Re: [linux-audio-user] Note typesetting for Linux

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Subject: Re: [linux-audio-user] Note typesetting for Linux
From: Michal Seta (
Date: Sat Jul 10 2004 - 02:07:46 EEST

Glenn McCord <> writes:

> Look, I'm a composition student and most of my work is jazz and
> orchestral related stuff. I like a tool that I can see music as I see
> music on a stave, write music as if I'm writing music on a stave, and
> have something able to play it back to me so I know what type of crazy
> sounds I've concocted. It's also a bonus to be able to hammer a midi
> keyboard and see the crazy jazz chord come up on screen.

Totally agree.

> Time is of the essence when writing.

Yes! And perhaps I'm a moron, but even after having learned all(?)
possible shortcuts for entering music, i found working with finale
sluggish. I could write faster by hand.

> Lilypond is all good and well
> when you're keen to rewrite your 12 minute full orchesral score into a
> text pad so that you can have pretty typesetted music,

Don't you want pretty music? If you don't then perhaps the orchestra
that will be playing your piece will appreciate well typeset music.
You can make pretty looking pages with Finale but how long will it

> but it's more
> practical to compose and type set it at the same time using a
> graphical tool because in the traditionl comopsitional world, music is
> written to a stave.

That's why tools like Rosegarden or Muse (no lilypond though) exist.
You can play in your music, point and click in the score or on the
pianoroll and slice and move and copy and paste and duplicate and do
all kinds of stuff to your music. You can look at it any way you want
and do with it what you want. Then, if you're using RG, pretty print
it with lilypond. I haven't seen a notation app that allows for such
mangling of the score with the ease of a sequencer.

On the other hand, composing is an art and typesetting is another
art. They don't necessarily go together. traditionnaly composers
employed copyists to do the dirty (pretty) work.

> A graphical frontend IS the easiest way to do
> it.

If it does not slow you down. Otherwise, I'd rather do it by hand.

> You see what you would see if you were composing away from the
> computer. I can't see how this can possibly be debated. Ask anyobe at
> the music school, students AND lecturers and they will share the same
> thoughts as I.

For composing, yes (providing you compose in the more or less
traditional style). For typesetting not necessarily.

I'm all for a GUI notation soft in linux! but not as cumbersome as
finale and not a toy like Sibelius. Lilypond, as someone mentioned,
has come a long way and its output beats many consummer grade
software, even industry standard ones, with default settings. Do we
need another frontend? I don't think so. There's room for
improvement in the existing ones (I guess...).


      __  __ (_)___   Michal Seta
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