Wikisource:Scriptorium/Archives/Musical Notation

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Musical Notation[edit]

I saw some transcription works that have pages with musical notation. I have a free musical notation software (similar to LilyPond) that is published under the GNU Public License; and I was wondering if I would be allowed to copy the music notes from the scans to the software, and then upload them onto Commons as derivative works.--Angelprincess72 (talk) 19:22, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

Are you using Denemo or something else? If it's Denemo, I understand that it saves to LilyPond format, and there is a precedent for LilyPond files on Commons (see commons:Help:GNU LilyPond). If it's something else, there might be some resistance to adding another musical-notation file format, but since it's GPL, I don't think there would be anything to prevent you from uploading your files (the only issue I know of would be if they're saved in a reverse-engineered, proprietary format such as Sibelius or Finale). I would read the recommendations in that LilyPond help file even if what you have is not LilyPond format. —LarryGilbert (talk) 21:12, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
I can save the files in LilyPond format as well. --Angelprincess72 (talk) 22:00, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
The matter was broached at some point in the past about LilyPond, and all I saw was people run away quickly, especially in the bigger WMF world. I was pointed to look at Extension:ABC and mentioned that here, however, there was silence, and our main muso was elsewhere at the time. I let it drop, especially as I wasn't around the tech side. I think that we need something, your proposal seems to provide a solution either permanently or at least until there is a technological advance. billinghurst sDrewth 07:02, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
While we can't currently collaboratively edit Lilypond in wikisource or wikipedia (see Extension:Lilypond for brief details), I think it would be best to use it for creating the images. This is because it has a much wider range of music typesetting options than the (free) alternatives do. We'll certainly need some of its specialist options for typesetting the music examples in A Dictionary of Music and Musicians. For example, some of the more esoteric clefs are needed, as are neums.
The other reason for using Lilypond is that when the guys at Wikimedia are finally able to turn their attention to sorting out the Extension, we won't have a lot of work to do to change the images to Lilypond used directly. This is because the expectation is that the Lilypond code used to produce an image is included in the notes to the image on Commons.
I've found, however, that one has to be careful not to typeset too much at once in Lilypond - the files become very big, very quickly. For example, I tried to do the 7 musical examples on page 12 of the Dictionary in one go. The result is this file on commons. At this point I decided to get on with the proofreading and think about the images later.
But don't let this stop you having a go. There is no copyright problem with transcribing musical examples from the PD publications that we are hosting. Beeswaxcandle (talk) 09:08, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
I have just uploaded onto Commons my first musical notation copy from page 470 of A Dictionary of Music and Musicians, and here is the result. I think the licensing is right, as the first tag is for the original book, and the second (and third) tag is for the software I used to create the music. --Angelprincess72 (talk) 12:43, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
OK. Unfortunately on the older PC I usually use with IEv6.0 it appears to be a black box with four red dots. On swapping to the iMac with Firefox I can see it. Could it be a bit bigger? And are you able to change the red bass notes to black? Can't help with the licensing question, sorry. Beeswaxcandle (talk) 08:08, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
It is a shame that the music notation seems to have stalled, at least in part due to the ABC vs. Lillypond thing. Although I don't have much experience with it, it seems that ABC is safer and more practical, so it would be nice if that could be gotten to work, and maybe add Lillypond as an alternative later. The problem with Lillypond is that it's not safe, and nobody has even defined yet what a safe subset would be, so we can't really predict how much work would be involved in converting images to Lillypond when the time comes, although it would likely involve hand-editing machine generated files. By contrast, ABC is a standard format, so you should be able to even use a file that was found on the net, unlike Lillypond which would be MediaWiki specific. -Steve Sanbeg (talk) 18:59, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Previous notes/discussions[edit]

Propose that we request mw:Extension:ABC[edit]

As a follow-up to this discussion, I would like to propose that English Wikisource, looks to have the Extension:ABC be requested to be add to our available services through a request to Bugzilla. Also propose that we leave this proposal open for two weeks, thus closing 26 February.


  • Comment I chatted with Senior Developer Tim Starling last weekened, and he said that he would address what he saw as the requirements to have ABC progress, so that a developer could undertake those issues. He also said that he was willing to look at the issues of the other music notation applications, though was comfortable that we could resolve the sticking points of Extension:ABC quickly and not have an impediment. He was positive in his outlook. — billinghurst sDrewth 00:31, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
    • Tim Starling indicated that this will need to await imminent roll-out of the next Mediawiki version across WMF, then it can have some of his focus. — billinghurst sDrewth 16:21, 31 March 2010 (UTC)


  • Support per nom. In lieu of anything superior, and not to prevent nor obstruct any upgrade that may be possible in time. billinghurst sDrewth 23:14, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Yes, as a test drive. If it sucks, it can be removed again. Hesperian 23:50, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Yes.Zhaladshar (Talk) 01:45, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Support per Hesperian. I wonder, though, if it isn't time for a project specializing in written music. This encompasses far more than standard notation, including but not limited to: graphic notation, musical markup or piano rolls.
    There have been a few proposals for this (WikiScores, Wikimusic II, maybe others), but without software support there's not really much that can be done. Jafeluv (talk) 10:49, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support --Zyephyrus (talk) 14:07, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Support: I absolutely agree. It would make it easier to edit music, and it would allow everybody to edit music, not just those users who have LilyPond or another similar musical notation software. --Angelprincess72 (talk) 18:19, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Support But this isn't a matter of no one asking before. It still needs development work, to copy the last comment (Aryeh Gregor) on the infamous bug 189 "The ABC extension still seems like the most likely choice (because it's passed security review by a root), but it apparently needs some changes, and no one has been willing to spend the time on making them. According to River, "brion wanted some changes made to how it stores files, which got hung up on a rewrite of the file repo stuff so it never happened". There's no ETA; it looks to me like it will have to wait until a root or someone is willing to spend the time on it."--BirgitteSB 19:32, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Support Yes, a musical notation system is long overdue. Yann (talk) 12:05, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support Yes. Furthermore, ABC is an internet standard for small tunes. Asr (talk) 19:39, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support (Is this still open?) It would be great to have some way to show musical notation. Jafeluv (talk) 12:28, 29 March 2010 (UTC)