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  1. #1
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    The ABCs of Player Music Sharing

    Welcome to LotRO Player Music System, now with ABC Notation!

    What's all this alphabet stuff then? Well, put simply (for it is simple) is that ABC is an ASCII representation of Music Notation. In other words, it's sheet music in text form.

    Sheet music, you say? Yes, in all its glory. Not only do you get to know the notes, but all the structure that separates music from random noise. It is hard to use? Well, that depends. If you have any musical aptitude, and can even marginally read and understand music notation, it's a piece of cake. If you don't or can't, but are reasonable intelligent and can read, you'll be able to pick it up without too much trouble. If you're hopeless, you can always cut->paste->play.

    So, lets take a look at a basic ABC file.

    X:16
    T:Wild Mountain Thyme
    C:Composer: Uncertain
    N:Remarks:
    Q:1/4=125
    M:4/4
    L:1/8
    K:C
    z4 c2 A2 |G3 G A2 c2 |c c3 e2 g2 |a3 g a2 g2 |e g3 e2 g2 |a4 g2 e2 |d c3 d2 e2 |f3 e d2 c2 |A c3 c2 A2 |G4 A2 c2 |c4 e2 g2 |a3 g a2 g2 |e g3 e2 g2 |a4 g2 e2 |d c3 d2 e2 |f3 e d2 c2 |A c3 c2 A2 |
    G4 A2 c2 |c4 z4 |]
    %End of file

    All of the stuff of the form <letter>: is header. The stuff in tan just describes what song this is. Pure text, pure description, and not entirely necessary.

    The stuff in yellow is a different matter. That is important, as it describes the tone and key of the music. Q defines the tempo (how fast). M is the meter (in this case 4/4 time). L describes the default length of a note. This will be important later. K is the key, or scale the music is played in.

    Now we're to the meat of it. The music itself. Looks like a jumble, doesn't it? Well, if you take a moment to look at it, it's pretty straightforward. Notes are defined by <letter><number>. If you see C, it's the note C. Since L=1/8, C by itself is an eighth note. If it were C2, that'd be twice as long, or a quarter note. What if you need a 16th? Divide by 2. C/2.

    But what's the difference between c and C? It's all a matter of scale, as in, they're different scales. C is middle C. c is an octave above. You noticed the z in there, did you? Can't fool you. There is no z note. z is a rest. Treat it like a note in terms of duration, but no sound. z4 is the same as a half note in duration, but silent. Got it?

    So, you understand the basics. How do you use it? Well, ABC files are pure text. You write and edit them like you would text, in Notepad. To take music posted on the boards and save it to your computer, it's a simple copy & paste job, saving the file with an .abc extension in the /Music directory of your Lord of the Rings Online folder in My Documents. To use them, once you're in music mode in the game, type /play <filename> and you're playing!

    Well, that's the nickle tour. The official ABC website (see my sig) has all the gory details, a ton of ready made ABC files that can be downloaded royalty-free, and links to software you can use to compose, edit, transform music to your heart's content. Browse around and experiment.

    Last edited by Northwoods; Jul 05 2007 at 03:06 PM.
    [B][SIZE=2][FONT=Garamond][COLOR=deepskyblue]Lle merna aut farien?[/COLOR][/FONT][/SIZE][/B][B][SIZE=2][FONT=Garamond][COLOR=magenta][COLOR=yellow]
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    Playing music in LotRO is as easy as [URL="http://abcnotation.org.uk/"]ABC![/URL][/COLOR][/COLOR][/FONT][/SIZE][/B]

  2. #2
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    Re: The ABCs of Player Music Sharing

    On that note PCGamer says this site has software to convert MIDI to ABC:

    www.walshaw.plus.com/abc (Hmm redirects to the abcnotation site...oh well I'll keep the link.)

    Whlie www.midicenter.com has MIDI versions of some songs.
    Last edited by Kalten76; May 31 2007 at 10:57 AM.

  3. #3
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    Re: The ABCs of Player Music Sharing

    I don't get it....

  4. #4
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    Re: The ABCs of Player Music Sharing

    do we need to create the music folder, sence in my documents there is not a music folder

  5. #5
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    Re: The ABCs of Player Music Sharing

    it's not in my documents, it should be in My Documents\The Lord of the Rings Online\Music

  6. #6
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    Re: The ABCs of Player Music Sharing

    Few notes for those of us who are really bad at getting things to work right:

    1. This is only up on the Roheryn server. If you try it on normal servers, it won't work. Heh.

    2. If you don't have the music folder in My Documents\The Lord of the Rings Online (it is the folder where it saves your screenshots to), you can just add a folder named "Music" there, and that ought to work. You want to put your .abc files inside that folder. So, the full path of a file might be C: Documents and Settings\Computernamehere\My Documents\The Lord of the Rings Online\Music\test.abc

    3. To make a new .abc file (which is what you need to use), open up a .txt file with notepad, copy and paste the stuff that you need in there, and then when you go to save file, set it to "All files" instead of just ".txt", and put a .abc at the end of it (so you would name the file "test.abc" minus the quotation marks).

