Author Topic: ABC Guide  (Read 10085 times)

Pat Anderson

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ABC Guide
« on: June 21, 2013, 09:03:04 AM »
What is ABC?
ABC is a versatile music notation standard that integrates extremely well with free computer software, which unlocks the capabilities of ABC.  I'll cover those capabilities but first let's talk about music notation generally.

Why do we need music notation?
Music is sound and sound is ephemeral!  In the Middle Ages, a minstrel or troubadour  played a ballad, and it was beautiful but when he was done, it was gone.  The earliest form of music notation was found in what is now Iraq on a cuneiform dating to about 2000 BC, so musicians have been struggling with this for a long time!  The modern system of staff notation did not arise until the 14th Century.  The standard system of music notation is based on a five line staff with notes that indicate, at a minimum, the pitch and duration of each note.  By the time of Bach (1685 - 1750), notation on sheet music was essentially as it is today.  A person who can read sheet music can recreate the composer's music without having to know what it is supposed to sound like, and can play in concert pitch with other musicians. With a few obscure exceptions such as Chinese numeric notation and lute tablature, other systems, such as ocarina tabs or ocarina instructional methods based on numeric notation, cannot convey all the information that sheet music does, so it is well worth the effort for every musician to learn to read sheet music.  Traditionally sheet music was written by hand on staff paper, but composers now usually choose computer software including many commercial (and expensive!) programs such as Finale, or the free open source program MuseScore, to create sheet music. Sheet music can then be distributed in print or as PDF files. The shortcoming of sheet music in this form is that it cannot be easily manipulated without the computer file from which it was created.

ABC Notation
ABC notation conveys all the information about a musical composition that sheet music does, but it is not usually used by a musician to  play a composition.  ABC, simply put, is a music notation standard based on pure text - letters, numbers, and other text characters - that captures pitch and duration of notes, and virtually everything else that sheet music does.  ABC notation, as pure text, does not require a computer and can be manually coded and decoded, but you would not want to do that!  At first encounter, ABC notation in an email or in a web post, looks very cryptic and daunting! With ABC notation and a computer, a composition can be emailed, posted to a website, and most importantly, copied and pasted or loaded into a software program that displays it as sheet music, can transpose to a different key, and can print - and usually much, much more. Here is the main point:  you don't have to understand a single thing about ABC notation to start using it!

ABC Software
Here is a very comprehensive list of ABC software, with a chart of the capabilities of each package.  There are versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Some are web based.   EasyABC is probably the most capable and easiest to use, and it comes in Windows and Mac versions.  To get the most benefit from this guide, download and install it now!

If you can't wait to get started, here is a screen shot.



And here is the ABC code to copy and paste into the code window (there is an error in bar 16 of the screenshot, but the following is correct!):

X:1
T:Finegan's Wake
M:4/4
L:1/8
Q:1/4=112
K:C
G2 | "C" E2 E2 E2 D2 | "Am" E2 A2 A2 B2 | "F" c2 B2 A2G2 | "G" E2 D2 D2 z2 |
 "C" E2 E2 E2 D2| "Am" E2 A2 A2 B2 | "F" c2 B2 A2 G2| "G" A2 B2 "C:" c2 z c |
"C" c2 c2 c2 d2| "Am" c2 B2 A2 G2 | "F" c2 c2 c2 d2 | "G" c2 B2 A2 z G |
"C" c2 c2 c2 dd | "Am" c2 B2 A2 GG | "F" A2 AG A2 G2 | "G" A2 B2 "C" c3 z |
 "C" E2 EE E2 D2 | "Am" E2 AA A2 B2 |"F" c3 B A2 G2 | "G" E D3 D4 |
 "C" E3 E E2 D2 |"Am" E2 A2A2 B2 |"F" c3 B A2 G2 |"G" A2 B2 "C" c4 |]

The next post will be looking at all (or at least most) of the things you can do with EasyABC.

In subsequent posts, we will look at understanding ABC notation, in bite sized pieces, so it is not so overwhelming!

OUT



Pat Anderson

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Re: ABC Guide
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2013, 04:15:34 PM »
LET'S GET SOME FILES!
For starters, we need some files to load into EasyABC!  First, let's grab a basic ABC file for Kakiriko Village.  Right click and save to whatever folder you want.  Next, we'll get a MIDI file, The Whistling Gypsy.  Finally, we need a MusicXML file, Red is the Rose.  Kakiriko Village is a nod to the many Zelda fans here, but you will have to humor my penchant for traditional and folk tunes for the others!

