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Author Topic: "Song of the Shield Wall" (my first attempt at ABC)  (Read 2550 times)

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The Blues Viking

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"Song of the Shield Wall" (my first attempt at ABC)
« on: November 28, 2014, 01:53:00 AM »

I'm not entirely sure this is the right place to put this - admin please feel free to move it (but you hardly need my permission).

I've been looking at ABC notation for a while and decided to take a crack at it when I went looking for the ABC for a tune I knew but had never tried on the melodeon, and couldn't find it anywhere. So I had a go at transcribing it from the dots, then when I realized that the tune as written differed somewhat from what I knew, I went ahead and transcribed what I knew. Please let me know if I've made any mistakes.

This is the version transcribed from standard notation:

X:1
T:Song of the Shield Wall
C:Debra Doyle and Milissa Williamson (Malkin Grey and Peregrynne Windrider)
Z:ABC transcripition by The Blues Viking
Q:240
M:4/4
L:1/8
K:Am
A2 EA A2 A2|G2 DG G2 G2|A2 EA A2 GA|B2 AG A3 E|
E2 EE E2 DC|D2 DD D2 CB,|C2 CC C2 B,A,|B,2 A,G, A,4|
A,2 A,B, C2 CD|E2 DC E2 E2|E2 E^F G2 FE|G2 ^FE A3 A|
A2 AB c2 BA|G2 AB A2 E2|c2 BA B2 AG|E2 GB A4|]
%
W: This song is popular in the Society for Creative Anachronism, and was transcribed from standard music notation.

This is the version transcribed from my own memory (with the help of my trusty melodeon):

X:2
T:Song of the Shield Wall (Gunnbjorn Gunnarsson's version)
C:Debra Doyle and Milissa Williamson (Malkin Grey and Peregrynne Windrider)
Z:ABC transcription by The Blues Viking
Q:240
M:4/4
L:1/8
K:Em
E2 B,E E2 E2|D2 A,D D2 D2|E2 B,E E2 DE|F2 ED E3 B,|
B,2 B,B, B,2 A,G,|A,2 A,A, A,2 G,F,|G,2 G,G, G,2 F,E,|F,2 E,D, E,4
E,2 E,F, G,2 G,A,|B,2 A,G, B,2 E,2|B,2 B,^C D2 CB,|^C2 B,A, B,3 B,|
E2 EF G2 FE|B,2 EF E2 B,2|1 E2 EF G2 FE|B,2 EF E4 :|2 G2 FE F2 ED|B,2 EF E4|]
%
S:This is a popular song in the Society for Creative Anachronism.

Whether you like the song or not, please let me know if I've screwed up the ABC. Thanks.

TBV

(Edited for spelling and such)
« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 01:57:47 AM by The Blues Viking »
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TomB

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Re: "Song of the Shield Wall" (my first attempt at ABC)
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2014, 02:32:38 AM »

I don't know the tune but it displays OK in Easy ABC. You are now the official Melnet transcriber for ABC  ;)
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Re: "Song of the Shield Wall" (my first attempt at ABC)
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2014, 09:22:07 AM »


Whether you like the song or not, please let me know if I've screwed up the ABC. Thanks.

Well done! Your ABC coding is perfectly fine and with valid syntax, although there are a couple of refinements which you might want to consider.

1. You can have more than one T: field for the title. This is useful if you want to display a sub-title in slightly smaller font on a new line. So you could have the following, for example:

   X:2
   T:Song of the Shield Wall
   T:(Gunnbjorn Gunnarsson's version)


2. The Q: field for tempo is sometimes interpreted by different ABC software in different ways. One way of ensuring that the tune plays at the proper tempo is to specify the note length in the Q: field e.g:

    Q:1/4=120
This plays a tune at 120 crotchet (quarter-note) beats per minute.

    Q:1/2=96
(plays at 96 minim beats per minute)

    Q:3/8=104
(plays at 104 dotted crotchets (i.e. 3 quavers) per minute. Useful for tunes in 6/8 time, e.g jigs)

etc...

Coding the Q: field in this way also should force a correct tempo marking when printing out a PDF file which has been generated from the ABC.