    4. To play that file, when in /music mode, type /play test, or /play test.abc (or whatever you have named the file). Both have worked for me.

  7. #7
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    Re: The ABCs of Player Music Sharing

    Quote Originally Posted by MindFrame View Post
    I don't get it....
    And some people will be that way. That's me reading the UI skinning stuff. I could probably figure it out if I really devited the time to it, but what I read there doesn't ring bells.

    If you don't get ABC, do what I do with UI skins: use what someone else has created. We can't all be proficient in everything.
    [B][SIZE=2][FONT=Garamond][COLOR=deepskyblue]Lle merna aut farien?[/COLOR][/FONT][/SIZE][/B][B][SIZE=2][FONT=Garamond][COLOR=magenta][COLOR=yellow]
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    Playing music in LotRO is as easy as [URL="http://abcnotation.org.uk/"]ABC![/URL][/COLOR][/COLOR][/FONT][/SIZE][/B]

  8. #8

    Re: The ABCs of Player Music Sharing

    You can still "compose" your own stuff if you can't read/write abc. Find something you like, and copy the notes. Find something else you like, and copy those. Put them together in one file. MAKE SURE that you put the sources in the file (Title, composer, wherever you like). Don't claim you wrote it all by hand if you didn't. I've put together a few that I really like, some are simply changing the order of the notes, while others are two or three songs put together.

  9. #9
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    Re: The ABCs of Player Music Sharing

    I can only say that there will be still only a few people who will use this kind of notation system. Music system is still very newby unfriendly. What Turbine did - gave players an opportunity to learn ABC notation system. Now every newb who likes to play music will go and burn their brain on how to write ABC. Not gonna happen. Most of the players will try to avoid this. But then again there is a way to get that file from someone else now and play it as your own.
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  10. #10

    Re: The ABCs of Player Music Sharing

    OK, I'm a Champion, so I'm fairly illiterate, musically speaking. I'm just a brute with a lute.

    In real life, I'm muscially oriented, and have a wealth of ABC files and other formats that I'm dying to play in Middle-Earth. Problem is, the instructions for how to do that have...er...let's say they assume a bit more LOTRO prowess than I currently have (a personal problem, no doubt...I apologize for my noobosity). To quote:

    "To use them [the ABC files], once you're in music mode in the game, type /play <filename> and you're playing!"

    This doesn't seem to get me anywhere. How do I enter "music mode?" By typing /music? When I do that, then type /play songtitle.abc nothing much happens. I keep on fingering my lute (my momma told me I'd go blind if I did that too much), but no music is heard.

    Obviously I'm doing something wrong, but I can't figure it out. Could I please have some even more explicit instructions? I'm afraid that, in my case, the "ABCs" aren't simple enough for me. I need to hear it in baby talk.

    Yours in all Noobishness,
    Graemme

  11. #11
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    Re: The ABCs of Player Music Sharing

    Quote Originally Posted by stupidfingers View Post
    This doesn't seem to get me anywhere. How do I enter "music mode?" By typing /music? When I do that, then type /play songtitle.abc nothing much happens. I keep on fingering my lute (my momma told me I'd go blind if I did that too much), but no music is heard.

    Obviously I'm doing something wrong, but I can't figure it out. Could I please have some even more explicit instructions? I'm afraid that, in my case, the "ABCs" aren't simple enough for me. I need to hear it in baby talk.

    Yours in all Noobishness,
    Graemme
    The ABC support is coming in the June/Evendim content update. It's not out yet, so /play and such will do nothing until it's deployed on the real servers.

    Currently it's testable/previewable on the preview server.

  12. #12

    Re: The ABCs of Player Music Sharing

    Also something added to the June update is a mappable key for turning on/off music mode. No more typing /music then moving to get out of it.

  13. #13
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    Re: The ABCs of Player Music Sharing

    Quote Originally Posted by AmonaugTruehammer View Post
    Also something added to the June update is a mappable key for turning on/off music mode. No more typing /music then moving to get out of it.
    Oh, that's nice - I've just been doing /shortcut 12 /music to have a button that does /music, but a toggle is even better.