ABC FILES
ABC files are standard text files with the .abc extension.  EasyABC uses standard File | Open menu commands.








The ABC code will load into the code window and the score window will show the sheet music:





Want sheet music for your sheets notebook?  Easy, use File | Print.  Want to hear how the tune is supposed to sound?  Use the Play and Stop buttons on the player controls in the upper lefthand corner.  What if a tune is in an inconvenient key, or not in the range of a single chambered ocarina? Use Edit | Transpose!  You have to say how many semitones up or down to transpose, but a tune in D (two sharps) can be transposed down 2 semitones to C (no flats or sharps). A tune in F (1 flat) can be transposed up two semitones to G (1 sharp). You can transpose to make the lowest and highest notes fit within the range of a single chamber ocarina. This just takes some playing around with, and you an always Undo what ever you just did.  You can also export  the ABC file to MIDI or to MusicXML, which as we will see, is a two-way street.

MIDI FILES
Now let's play with a MIDI file.  If you can get a MIDI file, you can import it into EasyABC, save it as an ABC file, print it out, play it and transpose it just as you can with ABC files!  MIDI files are not "opened" but rather "imported" with File | Import. Make sure the "Enable" drop down is showing "MIDI"!



The significance of this is huge.  ABC files tend to be folk and traditional tunes.  But if you can get a MIDI file, and there are a lot of MIDI files on the web for all kinds of music, you can save it as an ABC file and print, play or manipulate it in the same way you can manipulate any ABC file! We'll play with the MusicXML file a bit later, but these files are equally usable with EasyABC!

ABC File Resources
While there are some large ABC file collections, the best way to find ABC files is using JC's ABC Tunefinder.  If you like session, traditional or folk music, two of the best ABC tunebooks are Jack Campin's 9 Note Tunebook and Paul Hardy's Tunebook.  These are not ABC files, but web pages of ABC text that you will copy and paste into EasyABC.  These two sources alone contain hundreds of tunes and could keep you busy for years!  Another excellent source of session tunes is The Session, the best source of jigs, reels, hornpipes, polkas, mazurkas and other session tunes!



Pat Anderson

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Re: ABC Guide
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2013, 08:58:02 AM »
A DETOUR FOR MUSICXML FILES AND FINALE NOTEPAD
If you grabbed the MusicXML file for "Red is the Rose,"  go ahead and open it with your text editor.  This should look familiar for computer geeks!  "XML" stands for eXtensible Markup Language. "  XML files are pure text files that are both human readable and machine readable.  Go ahead and import the "Red is the Rose" XML file into EasyABC. 



EasyABC has converted the XML text file into ABC code in the code window, and rendered the sheet music in the score window.  Print this one out, take five and play it!  Take a listen to Mary Duff's version on YouTube!  It is a lovely tune for your collection!  There is music beyond video games!

WHY ARE MUSICXML FILES IMPORTANT?
MusciXML files are the universal "bridge" file type between all software programs that understand music notation!  I actually cheated a bit. This  did not start out as a MusicXML file but rather an ABC file that I copied and pasted into the ABC to XML converter website, which in turn converted it to a downloadable XML file:



WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH  XML FILES AND FINALE NOTEPAD?
You can create backtracks for multitrack recording!   Finale Notepad is a free music notation program available for Windows or Mac available here.  With Finale Notepad You can create blank scores for number of different "virtual instruments," enter notes for each instrument by clicking on the staff for that instrument, using the computer keyboard, or using a MIDI keyboard controller!  Rather than enter the melody that way, you can convert it from ABC to XML and import it into Finale Notepad.  The virtual instruments sound pretty good for a free program.  There are many, many music notation programs that can use MusicXML files to interact with each other, each doing something the other one can't do!

AN EXAMPLE
Here is a Finale Notepad score for "The Dark Island."



Here is the backtrack I made that started out as a simple ABC file, was converted to XML and imported into Finale Notepad, to which other insturments were added, played in Finale Notepad, and captured in Audacity (the one thing Finale Notepad can't do is directly export to WAV or MP3).  The backtrack is entirely virtual instruments, including a recorder, a church organ, a guitar and an acoustic bass!