3. Finally, I personally like to include a space either side of the bar-line symbol: |
It's not obligatory, and the spaces are ignored by ABC, but it looks cleaner and helps visually when coding/checking/editing, especially if the music coding is quite complex within the bar.
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Jack Campin

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Re: "Song of the Shield Wall" (my first attempt at ABC)
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2014, 12:09:39 PM »

I dislike spaces around barlines and always remove them before editing somebody else's ABC.  I fnd it much more helpful to use monospacing and align the music on the beat, like this (using your tune transposed up a fourth):

Code: [Select]
X:1
T:Song of the Shield Wall
C:Debra Doyle and Milissa Williamson (Malkin Grey and Peregrynne Windrider)
Z:ABC transcription by The Blues Viking
N:This song is popular in the Society for Creative Anachronism,
N:and was transcribed from standard music notation.
Q:1/4=120
M:4/4
L:1/8
K:DDor
  d2Ad d2d2|c2Gc c2c2|d2Ad d2cd|e2dc d3
A|A2AA A2GF|G2GG G2FE|F2FF F2ED|E2DC D4||
  D2DE F2FG|A2GF A2A2|A2AB c2BA|c2BA d3
d|d2de f2ed|c2de d2A2|f2ed e2dc|A2ce d4|]

The code attribute in the BBCode forces monospaced display.  Doing it this way, the barlines form a visually backgrounded grid so they're only as obvious as they need to be.  And the alignment makes it absolutely obvious if you've copied a note length wrong, or mistranscribed two phrases that ought to parallel each other but don't.  You can get an accurate transcription in a fraction of the time.  (For editing I use an ABC application that always displays the source monospaced).

Also: "W:" is for lyrics, "N:" is for notes.

If you specify Dorian mode in the key signature you have two less accidentals in the score and it looks cleaner.

I've rearranged the line ends so that complete phrases (including the upbeat) are on a single line, which is the way hymn writers and ethnomusicologists usually write tunes out.  This is very helpful if you later want to add aligned text.

I guess this song has words?  What's it about?
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Chris Ryall

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Re: "Song of the Shield Wall" (my first attempt at ABC)
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2014, 12:31:05 PM »

Agreed - I feel we don't use that code button enough on melnet. Other forums enforce it and it's common enough on concertina.net  :|glug
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Jack Campin

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Re: "Song of the Shield Wall" (my first attempt at ABC)
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2014, 01:10:18 PM »

And here's Blues Viking's version, also transposed.

Code: [Select]
X:2
T:Song of the Shield Wall
T:Gunnbjorn Gunnarsson's version
C:Debra Doyle and Milissa Williamson
C:(Malkin Grey and Peregrynne Windrider)
Z:ABC transcription by The Blues Viking
Q:1/4=120
M:4/4
L:1/8
K:DDor
  d2Ad d2d2|c2Gc c2c2|   d2Ad d2cd|e2dc d3
A|A2AA A2GF|G2GG G2FE|   F2FF F2ED|E2DC D4 |
  D2DE F2FG|A2GF A2D2|   A2AB c2BA|B2AG A3  \
A|d2de f2ed|
            A2de d2A2|[1 d2de f2ed|A2de d4:|\
                      [2 f2ed e2dc|A2de d4|]

Here I've used leading spaces and the line-continuation \ to keep the ABC source vertically aligned rhythmically while the generated staff notation isn't - I can spread the tadpoles out more evenly that way, five bars to a line for the second half.
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: "Song of the Shield Wall" (my first attempt at ABC)
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2014, 01:45:38 PM »

I dislike spaces around barlines and always remove them before editing somebody else's ABC.
Well there you go. I always put the spaces in before editing someone else's ABC. It's a personal preference thing.

Quote
I find it much more helpful to use monospacing and align the music on the beat...
<snip>

The code attribute in the BBCode forces monospaced display. Doing it this way, the barlines form a visually backgrounded grid so they're only as obvious as they need to be.

