Power of TeX – music scores

I often post about TeX and related things, updates of Debian packages, support programs etc. This time I want to present a nice project that exhibits the power and versatility of TeX and its relatives: Setting musical scores using Lilypond and LaTeX, and in this case about a new edition of Oskar Fried’s songs.


The two main authors, Urs Liska and Jan Warchoł (working together under the name beautifulScores) have invested close to 2 years in producing a new edition of the complete songs of Oskar Fried. They used open-source tools, in particular Lilypond and TeX for their production. During this long time of preparation they worked in close cooperation with the developers of the respective programs, which resulted in improved typesetting for everyone. One example of a package that has come out of their work is lilyglyphs, allowing the inclusion of lilypond symbols in normal LaTeX text. See this blog post for details.

logo_besteditionOn top of that, their work has won the Best Edition Award 2014 of the German Music Publishers’ Association, competing with commercial music typesetting systems like Finale and Sibelius. Congratulations.

What I really liked on them is that they have used open source, and now in gratitude to the open source community that allowed them to produce such an excellent piece of art, they want to set it free, make it accessible both in source and compiled form, free for people to reuse, to print, to study, and to learn. The publishing company has agreed to this after their costs have been covered (great thanks!!), so they started an IndieGoGo campain Free Fried with the target to raise about 4200 Euro to cover the costs. If you are a friend of music, open source, or simply like this project, please stop by and chip, even a small amount is appreciated!

The series of blogs they are writing includes a lot of details on improvements of lilypond, as well as workflows for music typesetting. One very detailed article on Using LaTeX for a Musical Edition might work as a guideline for new artists.

A great project, a great outcome, and hopefully soon a great open source project that inspires new developments and more beautifully set musical scores.

2 Responses

  1. I’m glad you like the project, and many thanks for spreading the word!

    • Thanks to you for your great work and engagement for open source. We from the TeX Live team really appreciate your contributions and hope we can help you in the future. At any point, if you need something, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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