LilyPond Software with TwinNote

LilyPond is a free, open-source, cross-platform music notation application known for generating high-quality musical scores.  It can now be used to create sheet music in TwinNote and translate scores from traditional notation into TwinNote.

Needless to say this is a very exciting development!

Example of music in TwinNote notation created with Lilypond

Back in March I realized that most of the code that Kevin Dalley had contributed to add alternative notation features to LilyPond had in fact been incorporated into LilyPond, and had not been sitting on the drawing board since 2007.  Using these features Kevin contributed, and LilyPond’s own built-in customizability (which just requires wrapping your head around Scheme…) I was able to get LilyPond to generate sheet music in TwinNote notation.  This includes remapping the note positions on the staff, changing the line pattern of the staff, generating and using custom note head shapes, adding extra ledger lines and double stems for half notes, etc.

Update: you can now see examples of music typeset in TwinNote using LilyPond on the Sheet Music page.

More documentation can be found on the Software page on the TwinNote site, and on the LilyPond page on the Music Notation Project Wiki.

This will pave the way for creating sheet music in TwinNote and other alternative notation systems, and all the more so because LilyPond is free, open-source, and available for anyone to experiment with and use.  Support for alternative notation systems in LilyPond has been a goal of the Music Notation Project for many years, and it is really good to see that this has become a reality.  (Maybe someday Musescore…)

Posted on by Paul Morris | Permalink.

2 thoughts on “LilyPond Software with TwinNote

  1. I think you should change the notion a little to make it more logical. The half steps between E and F and B and C cause the diatonic notes to C above E to be “flipped” making one think that they are chromatic. e.g., below E the black triangles are diatonic and above E the are chromatic.

    Instead, On F use a UPWARD triangular white note. So E has a downward white note and F has an upward white note on the same line. This means a simple C major scale is all white notes with those below F point down and those above E pointing up.

    What this means is that diatonic melodies will all be white notes in a very compact way and it also becomes easier to distinguish C D E from F G A B. Chromatic alterations are extremely obvious(black notes).

    One could use a transposing system so that the order is always the same on different tonics. e.g., for whatever key we are in the half-steps do this flip-flop. This will produce diatonic melodies, regardless of key, to have all white notes.

    • Thanks for the comment. So you are proposing keeping the positions and directions of the triangles the same, but having the notes in the current key be hollow/white and those outside the current key be solid/black. Which notes are black and white would change from key to key. That might be an interesting approach, if more complex.

      The main drawback I see is that it would make notes and intervals harder to learn and recognize because their appearance would be less consistent. I would rather have greater consistency. You just have to shift how you think about the diatonic scale, no longer as something that needs to be ‘built-in’ to the staff (as in traditional notation) or the notes (as you’re proposing) but as a particular pattern of intervals that you learn to easily recognize (see Scales). Making the interval relationships as clear as possible is the top priority, and then the diatonic scales and the rest will follow.

      Another way to put it is that whether a note is black or white is a very obvious, vivid aspect of a note, probably the most readily apparent thing about a note. Wouldn’t it be better to use this to help distinguish pitches and interval patterns than to “waste” it on just indicating accidental notes? It is already easy to tell if a note is an accidental because it would have one of TwinNote’s alternative accidental signs.

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