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Abc Question

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I don't think so, Jeff, though some abc packages might offer this as an extension to the standard.


There's nothing I see in the abc 1.6 standard that provides for "da capo" and similar directions and symbols.


Barfly, the abc package for the Mac, offers user-definable symbols that are extensions to standard abc. The "segno" (sign) symbol is among the default extensions, according to the documentation; you insert it like an ornament. But I've never tried using that or any other user-defined symbols. Further, even if you get the "segno" in the right place, I don't know how you'd go about writing the directive to the player ("D.C. al <segno>," if I remember correctly).


The abc 1.6 standard does provide commands to indicate the parts of a tune and the order in which they're played. So, suppose you have a tune which is played ABCB. You can insert




in the header of the tune, and




before the A part,


P:B before the B part,




I tried this out in Barfly and it does work -- but only to the extent that it plays the tune parts in the correct order when you use Barfly's audio playback. It doesn't display any indication of the parts in the sheet music, which I imagine is your objective.


If you're willing to sacrifice professional-looking notation, I think you can provide a workable directive to the player by inserting a line such as "Play ABCB" in various nonstandard, workaround ways. You could write that phrase in a part line (P:), as a "chord" at the beginning of the A part, or in any of the header fields that display when you print from whatever package you're using.

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The abc standard is now in flux. Version 1.6 was the standard for many years and most of the sofware follows it, but serious thought has been given to version 2, and it shouldn't be long before it becomes standard. This will certainly be possible in the new standard. BarFly has already incorporated some of the new features.


I agree with what Michael said about version 1.6 and would add the following:


Are you more concerned with how it looks on the page or how it sounds when your computer plays it? If you're only intereted in printed output, you can use a feature intended for guitar chords (putting text in quotes) to display the words "DC al fine" and "Fine" where you want them. Just put the quoted words into the abc right before the note or barline you want them to appear over.

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