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Author Topic: ABC discussions  (Read 16461 times)

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Bill Young

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Re: ABC discussions
« Reply #40 on: June 07, 2010, 01:01:31 PM »


Does a fiddle need chords written up?  ...that's quite an interesting question in my view   ::)

No, no, what I meant was that, working from music written for the fiddle (which of course doesn't have chords), I find it a chore to have to work out my own. An awful lot of Scottish music is like this - Scott Skinner, the Gows, etc.

Simon

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Re: ABC discussions
« Reply #41 on: June 07, 2010, 01:16:37 PM »

Are the "^" and "_" prefixes part of ABC Plus?
I think I'm correct though in that ABC software will display whatever you put between those inverted commas even if its not a meaningful chord. 
Yes, they're in abcm2ps / abcplus. As long as there's no agreement on abc 2.0 I think this is more or less the standard. You're right that anything between quotes will be displayed, but without prefixes the default interpretation is chords. So it will display, but it will probably also play the chord corresponding to the initial letter in playback. And depending on the settings it might generate a guitar chord diagram.
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Anahata

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Re: ABC discussions
« Reply #42 on: June 07, 2010, 02:08:30 PM »

I don't think Anahata uses the same left hand line twice in a tune!

I used to be indecisive, but I'm not so sure now...
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Gandy

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Re: ABC discussions
« Reply #43 on: June 07, 2010, 02:22:24 PM »

Personally, I find fiddle music, and the usual anaemic ABC scores posted on this forum, a PITA without chords. I wonder how many melodeon players would actually prefer to have bass/chords shown?

I think chords are very useful as an adjunct to the tune (and a boon to beginners).

I certainly appreciate them.
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LJC

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Re: ABC discussions
« Reply #44 on: June 07, 2010, 04:49:54 PM »

I think chords written in can be really usefull for a beginner or when learning an awkward tune as it gives you a good indication of the bellows direction at that point in the music
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Anahata

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Re: ABC discussions
« Reply #45 on: June 07, 2010, 05:36:05 PM »

I think chords written in can be really usefull for a beginner or when learning an awkward tune as it gives you a good indication of the bellows direction at that point in the music

For a beginner, it might only cause extra confusion if they aren't used to crossing rows, as specifying chords ties you down to a particular way of playing.
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Chris Ryall

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Re: ABC discussions
« Reply #46 on: June 07, 2010, 05:38:25 PM »

Does a fiddle need chords written up?  ...that's quite an interesting question in my view   ::)
No, no, what I meant was that, working from music written for the fiddle (which of course doesn't have chords), I find it a chore to have to work out my own. An awful lot of Scottish music is like this - Scott Skinner, the Gows, etc.

I was being completely serious too. I've been to a few Impro courses now, and the fiddlers and trumpets (that's Christophe on horn in my pic) are amazed to learn that there are chords underlying that melody - or that the nice phrase they've just played isn't a succession of dots - that happens to sound good.

I've never found it a chore to work chords out though - but that's how my peculiar ear hears music. It's playing those notes with some 'accuracy' that's my problem (at least musically)  :|glug
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Simon

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Re: ABC discussions
« Reply #47 on: June 07, 2010, 06:08:41 PM »

I guess you don't need chords if you just play the melody. As soon as you start fiddling around (with any instrument) you need the chords, even if you don't realise it. Unless you're playing alone of course.
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cboody

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Re: ABC discussions
« Reply #48 on: June 18, 2010, 04:20:23 AM »

"I'm a bit confused with the reference to the way I write my chords as 'non standard chords/bass'. This is the way it's been done in Scotland for 60-70 years and in Old Time music for longer. Does ABC only apply to music for melodeon?
If I put Al's tune, as it's written, in front of a Scottish dance band comprising 1st and 2nd accordion, fiddle, piano, and bass, and drums, they would play it nae bother. 1st box and fiddle play the melody, piano plays the bass note and chord ie; C#a7, bass plays the C# and 2nd box plays the a7th chord. Melody is tight together and the piano adds higher notes within the chord, bass will play as written and add the odd passing note in and 2nd box will use different chord inversions to add harmony within the basic written chord.
If a piano player plays with a D/G melodeon, do they play the same limited bass and chord as that melodeon ?"