Finally, here is the multi tracked recording with the ocarina and backtrack. Here is the ABC code to print the lead sheet for "The Dark Island":

X:4003
T:Dark Island, The
T:Dr. Mackay's Farewell to Creagorry
T:Eilean Dorcha; Away to the Westward
R:Air
C:Ian Maclachlan, 1958
O:Scotland
Z:Paul Hardy's Session Tunebook 2012 (see www.paulhardy.net). Creative Commons cc by-nc-sa licenced.
M:3/4
L:1/8
Q:1/4=100
K:G
|"Rests whie intro is playing"z8 | z8 |  z8 | z4DE|"Am"A3 E A2|"Em"G3 A G2|"C"E3 D C2|"G"D4 GA|"G"B3 A G2|"Em"G d3 D2|"Am"B3 d B2|"F"A4 DE|
"Am"A3 E A2|"Em"G3 A G2|"C"E3 D C2|"G"D4 GA|"G"B3 D dB|"D7"A3 D BA|"C"G3 G G2|"G"G4 Bc||
"^CHORUS"
"G"d3 D D2|"Em"B3 A G2|"C"E C3 E2|"G"D4 GA|"G"B3 A G2|"Em"G d3 D2|"Am"B3 d B2|"F"A4 DE|
"Am"A3 E A2|"Em"G3 A G2|"C"E3 D C2|"G"D4 GA|"G"B3 D dB|"D7"A3 D BA|"C"G3 G G2|"G"G4|]

This is just a glimpse of what you can do using ABC to interact with another music software program!  The intersection of ABC, MIDI, and MusicXML allows almost limitless expansion of the musical horizon!



Pat Anderson

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Re: ABC Guide
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2013, 09:38:48 AM »
LEARN TO READ SHEET MUSIC!
ABC notation is not meant to be played directly.  Musicians play from sheet music.  ABC is simply a more convenient notation to store and exchange music than paper sheets or electronic PDFs.  So it is time now to get down to the fundamentals of ABC notation.  Along the journey, if you do not already read music, you will learn almost automatically!  The goal is that when you want to play sheet music, whether from a printed songbook, a downloaded PDF or printed out from an ABC file, you will directly associate the notes on the page with the sound (pitch and duration) that is represented.  Of course, you need to know the fingerings associated with that sound, so have your fingering chart handy!  Here is a fingering chart for a 12 hole transverse like my STL/TNG DIY or STL Zelda replica.



PITCH
Pitch, how high or low sound is,  is represented in music by letters.  In sheet music, the pitch is represented by position of the note on a five line staff.  Looking just at the staff, the lines from the bottom up are E-G-B- D (Every Good Boy Does Fine) and the spaces are F-A-C-E, which conveniently is "Face."  In ABC, the notes are represented directly by uppercase or lowercase letters.  Fire up EasyABC and enter this in the code window - the first part is the header, which we will look at shortly, but for now, just look at the effect of entering uppercase and lowercase letters in the score window:

X:1
T:Pitch - Uppercase and Lowercase Letters
M:4/4
L:1/4
K:C
C D E F | | G A B c | d e z z|]

Here is what the score window will display, if you have typed the notes correctly:



Click the Play button to give a listen for each example!

The notes displayed by uppercase and lowercase letters are C below the staff (middle C) to E in the top space of the staff.  There are more notes, so naturally the letters need some kind of a modifier to indicate whether they are above or below these notes.  ABC only uses pure text, so the modifiers are right there on your keyboard!  The notes below middle C are indicated with a following comma, and the notes above the high E are indicated with a following apostrophe.  So, let's modify the first pitch example:

X:1
T:Pitch - Uppercase and Lowercase Letters with Comma and Apostrophe
M:4/4
L:1/4
K:C
A, B, C D |E F G A | B c  d e  | f g a b | c'd' e' f' |]

The score window now shows the entire range of a double chambered ocarina:



The last thing we need for pitch is modifier for sharps and flats.  A preceding caret (^) sharpens a note, and a preceding underscore (_) flattens a note. Since the key signature includes flats and sharps for a given key, these are used for "accidentals," which are flats and sharps that are not in the key signature.

THE ABC HEADER
Every ABC file has a header. Some are necessary and some are optional.  Let's dissect a header. Each header item is a capital letter followed by a colon and some important information.

X:1
T:Finnegan's Wake
M:4/4
L:1/8
Q:225
K:C

X: is the tune number.  You can have "tune books" of ABC code containing hundreds of tunes, and this value is used to order the tunes. In EasyABC, the Tune List tab is on the left at the bottom of the window on the left side of the  screen.

T: is the title of the tune.

M: is meter of the tune

L:  is the length of the basic unit for all notation of duration, in this case an 1/8 note - more later for sure!

