The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #164277   Message #3929590
Posted By: DMcG
07-Jun-18 - 02:02 AM
Thread Name: ABC versus Standard Notation
Subject: RE: ABC versus Standard Notation
I think it important to make a distinction between representation (which notes for how long in what order) and presentation (layout on pieces of paper or screen)

ABC started as a system with no presentation and limited representation but it quite rapidly grew so that all commonly encountered 'patterns of notes' could be represented and there is no inherent reason this should not continue so that increasingly rarer sequences can be denoted. At the same time a set of tools grew up to address the separate presentation aspect, so the raw and could be printed in standard notation. Since these work hand in hand with the notation itself, there can be a lag between what the notation can hold and whether the presentation "Looks nice". These are less capable than tools like Finale which have the presentation at their core. For example, if you look at children's music books it is quite common that all Cs are one colour, all Ds another and so on. That's pure presentation and nothing to do with representation. I may just be unaware of it, but I know of no ABC presentation tool that can do that.

Which gets me back to my original point. Both tools cover representation and, if there is a shortfall in ABC, it is rare and getting increasingly rarer. For most practical purposes, both systems are equivalent. They differ in presentational aspects and, as I said before, the textual nature of ABC makes searching for 'that tune that goes de-dahh-diddle-dah' out of thousands feasible in a way that is not possible in traditional notation.

But which of these aspects matters more to you is entirely dependant on how you use it, so I don't think 'better' is meaningful: fitness for your purpose is what matters.q