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Easyabc - Upgrade Or Not?


lachenal74693
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I've been using EasyABC V1.3.5 to do my (so far) simple musical editing tasks - mainly

transposition from one key to another, and the addition of concertina tablature above

the stave - so far, so easy.

 

I've just discovered that there is an apparently significantly improved version available at

SourceForge (V1.3.6.4).

 

Having skim-read the new documentation, I'm wondering if it's worth while upgrading,

given the relative simplicity of what I am doing at the moment.

 

As far as I can see, the only new feature which might be 'useful' to me is the availability

of a wide range of different instruments which can be simulated when producing output

files?

 

Does anyone have any experience with this improved version, or any other comments?

 

Thank you.

 

Roger

 

 

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I use the new version. I switched because the old version did not handle playing treble-8 staffs correctly*. I probably would not have switched if I did not use these.

 

Added: ABCExplorer does not play treble-8 staffs correctly either. However, copying the various worker programs (like abc2midi) from the ones installed with the new version of EasyABC into the locations used by ABCExplorer also makes ABCExplorer work correctly.

 

I don't find the sound or instruments on Windows any better than the original (ie. terrible, but that is mostly the fault of Windows) so I still routinely play the final result through Musescore and use that to practice against. Musescore has the added bonus of a built-in metronome that clicks in time with the tune.

 

* I use a treble-8 staff instead of a bass staff because I am a very poor reader and find that having to decode two different staffs simultaneously overwhelms my brain. Notes on a treble-8 staff are the same as on a treble staff, just down one octave. This fits the range of most concertinas very nicely. I got this idea from Brian Hayden's duet tutor, he calls it something else (tenor staff maybe?).

Edited by Don Taylor
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After reading your post this morning I downloaded and installed the new version but it failed to recognise where ABCM2 and the midi libraries were stored. Although the program suggested to set the path in 'settings' this didn't work. I tried re-install twice and then went back to the old version (1.3.6.2), which works perfectly fine.

 

So, if it works, don't change it yet.

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Hmmm, in an effort to be helpful, I downloaded the current version 1.3.6.44 and gave it a go. I use ABCexplorer myself so it was interesting to compare them. They seem in most ways very similar but I prefer ABCexplorer for several reasons (straightforward typing of ABC without funky autocorrect, general file handling, a virtual keyboard for finding the right tone when writing/tweaking tunes, etc.). But OTOH, EasyABC's MIDI playback is more flexible and predictable.

 

But, I couldn't find anything that makes EasyABC do tablature. I'd like to play with that if you could tell me how to work it :). For comparison, ABCexplorer only does whistle fingering tabs that I can tell.

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After reading your post this morning I downloaded and installed the new version but it failed to recognise where ABCM2 and the midi libraries were stored. Although the program suggested to set the path in 'settings' this didn't work. I tried re-install twice and then went back to the old version (1.3.6.2), which works perfectly fine.

I

So, if it works, don't change it yet.

If you want to try the new version then you have to specifically uninstall the old one first. Edited by Don Taylor
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I use the new version. I switched because the old version did not handle playing treble-8 staffs correctly*. I probably would not have switched if I did not use these.

 

I don't find the sound or instruments on Windows any better than the original (ie. terrible, but that is mostly the fault of Windows) so I still routinely play the final result through Musescore and use that to practice against. Musescore has the added bonus of a built-in metronome that clicks in time with the tune.

 

Thank you Don. I'm not enough of a musician (yet) to understand what "treble-8 staffs" are, but at the moment they

don't concern me, so I think I'm going to stick with the old version - though I note (and think I understand) your

explanation of what "treble-8 staffs" are, and will ponder about whether I might find them useful. I note your comment

that you probably would not have changed except for the "treble-8 staffs" facility.

 

I'm glad it's not just me however who finds the sound files "terrible". I too use Musescore for the same purpose that

you do.In fact, I carry a selection of MuseScore generated scales and tunes around with me on my tablet in order that

I can practice anywhere...

 

If you want to try the new version then you have to specifically uninstall the old one first.

 

I hadn't spotted that. Thank you!

 

 

...Although the program suggested to set the path in 'settings' this didn't work. I tried re-install twice and then went back to the old version (1.3.6.2), which works perfectly fine. So, if it works, don't change it yet.

 

I read that bit of the new documentation reasonably closely and thought that it seemed a bit 'clunky',

but if it doesn't work, it's game over - as you say "don't change it yet".

 

...I use ABCexplorer myself ...a virtual keyboard for finding the right tone when writing/tweaking tunes...

 

But, I couldn't find anything that makes EasyABC do tablature. I'd like to play with that if you could tell me how to work it :). For comparison, ABCexplorer only does whistle fingering tabs that I can tell.