Q:  well, I don't know why it is Q, maybe "quickness"! But the Q value is the tempo, the beats per minute, how fast or slow the tune should be played.

K:  is the key of the tune.

Before we look at ABC notation for duration, let's delve a little more into meter (M:) and key (K:)

METER
In sheet music, the meter is the first thing following the clef, and has two numbers. The first is the number of beats in a measure, and the second is the duration of one beat.  So, 3/4 meter means there are three beats in a measure and a quarter note is one beat - this is the meter for waltzes.  4/4 means there are four beats in a measure and a quarter note gets one beat - this is the most common meter for many types of tunes.  6/8 means there are six beats in a measure and an with note gets one beat - this is the meter for jigs!  The best way to understand this is to copy and paste some ABC notation for each meter into EasyABC and listen to it!

3/4 Meter:

X: 1
T: Edelweiss
C: Richard Rodgers
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/4
K: C
|: "C"E2G | "G7"d3 | "C"c2G | "F"F3 | "C"E2E | EFG | "Dm"A3 | "G7"G3 |
| "C"E2G | "G7"d3 | "C"c2G | "F"F3 | "C"E2G | "G7"GAB | "C"c3- | c3 ||
||"G7"d z/G/ G | BAG | "C"E2G | c3 | "F"A2c | "D"d2c | "G"B3 | G3 |
| "C"E2G | "G7"d3 | "C"c2G | "F"F3 | "C"E2G | "G7"GAB "C"c3 | c3 :|

4/4 meter:

X:1
T:Finegan's Wake
M:4/4
L:1/8
Q:225
K:C
G2 | "C" E2 E2 E2 D2 | "Am" E2 A2 A2 B2 | "F" c2 B2 A2G2 | "G" E2 D2 D2 z2 |
 "C" E2 E2 E2 D2| "Am" E2 A2 A2 B2 | "F" c2 B2 A2 G2| "G" A2 B2 "C:" c2 z c |
"C" c2 c2 c2 d2| "Am" c2 B2 A2 G2 | "F" c2 c2 c2 d2 | "G" c2 B2 A2 z G |
"C" c2 c2 c2 dd | "Am" c2 B2 A2 GG | "F" A2 AG A2 G2 | "G" A2 B2 "C" c3/2 z
| "C" E2 EE E2 D2 | "Am" E2 AA A2 B2 |"F" c3 B A2 G2 | "G" E D3 D4 |
 "C" E3 E E2 D2 |"Am" E2 A2A2 B2 |"F" c3 B A2 G2 |"G" A2 B2 "C" c4 |]

6/8 meter:

X:1
T:Valiant, The
M:6/8
L:1/8
Q:3/8=110
K:G
A|"G" B2B BAG|"D" B2A ABA|"Em" G2G GAG|"G" G2F F2D|"C" E2E EFG|"D" E2D D2D|"Em" G2G GAB|"D7" B2A A3|
"G" B2B BAG|"D" B2A ABA|"Em" G2G GAG|"G" G2F F2D|"C" E2E EFG|"Em" BAG FED|"D7" EFG AGF|"G" F2G G2||
|:A|"G" d3 e3|"D" dcB AGF|"G" G2G GAB|"D" B2A A3|"C" dBd ece|"D" dcB AGF|"G" G2G "D7"GAB|"G" A2G G2:|
|:G|"C" E2E EFG|"D" E2D D2D|"G" G2G GAB|"D" B2A A2D|"C" E2E EFG|"Em" BAG FED|"D7" EFG AGF|"G"F2G G2:|

There are other meters, for example, 2/4 and 2/2 are fairly common, while 9/8 and 12/8 are less common. For 99% of ocarina tunes, you will be fine with 3/4, 4/4 and 6/8!

KEY
The K: header item tells us (and tells our software!) the key of a tune.  The name of the key, such as C, D, E or F, indicates the starting note of the scale (the "tonic"). The starting note tells us (and the software!) what sharps or flats are in the scale for the key. In sheet music, the key signature immediately follows the meter.  A major scale has defined intervals, a full step between each note except for half steps between the third and fourth notes and the seventh and eigth note (the beginning of the next octave). The key signature tells us what note are sharp or flat in that key.  The key of C has no sharps or flats, the key of D has two sharps (F# and C#), the key of F has one flat (Fb), and the key of G has one sharp (F#), and so on. Because these sharps and flats are in the key signature, we do not need to use the sharp (^) or flat (_) notation for those notes, we just play the sharps and flats that are in the key signature, and use the notation for the accidentals, sharps or flats that are not in the scale for the key in the key signature. This will all become second nature as you progress on your journey!  The "convenient" keys for ocarina are probably C, F and G, followed by D and Bb (two flats).  More than two flats or sharps, fire up EasyABC and transpose with Edit | Transpose in a convenient key!

