Tunes from LilyPond

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For tunes that were created with LilyPond by Chris Maden, if you want to use the source files, you will typically four files:

  • tune_name.ly (the “wrapper file”)
  • tune_name_tune.ly (the main source file)
  • tunes.ly (an included library for traditional tunes)
  • swing.ly (for some tunes, used to generate uneven eight-note rhythms in the MIDI output while keeping “straight” written notation)

Note that case matters; the files may be downloaded from this wiki with initial capital names, which will cause errors in LilyPond.

If these files are all in one directory, you should be able to call lilypond on the wrapper file:

lilypond tune_name.ly

and it should generate tune_name.pdf and tune_name.midi as output. The PDF file will contain just the tune sheet music; the MIDI file will have a large number of repetitions of the tune, typically ten. You can adjust the tempo of the MIDI files by altering the line in the wrapper file, for example:

theTempo = #(ly:make-moment 240 4)

means there are 240 quarter-notes (4) to each minute. For a jig, a line might look like:

theTempo = #(ly:make-moment 420 8)

meaning 420 eighth-notes per minute.