 

A keyboard would be useful - maybe I should look at ABC explorer.

 

The tabbing I have started to use in the last few days is very basic, is "hand-crafted", and is therefore a

little clunky. I simply insert a quoted text field in front of each note, indicating what button to press/pull.

The text fields then appear above the relevant notes in the score. The following short example should

make it clear how I do this:

 

X:1

T:British Grenadiers - tablature for C/G concertina

M:4/4

L:1/4

K:Cmaj

"L1"G| "R1"c "L1"G "R1"c "R2^"d| "R2"e2 "R2^"d"R2"e/2-"R3^"f/2| "R3"g "R1"c"R2"e/2-"R2^"d/2"R1"c/2-"R1^"B/2| "R1"c3| "L1"G| "R1"c "L1"G "R1"c "R2^"d|

"R2"e2 "R2^"d"R2"e/2-"R3^"f/2| "R3"g "R1"c"R2"e/2-"R2^"d/2"R1"c/2-"R1^"B/2| "R1"c3| "R4^"a/2"R4^"a/2| "R3"g3/2 "R4^"a/2 "R3"g "R3^"f| "R2"e3/2-"R3^"f/2 "R3"g "R3"g|

"R4^"a "R4^"a "R3"g/2-"R3^"f/2"R2"e/2-"R2^"d/2|"R1"c2- "R1^"B| "L1"G/2"L1"G/2| "R1"c "L1"G "R1"c "R2^"d| "R2"e2 "R2^"d "R2"e/2"R3^"f/2| "R3"g "R1"c"R2"e/2-"R2^"d/2"R1"c/2-"R1^"B/2| "R1"c3||

 

And it produces the following score(*):

 

post-11382-0-28266300-1446129225_thumb.jpg

 

This is pretty much the scheme used on the Australian Bush Music site - examples at

http://www.bushtraditions.org/tutors/inrow.htm- if it isn't clear, please ask and I will try and

explain in more detail.

 

Thank you all for those helpful responses.

 

Roger

 

* Sorry - that's a dreadful image - if wanted, please ask and I will try and produce a better

one - it looks fine on my screen - honest!

Edited by lachenal74693
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I'm happily running on 1.3.6.4 - it's usually a good idea to run the latest version of any software to make sure you've got all the latest bug fixes, security updates etc.

 

Be warned that if you're running 32 bit Windows the latest version may not run, as it seems to be optimised for 64 bit systems (it will tell you 32 bit or 64 bit under System from Control Panel or Settings). If you're running 64 bit I'd suggest you do take the upgrade.

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A keyboard would be useful - maybe I should look at ABC explorer.

 

The tabbing I have started to use in the last few days is very basic, is "hand-crafted", and is therefore a

little clunky. I simply insert a quoted text field in front of each note, indicating what button to press/pull.

The text fields then appear above the relevant notes in the score. The following short example should

make it clear how I do this:

 

Thanks for the explanation of your tabs. I was envisioning something like Daddy Long Les developed.

 

Anyway, if you want to look at ABCexplorer, here are a few pointers....

 

The overall layout is pretty much the same: list of tunes in the left column, ABC code in the upper right, sheet music in the lower right. You can drag the dividers between these windows however you want.

 

To edit the ABC code, hit F5. when you do this, a virtual keyboard and many buttons appears on the divider between the ABC code and the sheet music. One button above the keyboard brings up a pop-up with a number of features, including transposition. NOTE: I have found that sometimes the transposition function bugs out, I have no idea why, but EasyABC doesn't on the tunes that ABCexplorer does. So it's sometimes useful to have both.

 

The file manipulation isn't entirely intuitive to start with but once you figure it out, it's very powerful and flexible. The main difference is that ABCexplorer lets you open many ABC files at once in the same window and arranges them all in the tree structure in the left column. And if an ABC file as multiple tunes in it, you only see the ABC code for the tune your working on in the text editor window instead of all the tunes in that one file. This is nice because it keeps you from accidentally screwing up Tune A with a stray keystroke while actually working on Tune B.

Edited by Bullethead
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Thanks for the explanation of your tabs. I was envisioning something like Daddy Long Les developed.

 

Anyway, if you want to look at ABCexplorer, here are a few pointers....

etc...

 

Ah! Nothing as sophisticated as DLL's system, I'm afraid. I just thought "Well if we can put guitar chords

up there, why not concertina buttons?", so I gave it a try, and it works for me. Simple enough for a novice

like me, and it does more or less mimic an existing tab system, which I already use. I particularly wanted a

system where the tabulation appears with the score to help me become more fluent at actually 'doing the

dots'...

