is not unique in making music notation: there are a lot of programs that print music, and nowadays most of the newly printed music is made with computers. Unfortunately, that also shows: just ask any musician that plays classical music: new scores do not look as nice as old ones.
What is the difference between hand-work and machine work, and what has caused it? How can we improve the situation? This essay explains problems in music notation (software), and our approach to solving them.
Â· Automatic spacing, line breaking and page breaking.
Â· Handling of polyphonic collisions for notes, dots, and rests.
Â· Automatic placement of accidentals, beams, slurs, ties, based on optimal scoring algorithms.
Â· Users don't need typographical expertise to produce excellent notation.
Â· No user interaction necessary during running. Running the program can be automated which is convenient for mass converting databases of digitized music and printing algorithmic compositions.
Â· The Feta font has been tailored especially for LilyPond, and was designed carefully mimicking the finest hand-engraved scores. It is available as a scalable font, but also as a Metafont.
Â· Accidental cautionaries and suggestions, classic and modern styles
Â· Arpeggio signs
Â· Balloon texts (teaching)
Â· Blanking arbitrary notation elements (teaching)
Â· Chord names, in English, French or Italian
Â· Cluster notation and rhythmic grouping signs
Â· Coloring of arbitrary notation elements
Â· Cross staff beaming
Â· Cue-notes (automatic)
Â· Dashed or dotted bar lines
Â· Drum notation
Â· EasyNotation note heads
Â· Falls and doits
Â· Feathered beams
Â· Figured bass
Â· Fingerings, including guitar right-hand fingering
Â· Fret diagrams
Â· Grace notes, acciaccatura and appoggiatura
Â· Hairpin crescendi and decrescendi, also with circled tips (al niente)
Â· Laissez vibrer ties
Â· Ledger lines, including automatic shortening for tight spacing
Â· Lyric extenders, hyphens, melismata
Â· Measure repeats ("Percent style")
Â· Mensural notation
Â· Metronome markings
Â· Nested analysis brackets
Â· Orchestral scores with automatic part combining
Â· Ornaments; mordents, pralls and combinations thereof
Â· Ottava brackets (octaviation)
Â· Part extraction: see Orchestral scores
Â· Piano pedals
Â· Polymetric notation
Â· Proportional notation
Â· Quarter tone accidentals
Â· Quoting of other music fragments, including transposing
Â· Separator slashes between systems
Â· Shaped note heads
Â· Starting and stopping staves anywhere
Â· Staves, tunable number of staff lines, individual positioning of staff lines
Â· String numbering, also on chords
Â· System separators
Â· Tablature notation
Â· Tie formatting for chords
Â· Tremolos, both for single notes and chords
Â· Trills, also running and explicit pitches
Â· Tuplets in arbitrary ratios, nested, broken with customisable endings
Â· Vertical staff spacing using a skyline algorithm
Â· For details and music samples, follow the chain of NEWS entries and have a look at the regression tests.
Â· Robust design
Â· No arbitrary limits: unlimited number of staves, voices, measures, lengths of texts, etc.
Â· Pluggable output backend: output in EPS, PDF, PNG, PostScript, MIDI, SVG.
Â· Lyrics in any language.
Â· Text-based input with versatile music language.
Â· Programmable and extensible with built-in LISP interpreter.