DURATION
As we said, all sheet music shows, at a minimum the pitch and the duration of a note.  In ABC, duration is shown as a following multiplier or divisor of the L: value. Although in my examples, I used L:1/4 (quarter note, one full beat in 3/4 or 4/4 meter), most ABC files on the web use L:1/8 (an eighth note, half a beat in 3/4 or 4/4 meter). This is easier to illustrate than to explain!  Once again, fire up EasyABC!

X:1
T:Duration
M:4/4
L:1/8
K:C
C/2 C/2 C/2 C/2  C C C2 C2 | C4 C4 | C8 |]



As you can see, if the L: value is 1/8, a quarter note (1 beat)  is multiplied by 2, a half note is multiplied by 4, and a whole note (4 beats) is multiplied by 8. Conversely, a 1/16 (half of an 1/8 note, is divided by 2, indicated by the forward slash (/2).

In sheet music, a dot after a note means the duration of the note is 1.5 times its normal length, so a dotted half note in 4/4 meter receives three beats instead of two. This is easy in ABC since it is all relative to the L: value. If L: is 1/8, then the quarter note multiplier is 2 and the dotted quarter note multiplier is 3, and the half note multiplier is 4 and the dotted half note multiplier is 6.

There is special notation for a dotted eighth note and a sixteenth note combination called "broken rhythm."  It uses the greater than symbol (">") and the less than symbol ("<") to avoid complicated constructs like G3/3G/2 - instead this can be written simply G>G.  This is illustrated in the following code snippet, copy and paste it into EasyABC to observe the effect:

X:1
T:Broken Rhythm
K:C
G3/2G/ G>G G/G3/2 G<G |


 







Pat Anderson

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Re: ABC Guide
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2013, 11:31:39 AM »
TIES
A dotted half note is 3 beats, but what if you want a  three beat note to span a measure bar (which I am sure by now you have learned by osmosis is divided by the pipe symbol "|")?  This is called a "tie," and is indicated by a following dash (assume a header in 4/4!):

G2 G2 G4- | G2 G6 | ...

This will produce two quarter notes and a half note tied to the first beat of the second measure.  Try it out!  Ties also work within a measure. There can be a space after the - but the - must be immediately following the note that ties to the following note. 

SLURS
Normally each note is separately articulated (remember tu tu tu or du du du when learning to tongue each note?).  Sometimes though notes are not separately articulated but rather "slurred."    Slurs are produced by enclosing the notes to be slurred in parentheses - "(" at the start and ")" at the end.  Slurs can be only two notes or as many as you want! Here is a famous tune, known as "Largo" or "Going Home" from Dvorak's New World Symphony.  This is a wonderful simple melody, and is great on the ocarina!  Fire up EasyABC and paste this code into the code window!

X: 1
T:From "The new world"
C:Dvorak
Z:Transcribed by Frank Nordberg - http://www.musicaviva.com
F:http://abc.musicaviva.com/tunes/dvorak/dvorak-largo.abc
M:C
L:1/4
F:http://trillian.mit.edu/~jc/music/abc/mirror/musicaviva.com/dvorak-antonin/dvorak-largo.abc    2013-06-24 131902 UT
K:C
"C"(EG)G2|"C"(ED)C2|"G"(DEGE)|"G"D4|
"C"(EG)G2|"C"(ED)C2|"F"(DE)"G"(DC)|"C"C4|
"F"(Ac)c2|"F"(BG)A2|"F"(Ac)(BG)|"F"A4|
"F"(Ac)c2|"F"(BG)A2|"F"(AcBG)|"F"A4|
"C"EGG2|"C"EDC2|"G"DEGE|"G"D4|
"C"(EG)G2|"C"(ED)C2|"F"(DE)"G"(DC)|"C"C4|]
W:
W:
W:  From Musica Viva - http://www.musicaviva.com
W:  the Internet center for free sheet music downloads.

Here is a screen shot.



TRIPLETS
Triplets are three notes played in one beat.  Triplets are noted by an opening parenthesis, the number 3 and the notes without spaces.  There is no closing parenthesis.  There are variations on this for various time signatures, but I have to leave something for you to discover on your own, don't I?

