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Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT

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John in Brisbane 18 Sep 02 - 02:23 AM
MMario 18 Sep 02 - 09:28 AM
John in Brisbane 18 Sep 02 - 10:23 AM
MMario 18 Sep 02 - 10:50 AM
Joe Offer 18 Sep 02 - 12:17 PM
pavane 18 Sep 02 - 01:09 PM
MMario 18 Sep 02 - 01:27 PM
GUEST,Jon Freeman 18 Sep 02 - 05:34 PM
John in Brisbane 18 Sep 02 - 10:46 PM
GUEST,Jon Freeman 19 Sep 02 - 12:01 AM
John in Brisbane 19 Sep 02 - 12:48 AM
GUEST,pavane 19 Sep 02 - 07:35 AM
GUEST,Ed 19 Sep 02 - 08:16 AM
MMario 19 Sep 02 - 08:20 AM
GUEST,pavane 19 Sep 02 - 12:57 PM
GUEST,Jon Freeman 19 Sep 02 - 07:40 PM
John in Brisbane 19 Sep 02 - 09:41 PM
John in Brisbane 03 Oct 02 - 09:16 AM
Mark Clark 03 Oct 02 - 09:47 AM
GUEST 03 Oct 02 - 09:51 AM
Mark Clark 03 Oct 02 - 10:44 AM
Mark Clark 04 Oct 02 - 01:11 PM
John in Brisbane 12 Dec 02 - 02:59 AM
John in Brisbane 18 Feb 03 - 06:29 PM
John in Brisbane 19 Feb 03 - 02:15 AM
GUEST 19 Feb 03 - 06:39 AM
John in Brisbane 24 Mar 03 - 12:13 AM
GUEST,Jon 24 Mar 03 - 05:02 AM
GUEST,Jon 24 Mar 03 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,Jon 24 Mar 03 - 08:46 PM
John in Brisbane 25 Mar 03 - 01:56 AM
Steve Parkes 25 Mar 03 - 03:43 AM
John in Brisbane 26 Mar 03 - 07:43 PM
GUEST,Jon 26 Mar 03 - 08:23 PM
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Subject: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 18 Sep 02 - 02:23 AM

The Digital Tradition is a fantastic resource for lots of us. This is an attempt to make the DT music available to those just starting out to play folk song melody on Mandolin or Guitar.

By providing instructions on how to create your own Tablature (TABs) you can quickly learn to play on your chosen instrument - and enjoy the folk songs of your choice. You don't have to know how to read standard music notation, or have a trained musical ear.

If you're expecting to see fancy notation for finger-pickin guitar, then forget it. The tunes in the Digital Tradition contain the melody line only. (If you have a source of finger pickin' stuff in .abc format, then the techniques described below will help you display and print it).

Joe Offer has kindly agreed to post these instructions in a thread to follow. Thanks Joe.

Best Regards,
John


Here's John's guide. Great work, John.
-Joe Offer-
Creating Music Tablature Using Songs From The Digital Tradition

Introduction

So, you're a budding guitar or mandolin player and you'd like to know how to pick out the melody of some familiar songs.  You may have learned something about music when you were 9, but that's just a blur now.  Plus you have an instrument hanging around and you have some way of keeping it roughly in tune.

With a bit of help from these instructions you should be easily able to print out some music Tablature (better known as TAB) - this will show you where to put your fingers on the fretboard and (hopefully) in the right order to play thousands of tunes from the Digital Tradition.

You will be required to download some software, but it's small, free and (after a bit of practice) quite easy to use.

And finally:

  • These instructions are based on inputting music files in 'abc' format.  There are tens of thousands of (mostly) dance tunes on the Web, let alone the 4,000 or so songs which reside in the Digital Tradition database.
  • The free software described later does not handle song lyrics - they will not be included in the TAB.
  • The software we're talking about can also produce TABS for Mountain Dulcimer and other tunings, but the following instruction will stick to Mandolin and Guitar in their standard tunings.

Other Ways

There are lots of commercial software packages available on the Net if you'd like to spend some money, but please take advantage of the demo versions available first.