Somebody point me at instructions for this wite so I can properly do quotes!  Thanks!

abcm2ps will indeed print chords in the manner you suggest above, but they will not play back correctly in most software I know of, and they will probably confuse most software.  The standard contemporary way to indicate something like the C#a7 mentioned above is to write the same thing as A7/C#.  That translates into "A7 over a C# bass" for most of the contemporary world of folks who play by chord.  And, abc playing software should understand that correctly.  I certainly understand this is not the "Scottish" way and I respect that.  But I do think that the Scottish groups would adapt almost immediately to the contemporary way and then the issue mentioned would go away...I think!!
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cboody

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Re: ABC discussions
« Reply #49 on: June 18, 2010, 04:23:45 AM »

Quote
Somebody point me at instructions for this wite so I can properly do quotes!  Thanks!

Got it....
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Chris Ryall

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Re: ABC discussions
« Reply #50 on: June 18, 2010, 07:58:46 AM »

A7/C# is technically an inversion (just spotted same above) - refocussing the chord onto a C# tonic ..

If we disregard* that 7th=G .. C# E  A makes C#min6 - the chord that defines dorian mode of D. As so much of folk music is in the dorian minor that makes complete sense to me - and i'd play a similar construct (if I only had a C# bass on my Oakwood)!  

But how much each note contributes into your new chord, and so how 'dorian' it actually sounds to the ear depends on your instrument's voicing.  I personally think 'ABC' might reasonably know what  C#min means, arguably understand the 'standard' notation of chord/new-bass, but I don't think it should enter the realm of voicings. So 'played back' it might sound a teeny bit wrong.

We're asking an awful lot of a simple parser designed just to describe modal melodies! I'm happy with it just doing that and I'm very grateful to Chris Walshaw for making it happen.
* melodeons can't play uninverted 7th chord on the Left End anyway!

« Last Edit: June 18, 2010, 01:56:52 PM by Chris Ryall »
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Gandy

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Re: ABC discussions
« Reply #51 on: June 18, 2010, 01:44:39 PM »

The accompaniment can lways be written out "long hand" as a separate ABC voice to be really explicit and then it will play as written.   Otherwise I'd be happy that the chord symbols would at least appear on paper as written.  I don't think that computer playback was the main aim for ABC notation.
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Tony S

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Re: ABC discussions
« Reply #52 on: June 18, 2010, 04:37:08 PM »

I don't think that computer playback was the main aim for ABC notation.

I'm pretty sure it wasn't, but many ABC users think it should be because that's how they use it.

Disagreement on this is the root cause of much of the heated debate about how ABC should develop, because playing and printing music have different and sometimes incompatible requirements.

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Simon

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Re: ABC discussions
« Reply #53 on: June 18, 2010, 06:49:04 PM »

That's why it's called ABC notation(:) Although some abc software can play the songs, there's nothing about playback in the abc standard.
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Gandy

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Re: ABC discussions
« Reply #54 on: June 18, 2010, 07:43:41 PM »

Although now I think about it ABC is maybe "playback neutral" in that its up to the authors of the playing software to decide how much they can interpret.   Going back to the "Scottish Chords" then ABC records and displays/prints them perfectly and in this case it also classifies them as being chord notation rather than just a text comment.   If the player software can't interpret the notation then that's not ABC's fault.
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Re: ABC discussions
« Reply #55 on: June 18, 2010, 11:57:01 PM »

Although now I think about it ABC is maybe "playback neutral" in that its up to the authors of the playing software to decide how much they can interpret.   Going back to the "Scottish Chords" then ABC records and displays/prints them perfectly and in this case it also classifies them as being chord notation rather than just a text comment.   If the player software can't interpret the notation then that's not ABC's fault.

This brings us back to the root issue of this thread. I transcribed an abc file from a .jpg file, my transcrption didn't contain the composer's chords as written. Why? well to be honest I didn't understand them, having never seen chords written in this fashion before. For that reason and that reason alone I decided to omit the chords from the file. Why would I do that when I know perfectly well how to write an abc file that will display the music as written? My logic was simple, I didn't think that abc (as opposed to (possibly) abc plus) would recognise the code and at best wouldn't play it back as a midi file with chords and at worst would produce a hideous cacophony.

I use abc software so I can switch chords off in playback but I suspect that many readers here use online converters like the Tune-O-Tron which don't have that feature. It's all very well seeing abc as straight forward notation software but that excludes people who don't read music from joining in the fun. Being able to hear the melody allows those who play by ear to listen the tune and pick it up from there. Midi playback is sterile and lacks imagination but there again so is staff notation without written dynamics or the direction of a decent conductor.
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Re: ABC discussions
« Reply #56 on: June 19, 2010, 08:13:04 AM »

Although now I think about it ABC is maybe "playback neutral" in that its up to the authors of the playing software to decide how much they can interpret.   Going back to the "Scottish Chords" then ABC records and displays/prints them perfectly and in this case it also classifies them as being chord notation rather than just a text comment.   If the player software can't interpret the notation then that's not ABC's fault.