 

Thank you for the hints about ABCexplorer. Looks interesting - I will have a look when I get a chance.

 

Roger

Edited by lachenal74693
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Very much a thing of individual taste & preference; but I find AbcExplorer 'gets in the way' too much, whereas EasyAbc lets me work with my abc much more transparently and unfussily.

 

The world would be a very dull place if we all liked the same thing in software or just about everything else!

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I do support and beta testing, along with feature suggesting, for the current developers of EasyABC. If you contact me, particularly of line, I'll be happy to help out and pass on suggestions. I use a Mac, and can't help with PC issues, But if they are clearly described I'll pass them on. Some comments on things above:

 

1. You can certainly continue to use older versions of EasyABC, but it is a very good idea to update the program's the EasyABC wraps around from time to time...particularly abcm2ps for display and printing and abc2midi for playback. You can get the updated versions, put them wherever you want and point to them in the Settings area. ABC Explorer uses the same "driver" programs, but I do not know how you update.

 

2. Playback sounds are a function of whatever is "standard" on your system. On the Mac they are terrible and even incapable of responding to some common commands. The current version of EasyABC allows you to connect to different midi players. On the Mac I can use Timidity and pick good sound fonts for playback. That removes the necessity of using a separate player. Timidity is cross platform, so should work on PCs also.

 

3. To speed up entry in EasyABC you can go to the shortcuts menu and turn on auto calculation of upper and lower case note names and bar calculation. This will make the program select upper and lower case based on the distance from the previous note and will calculate whether a measure is full and enter a bar line automatically if it is. This really speeds up entry. You can also get the program to do other things automatically. The features have been available for a long time.

 

4. The current version will remember previously set up files, format files for example. This makes changing your setup much quicker and is really helpful if you use different formats as I do.

 

5. The current version has a whole new window that can simplify all sorts of editing.

 

6. Clicking on a note in the notation display automatically selects that note in the ABC display, making corrections easier.

 

There are more things, but that's probably enough. I agree the documentation is clunky. But have you looked at the help things? They do help in many ways and also allow you to enter abcm2ps formatting commands and I believe also abc2midi commands. These areas are not quite up to date, but are close.

 

Drop me a note if I can be helpful. If there is a bug or something I can't answer I can reach the coders.

 

Enough!

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Chuck mentions that the Timidity++ midi software should work on Windows and that EasyABC can be configured to use it as a midi player.

 

Has anyone done this?

 

I have looked at the Timidity++ for Windows installation instructions in the past and it looks tricky to install and not well documented (sparse and translated from Japanese). I will have a go at it some day if nobody has done this, but it would be nice to follow somebody else's breadcrumbs...

Edited by Don Taylor
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  • 4 months later...

I've been using EasyABC V1.3.5 to do my (so far) simple musical editing tasks - mainly

transposition from one key to another, and the addition of concertina tablature above

the stave - so far, so easy.

 

I've just discovered that there is an apparently significantly improved version available at

SourceForge (V1.3.6.4).

 

Having skim-read the new documentation, I'm wondering if it's worth while upgrading,

given the relative simplicity of what I am doing at the moment.

 

As far as I can see, the only new feature which might be 'useful' to me is the availability

of a wide range of different instruments which can be simulated when producing output

files?

 

Does anyone have any experience with this improved version, or any other comments?

 

Thank you.

 

Roger

 

 

 

I finally upgraded to version 1.3.7.1.

 

It all seems to work. I was able to install the new version without uninstalling the old,

though the old version then refused to work. I had to update the paths to locate the

abc2ps, etc. stuff and did this without any of the problems reported previously. Basically,

it all seems good.

 

I have a query: is it possible to change the size of the 'annotated' text above the

stave? I can't see any reference to this in the documentation, though I can see how

to change the size of text in the edit window.

 

Thank you.

 

Roger

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Roger, your question really asks how to specify fonts for abcm2ps which is the internal program EasyABC uses to display and create PDFs files. Go to Guido Gonzato's web site, called Abcplus as I recall, and download his manual. Somewhat dated, but there is a wealth of information there.

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Roger, your question really asks how to specify fonts for abcm2ps which is the internal program EasyABC uses to display and create PDFs files. Go to Guido Gonzato's web site, called Abcplus as I recall, and download his manual. Somewhat dated, but there is a wealth of information there.

 

Actually, when I remember how much computer-based document preparation/typesetting I used

to do, I should probably have clocked that one myself!!!

 

I can't see anything immediately which helps here, but I'll have a detailed look later - it's not a

desperate problem.

 

Thank you very much for your suggestion

 

Roger.

Edited by lachenal74693
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