What You Need

You'll need a working PC, anything from an ancient 286 to the latest and greatest, but sorry, this excludes Macs.  On this PC you'll need a version of the DOS operating system or Windows containing DOS - this certainly include up tu Windows NT and 98.  Any tech-heads using UNIX/Linux will already have guessed that they need a DOS shell to make this work and will never read this bit anyway.

The only other standard stuff you'll require is a program that does simple word processing to open and print your TABS - Notepad, Word or Word Perfect are examples - plus an ordinary printer.  Even an old dot matrix will do the job.

The core program you'll need to unload is ABC2TAB

Where To Get ABC2TAB

ABC2RAB (370 KBytes) download at http://www.geocities.com/Nashville/6390/

Select the following option (correct at time of writing), ABC2Tab 1.1.1 Source & EXE Distribution .  At the time of writing this file is named a2t111bth.zip

Downloading

There are no great surprises here, just unzip the file you downloaded to a new directory.  I recomend using ABC2TAB as the directory name - it's short and easy to remember when you're writing DOS commands later on.

If you have a really basic PC or you don't have an Unzip utility then just ask  friend to download it onto a floppy disc for you.  The unzipped size is still only about 770KB.  That'll leave enough room on the disc to put about 200 of your favourite abc files.  This way you can create TABs whenever you're with someone who has a PC with DOS - just about everybody.  Keep the disc in your instrument case/

By now you've probably had a look in your newly created directory ABC2TAB and you double-clicked on abc2tab.exe. Nothin' happened eh?  Just a couple more little steps.

Finding and Saving Some Songs

There are lots of places to find .abc files, but if you'd like to find a choice of about 3,500 folksongs go no further than:

Yet Another Digital Tradition at http://sniff.numachi.com/~rickheit/dtrad/

You have a choice here to either:

  • Select a letter of the Alphabet and browse through the titles.  Click on one of your favourites and download it to your Directory named ABC2TAB.
  • Download the entire Zipped file of all the songs and then UnZip to the ABC2TAB Directory in your PC.  Each .abc file is tiny so the whole collection will occupy less than 1 Meg on your hard drive.

Finding Your Application in DOS

Exact instructions here are not possible because PC setups will vary so much.  As a last resort you can always consult a DOS manual.

Step 1 - Find DOS on your PC

If you have a DOS prompt in Startup or Programs simply click on the icon.

Otherwise go to Start, select Run, type in command and then press OK.

A DOS screen with a blinking cursor should now appear, and you are no longer under the control of Windows.

Type in cd ..

Press Enter

Repeat this until the screen displays C:/> - assuming that C is the drive where your ABC2TAB directory is stored.

Then type cd abc2tab - DOS is not fussy whether you use capitals or lower case characters.

 The screen should now show C:/ABC2TAB>

Creating the TAB

Now it's easy as pie!  Let us say that the file you wish to create TABS for is named folksong.abc and importantly that it is stored in the Directory ABC2TAB.

Mandolin Players Type in abc2tab -m folksong.abc Press Enter
Guitar Players Type in abc2tab -g folksong.abc Press Enter

  • Mandolin standard tuning of GDAE will be used.
  • The standard guitar tuning is EADGBE.

What you've just done is to write and execute a command line in DOS - sounds scary but as you've seen it's really easy - when you know how!

If you look carefully at your screen after you executed this DOS command line you will (hopefully) see that it ran correctly, and that the newly created TAB has been stored in your ABC2TAB Directory as (say) 1.tab.  Use your favourite word processor to open this file.  Remember that it is in your ABC2TAB Directory.

Printing the TAB

This comes straight from the user instructions for the ABC2TAB program.  

Many (if not all) abc tunes converted to ASCII tablature will

be longer than 80 characters. I find the following hints helpful

in printing the output.

1) Set the printer in COMPRESSED and/or LANDSCAPE mode from the

front panel controls on the printer and print the file using

the DOS print command or the copy command (copy 1.tab lpt1:).

2) Use notepad in Win95/WinNT and setup the printer for landscape,

select the entire file, and set the font to the smallest courier

font available.

