Best Program for Modern Notation Chant?
  • Can anyone recommend a good program for publishing chant in modern "stemmed" notation, i.e. eighth and quarter notes with episemata/tenuto marks as needed and cue-sized notes to indicate liquescence? I've tried Finale and Sibelius and found both to be extraordinarily tedious for getting unmetered music to look decent on the page for anything longer than a single line. I would prefer to avoid any sort of program or font that requires manual alignment of each syllable. I have very little experience with LilyPond and would appreciate any advice as to whether it might be useful for chant or other unmetered music.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,068
    There was a discussion about stemless notation with Finale vs. Sibelius some time ago. In it, I posted how it can be done rather easily, together with a "worksheet" PDF illustrating just how it was done for my setting of 'The morning star is on the rise' ... the relevant forum page is (the worksheet is fairly far down the thread):

    https://forum.musicasacra.com/forum/discussion/12198/the-great-debate-finale-vs.-sibelius/p1

    This approach really does remove the tedium of separately counting notes for each "measure" and setting a time signature for each ... my trick is to start with all 1 beat (1/4) measures (hidden time signature, of course), combine measures as necessary for "neumes" or melismas, using invisible barlines and altered default spacing before and after "music" in each measure (these are all set at the beginning, or even incorporated into a stemless chant notation Finale template). Feel free to contact me for more information or help.
  • MarkB
    Posts: 182
    You might try Noteflight.com. It's a web and cloud based music notation application. Mouse interface is pretty intuitive to use, but when you learn keyboard shortcuts that speeds the notating process quite a lot.

    Basic membership to use the application is free, which gives you access to quite sophisticated notation tools and would be more than adequate for what you are looking for. So it would cost you nothing to try it out except the time in learning how to do what you want to do with it.

    For chant you'll want to change the time signature of each measure to accord with the musical phrasing (total time value of all the eighth and quarter notes) and hide the time signatures so it's just a plain measure of notes. Easy to do. I've done things with it similar to what you say you want to do.
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,247
    Lilypond supplies helpful examples, called snippets :-
    Ancient notation template – modern transcription of gregorian music

    This example demonstrates how to do modern transcription of Gregorian music.
    Gregorian music has no measure, no stems; it uses only half and quarter note heads,
    and special marks, indicating rests of different length.

    \include "gregorian.ly"

    chant = \relative c' {
    \set Score.timing = ##f
    f4 a2 \divisioMinima
    g4 b a2 f2 \divisioMaior
    g4( f) f( g) a2 \finalis
    }

    verba = \lyricmode {
    Lo -- rem ip -- sum do -- lor sit a -- met
    }

    \score {
    \new Staff <<
    \new Voice = "melody" \chant
    \new Lyrics = "one" \lyricsto melody \verba
    >>
    \layout {
    \context {
    \Staff
    \remove "Time_signature_engraver"
    \remove "Bar_engraver"
    \hide Stem
    }
    \context {
    \Voice
    \override Stem.length = #0
    }
    \context {
    \Score
    barAlways = ##t
    }
    }
    }

    (click on the picture to see it properly ! )
    307 x 75 - 4K
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • jchthys
    Posts: 19
    I use LilyPond. The great thing is that once you have a template, for which you can use the "snippet" above or something like it, it's very simple to create new documents.
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,068
    It's the same way with Finale templates.
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • With LilyPond, you could define snippets for every necessary aspect of Gregorian notation and insert them into the score at your leisure with one simple command, and have it automatically typeset as best as possible.
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • Thanks, everyone. I'll tinker with the snippet and give LilyPond a try, also CHGiffen's link. I do want to repeat that I'm interested in standard stemmed round notes, not stemless. I think a couple of you misread that above.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,068
    If you want stemmed notes, just don't turn on the stemless option.
    Thanked by 1madorganist