It seems the circle is going to close now.
Nearly three and a half years ago Janek introduced himself to the
lilypond-user mailing list with this message – and see who were his first two contacts from the LilyPond community 🙂 .
In the meantime we had several projects, exchanged thousands of emails (not including on-list communication), even talked a few times over Skype – but never had the opportunity to see us in natura (and I think our Avatars aren’t exactly revealing). Now’s the time to change this: On Friday we’ll finally meet at the Musikmesse Frankfurt! Let’s hope the blind date won’t be a disappointment 😉 .
But this isn’t the Big Bang promised in this post’s title. 😉
The Big Bang is that…
… (drum roll) …
Of course we were absolutely thrilled when we heard about the election, and it was hard to keep it private until today. It seems the hard work that we put in this project finally paid off 🙂 . I think we continued to strive for perfection even after the point when most publishers would have been satisfied with the results – and also when we ran out of budget. We also worked hard to refine our innovative collaborative workflows and to promote them publicly. Considering what I wrote on this blog alone it’s hard to imagine that it was only in the course of this project that I learned about version control with Git and finally decided to use LaTeX.
This is an opportunity to express our deeply felt gratitude. Towards the people who developed such great tools as LilyPond, LaTeX, Git and also Frescobaldi, but also towards the community that was so helpful for our work. So many issues wouldn’t have been solved without competent assistance on
lilypond-user and on StackExchange. Additionally there are numerous tools in our function library that have been created or updated by others on our request. We are very happy – and to some extent also proud – that a number of them are by now an integral part of LilyPond itself. Updating our edition to current LilyPond versions will to a significant degree mean removing our library functions because they aren’t necessary anymore 🙂 .
Another way of expressing our gratitude towards the community is our intention to open up the edition to make it available under a free license. This will allow anybody to investigate the sources, make modifications (e.g. personal transpositions) or even improve the edition – be sure to read on!
We found it cute to invent a wannabe company name and a logo for inclusion in the Fried edition, and now it turns out that it has been a really nice idea. As a reaction to the award we’re going public now with this and present beautifulScores.net, our engravers’ collective offering innovative solutions around scores and music books. Of course this is initially Janek’s and my “baby”, but if you’re interested in joining us don’t hesitate to write us an email. We’ll probably need a certain number of copyists for one or more Crowd Engraving projects, and we’ll be also happy to collaborate with people with higher and perhaps specific skillsets (e.g. historic or contemporary notation, Scheme or Python skills, management of a Git server etc.).
Meet us in Frankfurt
If you have the opportunity to go to Frankfurt we’d be happy to meet you there. We’ll be at the Messe from Thursday (March 13) noon throughout Friday evening. Janek will stay in Frankfurt for Saturday too. Our base camp will be the Booth of SCORA, a company offering exciting LilyPond based digital music stands (3.1 B34). This looks really interesting, and I’m looking forward to seeing it in action. Parts of our Fried edition will be displayed in SCORA’s hardware.
If you intend to come it’s advisable to drop us an email in advance so we can exchange mobile phone numbers.
Freely Created… and Freely Available?
While we worked on the project we were very conscious about the fact that the edition was created nearly exclusively with free software. Nearly. There are two exceptions to this, one fundamental and one more or less accidental. As I felt unable to create a good-looking cover with LaTeX (at least in the given timeframe) I deferred this to our fellow collaborator, Alexander Gurdon, who created it using InDesign. Today I wouldn’t go that route anymore and would do this with LaTeX too.
A more serious “flaw” is the use of non-free text fonts. Even after some research and a widely-discussed survey on
lilypond-user I did not find a satisfying replacement for Adobe’s Minion Pro. Apart from its elegant appearance this font really scores with its wealth of different weights and widths, which made it possible to find font faces for all kinds of text elements, ideally matching the appearance of the music engraving.
We created this edition using free software and benefitted from this freedom, through the community spirit in general, but also through the possibility to tweak and improve the tools we used. Examples for this are the mentioned improvements through others, the development of my lilyglyphs LaTeX package to use notational symbols in text, and the fact that we were able to compile our scores with a custom-built LilyPond containing some patches by Janek and by David Kastrup – try that with Finale 😉 . Now we’ve got this fantastic public acknowledgment of our work, and we want to partly redirect this attention to the tools we use. But somehow it doesn’t feel right to have all this work on and with free software resulting in a proprietary product that is only accessible through buying the printed copy, without allowing other people to improve it further, make derivative versions (e.g. transpositions, or a version using only free fonts). If this edition is to become a real “flagship” project for LilyPond, usable as a proof of its professional capabilities, usable as an object to study our – exemplary or flawed – coding techniques, or usable to trigger any sort of community project around it, then it should be a freely redistributable piece of “software”.
I have to admit that initially I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about this idea, and had to be convinced about it through a (unusually calm) discussion with a number of LilyPond’s developers. But now I think that it actually is a good idea to open up our edition and make it freely available. I’m glad that I could convince our publisher to follow us here. So we decided to open up the edition and make their sources available under a free license – as soon as all expenses have been covered. Of course nobody will expect us and our publisher to do this while still having invested considerable amounts of time and money …
We need your support to make this edition Free!
By now both me and Janek are convinced that freeing the edition is a good idea and that it will be also good for LilyPond. What we need is your financial support – we must cover the publisher’s expenses before we’ll be able to free the edition.
There are two major ways of helping us with this goal: you can buy printed copies of the edition (which we consider a rewarding investment anyway if you care for beautiful scores and/or romantic music), ideally directly from the publisher, or you can support our campaign at Indiegogo (even the smallest contributions count!). There you’ll find a great number of interesting perks, ranging from PDF/Source packages over printed copies, an interview on our blog up to donating a bug fix/feature request for LilyPond. Even if you can’t support this campaign financially please spread the word 🙂 – we really count on you, and we want to make all this a worthwile event for free culture and software 🙂 .