3) Read/import the text file (1.tab for instance) into a real

word processor (like Microsoft Word) and select the entire

file and set it to a small monospaced font. You will be able

to set the page into landscape mode if necessary and will be

able to see what it looks like.

Checking the TAB

It won't take you long to get the hang of all this, so after you've produced a TAB or two it'd be a good idea to check that your TABS are complete.

If the music that you've downloaded has notes that are outside the range of your instrument, these notes will show up as blanks in your Tablature.  You may need to either raise or lower the tune by one octave to make it playable for your chosen instrument.

Or you may believe that it would sound better played one octave different.

Using the mandolin as your instrument the command line would be:

To create TAB 1 octave up Type in abc2tab -m -u1 folksong.abc Press Enter
To create TAB 1 octave down Type in abc2tab -m -d1 folksong.abc Press Enter

And for guitar just substitute -g instead of -m in the above instructions.

Creating Images of TAB

Chances are that if you want to share TABS with your friends that they'll look slightly different using another printer setup. I'll leave until another time the various (free) methods available to create Postscript, (Adobe) ,PDF or Graphics files such as .jpg or .png from your TAB files, in order to overcome this.

Modifying the .abc Files

As you gain some confidence in creating TABS you may find it beneficial to directly modify the .abc files - in particular if the TABS you create are too wude to easily fit on a page.

Under the ABC Music Notation standards you can force a line of printed music to start a new line by simply adding a line break to the easily readable alpha characters in the .abc file.

It's easy, just open up the .abc file using Notepad and experiment by pressing the ENTER key after placing the cursor to the right hand sude of a | symbol.  Save the file with a new name (using the .abc extension) and then re run the DOS command line using the new file name.  You'll soon figure out a system that fits as much much as possible on each page.

Special thanks to Lyle Melick the author of ABC2TAB.

Good Luck and Enjoy,

John in Brisbane


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Subject: RE: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: MMario
Date: 18 Sep 02 - 09:28 AM

Looking forward to seeing this.


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Subject: RE: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 18 Sep 02 - 10:23 AM

And before the ink is even dry there's a talented person developing a new Windows front end that'll be available for testing in the next week or so and of course it's free. There's even a tiny glimmer of hope that we may ultimately be able to do something for Mac users - but I did say tiny.

And you can now add Mountain Dulcimer to the list of instruments!

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: MMario
Date: 18 Sep 02 - 10:50 AM

Now if midi-text could just be revamped to do songwrite instead of the abc text (joking!)


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Sep 02 - 12:17 PM

Damn, that's a good idea, MMario!
Anyhow, here's John's guide, up top in the first message. I had to do the posting for him becasue it includes tables. If you have something fancy that you can't post on your own(because Mudcat doesn't allow tables and some other HTML), ask me, Pene Azul, or a JoeClone.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: pavane
Date: 18 Sep 02 - 01:09 PM

Let me know what midi-text does, and I will see if I can help. My program can already write SONGWRITE (with lyric)as well as abc, and can read MIDI.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: MMario
Date: 18 Sep 02 - 01:27 PM

midi-text (see the faq for download site) takes a single melody line midi and converts the midi to text, and an abc file. (and vice versa)

it was developed to allow posting to the forum.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: GUEST,Jon Freeman
Date: 18 Sep 02 - 05:34 PM

I'd just been playing around with mandolin abc2tab and transposing and seemed to be getting blanks for notes I expected to be in range.

I have since tried an abc of an old favourite of mine with no transposing:

X:1
T:The Silver Spire
M:4/4
L:1/8
F:http://rigel.csuchico.edu/~pubscout/tunes/silver_spire.html 2002-09-18 20:57:01 UT
K:D
D3 F ADFA|dcde fdAF|G2 BG FADF|GFED CEA,C|
D3 F ADFA|dcde fdAF|GdBG FEDF|EDCE D3 C:|
A,B,CD EFGE|FDEF GABc|dB B2 Bcde|fagf e3 f|
d2 fd ceAc|dcdB AFDF|GdBG FEDF|EDCE D3 C:|

I don't seem to be getting any output on the G mandolin string. I don't always trust my own reading of ABC or music but I've even played mandolin along with this ABC and I know the notes are all there...