BAR LINES AND REPEATS
The basic bar line, as noted, is the pipe symbol - "|."  The end bar line is a pipe and a closing bracket - "|]."  Repeats are indicated with a bar line and a colon: "|:" marks the beginning of a repeated section, and colon and bar line marks the end of a repeated section - ":|."    Alternate endings are marked with an opening bracket and a number - "[1" and "[2." Again, this is easier to illustrate than to explain!  Fire up EasyABC and paste this great Vangelis tune into the code window!

X:1
T:Hymne
M:3/4
L:1/8
K:D
D3/2 E/2 |: "D" F2-F3/2 G1/2 A3/2B/2| "A" A4 B3/2c/2 | "Bm" d2-d3/2 c/2 B3/2 A/2| "G" B4 A3/2 G/2 |
"D" F2-F E/2 F3/2 A/2 | "A" E4 D3/2 C/2 |1, "Em" B,2-B,3/2 B,/2 C3/2 D/2 | "A" E4 D3/2 E/2 :|
|2 "Em" B,2-B,3/2 C/2 D3/2 E/2 | "D"  D2 z2 E3/2 F/2 || "Em" G2-G3/2 F/2 E3/2 D/2 |
"A" E4 E3/2 F/2 | "Em" G2-G3/2 A/2 G3/2 F/2 | E2 z2 D3/2 E/2 | "D" F2-F3/2 G1/2 A3/2 B/2 | "A" A4 B3/2 c/2 |
"Bm" d2-d3/2 c/2 B3/2 A/2 | "G" B4 A3/2 G/2 | "D" F2-F3/2 E/2 F3/2 A/2 | "A" E2-E3/2 E/2 D3/2 E/2 |
"D" D8 | A8| d8- | d6 ||

RESTS
Rests (the part where there is no note to play!) are indicated by a lowercase "z."  The length of the rest can be indicated by the same multipliers and divisors applied to show the duration of notes.




Pat Anderson

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Re: ABC Guide
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2013, 08:43:58 AM »
BEAM LINES
Multiple 1/8 notes (or shorter) are frequently grouped together with a beam line that connects them. Beam lines are created by not having a space between the notes.  Paste this into EasyABC to observe the effect:

X:1
T:Beam Lines
L:1/8
K:C
G G GG | GABC d4 |]

It is strictly a matter of personal preference, but for ABC notation spaces help make the ABC code more readable and make it easier to find you place when entering or editing in EasyABC.  So I always use spaces except when spaces are not allowed or when I want beam lines.

GUITAR CHORDS
Ocarinas and guitars are a natural combination!  The guitarist needs chords on the same sheet with the ocarina lead.  Guitar chords are entered by enclosing the chord name in quotation marks. The chord goes just before the note of the melody where the chord will be played.  Here is a little Burl Ives tune that illustrates guitar chords (and if you are observant, you might observe the P: field, which means "Part."  Parts can be verse and chorus, A part, B part, bridge, or however you want a part labeled):

X: 1
T: Mockin' Bird Hill
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: G
DC|:"G"B,2D2G2|B2G2D2|"C"C2E2A2|c4FE|
"D"D2F2A2|c2d2c2|"G"B2G2E2|"D"D4DC|
"G"B,2D2G2|B2G2D2|"C"C2E2A2|c4FE|
"D"D2F2A2|c2d2c2|"G"B2G2G2|G4Bc:|
|:"G"d2d2dd|e2d2BA|"C"G2C2E2|"G"D4AB|
"D"c2B2AG|F2G2A2|"G"B2G2E2|D4Bc|
d2d2dd|e2d2BA|"C"G2C2E2|"G"D4AB|
"D"c2B2AG|F2G2A2|"G"B2G2G2|G4Bc:|

LYRICS
Tunes are wonderful for instrumentalists, but singers need words!  Lyrics (called "words" in ABC) are inserted into ABC code by beginning the line with either w: or W:.  You can put words under the line of the melody with w: (lowecase), and then additional verses at the end with W: (uppercase). This example shows words lined up with the melody, the use of the dash to break words into syllables, and additional verses at the end. 