That's only really going to work if the various rhythmic elements in the bars are all the same length, as in TBV's examples. Once you start on music that has (for example) lots of different note lengths in different bars, your spacing is going to break down, surely? E.g how do you get the bars this snippet to align on a grid pattern without introducing a lot of spurious spacer spaces?:
L:1/8
M:4/4
K:C
| CDEF GABc | c8 | cBAG FEDC | C8 |
| c8 | cBAG FEDC | C8 | cBAG FEDC |


or, if you prefer:

Code: [Select]
L:1/8
M:4/4
K:C
| CDEF GABc | c8 | cBAG FEDC | C8 |
| c8 | cBAG FEDC | C8 | cBAG FEDC |

so to align the barlines, you'd have to do this, which in my opinion looks right messy:

Code: [Select]
L:1/8
M:4/4
K:C
| CDEF GABc | c8             | cBAG FEDC | C8            |
| c8        | cBAG FEDC      | C8        | cBAG FEDC     |


Quote
I've rearranged the line ends so that complete phrases (including the upbeat) are on a single line, which is the way hymn writers and ethnomusicologists usually write tunes out.  This is very helpful if you later want to add aligned text.
Hmm... I think it is normally bad practice to have a bar without a barline at the end and you would get penalised for it in ABRSM music theory exams. In hymn books you always see the ends of the incomplete bars nevertheless furnished with a barline even if it is incomplete. In such cases, the pickup note on the next line followed by the 'proper' barline indicates that the previous bar was rhythmically incomplete. It's like the music starts again with a pickup note just as if it were the beginning of the piece.
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Jack Campin

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Re: "Song of the Shield Wall" (my first attempt at ABC)
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2014, 02:28:35 PM »

What I would do with that example:

Code: [Select]
L:1/8
M:4/4
K:C
CDEF GABc|c8       |cBAG FEDC|C8       |
c8       |cBAG FEDC|C8       |cBAG FEDC|

Leading barlines are just notational noise, and they generate false errors in ABC software that checks bar lengths.  (John Chambers's transcriptions are riddled with bar length errors and a pain to edit because he insisted on doing that for every single tune).

Quote
I think it is normally bad practice to have a bar without a barline at the end and you would get penalised for it in ABRSM music theory exams.
ABRSM has not the slightest clue about any kind of music beyond the common-practice Western art music tradition.  For the kind of music most people use ABC for, their notational tastes are worthless.

Quote
In hymn books you always see the ends of the incomplete bars nevertheless furnished with a barline even if it is incomplete.
What you often find in older ones (like the Scottish psalters) is that phrases were enclosed in double bars, which were often incomplete at the ends - logically equivalent to the way I prefer.  ABRSM would throw a fit about that too.
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Re: "Song of the Shield Wall" (my first attempt at ABC)
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2014, 03:47:36 PM »

Having read several of Bernard Cornwall's excellent novels, The Shield Wall refers back to 8-9C ( and earlier ), methods of warfare where warring British tribes sometimes met invading Viking/Saxon tribes and battle commenced.
One army met another by each forming a Shield Wall, biggest and nastiest fighters forming the front row. A mighty 'thunk' would be heard when the two opposing sides met. It was then a case of getting a blade through into your opponent, going underneath the shield to ham-string them or simply stab up through the groin, whilst watching you head for a war axe to come crashing down whilst at the same time pushing with all your might.
Utterly barbaric, requiring absolute courage from both sides, or else exceeding applications of mead.
A thing to dread.
The winning side's war lords then often paid bards to sing about their wonderful victories under such circumstances.

Back to the abc's!
Q
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Re: "Song of the Shield Wall" (my first attempt at ABC)
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2014, 03:49:12 PM »

I've obviously missed something - Chris, what does the "#" symbol do?

Chris B.
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Re: "Song of the Shield Wall" (my first attempt at ABC)
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2014, 04:17:36 PM »

Quote
I've obviously missed something - Chris, what does the "#" symbol do?

When you are editing a reply you have a line of buttons above the smilies.  One of them is the quote button, which I just used; select the text you want to mark as quoted and push the button.  The one to the left of it, with the # symbol, works the same way, but formats the selected text in a way that was originally designed for computer code - fixed width font and uniform spacing.

Code: [Select]
I've obviously missed something - Chris, what does the "#" symbol do?
This is what you want for ABC.
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The Blues Viking

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Re: "Song of the Shield Wall" (my first attempt at ABC)
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2014, 09:49:52 PM »

I guess this song has words?  What's it about?

Lyrics are in the .pdf attached to the original post.

