GNU Lilypond | Free Music Engraving Software

GNU Lilypond (Free Music Engraving Software) There are two major problems with the big names in music engraving software (Finale, Sibelius, and the like): (1) they’re expensive and (2) it’s difficult to make the music really look good. Enter GNU Lilypond.

Lilypond was started with the intention of providing a high-quality, low-cost means of producing sheet music that mimics the way sheet music used to be made–by hand. The creators of Lilypond felt that today’s computer engraved music was too mechanical–too precise. Their solution was to start from scratch and recreate the original look of the notes and other marks from thousands of samples of hand-engraved sheet music. And Lilypond can produce some amazing looking music. For all it’s wonderful attributes, however, Lilypond does have one major drawback. It’s not very user friendly. Unlike Sibelius or Finale, Lilypond doesn’t offer any means of graphically entering music. Instead, you fire up a text editor and write a series of codes that Lilypond understands. For instance, to produce a dotted-quarter note b-flat, you would type “bes4.”–and that’s just one note. Thankfully, there are a few other projects out there to make life a little easier. The most well-known (and most advanced) is a project called Denemo. It’s designed to make creating Lilypond files easier. There is also a plug-in for Jedit that also helps. The bottom line is, Lilypond is a powerful engraving suite, but it’s not for the faint-hearted. If you’re willing to put in the time, you can do anything in Lilypond you can do in the big boys.