Lilypond in Welsh

PROBLEM: How do you produce good quality copies of Welsh music for your local choir?

Anyone who has sung in a choir will know that the copies from which we are expected to sing can be pretty appalling. In Welsh the problem is compounded by the comparative rarity of the language. Most likely the piece is not published in Welsh at all, so someone has had to produce a Welsh translation for it, which is then scribbled in between the lines. The end result is then photocopied a dozen times until it becomes totally illegible. Welcome to the Land of Song.

So why not buy new copies of everything, as we all should by law?

Because nobody sells any. The Welsh language market is pretty small, so the publishers don't cater for it. However, I have taken care not to put anything on this website that competes with anything currently in print. In most cases the work has never been published in Welsh, so I am not in direct competition with anybody. If that is not the case then please let me know and I will remove it. The last thing I want to do is to put music publishers out of business, or get sued.

What about copyright issues?

If the piece was composed a sufficiently long time ago, then there aren't any. There may be issues if you copy a particular arrangement, but with a lot of classical music and hymns, there is only one arrangement, and you are therefore entitled to copy it. The person who has produced the Welsh translation will also have rights, so seek their permission if possible. Most likely they will be glad to give it. Avoid recent works that are still in the charts at all costs, and works that are published in Welsh.


What is Lilypond?

Lilypond is a free piece of software produced by Han-Wen Nienhuys & Jan Nieuwenhuizen. It does not come with a Wysiwyg editor, but it produces stunningly beautiful results, because that is what it is intended to do. It is not by accident that they write 'Engraved by Lilypond' at the bottom of every printout. This is not mere printing, but musical calligraphy.

Is it easy to use?

Short answer: No.

Longer answer: Lilypond is based on TeX, which is a typesetting language created by the legendary Donald Knuth, which he started way back in 1977. It therefore uses the prevalent methods of that period, which require you to make changes to your source code using a text editor, save them to disk, then compile your source code from the command line to produce lots of error messages. Once you have corrected all your miniscule errors, you will get some result files, which you then have to view in a separate viewing application (e.g. dvipage).

But this isn't the main reason that Lilypond is so hard to use. You get pretty handy at hitting Ctrl-S, Alt-Tab, up-cursor, Return after a while. It's because the source code is so hard to write in the first place. You can tear your hair out wondering why your repeats are not unfolding, or how to manage all your slurs when moving from 4 parts to 5. Efforts have been made to create a Wysiwyg front-end to Lilypond (see Denemo) but it still requires you to know how to write Lilypond source-code in the first place, so you might as well learn sooner rather than later.

Why not buy a package?

Because free software needs our support too, and I believe in it as a force for good. Besides, Sibelius costs a bomb. True, there are cheaper alternatives, such as Mozart and Finale, but they don't run on Linux, so I couldn't use them even if I wanted to. Furthermore, much like shorthand, Lilypond can eventually become fast. Much faster than using a mouse to edit every single note, although after 10 minutes of typing "a4~ b8 aes( a2.)" my mind is going numb.

Does Lilypond work on Windows?

Yes, although I wouldn't know since I've never tried it. The Lilypond website has full instructions for running it on a number of Operating Systems.


Name Source Midi PDF
Finlandia Lilypond Source Code Midi File PDF File
Love Divine Lilypond Source Code Midi File PDF File
Carol Golau Canwyllt Lilypond Source Code Midi File PDF File
Ebeneser Lilypond Source Code Midi File PDF File
Rhythm y Ddawns Lilypond Source Code Midi File PDF File
Tydi a roddaist Lilypond Source Code (ver 2.10.10) Midi File PDF File