X:1
T:Old Mountain Dew
C:Traditional
M:4/4
L:1/4
Q:1/4=200
K:G
P:Verse
"G"D D2 E | G2 A G | d d2 B | G2
w:1.~I know a place 'bout a mile down the road
B B | "C"A G2 E | A G E2 | "G"D4- | D2
w:where you lay down a dol-lar or two._
D D| D D2 E | G2
w:If you hush up your mug,
A G | d d2 B | G2
w:they will slip you a jug
A G | B B3 | A2 "D7"A2 | "G"G4- | G3
w:of that good old moun-tain dew._
%
G | D D2 D | E G A G| (B3 A | "G7" G3)
w:Ch:~They call it that old moun-tain dew,__
B | "C"AG2 E | A G E2 | "G"D4- | D2
w:and them that re-fuse it are few._
B, C | D D2 E | G2
w:You may go 'round the bend,
A G | d d2 B | G2
w:but you'll come back a-gain
G G | B B3 | A2 "D7"A2 | "G"G4- | G4 |]
w:for that good old moun-tain dew._
W:
W:2. When its fragrance so rare starts to fill up the air,
W:You know that they're just about through.
W:So, you pucker up your lips, and you take a few sips
W:Of that good old mountain dew.
W:
W:3. Up on the hill, there's an old whiskey still,
W:Run by a hard working crew.
W:You can tell by the wiffle, when a smell you sniffle,
W:That they're makin' that good old mountain dew.
W:
W:4. My uncle Nort, he is sawed off and short.
W:He measures just about four foot two,
W:But he thinks he's a gi'nt, when they give him a pint
W:Of that good old mountain dew.
W:
W:5. The preacher came by with a tear in his eye.
W:He said that his wife had the flu.
W:We told him that he ought to give her a quart,
W:Of that good old mountain dew.
W:
W:6. My uncle Bill's got a still on the hill,
W:Where he runs off a gallon or two,
W:And the birds in the sky get so drunk they can't fly
W:On that good old mountain dew.
W:
W:7. My Aunty June tried a brand new perfume.
W:It had such a sweet smelling pu.
W:She was surprised when she had it analyzed.
W:It was good old mountain dew.X: 1
W:
W:8. My brother Paul, he is tiny and small.
W:He measures just about four foot two,
W:But he thinks he's a gi'nt, when they give him a pint
W:Of that good old mountain dew.
W:






Pat Anderson

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Re: ABC Guide
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2013, 01:50:48 PM »
STACCATO
We have looked at slurs, but what about staccato, the opposite of a slur?  A staccato note signifies a note of shortened duration separated from the note that may follow by silence.  In standard staff notation, staccato is indicated by a dot above or below the note, and in ABC notation it is indicated by a dot immediately preceding the note:

X:1
T:Staccato
L:1/8
K:C
.G . G .G .G G4 | G G G G G4 |]

EasyABC's midi player doesn't do a very good job of rendering staccato notes. I couldn't tell any difference between the notes that were staccato and the normal, but musicians will understand how the staccato notes are supposed to be played.

CHORDS
So far, we have only looked at one line melody notes.  ABC allows for chords as well! Chords are indicate by enclosing the notes in the chord in square brackets. Load this into EasyABC and give a listen!

X:1
T:Chords
L:1/8
K:C
[C4E4G4][C4F4A4]| [C4E4G4] [B,4D4G4] | [C8E8G8]|]

ORANMENTS
Grace notes, which occupy no time value of their own, are indicated by enclosing them in curly braces - "{" and "}".  The duration of grace notes is not specified in the ABC standard and is implemented by the various software programs in different ways.  Trills are indicated by placing an uppercase T before the note to be trilled.  Actually, this is a pre-defined shortcut for !trill! which can also be used.

D.C., D.S. AND CODA
These all instruct the player to play part of the tune again from a specified beginning point to a specified ending point.  D.C. instructs the player to go to he beginning again ("da capo," the head) and play to the word "fine" (the end).  These are noted with exlamation points - !D.C.! and !fine!.  A variant is the instruction to go to the segno - !D.S.!.  The segno symbol consists of two s-like characters separated by a diagonal line, and an uppercase S.  Yet another is to go to the coda - !dacoda!.  The coda symbol, which is a ring with a cross in it, as you might expect is !coda! and the shortcut pre-defined notation is an uppdercase "O."

DYNAMIC MARKS
These instruct the player how loud or soft to play a passage.  Variations on soft (pianissimo) - !pppp! !ppp! !pp! !p!.  Variations on loud (forte) - !fff! !ffff! !sfz!   Crescendo (start soft and get louder) - !crescendo(! (start crescendo) and !crescendo(! (end crescendo).

