A newbie’s experiences with Lilypond, Lilypond–book, LaTeX, and Perl

Joe McCool
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The author is an active Irish traditional musician. He is also a keen inland boater. He is having a lot of fun composing a book on “Traditional Music for Boaters”.

In this paper he describes his successes and frustrations using Lilypond, Lilypond-book, LaTeX, and ABC musical notation. Lilypond and LaTeX have a lot in common. Neither are WYSIWYG, neither demand GUIs. Both compile simple flat files to produce beautiful graphical output.

Lilypond’s original manifestations produced output directly for LaTeX, but of late users writing books have been encouraged to use Lilypond-book. This looks for Lilypond code within LaTeX source files and produces graphics and associated instructions which can then be processed by LaTeX.

Most joy has been gained from automating these processes under Linux and Perl.