Tux Guitar


Subject LilyPond output

Author Message
Mark Clark
Post: Apr 10th 2008 at 5:31 PM

Generating LilyPond output is a great idea. Doing LilyPond tabs directly in Emacs was a big hurdle.

I know that LilyPond still lacks all the fine details we'd might like in its tab output but it would be nice, as you get to it, to generate LilyPond code for as many of the little details (slides, bends, grace notes, pick direction, etc.) as possible.

Also it would be great if chord names at least, if not diagrams, came across into LilyPond too.

There seems to be no page setup feature in TuxGuitar (i.e., margins, paper size, etc.) but if you add such a feature in the future, could you also export that information to the LilyPond output.

Perhaps you can collaborate with some of the folks doing the LilyPond tab stuff... if you're not already doing that.

Great job,


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Post: Apr 15th 2008 at 12:59 PM

Hi Mark,

another one throws in for Chord Symbols (never done that in Lilypond, err, successfully... ;-) )

For my use, I created a Lilypond Template (with the voices, the staffs and of course also the paper size) and add just the voices from the TuxGuitar exported Lilypond file, as I have to tweak for my co-cacophonians to read (and play ;-) ) something not so guitar-centric.

Lilypond can analyze a voice or a staff for harmonies an add the symbols, but often the guitar-specific chord tweaks (other bass = slash cord, inversions) yield ultrajazzy modified chord symbols, though they are gutarist's bread and butter style. Writing the chords section in lilypond in chordmode is not too big a job - usually takes some ten minutes. And as the TuxGuitar lilypond export is perfectly prepared (one bar in one line), it is a perfect base for "manual tweaks".

It is great to have a convenient way of editing and creating guitar music sheets with TuxGuitar and get the high-quality printout of Lilypond. A perfect couple!

Another trick: I use midi for round-trip (let TuxGuitar import the Lilypond generated MIDI) - TuxGuitar does the trick. An ultracool ultratool.

I do not want to abuse this forum as TuxGuitar-Lilypond trickbag exchange (unless Julian tells me to ;-) ), maybe we could do that by PM instead if you have more questions - just drop a line here.

TuxGuitar is my personal program of the year, that much I can say already now. Excellent job!


The Telemaster

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Mark Clark
Post: Apr 15th 2008 at 4:14 PM

Thanks, Telemaster. You have some great ideas there. I'll try them out and let you know how it goes.

I've used TeX for many years and was delighted to discover LilyPond some years back. I've mostly used LilyPond for vocal music (SATB Orthodox Liturgical music) and had templates set up for that. I had once set up a template for guitar tabs but, aside from getting the features I wanted, never really used it for very much. I've tended to use PowerTab when I needed to make a tab for a student.

But now TuxGuitar has come a long way and is a nice interface to use. With the LilyPond output providing a path to publishable results, we have a real winner here. I can see becoming a TuxGuitar promoter. What's more, TuxGuitar and LilyPond run natively on Linux. I've been considering upgrading to a Linux based high-end notebook for music work including my DAW so I can avoid Vista. I already understand UNIX administration.

I'll have to try your round-trip technique. I was assuming that once I started editing the .ly file I was on my own but hadn't considered running the LilyPond MIDI back into TuxGuitar.

I think I'll have to donate some money to this project.

- Mark

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Dan Gellert
Post: May 2nd 2008 at 7:09 PM

Just discovering TuxGuitar-- it could be a very useful tool indeed for me as a teacher of the 5-string banjo, especially if it can be harnessed to the printing capabilities of LilyPond!

The availability of some basic options for LilyPond output would be great-- i.e. notation+tab/tab only, stem and font styles, etc.

Maybe just the ability to save user-generated templates for those settings in LilyPond's language...?



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Mark Clark
Post: May 14th 2008 at 12:35 PM

I've been using the new 1.0-rc4 and I really like all the new features. I see that chord diagrams now come across too. Great job!

I've noticed that there is never an ending bar in the LilyPond output. This means that printed scores just end with a standard bar line instead of the double bar line with the rightmost one heavier which is the standard practice for musical scores. I wonder if it's possible to add a line such as (backslash)bar "|." as the last line of the notes section to create a standard end-of-piece bar line?

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Post: Jun 5th 2008 at 12:41 PM

I recently discovered TuxGuitar from an article in Linux Format and have installed it on my Windows box. My only real gripe, other than the lack of slides etc. in the LilyPond output is the incomplete lyric support.

Lyrics are exported but the placement/timing information gets lost causing them to appear as a continuous flow. I would use the built in print support but alas it is unable to deal with long words. The next word after a long word inevitably overlaps the previous.

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Mark Clark
Post: Jun 5th 2008 at 1:59 PM

I confess I haven't yet used lyrics with TuxGuitar nor exported any lyrics to LilyPond. I'll have to make some time to experiment with that.

I've done lots of lyrics in LilyPond natively. I've done that both for lead sheets and for a cappella (SATB) choir arrangements. But when I make a tab, it's usually only about instrumental work. The vocal is either already known or there is no vocal involved.

When I make a lead sheet (dots, chord names and lyrics) I usually use ABC or LilyPond directly. I hadn't considered using tab software to make a lead sheet. But with TuxGuitar's features, one could use it for lead sheets and just not print the tab. Hmmmmm.

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Post: Jun 6th 2008 at 8:32 PM

I've broefly looked at abc.sf.net, which I guess is the ABC you were refering to. Are there and Win32 editors you would recommend.

My only reason for putting in the lyrics on the sheet is so that I can see at a glance what part of the song I am looking at. I know I could just use text headers like verse 1, chorus, bridge etc. but having the lyrics there helps remind me of the of the tune at. Doesn't help when the bass track comes to mind when I'm trying to learn lead though!

If it helps, when I export I just leave all options ticked. The only manual edit I've done so far is to replace the track name with the artist (I prefer them to be in the middle). I know I can manaully correct the lyrics with skip duration, but its a bit of a pain.

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Post: Jun 30th 2008 at 2:12 PM

First really great the lilypond support on tuxguitar! It makes the program a lot better!! :) Thanks!

But does lilypond also supports bends, hammer ons, pull offs etc. ?

Would be great if it does...

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Post: Jul 4th 2008 at 1:02 PM

@ Roos, i dont know, some it will support, but there seems to be plans to make it better:


@ telemaster: I like to learn more tricks ;)
Maybe we can do it here?


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Mark Clark
Post: Jul 7th 2008 at 5:57 PM

Android, I'm very sorry. Somehow I missed your question of a month ago. The place I go for ABC things is http://abcplus.sourceforge.net/

The ABC Plus project is far more capable and has links to far more tools than any other ABC site I know. Still, I prefer LilyPond for publishable output and with TuxGuitar, well...

roos, I don't think LilyPond tablature includes "H" and "S" symbols for hammers and slides but it has slurs which is really all you need. It's pretty common to see tabs that rely on slurs to indicate hammers and pull-offs.

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