    Now we just need to be able to play while moving (while /follow-ing) to annoy - er, entertain our friends and fellowships.

  14. #14
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    Re: The ABCs of Player Music Sharing

    Quote Originally Posted by Fayk View Post
    Oh, that's nice - I've just been doing /shortcut 12 /music to have a button that does /music, but a toggle is even better.

    Now we just need to be able to play while moving (while /follow-ing) to annoy - er, entertain our friends and fellowships.
    Only if we get "/ignore ;target"
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    Playing music in LotRO is as easy as [URL="http://abcnotation.org.uk/"]ABC![/URL][/COLOR][/COLOR][/FONT][/SIZE][/B]

  15. #15
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    Re: The ABCs of Player Music Sharing

    so when you type /play you just play the song without having to type 1,2,3 and whatnot?
    [I]LOTRO has drink and smoke, this kill people. Eat corn is healthy. If you are Nobgobbler you can be most healthy too.[/I] - WNxNomos
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  16. #16
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    Re: The ABCs of Player Music Sharing

    When do they plan on implenting this onto all of the servers?

    Also, a cool program that I have is Music Masterworks. This program allows you to compose a song (with any instrument really: guitar). Make your own, convert to ABC, and you can play your own song in game! SAAAWEEET!

  17. #17
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    Re: The ABCs of Player Music Sharing

    Quote Originally Posted by elosefast View Post
    so when you type /play you just play the song without having to type 1,2,3 and whatnot?
    /play will (once Shores of Evendin releases) will execute an ABC script and play according to it. The player needs do nothing else.
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    Playing music in LotRO is as easy as [URL="http://abcnotation.org.uk/"]ABC![/URL][/COLOR][/COLOR][/FONT][/SIZE][/B]

  18. #18
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    Re: The ABCs of Player Music Sharing

    A couple of conversion tricks:

    Broken Rhythyms:

    The a>b and a<b constructs are not supported. They can be replaced as follows:

    L:1/8
    a>b c<d abcd
    L:1/8
    a3/2b/2 c/2d3/2 abcd


    Triplets:

    Triplets are another construct which doesn't seem to be directly supported. Triplets in ABC look like (3abc

    You can replace this with a2/3b2/3c2/3
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    Playing music in LotRO is as easy as [URL="http://abcnotation.org.uk/"]ABC![/URL][/COLOR][/COLOR][/FONT][/SIZE][/B]

  19. #19
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    Post Re: The ABCs of Player Music Sharing

    Adding the ABC music system was a great idea. It takes a little time to learn but is a blast when you do.

    Thx for making a detailed post so others can start to learn the system.

    Follow the link on North Woods signature.. LINK .. It is a very helpful webpage.
    Last edited by Dromiz; Jun 08 2007 at 04:09 PM.

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    Post Implemented more than I expected...

    I'm fairly shocked by what was implemented. I didn't think that this would be playable in LotRO ABC with the Irish Roll and triplets. (I purposely left out the grace notes, but I might rework them back in after more experimentation.) While the Irish Roll (~[note] in ABC 1.6/2.0) is simulated by 16th notes, it's still in there with reasonable interpretation, and LotRO even stays fairly close to tempo (which is fairly fast) and fairly accurate after latency on my computer, fairly. (Yep. Noticed the hollow notes, too.)

    I'm curious to hear what someone else hears for a piece that fast (live or ABC), though.

    Gonna see if I can upgrade the one I have with the (3:1 in it this evening, but LotRO didn't seem to like [note]/3 last night so I might have to get creative again.

  21. #21
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    Re: Implemented more than I expected...

    Quote Originally Posted by Northman View Post
    LotRO didn't seem to like [note]/3 last night so I might have to get creative again.
    Really? This plays.

    M:2/4
    L:1/8
    Q:120
    K:G
    C/3D/3E/3 F/3G/3A/3 B/3c/3d/3 e/3f/3g/3


    Maybe your tempo was too fast, making the notes too short?
    [B][SIZE=2][FONT=Garamond][COLOR=deepskyblue]Lle merna aut farien?[/COLOR][/FONT][/SIZE][/B][B][SIZE=2][FONT=Garamond][COLOR=magenta][COLOR=yellow]
    [charsig=http://lotrosigs.level3.turbine.com/0520a000000005532/01008/signature.png]Northwoods[/charsig][/COLOR][/COLOR][/FONT][/SIZE][/B][B][SIZE=2][FONT=Garamond][COLOR=magenta][COLOR=yellow]
    Playing music in LotRO is as easy as [URL="http://abcnotation.org.uk/"]ABC![/URL][/COLOR][/COLOR][/FONT][/SIZE][/B]

  22. #22
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    Question Shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque...

