Publishing a tunebook

Publishing a tunebook

Hi folks,

I am currently exploring the idea of creating a tunebook to go along an upcoming album I recorded with a friend of mine and was hoping to get suggestions/tips from people who have done that. I am looking to achieve something that looks clean and professional enough, so I would love to hear from others who have done that before! Also, the option of paying someone else to do it is something I might consider.

I actually don’t read music very well myself, but I have all the tunes written in ABC format. I have musescore too but certain things are not imported properly (such as rolls), I can add symbols manually but that’s very tedious… Anyways, any suggestions would be much appreciated 🙂

Thanks everyone, keep her lit!

Re: Publishing a tunebook

It’s fairly easy producing books nowadays.

I did the scoring for a fiddle tuition book a couple of years back which we had typeset by a third party (it was quite a fancy layout). It was a bit of a guddle with me doing the scoring and the fiddler doing the text but we wanted a really professional look and employed a proofreader.

But then last year I put together a not-for-sale book for our local fiddle group. Sixty-four pages of tunes and arrangements with an introduction, contents and index, all on Sibelius or Word, converted to pdfs and combined to a single pdf before handing over to a local printer who put it all together with a colourful cover.

You need to decide how detailed you want your scores to be. Are your scores going to look like the top score or the bottom score here:

If you’re putting in a lot of ornamentation it’s worth taking the time to make it look good and be accurate. Get a friend who is a good reader to proof read your scores. I’m assuming that the tunes are yours so that there won’t be copyright issues.

Re: Publishing a tunebook

If you already have everything in abc, then the easiest solution is to pipe it through abcm2ps and spend a bit of time learning how to control its output. From there there are various approaches but the simplest solution is to produce separate documents for covers, frontmatter, and endmatter, and then combine them all together as required.

I strongly second the suggestion to have someone else proofread it. It’s very easy to become bling to mistakes, especially if you’re not a strong reader yourself.

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Re: Publishing a tunebook

«I strongly second the suggestion to have someone else proofread it. It’s very easy to become bling to mistakes»

Quite. 😉

"piping it through abcm2ps" is good advice but the phrase may not mean much to you. If it doesn’t, just use a program such as EasyABC, which will allow you to export your entire file to a PDF document with a couple of clicks.

If you want to learn about formatting commands to make it all look the way you want it to, break pages where you want, choose fonts for headings, page headers and footers, page numbers etc. you can find all that stuff in the manual you can download here:

Or just read the thing online here: