Contributing using Lilypond + Frescobaldi
(For more advanced users, see the Lilypond + Visual Studio Code setup)
All the songs on the site are written using Lilypond, which is a way to describe a musical score using code. Frescobaldi is an easy-to-use GUI (graphical user interface) for Lilypond.
You will need:
- Lilypond, the program that turns a file of code:
my-song.ly into outputs
my-song.midi. Hymn Singer currently uses 2.22.1, and the newer versions may be fine.
- Frescobaldi, the easiest way to get started with Lilypond on Linux, Mac, or Windows.
- (optional) Git
Clone the git repository
You’re going to copy this entire website, including all the songs, to your computer.
- If you’re comfortable with git:
git clone https://github.com/kenakofer/hymnsinger.git
- Otherwise, go to https://github.com/kenakofer/hymnsinger Click the big green download button. You can download a zip and unzip it.
Getting a song to engrave correctly
To “engrave” (meaning turn the
.ly file into
- Open Frescobaldi
- Open the source code (the
.ly file) for one of the songs. For example, “Angels we have heard on high” is at
- Hit the lilypad button to engrave. It should look something like this:
- If the notation looks strange to you, you need to use the dropdown menu next to the engrave button to select a different PDF file to view. (One of them is traditional notation, one uses shape-note heads, and one uses Clairnote notation, and one is a lead-sheet. You get four for the price of one!)
- Find and replace “Kenan Schaefkofer” with your name, and re-engrave to see the change. Now you are the one doing the typesetting and (hopefully) making your contributions free for all!
Leverage your individual creative energies
Experiment by changing things!
- Maybe change the title, or some of the lyrics and see if your changes show up in the PDF.
- Change some note letters in the
soprano = ,
alto = , etc. For example, maybe change the first
gs4 to change the soprano’s first quarter note from
- Then go learn the basics of Lilypond
If you want to hear the music, you will need to install a program to play (synthesize)
Then, with the synthesizer application running, go into Frescobaldi’s settings and change the MIDI output device to the synthesizer.
Creating a new song
Now that you have everything set up, read about Creating a new song