TBV
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The Blues Viking

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Re: "Song of the Shield Wall" (my first attempt at ABC)
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2014, 10:00:14 PM »

Thanks, everyone, for the comments and critiques. You've all been extremely helpful.

TBV
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Re: "Song of the Shield Wall" (my first attempt at ABC)
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2014, 10:04:22 PM »

Oooops, I missed the lyrics :|bl
Apologies, but interestingly .... The Vikings mentioned in the song are also featured in the Warlord chronicles from Bernard Cornwell who always bases his plots on real people from history if at all possible. There's lots of shield wall fighting in the series of books.
Q
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The Blues Viking

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Re: "Song of the Shield Wall" (my first attempt at ABC)
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2014, 10:14:10 PM »

Oooops, I missed the lyrics :|bl
Apologies, but interestingly .... The Vikings mentioned in the song are also featured in the Warlord chronicles from Bernard Cornwell who always bases his plots on real people from history if at all possible. There's lots of shield wall fighting in the series of books.
Q

Yes, I really liked those books. (Actually, I've liked all of his books that I have read.)

TBV
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Re: "Song of the Shield Wall" (my first attempt at ABC)
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2014, 10:46:19 PM »

Oh good, a fellow Cornwell enthusiast, and therefore someone who knows what I'm wittering on about!
Yes I think he's my favourite author, I just eat them up.
Q
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I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

The Blues Viking

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Re: "Song of the Shield Wall" (my first attempt at ABC)
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2014, 11:15:52 PM »

Oh good, a fellow Cornwell enthusiast, and therefore someone who knows what I'm wittering on about!
Yes I think he's my favourite author, I just eat them up.
Q

You'll get no argument from me!

TBV
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Re: "Song of the Shield Wall" (my first attempt at ABC)
« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2014, 07:26:35 AM »

What I would do with that example:

Code: [Select]
L:1/8
M:4/4
K:C
CDEF GABc|c8       |cBAG FEDC|C8       |
c8       |cBAG FEDC|C8       |cBAG FEDC|

Leading barlines are just notational noise, and they generate false errors in ABC software that checks bar lengths.  (John Chambers's transcriptions are riddled with bar length errors and a pain to edit because he insisted on doing that for every single tune).
Thanks for that. The resulting ABC still looks very odd with all the extra spaces you have had to insert simply to get your bar lines to line up vertically underneath each other. And it still wouldn't pick up whether there was a note-length error in one of the bars, e.g. if one of the c8 notes was erroneously coded as c6. The in-built bar-length error checking in popular ABC software would do that, regardless of the number of blank spaces in the bars. But if your method works for you, then that's fine.

Whenever I am transcribing music into ABC, my error checking consists of:
(i) viewing the resulting staff notation music on-screen
(ii) listening to the resulting sound of the midi playback facility which my ABC software (Barfly) has

That's usually enough to pick up most coding errors. If I am concerned about the look of printed output, e.g. if producing copy for a teaching/workshop situation, I will generate a PDF version of the staff notation to see whether items such as staff separation, tempo markings, chord symbols, associated text, etc. are all looking as they should, and I adjust any parameters as necessary.

Quote
ABRSM has not the slightest clue about any kind of music beyond the common-practice Western art music tradition.  For the kind of music most people use ABC for, their notational tastes are worthless.

Sorry, but I respectfully disagree. The kind of music most people use ABC for (and you have only to look at the vast collections of traditional music in ABC now available on-line) is 'common-practice Western art music tradition'. The music theory as covered by the ABRSM* syllabuses offers a complete and rock-firm foundation in melody, rhythm, tonality, harmony and notation which is indeed relevant to that very tradition - music which has evolved from medieval times and before, right up to the present day. 

* Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, in case anyone was wondering. It's the principal music examining board in the UK which offers structured syllabuses in both theory of music and instrumental exams from Grade 1 right through to Grade 8 and Diploma levels.
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Pete Dunk

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Re: "Song of the Shield Wall" (my first attempt at ABC)
« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2014, 11:40:26 PM »

The rules of music writing etiquette will rage forever, particularly in the contentious circle of people who use abc. I generally use different syntax to both Steve_freereeder and Jack Campin but I believe that none of us is any more right than another and until the rules of ABC are set it stone it will remain so forever. I can see logic in other people's usage, I hope they can see some in mine!
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