Am I missing something (quite possible) or is there a problem?

Jon


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 18 Sep 02 - 10:46 PM

Jon, I've written to the author, Lyle Melick. It looks like a program issue. I didn't pick it up in my testing, perhaps I used songs with a narrow vocal range.

Many Thanks, John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: GUEST,Jon Freeman
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 12:01 AM

Thanks John, I didn't pick it up either but there again most tunes I looked at were from JC's and there are loads of tunes to pick on that don't touch the 4th string (below the range of Irish pipes, flutes, etc).

There is also a problem with the high range. It cuts off at the 5th of 7th fret.

I've spent the last 4 hrs trying to get my head round perl (has some very wierd symbols I don't understand) as well as trying to understand at least part of the program and downloading perl2exe to compile the source code.

I know what the problem is: The number of frets before changing up a string are stored in an array($StringDelt) and indexes get a little confused...

I think I've got as far as fixing it for mandolin (well I have a version that will display a scale from the bottom G up to E on the first string 12th fret)...

Jon


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 12:48 AM

That's great Jon, I had actually looked at the source code and saw where I thought the range was defined, but wasn't even sure that it was even PERL. (Lots of people rave about how good PERL is for this sort of text based application. I'm waiting for a library book to arrive).

I'm still trying to penetrate the author's SPAM firewall. In the meantime it sounds loke you're well on track to fixing it. I should point out that Lyle Melick has been generous enough to post the source code AND grant carte blanche for others to modify it. Even so I would hope that Lyle is intersted in any positive outcomes.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: GUEST,pavane
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 07:35 AM

MMario (and others) Harmony can already import a single line MIDI, and can export SONGWRITE, if that is what you need.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 08:16 AM

Pavane,

Harmony doesn't work for me

I get endless windows telling me that I've not written my abc correctly (although it works in every other application that I've tried), that the key signature is wrong, that I probably meant a particular mode (that I didn't) and having got through all that, it comes up with 'unknown error' and won't go any further

Ed


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: MMario
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 08:20 AM

(Pavane - I know - and appreciate it!)


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: GUEST,pavane
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 12:57 PM

Ed, If you would like to send me some of the abc that won't work, (or just paste it into a PM), I can try and fix the problems. I would be grateful for such feedback, which helps me to improve the program.

There are certain features of 'abc' that HARMONY does not support, and which are documented in the manual, because they are not compatible with the chord generation, but most of the files I have tried are accepted.

The key signature and mode messages are warnings only, and can be ignored. Once again, they are given because specification of the wrong key or mode will adversely affect the chord generation.

The check which is made in the program is that the final note of a tune (if a crotchet or longer) should be the tonic note of the key or mode. To prevent it, you could maybe put in a dummy last note, and take it out afterwards.

BUT There is a known problem in that the suggested key may be wrong. This is fixed in the next release.

Main changes for the next release:

It has been substantially rewritten to allow you to load multiple tunes (MDA interface)

It will be much more tolerant in generating chords for incorrect bar lengths, and in using predefined chords within the abc.

It has improved import of lyrics and will print the entire lyric after the score, as well as the aligned words.

Many of the restrictions have been relaxed, due partly to the conversion to object-oriented design.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: GUEST,Jon Freeman
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 07:40 PM

Just an update:

I'm pretty sure I have mandolin and guitar sorted on that aspect but I have got mountain dulcimer wrong. It appears that md tab is "upside down" when compared to guitar tab (position of the lowest note in tab) and is handled differently in the program - I had not taken that into account with my "fix"...

I have also noticed that abc2tab does not appear to handle chords or unisons correctly. 2 notes at the same time, e.g. [AD] would produce 2 notes one after the other and I feel that could be misleading.

I don't know what the effects of that would be with the dt or with sources I would use, if wanting to use tab (mostly dance music). It could well be a rare occurence.

As for fixes, I have decided that they are best left to the programmer. It is probable for example that I have mucked up the md tab by not understanding the differences between lowest note highest line tab and visa versa.

