects.

Re: ubuntu and Abc notation Friendly..

One thing I forgot to mention is the possibility of using the program called Wine. Wine lets you use Windows .exe files in Linux. I don’t know for sure but I imagine Ubuntu does have Wine. If it does, go to


and click on the link


and save the file.

Open Wine, choose

Uninstall Wine Software


and navigate to the saved file which is called ‘setup-easyabc-1.3.5.exe’ . Select that and follow the prompts.

I’ve just done it. It took less than five minutes.

Re: ubuntu and Abc notation Friendly..

I know you’re probably overwhelmed with solutions here, but one other option to try is to get lilypond, which is pretty straightforward to use from the terminal. For trivia points, it’s also what Wikipedia* uses to render ABC notation into staff music.

Installing it is fairly simple from the command line:

$ sudo apt install lilypond

If you take a download an abc file from here or elsewhere (e.g. kesh-1.abc) you just go to where it’s downloaded and do this (assuming you have a folder named Download):

$ cd ~/Download
$ abc2ly kesh-1.abc
$ lilypond kesh-1.ly

And you’re done. You will not only have a PDF rendered, but also a midi version of the piece. Another advantage of using lilypond is there are plugins for OpenOffice (And LibreOffice) that allow you to put in Lilypond format text and render your scores inside of documents without having to slap an entire PDF in there. This is actually something I am working towards as I have a songbook put together with notes, lyrics and other fun things.

I strongly suspect that it’s what the Session might be using on the backend, since you get a midi file with the abc on the download page.

Best of luck!

Re: ubuntu and Abc notation Friendly..

Hi Chris. This is very interesting. A year or so ago I conversed and explored Lillypond with someone on Mudcat. We used Frescobaldi as a gui and eventually got quite good at it. Because so much folk stuff is freely available in ABC format I have let my Lillypond skills dry out.

I tried out your commands on this ABC file

T:The Kesh Jig
S:John B. Walsh Session Tunes
|:D|"G"~G3 GAB|"D"ABA ABd|"G"edd gdd|"G"edB "D"dBA|
"G"~G3 GAB|"D"ABA ABd|"G"edd gdB|"D"AGF "G"G2:|
|:A|"G"~B3 dBd|"C"ege "G"dBG|"G"~B3 dBG|"D"ABA AGA|
"G"BAB dBd|"C"ege "G"dBd|"G"gfg "D"aga|"G"bgf g2:|

It worked but the beaming was wrong. When I opend the .ly file in Frescobalfi it looked like this

\version "2.7.40"
\header {
crossRefNumber = "1"
footnotes = ""
origin = "Ireland"
subtitle = "John B. Walsh Session Tunes"
tagline = "Lily was here 2.18.2 — automatically converted from ABC"
title = "The Kesh Jig"
voicedefault = {
\set Score.defaultBarType = ""

\time 6/8 \key g \major \repeat volta 2 { d’8 \bar "|" g’4. ^"G"^"~"
g’8 a’8 b’8 \bar "|" a’8 ^"D" b’8 a’8 a’8 b’8 d”8
\bar "|" e”8 ^"G" d”8 d”8 g”8 d”8 d”8 \bar "|" e”8
^"G" d”8 b’8 d”8 ^"D" b’8 a’8 \bar "|" g’4. ^"G"^"~"
g’8 a’8 b’8 \bar "|" a’8 ^"D" b’8 a’8 a’8 b’8 d”8
\bar "|" e”8 ^"G" d”8 d”8 g”8 d”8 b’8 \bar "|" a’8 ^"D"
g’8 fis’8 g’4 ^"G" } \repeat volta 2 { a’8 \bar "|" b’4.
^"G"^"~" d”8 b’8 d”8 \bar "|" e”8 ^"C" g”8 e”8 d”8
^"G" b’8 g’8 \bar "|" b’4. ^"G"^"~" d”8 b’8 g’8 \bar "|"
a’8 ^"D" b’8 a’8 a’8 g’8 a’8 \bar "|" b’8 ^"G" a’8
b’8 d”8 b’8 d”8 \bar "|" e”8 ^"C" g”8 e”8 d”8 ^"G"
b’8 d”8 \bar "|" g”8 ^"G" fis”8 g”8 a”8 ^"D" g”8
a”8 \bar "|" b”8 ^"G" g”8 fis”8 g”4 }


\context Staff="default"

\layout {
\midi {}

Far too much information in the notes section. Back when I was experimenting with Lillypond I got the Kesh jig down to this.

\version "2.18.2"
\header {
encodingdate = "2018-06-20"
title = "The Kesh Jig"
subtitle = " "}
\relative d’ {\key g \major \time 6/8
\repeat volta 2 {
d8 | g4.^"~"^"G" g8 a b | a ^"D" b a a b d | e ^"C" d d g^"G/B" d d | e^"Am" d b d^"D7/F#" b a \break
g4.^"~"^"G" g8 a b | a^"D" b a a b d | e^"Am" d d g^"G" d b | a^"D/F#" g fis g4^"G" } \break
\repeat volta 2 {
a8 | b4.^"~"^"Em" d8^"G" b d | e^"C" g e d^"G" b a | b4.^"~"^"Em" d8^"G" b g | a^"D7" b a a g a | \break
b^"Em" a b d^"G" b d | e^"C" g e d^"G" b d | g^"C" fis g a^"D7" g a | b^"G" g fis g4 }

This version has different chords but beams correctly. I like Lillypond and but rarely use it now. However if FIDDLE4 is OK with the command line then your system is a good way to go.

Re: ubuntu and Abc notation Friendly..

I think if Jim is OK with the command line abcm2ps would be a lot simpler! I have a lot of time for Lilypond, but personally I have spent more time getting it to work than using it.

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