Tune Archives

This wiki takes abc music notation and renders an image of the tune in standard staff notation. ...

About abc music notation

abc notation was originally the creation of Chris Walshaw, but many others have taken his idea and built upon it. Walshaw’s abc homepage is the de facto starting place for finding resources. In addition, two collections of open source software, the abc Project and abc Plus Project do an excellent job of bringing various pieces together as integrated systems.

Henrik Norbeck prepared a “tune” that shows off the various fields and modifiers that are part of the abc standard. Check it out to get a good sense of the ease and depth of writing tunes in abc.

To find abc tunes on the web, try some of these excellent sources:

Search Engines


Desktop Software

Chris Walshaw’s abc homepage lists just about every abc editor and player out there, so I’ll just list the ones I actually use.

  • Multi-platform: EasyABC
  • Windows: abc Navigator
  • Unix: abcm2ps (On my Mac, I use Barfly to pass tunes to abcm2ps and then transform the postscript output to pdf using the macps2pdf module that comes as part of MacGhostView)

Web-Based ABC Software

Why this wiki

I’m consolidating my various abc music files into this wiki. I hadn’t done this previously because, in the past, in order to incorporate regular staff notation versions of the tunes along with the abc notation, I had first to generate the staff notation image files using desktop software1), upload them to the server in a separate step, and create the web page that tied all the parts together.

However, as a separate project, I had already installed on my server all the components necessary to render abc into staff notation images and to play them as midi files. All that remained was to find an abc plugin that integrated this into Dokuwiki2).

1) I use Barfly, an abc editing and display program for the Macintosh

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