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Treatise on automated typesetting of music

From: Reuben Thomas
Subject: Treatise on automated typesetting of music
Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2003 19:54:47 +0100 (CET)

I've looked at Lilypond several times over the years, but (perhaps because
of an early and rather painful experience with MusicTeX in about 1994) I
have never tried using it. I have for the last ten years or so used
Sibelius, first on Acorn machines and now on Windows, but the cost (I've
spent more money on its various versions than all other software I've ever
bought combined) and the fact that it doesn't run under Linux makes me
eager to use something else.

Up to now, the reason I stuck to Sibelius was the combination of its
excellent (and ever-improving) user interface, its high quality output,
and the ability to enter music quickly and accurately via keyboard.

While Lilypond doesn't have a GUI, I'm impressed by the recent development
of Rosegarden, and alternative means of getting input from a MIDI
keyboard. Indeed at this moment I'm taking a break from struggling to get
my Midisport USB box to work under Linux so I can finally use my MIDI
keyboard with Linux and try some of this stuff out.

Anyway, I read your essay on typesetting, and it seemed to me that
comparing Lilypond with Finale is a bit unfair. I have never used Finale,
but it seems (however it is marketed) to be very much a second-tier
product compared to Sibelius (which is not unreasonable, as it's cheaper
as well as giving lower quality output).

Hence I'd be much more impressed by a comparison showing how Lilypond is
better than the latest version of Sibelius (one reason they've
consistently managed to get me to part with large sums of money is that
new versions repeatedly make improvements, not as bells and whistles, but
to basic things such as note input, the note spacing algorithm &c.; the
recent Sibelius 3 features their second completely new note spacing
algorithm). OK, perhaps none of the Lilypond authors can afford it in
order to make a comparison...!

Anyway, I'm very glad that Lilypond is trying to do for music what TeX did
for text, and I might well end up using it, because I don't use Sibelius
frequently enough to justify the continual expense of upgrades, not to
mention the reboot into Windows...

http://www.mupsych.org/~rrt/ | What you don't know controls you

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