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'/usr/bin/abcm2ps' (abc2ps) is not existent.
'/usr/local/bin/abc2midi' (abc2midi) is not existent.
If you do not wish to install it, you can change the 'displayType' to '0' ('image only').

ABC Notation

I learned about ABC Notation indirectly. I was looking for backing tracks to accompany me while I practice the guitar. Its fairly tedious to find exactly what I need (right speed, right key, etc…), so I thought: why not program my own tracks. MIDI seemed like the obvious starting point…everything supports it. But it turns out to be a complicated thing to program. Lots of effort would be needed, and the output isn't very human-friendly.

So I queried the package manager on my linux box, and scanned through the results. A tool called ABCMidi caught my eye because of its description:

abcMIDI is a package of programs [...] for processing ABC music notation files. 
It consists of several programs: abc2midi, abc2abc, yaps, and midi2abc.

I had no idea what ABC is, so I kept reading:

  • ABC notation can be read easily by humans and computers
  • abc2midi will create a midi file from an abc source. Exactly what I need!
  • midi2abc will do the reverse
  • abc2abc can transpose an existing arrangement
  • yaps can output music scores in standard notation
  • there is an abc plugin for my wiki!!

Very nice! That's the kind of leverage I was looking for. The idea is starting to take shape now… Write a small program to create ABC files and let abcMIDI and the abc plugin do the rest. So I can have sheet music in standard notation on my website, and midi files available for download. Cool!

First Attempt

My first attempt at using the ABC tools ended up like this. Not bad for a 15-minute exercise.

ABC the ABC file
PDF the PDF file
MID the MIDI file

(Note: if you can't play the midi file, it could be that you have RealPlayer handling your MIDI files, which it doesn't like to do. Try QuickTime or another player instead.)

Second Attempt

This is my second attempt, after installing the ABC Plugin for Dokuwiki. On the first run, I saw this message in my wiki:

(abc2ps) is not executable.
(im_convert) is not executable.
(abc2midi) is not executable.
If you do not want to install it, you can change the displayType to '0' ('image only').

These errors were caused by binaries not being executable by my user ID. So I put in a support request to my hosting service (work still in progress).

Below is the output of the ABCPlugin. You will see a small piece of sheet music if everything works right.

"C" C2 D2 E2 G2 |"C" c8 |]
w:This is just a test
/home/cfreyer/public_html/data/attic/music/abcnotation.1196885685.txt.gz · Last modified: 2007/12/05 15:14 by Chris Freyer