Friday, March 06, 2009


I think that many things would be easier to learn if the tutorials were written by true beginners.

Example: I started trying to learn ABC for creating graphics of music snippets several years ago, collected a ream of instructions, got bogged down in the details, and gave it up to go on to something else. Yesterday, Michael blogged about creating his first ABC project, and eureka, I knew just enough to start.

Here's my first project. Well, really my second, because I had to do it twice after I lost my first file when ABCedit timed out because I hadn't fed it the (free) license code in time. Oh, well. You know what they say about practice.

This is my current etude bugaboo. Maybe I'll write more about it later, and scare off the last remaining readers of my sporadic-in-2009 blog.

(BTW, that took about two hours. Can I count it as practice time this week?)


Maricello said...

Thanks for posting this. I also looked at Micheal's blog, and now have the answer to my question--is there some easy way of converting already-written-in-ABC music from treble (violin) to bass clef?

A lot of fiddle music is available in ABC, but useless to me unless I want to play thumb position (I don't) or transpose on the fly (I try, but it can get confusing).

His example is helpful, and yours is very impressive.

Gottagopractice said...

I'm hardly an expert after two hours, but it appears to me that the process reuires some manual labor, but is not too difficult.

First, either change the statement in the header clef=treble to clef=bass, or add the statement V:1 clef=bass. That's how hard it is to change clefs, since notes are coded as letter names.

However, you will want to bring the notes down by one or two octaves, and that requires going through the body and manually changing each note code. To bring it down one octave, for instance, c becomes C/ C becomes C, /and C, becomes C,, (the slashes substitute for commas in that sentence, and aren't part of the code). Just avoid changing any markups between the notes.

I'll bet once you get going it goes by pretty fast. ABCedit, the free editing program Michael linked to, provides a decent interface for changing the code, with a wisiwig display so you can make immediate corrections, plus ability to make pdfs and midi files, which means you can also play the file within the program. Sweet.

Gottagopractice said...

No, wait! I found an easier way. Change the header line to V:1 clef=bass middle=d transpose=-24. That brings the displayed notes down two octaves. You can probably figure out how to modify that to transpose only one active (an exercise left to the reader <g>). I found that hint in the fiddle forum, and it works in ABCedit.

cgda said...

I'm glad to see my simple example was helpful. I try to make abstract settings concrete Your exercise was most impressive. I still have a ways to go with ABCEdit as well.

I'd love to know how to put the fingering notation up there as well. Your example was beautifully set, and I do know what you mean about "should it count as practice".