Very true, and if my post gave the implication that abc itself had something to do with sound I should have written it differently.  Most interpreters of abc for printing use one dialect or another of abcm2ps.  Now, before someone points out that software XYZ doesn't let me quickly clarify that I know that.  I said most interpreters...including the one at concertina.net and the on at John Chamber's site and, I believe the one at the abcnotation.com site.  abcm2ps doesn't care a bit about sound.  Stick something into quotes and abcm2ps will treat it like a chord.  However, if you use the ^ or _ business you'll get a different font from the chords which makes that a useful thing to do.

Most players are based around abc2midi or abcmidi or some variant software.  Again, not all.  Those programs have the capability of realizing the chords in a variety of ways including "boom-chuck" and "arpeggio."  They also allow setting tempo and midi voice for melody and chords.  But, they do expect the things in quotes to be interpretable as chords.  They will not understand C#a7.  They will understand A7/C# or a chord like C#min6 (which by the way is not the same as A7/C#).  So, if you want to hear chords from your abc file stick to putting chord names it can understand into the quotes.  Otherwise you'll get some amazing sounds.  Not good, just amazing.

I hope this helps folks and is clear.
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cboody

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Re: ABC discussions - but a bit off topic
« Reply #57 on: June 19, 2010, 08:22:22 AM »

Quote
A7/C# is technically an inversion (just spotted same above) - refocussing the chord onto a C# tonic ..

If we disregard* that 7th=G .. C# E  A makes C#min6 - the chord that defines dorian mode of D. As so much of folk music is in the dorian minor that makes complete sense to me -

Err...well, sort of.  You can't really ignore the G if you want the sound of the chord.  I suppose you could on those boxes that have limited chord capability, but then you would be changing the chord.  And, C# E A doesn't really make a C#min6 chord.  It makes a first inversion of an A major chord.  Without the needed G# you have no implication of C#minor to add a sixth to.  What the C# probably does is imply a bass line like D C# B A which would be a common "walk" in D major.

And, D dorian is probably much more defined by the C major chord that is the most common "other chord" in the mode than it would be by that first inversion A major chord.  The Amajor chord would strongly imply D minor as the key. 

All this is off topic.  If someone wants to discuss this in detail start up a thread and let me know where it is.  I'm game...
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GPS

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Re: ABC discussions
« Reply #58 on: August 31, 2010, 07:31:27 PM »

...ABC? Why?
Because it's easy to use

Actually, I don't think it is. I MUCH prefer standard musical notation, and I can jot down a melody line in a simple staff notation program, where I can input notes directly on the the staff and see them in front of me, where they instantly mean something, in a fraction of the time it would take me to work out all the bits of text & stuff that constitute ABC. I suppose it depends on your musical background and bent; I was taught to read music at school, and although my sight-reading isn't as good as I would like it to be, I can generally play straight through a tune (as long as it isn't too - as a PA player in a band I was once in rather graphically put it - "testacular") without stumbling too much. I have to admit I usually hurry past blocks of ABC; though I do make use of the excellent ABC converter, which turns it into real music I can understand.

I've never actually seen "Grumpy Old Men", but I can appreciate where they're coming from....... ;D
« Last Edit: August 31, 2010, 07:34:42 PM by GPS »
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Anahata

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Re: ABC discussions
« Reply #59 on: August 31, 2010, 08:36:31 PM »

Because it's easy to use

Actually, I don't think it is. I MUCH prefer standard musical notation, and I can jot down a melody line in a simple staff notation program, where I can input notes directly on the the staff and see them in front of me, where they instantly mean something, in a fraction of the time it would take me to work out all the bits of text & stuff that constitute ABC

I like standard musical notation too. I don't think many of us can read ABC text at sight...

The trouble with "simple staff notation programs" is that there are many of them, their file formats are incompatible and most aren't free. If you just want a tune printed neatly for yourself they are fine, but if you want to send your Noteworthy Composer file to somebody who's only got Music Masterworks you both have  a problem.
Whereas ABC can be copied straight into an email or posted into a message here and we can all use it. There are online converters for ABC; you won't find many for other music file formats.

Because ABC is text, it is trivial to edit individual tunes into a collection or copy and paste them out of one, all without the aid of any special software.
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