VOICES
Multi-voice notation is perhaps the most exciting part of the ABC standard, and it is fully implemented in EasyABC.  It allows, for example, two (or more) part harmony and counterpoint, and is perfect for two ocarinists who want to play a tune together!  Each voice is on a separate staff line beneath the voice field V:[number], e.g., V:1, V:2, and so forth.  This is much easier to illustrate than to explain! And if anybody knows the name of this little bit of music I remember from long ago, please PM me!

X:1
T:Voices
L:1/8
K:G
V:1
BA |G2 D2 G2A2 | GABc d2 dd | d2 e2  d3c | | B6|]
V:2
z2 |[G4B4][G2B2][F2A2]| [D2G2] [D2G2][F2D2][D2F2]| [D4F4] [D4G4] | [G6B6]|]

Pat Anderson

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Re: ABC Guide
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2013, 08:31:20 AM »
LAST INSTALLMENT - WHAT NEXT?
There is a lot more, but all the basics are here to get you going!  What are you going to do now?  No, not go to Disneyland!

First off, never stop learning about music!   David Ramos (Docjazz4) has a video tutorial series on YouTube.  I can't stress enough how much you will advance your enjoyment of the ocarina by being able to read sheet music. Tabs or numeric notation systems can get you started with tunes you already know, but you simply have to be able to read sheet music to enjoy the vast universe of music on the web, and to play with others! 

Second, if you hit a stumbling block trying to enter a tune in ABC notation, the encyclopedic reference, the ABC Standard, is here.

Finally, build your ABC tune collection!  The home of ABC notation on the web is ABCNotation.com.  If you can't find what you are looking for on  ABCNotation.com or using JC's Tunefinder, remember that Google is your friend!  I put in a snippet of code (off a few notes as it turns out) in an earlier part of this guide, and asked if anybody knew what it was. I was noodling it on my ocarina, and my wife Patty said "Oh, that is the Masterpiece Theatre theme!"  I Googled "Masterpiece Theatre theme" and learned the name of the tune.  Then I Googled the name of the tune, and it led me to the ABC notation. What was it, you may ask?

IT WAS "RONDEAU" BY MOURET (MASTERPIECE THEATRE THEME)
This kind of shows off a LOT of stuff not covered here, note the MIDI directions!

A%%%newpage
X:30
T:Rondeau
C:Mouret ca. 1716
M:C|
L:1/8
U:L=!tenuto!
K:G
V:1
%%MIDI channel 1
%%MIDI program 72
%%MIDI transpose 8
%%MIDI grace 1/8
%%MIDI ratio 3 1
BA|:.G2 .D2 .G2 .A2|BcBA GABc|Ld2 dd Ld2 Le2|d3 c B2 Bc|d2g2 d2d2|B2 AB cdBc|
V:2
%%MIDI channel 1
%%MIDI program 72
%%MIDI transpose 8
%%MIDI grace 1/8
%%MIDI ratio 3 1
dc|:.B2 .B2 .B2 .D2|GAGF GFGA|LB2 BB LB2 Lc2|B3 A G2 GA|BdcB AGFE|D2 FG ABGA|
V:3
%%MIDI channel 1
%%MIDI program 72
%%MIDI transpose 8
%%MIDI grace 1/8
%%MIDI ratio 3 1
z2|:d6           F2|G6     g2|g6          g2|d6      BA|G4   A4  |B4    F2d2|
V:1
[1 A2 z2 A2 AA|A6       BA:|[2 AdcB (A3 G)|!fine!G6 Bc||d2 dd d2 d2|B2 G2 BABc|d2 z2  A2 B2|
V:2
[1 F2 z2 F2 FF|F6       dc:|[2 FBAG (F3 G)|!fine!B6 G2||A2 FG A2 G2|z4    GFGA|B2 AB (CB)AG|
V:3
[1 d2 z2 d2 dd|d2 FG A2 F2:|[2 d4    c2 A2|!fine!d6 G2||F2 DE F2 A2|d4    G2d2|G2 z2  F2 G2|
V:1
 F2 FG A2 Bc|d2 dd d2 d2|B2 G2 BABc|d2 dd d2G2|d6  !D.C.!|| 
V:2
(AG)FE d2 z2|A2 FG A2 G2|B2 G2 GFGA|B2 AB cBAG|D3 D/E/ F2||
V:3
 D2 DE F2 G2|F2 DE F2 A2|d4    G2d2|d2 g2 a2g2|f3 f/f/ f2||

OVER AND OUT!
Enjoy!