It is also true to say I don't understand Perl well enough or understand the programming logic fully. Also, even if I got the Perl right for Mandolin and Guitar, I'd have to invest around $50 to get a compiler that is not for a 30 day trial (and exe's produce a "trial version message") and to top that off, I'm not sure my programming is up to that... Writing a front end is easy(ish), writing a forum such as folkinfo only involves limited logic, as does making use of some of these programs but at least to me, these little programs we take for granted involve far more programming skill...

I'll try to help if I can and I'm very much in favour of GNU software and its development but I think I've got too much on at the moment to do much with this one (and in any case am uncertain about my own ability)... Perhaps one of the many able programmers here can help?

On a completely different area, I believe John's aim is free software that everyone can get hold of and to make it as accessible as possible so that everyone can view a quality print or get a tab for their instrument; ideas I very much applaud (and I think in keeping with a "folk principle") but...

On a commercial level, has anyone tried Tabledit? At first glance, it looks good to me and handles a variety of instruments, can import abc. etc. There is a free download but the product I think is around $50 to register.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 09:41 PM

I'm optimistic that I'll get a response from the author (eventually), so I don't wish to over-burden Jon unnecessarily.

I spent quite some time a few months ago researching PERL before obtaining a good quality (genuinely free) compiler. I don't recall the ssource 'cos it's on amother machine. Let me know if you'd like more details.

Jon has encapsulated my credo quite well, BUT... I'd also be delighted if some Mudcatters were better able to support the ad hoc requests that come into this Forum for TABS, regardless of the software available to members. Once you've overcome the initial learning phase, creating TABs is a breeze. AND I'd like to see our inputs rewarded by more effective use of the Music stored in the DT.

Re: Posting TABs to Mudcat. TABs are just ASCII characters and cab be posted to a Forum thread; the only trick is getting the format right. I've incurred the mild wrath of Joe by posting some TABs here, but only because I chose the Help Forum as the vehicle. We will need to do a bit of work to get the formatting correct.

Regards, John

                              Time Signature Test

      Key of D                                                   

                                                                                

           E|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|---2-------||

        3   |         |               |               |           |           ||

          B,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||

            |         |               |               |           |           ||

          G,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||

        /   |         |               |               |           |           ||

          D,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||

            |         |               |               |           |           ||

         A,,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||

        8   |         |               |               |           |           ||

         E,,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||

               e   e      h    e   e      h    e   e      h    q      h 

                                                                                

           E|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|---2-------||

        3   |         |               |               |           |           ||

          B,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||

            |         |               |               |           |           ||

          G,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||

        /   |         |               |               |           |           ||

          D,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||

            |         |               |               |           |           ||

         A,,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||

        8   |         |               |               |           |           ||

         E,,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||

               e   e      h    e   e      h    e   e      h    q      h    q    

                                                                                

                                                                                

                                                                                

       

                                                                                

           E|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|---2-------||

        3   |         |               |               |           |           ||

          B,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||

            |         |               |               |           |           ||

          G,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||

        /   |         |               |               |           |           ||

          D,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||

            |         |               |               |           |           ||

         A,,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||

        8   |         |               |               |           |           ||

         E,,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||

               e   e      h    e   e      h    e   e      h    q      h    

                                                                                

           E|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|---2-------||

        3   |         |               |               |           |           ||

          B,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||

            |         |               |               |           |           ||

          G,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||

        /   |         |               |               |           |           ||

          D,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||

            |         |               |               |           |           ||

         A,,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||

        8   |         |               |               |           |           ||

         E,,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||

               e   e      h    e   e      h    e   e      h    q      h                                                     

                                                                                

       

                                                                                 

           E|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|---2-------||-

        3   |         |               |               |           |           || 

          B,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||-

            |         |               |               |           |           || 

          G,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||-

        /   |         |               |               |           |           || 

          D,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||-

            |         |               |               |           |           || 

         A,,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||-

        8   |         |               |               |           |           || 

         E,,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||-

               e   e      h    e   e      h    e   e      h    q      h    q     

                                                                                 

