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Friday, March 4, 2011

Wana write/print sheet music on your computer...?

I have been struggling to get sheet music for popular songs - especially Tamil songs because all you find on Internet uses Carnaitic notations and occasionally classic notations but then they are mere text and not sheet music that you can print and play straight off of. (See: KeylessOnline or TfmPage)
For a while I printed out the blank sheet music like the free ones at LinkwareGraphics and manually wrote the score on them - boy it was not easy.
Then I landed on this article: on writing sheet music with OpenOffice. This is really exciting. I am going to experiment more and let you know if I was able to print sheet music. In the meanwhile you too give it a try.

A'right - I downloaded Lilypond on Ubuntu - Ubuntu has a package already available so all I had to do was to choose Lilypond from Synoptic Package Manager and install. That's it.
I then opened a text file ( and entered the following in it:

\header {
title = "Suttum Vizhi Chudarae"
composer = "Composer: Haris Jeyaraj"
subtitle = "Movie: Ghajini"
meter = "Scale: Cm"

\chords {
c1:m r1 c1:m r1
c1:m r1 g:m
\relative c' {
c4 dis dis c dis f f g c, dis dis c dis f f g
f f g g g f g f dis d r2
\addlyrics {
sut -- tum vi -- zhi chu -- da -- ra -- e, sut -- tum vi -- zhi chu -- da -- ra -- e
en -- nu -- la -- gam un -- nai sut -- ru -- dh -- ae

Then I ran the command "lilypond" from a Unix shell prompt to get a test.pdf file with the sheet music - see the screen shot below.

As per the instructions in one of the above Web links, I downloaded OOoLilyPond-0.4.0.oxt - the OpenOffice Extender and installed it too, but I didn't have to use it to generate the sheet music.