Monday, September 24, 2012

MuseScore after LilyPond

Since 2003 I've had used LilyPond for almost all my musical notation tasks. I created like two hundred pages of music.
As LilyPond (at especially that time) was quite hard to learn and use, I started developing LilyPondTool, a plugin for the jEdit text editor.
During the years it became more and more sophisticated, and it pioneered some features adopted by other LilyPond editors, especially Frescobaldi, and is still unique in some features.
Recently I had less musical notation tasks, so I spent much more time with developing LilyPondTool than with writing or notating music.
But in this year something happened that made me actually move away from LilyPond - MuseScore 1.2 turned out to be perfect for my needs.
I don't want to engrave perfectly looking music any more, but I want to have good useable notation which I can easily share, and get others to contribute. MuseScore is the right companion for that.
I have several problems with the concept of LilyPond anyway (in some later posts I will write about those), maintaining LilyPondTool took too much time from me, turning away from making music - I don't want to do that any more.
It was a great pleasure (most of the time) working with LilyPond and developing LilyPondTool, I learnt a lot, I enjoyed a very good community - but now I have to switch.


  1. You made an interesting point about easy sharing and getting others involved. I'm wondering what would happen if Mutopia (which hosts LilyPond scores) would have some online Lily editing capabilities (like and used a github-like repository structure.
    I'm looking forward on hearing more about why you switched.

  2. Mutopia already has a repository on github:

    So you can contribute by writing an email as well as sending a git patch (never tried, but I will do it sooner or later).
    Online editing capabilities should include also a review process, for a number of reasons (copyright issues, quality of the lilypond code, notifications to maintainers). It seems to me that a cool CMS or web framework is required to handle all this stuff.

    Anyway, I agree that a better web interface would make contributions to Mutopia much easier.

  3. Thank you for your comment.
    I mean contributing in a wider sense: allowing non-technical people to easily download, change and print my score. With MuseScore I can get my music teacher wife to add/change/fix notes, lyrics without learning anything about the software, just by clicking here and there. That's a very big advantage for me.
    With LilyPond she would be not able to do any changes without first learning how LilyPond is different.