                                                                                 

                                                                                 

       

                                                                                 

           E|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|---2-------||-

        3   |         |               |               |           |           || 

          B,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||-

            |         |               |               |           |           || 

          G,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||-

        /   |         |               |               |           |           || 

          D,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||-

            |         |               |               |           |           || 

         A,,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||-

        8   |         |               |               |           |           || 

         E,,|---------|---------------|---------------|-----------|-----------||-

               e   e      h    e   e      h    e   e      h    q      h    q     

                                                                                 

                                                                                 

                                                                                 

       

       

TAB for Guitar

Processed by ABC2TAB Version 1.1.1, Copyright 1998,2001 Lyle Melick, Mandolin tab by Jake Edge

 


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 03 Oct 02 - 09:16 AM

I have been in contact with the author just before my starting some leave two weeks ago. He was going to investigate. I'll refresh this thread when I have any news.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: Mark Clark
Date: 03 Oct 02 - 09:47 AM

I made a tablature template a while back in another thread. You might want to view source on the link and make a copy to modify as needed for future use.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Oct 02 - 09:51 AM

Thanks John.

I'm sorry to report that since our discusion I think I have found another problem. It does not appear to handle accidentals correctly.

Incidentally, I have put my attempt at a front end together with my hack to get all strings on mandolin and guitar here.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: Mark Clark
Date: 03 Oct 02 - 10:44 AM

There is no reason for anyone to feel left out if they're not using a WinTel machine.

abc2tab is written in Perl and Perl is available for nearly every computer and operating system in use today including many handhelds. You can download the Perl binaries for your operating system from the Perl Comprehensive Archive Network (PCAN) and—since Perl is a scripting language—just run the source script instead of the complied Windows version. You'll get both forms of the program in the link John provided and I made a blicky for it here.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: Mark Clark
Date: 04 Oct 02 - 01:11 PM

I posted links for new ABC to Tab software over on the main Mudcat ABC Tune Guide thread. These programs are also command line utilities but produce PostScript output.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 12 Dec 02 - 02:59 AM

Some pre Christmas house-keeping. I have no news from Lyle Melick re fixing known bugs, but will send him (another) reminder.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 06:29 PM

There is a current thread which refers to the ability to produce mountain dulcimer TAB at Yet Another Digital Tradition. I'm speculating that YATD actually uses the dulcimer functionality on ABC2TAB - which is relevant to this thread.

Has anyone actually used the dulcimer component of this freeware abc application? I can have a go at it, but feedback from a real dukcimer player would be much, much better.

Regards, John

PS No news from Lyle Melick since before Christmas, but I haven't hassled him since.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 02:15 AM

I know that we all make mistaikes, but the Readme Doc for ABC2TAB makes a reference to "hammer dulcimer". I presume that this is an erreur, but cannot be sure until I've used it.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Feb 03 - 06:39 AM

The only place I can find reference to hammer dulcimer in readme.txt is under "future enhancements" for version 2.0. Output from abc2tab is mountain dulcimer tab.

I'd be curious to know what hammer dulcimer tab looks like. I've found references to it on the Internet but have failed to find anything to look at on line.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 12:13 AM

I bought a book on programming in PERL and finally took a look at the source code for ABC2TAB. From my view it would seem that:

- The program only recognises diatonic nots (Major scale) with no apparent provision for accidentals.

- The raange is limied to 2 octaves. Middle C to b.

I was perhaps hoping to re-write the code ro expand its flexibility, but the current application parses the abc file using single characetr notation and hence cannot recognise sharps and flats - which requires two character analysis. This would be a quantum leap in complexity for me and a task that would require a truly competent programmer in PERL.

Notwithstanding these limitations ABC2TAB is still a useful program for most Mudcat tunes, but hardly the answer to a maiden's prayer that I frst believed when I started this thread.

Of anyone comes across a more versatile ABC Parser written in PERL please let me know.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 05:02 AM

John,

I think the range of notes is greater than that, it checks for octave modifiers later.

