Welcome to this first issue of the LilyPond Report!
I would like to start this "actual" first issue by saying "thanks" to all the readers of last week’s beta issue for their supportive comments and suggestions. The first one of them, posted by Evans, in a very short mail, was about delivering the Report as "an email or full-text rss version": unfortunately, I couldn’t implement it yet (at least, not in a clean enough way), but I’ll keep investigating it. What I did achieve, however, was to make a dedicated feed for the LilyPond Report (see at the bottom of this page): this way you won’t be annoyed by French articles for piano pupils
In this week’s issue, not all sections will be dealt with (it would be too long otherwise); however I have kept mentioning every section title, like in last week’s issue. Perhaps I won’t keep doing so, though, as empty sections are a bit pointless; let me know what you think about it.
This week, Till Rettig (from the German LilyPond Forum) will be our special guest in the Interview of the Week; we are also going to talk web-design and off-topicness, and you will finally know about the terrible "Ancient" curse that has fallen upon the LSR!... As always, you can post your comments at the bottom of the page, or even register and contribute to the LilyPond Report’s next issues.
The LilyPond Report’s beta issue, last week, has been noticed by quite a few prominent members of the LilyPond community, including Jan Nieuwenhuizen himself! However, the most pleasing result was to be found in the discussion that took place on the mailing list. It’s a perfect demonstration of how can a conversation slowly go off-topic, and yet become surprisingly more and more interesting.
Valentin: "Here’s [...] a short informal, weekly opinion column..."
Reinhold: "I wish [...] lilypond.org start page would look as well designed as that one!"
Valentin: "Well, I once wrote a CSS design for the Documentation..."
Bertalan: "IMHO the LilyPond documentation lacks mostly a tree view."
Graham: "To do that, we need to use texi2html, and to do that, we need [...] a perl programmer."
Reinhold: "How about using something like [perl code follows]; it seems to work just fine..."
Graham: "Looks good!"
Epilogue: A few days later, Reinhold showed us on lilypond-devel that he had been working... As an (almost) exclusivity, the LilyPond Report is even able to show you what tomorrow’s Documentation could look like !
Isn’t that amazing? At any point of that discussion, some moderator could have stopped the whole thing just saying: "we’re off-topic, this discussion is closed". It didn’t happen, and as a result, quite interesting things were said, that could even considerably change the way our Documentation looks like! I had no idea Reinhold knew Perl, and could help us with this texi2html thing, and neither did probably anyone...
I confess I just love lilypond-user mailing list’s "off-topicness". Sometimes it gives wonderful opportunities to learn about people, about music, about software and so on.
Digressions, incontestably, are the sunshine;—they are the life, the soul of reading... (Tristram Shandy, Laurence Sterne)
Hmm. Well, somehow I doubt Sterne was thinking about mailing-list discussions when he wrote this. But I’d have greatly enjoyed having a chit-chat with him on talk.misc.whatever.you.want, wouldn’t you?
No "News" for this week, if you don’t mind... However, a rather long and controversial article will be featured in next week’s issue, so just stay tuned!
On last week’s issue, we mentioned LilyPond’s astonishing power of attraction over new users. This week, Joseph Schluessel told us "Thank you for LilyPond" (which he called LiPo, a funny name when you think about it), and Luis Jure said that though it wasn’t very easy to learn, "it sure _is_ fun!"
As this week’s issue is already a bit long, we will pursue our investigation to solve the secret of LilyPond’s inimitable sex-appeal in next week’s issue; I am elaborating a complicated theory I’d like to tell you about — even though I cannot develop it right now, I have to let you know about the codename I gave it: the Bread paradigm... Stay tuned!
No "Feature" for this week; check the "Snippet of the Week" if you want to remember about a simple but really nice feature...
This week’s bug is actually not a LilyPond bug per se. But I did want to tell you about the terrible thing that has fallen upon the LSR...
The Ancient curse of the LSR!!!
As Luis Jure has recently noticed, a strange bug is affecting the LilyPond Snippet Repository:
i’m under the impression that the "search" function isn’t working correctly. for every keyword i use i get lots of obviously unrelated hits. this makes it more difficult to find useful examples. in particular, several snippets, mostly related to ancient musical practices, seem to turn up in every search, no matter what keyword i use.
Well, this is true. Actually, Reinhold was the first one to find out that, no matter the keywords entered, the LSR always behaves as if you were looking for the "Ancient" keyword. You can type whatever you want, nothing helps.
Sebastiano Vigna, the LSR developer, is (hopefully) aware of it, and will fix it as soon as he gets one minute. In the meantime, I tried to suggest some ways to deal with it:
A couple days ago, Trevor Daniels asked me to add a small documentation snippet that demonstrates a very nice feature: Using ties with arpeggios.
This is one of these little features I love; as a matter of fact, I had completely forgotten that achieving such a thing was possible in LilyPond, until Trevor reminded me about it.
The trick is really simple: it’s all about a special property named
tieWaitForNote. Set it to "true" (the letter
##t) to obtain such long ties. Really cool.
Nothing this week; stay tuned for next week’s issue!
This week, I choosed to pay a visit to the German LilyPond Forum, a major help resource for German-speaking LilyPonders. It has been founded in May 2007, almost a year ago, and has kept slowly progressing ever since, with a noticeable bump recently (the number of new topics has been multiplied by almost 4 between december 2007 and February 2008). Interestingly, statistics also show that the most visited topics are "LilyPond Data Layout" and "LilyPond Wiki", and that one user, codenamed etilli33, has signed about one third of the total number of posts on the forum (four times more than the other most active contributors).
LilyPond Report — Hello Till, thanks for having accepted this interview. We know you as a German translator of the LilyPond Documentation... and yet you appear to live in Rovaniemi, Lapland?
Till Rettig (aka etilli33) — Greetings! Yes, even though I am responsible for the German translation, I am still living already more than two years in Finland. I think this is one of the really interesting points of this kind of software projects — you can never really clearly tell where the people really are.
L.R. — Indeed; in last week’s issue we mentioned Ladislav Bodnar, who’s a South-African born in Slovakia, but happens to live in Taiwan! There are other examples in the LilyPond community: Han-Wen Nienhuys himself is Dutch but lives in Brazil. But please tell us more about you: what place does music take in your life?
Till — I am a music scientist (musicology, music sociology, medieval music), but don’t work in this profession at the moment. I am an active singer in a choir and with some vocal ensemble ambitions, but rather on the hobby level.
L.R. — Interesting. I assume this is how you discovered LilyPond in the first place?
Till — Yes. I came to lilypond via lilypond-book, even though I never got it usable these old days (now it works great). I think I started with 1.6, but I didn’t like it too much, then when I came back to it about 2.6 or 2.8, it had improved so much that I used it since then for all my music notation stuff!
L.R. — I went through this two-steps discovery too. Do you think that LilyPond (thanks to such initiatives as the lilypondforum) is now ready to be used by anyone, even basic amateurs?
Till — Yes, it is a great program and I like the possibility to make changes myself if something doesn’t suit me... Sure, you will have to change your attitude from wysiwyg to a more logical approach, but the more I do this the more I am convinced that it is the superior way since you keep the control over the things you want to do. The lilypond language is really logic and quite easy, at least the basics; and for the rest there are the forums and lists
L.R. — ...Which leads us to our main topic: the LilyPond Forum.
Till — LilyPond-Forum is for me rather a good i