Good Sites for Chant Notation?
  • sdtalley3sdtalley3
    Posts: 99
    Hello all,

    I have a question concerning either a site/program that would allow more "freedom" for me to write and manipulate chant forms as I need them. I currently use Illuminare Score editor, but what I'm trying to accomplish is this: I'm writing a 3 voice organum for "Stella Caeli Extirpans", my schola director asked me for this, and I have what I want except I want to either layer the voices, or write the voices so that they correspond to each other.

    Any information is greatly appreciated. Thanks
  • madorganist
    Posts: 684
    There is a way to do it with GABC code, but it may be more complicated than you want to get into. See http://gregorio-project.github.io/gabc/details.html#polyphony You can use the editor at http://run.gregoriochant.org/cgi/process.pl or http://bbloomf.github.io/jgabc/transcriber.html for output.
  • SDTalley3,

    Do you mean "Stella Caeli Extirpavit" or is there a completely separate text?

    As to your original question, I'm sorry that I'm not much help, since I use Finale, and don't have any of the add-ons which would let me write using neumes.

    What do you mean -- in case it's not obvious to others, too -- by "layer the voices, or write the voices so that they correspond to each other"?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,356
    Once you get into polyphony, using a modern-notation program is probably worth considering, perhaps using stemless notes.
  • sdtalley3sdtalley3
    Posts: 99
    @Chris Garton-Zavesky

    yes thank you I did not see the typo. I either want to write a single staff with the central melody and also write in the other voices above and below, or alternatively write each voice in its own staff like a usual 3 voice piece. This is possible with Finale, but I'm dealing with a schola director who is brilliant at reading chant notation, but not so in western notation.
  • sdtalley3sdtalley3
    Posts: 99
    @chonak,

    I have Finale Songwriter, but I cannot seamlessly change the meter without displaying the time signature. Does lilypond have less restrictions?
  • davido
    Posts: 313
    Use MuseScore. Lilypond is all text driven and a steep learning curve. If you do write Lilypond code, do it in Frescobaldi
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  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 628
    LilyPond isn't that steep of a learning curve if you have access to Google search for the manual and can learn from a couple of pre-made scores. It's quite intuitive and makes finding errors in the score much easier since you can see exactly what's wrong in the text rather than wondering what the program has produced. Input is also about as fast as it gets since you're only dealing with one or two characters per note.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 344
    If it's straight organum, perhaps three separate scores would be appropriate anyway (though perhaps not strictly necessary). In the renaissance each singer had an individual part (à la instrumental parts of today) although this has since fallen out of fashion. I read an article last year about a choir director who has begun to introduce this type of score for his choir and has had really good results since it forces each person to learn their part more closely since the cues from the other parts are missing. Interesting (if bold) idea.

    At any rate, if anyone cracks the code, I'd also like to know about superimposing multiple lines of chant like a modern score. I suppose you could always generate the PDFs and then cut them up and rearrange them in something like AffinityDesigner, but the problem I have with GABC editors is there's no way (that I'm aware of anyway) for force a line break, and thus no way to make sure that the same breaks would occur in each part and properly line up.
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  • madorganist
    Posts: 684
    there's no way (that I'm aware of anyway) for force a line break
    All you have to do is type z (full justified) or Z (left aligned) within the parentheses.
    https://gregorio-project.github.io/gabc/details.html#endofline
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,950
    If one uses Affinity Designer or InDesign, this would be quite easy. The problem becomes the cost with ID.

    @ServiamScores

    Can you point us to an example of the 'old style' of polyphony to which you are referring?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,356
    WIth Lilypond, I find unmetered music does require some fussy work. I count the beats in every measure and set a new time signature for each one, and then suppress all the time signatures. Sometimes I suppress the note stems and also point all the invisible stems up (away from the text).
  • sdtalley3sdtalley3
    Posts: 99
    @chonak

    I was able to accomplish this with the latest from Finale, but I wasn't willing to pay c $200.00 for a trade-up in programs after the 30 day grace period...Now I'm finding this a little more necessary especially when it comes to free rhythm pieces.

    @ServiamScores

    I was thinking about doing the good ol' cut-and-paste with the pdf's.
  • sdtalley3sdtalley3
    Posts: 99
    I will post a "works in progress" to check out what I had in mind.
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 628
    @chonak: I would just use the cadenza feature.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,095
    The Lilypond documentation has examples of its flexibility, and complexity. For example here.
    But I cannot say that I like the appearance of what it describes at 2.9.4 as 'the style of the Editio Vaticana'
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  • sdtalley3sdtalley3
    Posts: 99
    Well, it looks like I'll have to get familiar with using lilypond.
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 157
    The developers at Dorico said that chant notation with neumes is something they'd like to eventually incorporate, though it's very much not on the priority list so it could take a few years.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 344
    @m_r_taylor, I hope and pray for this. Daniel is heavily involved (or was anyway) in Anglican music circles and even typeset a chant hymnal years ago using the old Meinrad font, so this is something clearly dear to him personally. Let’s hope it’s sooner than later. I’ve tried to argue on the Dorico forum that chant is experiencing a heavy revival and many church musicians would eagerly turn to a new tool developed by them.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 344
    @francis
    Here’s an example of four parts. This was very common. Some editions even had the scores facing opposite directions so singers could stand around each side of the book.
    https://moralesmassbook.bc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/T34-F1-121.jpg
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 344
    Here’s an article about Morales and each part had its own book.

    https://moralesmassbook.bc.edu/morales-bio/
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  • madorganist
    Posts: 684
    That's mensural notation for polyphony. Although it was also used for Medicean chant, and there is a way to use it in GABC, you would probably get better results with another engraving program.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,950
    Not interested to use mensural, just wanted to refresh my memory again on what it was... i think i studied it in the Grout History book in the 70's.
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  • sdtalley3sdtalley3
    Posts: 99
    I'll have to agree with you Francis. For as aesthetically pleasing mensural notation is to the eye, I would never use it in today's day and age expecting musicians to comprehend what they are looking at.
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  • Felicia
    Posts: 19
    You can hide time signatures in Finale if you click on the Staff tool and double click on the staff you want to change.
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  • Felicia
    Posts: 19
    (continuing) That gives you a menu from which you can select things to hide from your score.
  • sdtalley3sdtalley3
    Posts: 99
    @ Felicia

    I think I tried that for the version I have, but it is not sophisticated as most updated versions. I'll have to look at that again, and I hope that I am wrong.
  • sdtalley3sdtalley3
    Posts: 99
    @ Felicia

    unfortunately I am not able to do this on my 2012 (Dinosaur) version of Finale Song Writer.