It does parse accidentals (search for $accidental). It's wrong though:
^C for example will not work but C^ does!

Jon


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 11:22 AM

John, I'm really struggling with this - trying to understand his logic and to understand Perl (though it is C like enough to make some sense to me).

After about 3 hrs... I've found the reason for the accidentals not working. He has a section:


if ($nt < $NumChars - 1) {   
   SWITCH: for (substr($inline,$nt+1,1)) {
       /\(/          && do { $ProcessNow = "Yes"; };
       /\|/          && do { $ProcessNow = "Yes"; };
       /\:/          && do { $ProcessNow = "Yes"; };
       /\[/          && do { $ProcessNow = "Yes"; };
       / /            && do { $ProcessNow = "Yes"; };
       /[A-Ga-gZz]/   && do { $ProcessNow = "Yes"; };
};

What that does is checks the character after the one being currently being worked on. The logic is for example that if the next character is a note, it's time to put all the information (note length, whether an accidental, etc.) into his structure.

The flaw is that certain items like accidentals precede notes. So if you have ^C, the above code sees the next character is a note and decides to move on to the next step.

I've managed to get:
C ^C | D^D E F ^F G ^G | A ^A B c ^c | d ^d e f | ^f g ^g a ^a b |

to display correctly by adding a line after that switch statement to tell it that if the current character is a "sharp", it should set $ProcessNow = "No".

Jon


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 08:46 PM

John, I'd hoped to ftp my butchering that seems to cure the accidental problem to the zip file I'd linked to before above but ftp keeps cutting out on me. Maybe tommorrow I can give you something to look at.

A little more info re the program in case you want to fix yourself. When "$ProcessNow=Yes" the next step is essentially this:

@note{join('.',$abcline,$abcnote)} = $CurrentNote;
@lnth{join('.',$abcline,$abcnote)} = $Lnth;
@Grace{join('.',$abcline,$abcnote)} = $Gracing;
@accd{join('.',$abcline,$abcnote)} = $Accidental;
@octv{join('.',$abcline,$abcnote)} = $Octave;
@Ending{join('.',$abcline,$abcnote)} = $EndingNo;

I really don't understand it but would guess it's sort of a series of arrays, one for the note value, one for note length, etc.

Hope that helps a little.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 01:56 AM

Thanks Jon, I was wrestling with the code last night. It's a great cure for insomnia.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 03:43 AM

I see John Freeman asked abut TablEdit back in September. I've been using it for a couple of years, and it's got my recommendation. You can "import" midi files and it converts them to staff notation and tab; you can change the key (I think!), and it's easy to edit tabs, or even enter them completely by hand. Yes, it costs a few bob, but it's good value for money. You can use it for a surprising number of instruments, including melodeon and whistle!

You can copy a midi from a web page by right-clicking the player image and following the menu commands.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 26 Mar 03 - 07:43 PM

Just as an aside I note that the source code in C is freely available for abc2midi andf that a number of other applications use this reliable code for the quality of its parser.

Jon, as a C guru you may find some time to play with this at some future stage.

The beauty of PERL scripts of course is that the code is always freely available to inspect, modify or re-use. Pity that I don't have the expertise to take full advantage of this.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Guide: TABS for Mandolin/Guitar From the DT
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 26 Mar 03 - 08:23 PM

1. Thanks for the info Steve, it is alway good to know what works for info to pass to others.

2. John, I'm not a guru in anything and in terms of languages am more comfortable with Pascal than anything else. It's just that even I can get used to seeing parts of programming as logic and a number of languages are C like - these would include Java, php and perl. I would get lost in any language after a while and don't have the brains to run to assembly language of any sort.

Something like folkinfo is far easier to me than these small scripts as there is no need to get into things like parsing bits like abc. They may take some planning, a little knowledge over database principles, etc. but believe me, these people who can come up with something like the attempt at the tab program are far better than I (and on a programming level, far more "ifs", etc are involved than anything I normally play with.

That said, I give it a go and I've updated http://www.folkinfo.org/temp/abctabw.zip with a hack that I hope may ease problems with acidentals. I really don't have the time to test.

Jon


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