    Quote Originally Posted by Northwoods View Post
    Really? This plays.

    M:2/4
    L:1/8
    Q:120
    K:G
    C/3D/3E/3 F/3G/3A/3 B/3c/3d/3 e/3f/3g/3


    Maybe your tempo was too fast, making the notes too short?
    My bad. Forgot to mention that I had A/3B/3=c/3 instead of A2/3B2/3=c2/3 using L:1/8 and Q:1/4=120 when I was trying to tweak it to work with LotRO ABC. Dunno if M:C| made any difference. The problem will be that the (3:1 might be too fast as well. We'll see. Logging in now.

    EDIT: Ties work, but using Dm (D minor) for a key doesn't seem to work for this one. It played in D major, but I changed it to the harmonic major (F), and it worked fine then.
    Last edited by Northman; Jun 08 2007 at 08:39 PM. Reason: ABC update reference.

  23. #23
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    Re: The ABCs of Player Music Sharing

    Okay, I have a problem related to Windows Vista. I'm trying to save .abc files in the game files, but it won't allow me to do this, and says that I should request for my administrator to grant me access. First of all, I'm the only person who uses this computer, and second of all, it gave me no help in figuring out how to contact myself about requesting access. Basically, I don't know how to let my computer save the file, lol. Any help?

    EDIT: I believe I solved my own problem, went into Properties and changed some permissions. The amount of unneeded security on Windows Vista is staggering
    Last edited by Yemkela; Jun 09 2007 at 11:20 PM.

  24. #24
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    Re: The ABCs of Player Music Sharing

    I know it is possible outside the game to play ABC and have the key and tempo change in the middle. Is there anyway for that to work in the game without having to completely rewrite?

  25. #25
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    Post The ABCs of LotRO ABC

    Please reference the LoreBook for up-to-date information.

    Quote Originally Posted by Giddily View Post
    I know it is possible outside the game to play ABC and have the key and tempo change in the middle. Is there anyway for that to work in the game without having to completely rewrite?
    From what I can tell, LotRO ABC uses the following and you'll be fine if you restrict yourself to using only these in this first section:
    • Q: (tempo)
      It will default to 1/4= yet (i.e. Q:1/4=120 is the same as Q:120), and it does accept and interpret other tempo bases such as 1/8=.
    • K: (key)
      I haven't gotten it to use anything except major keys only, so I use the harmonic major for any special key signatures (minor, mixolydian, etc.). It seems there are specific types of scale names allowed.
      WornTraveler: I was trying K:Cm, then K:Cmin and finally K:Cmin. worked.
    • L: (default note length)
    • C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C D E F G A B c d e f g a b c' z (notes)
      z is silent (rest).
      Any notes lower than C, and higher than c' will generate an error.
    • ^[note] (sharp)
      It does not allow ^c' and, of course, does not allow ^z.
    • _[note] (flat)
      It does not allow _C and, of course, does not allow _z.
    • [note]2 [note]3 [note]4 [note]5 [note]6 [note]7 [note]8 (length scalar multiplier at least up to 25)
      I haven't tried anything longer than 25 yet.
      LotRO has a maximum time for sustaining notes from ABC (as well as live playing), so depending on the tempo and multiplier, you may get an error for holding a note too long.
      String instruments have a set sustain regardless how long the note is specified to play. While the notes will still start on-time for string instruments, they will continue to play through following notes. This makes arpeggio-like notations sound more like strumming or picking on string instruments.
    • [note]/2 [note]/3 [note]/4 (length scalar divisor)
      I haven't tried anything shorter than those.
      / by itself is /2.
      // is not allowed. (See below.)
    • [note][multiplier]/[divisor] (complex lengths)
      I have only tried 2/3 for this (for 3-notes-in-2-beats triplets).
      WornTraveler: Right, 3/2. ... I typed that in for a little song... (editor's: that makes a dotted note for the default length)
      Northwoods:
      The a>b and c<d constructs are not supported. They can be replaced as follows: a3/2b/2 c/2d3/2
      Northwoods: Triplets are another construct which doesn't seem to be directly supported. Triplets in ABC look like (3abc. You can replace this with a2/3b2/3c2/3
    • [note]-[same note] (ties)
      I have no idea what it will do if you try to tie two different pitches.
      Length modifiers are, of course, supported with the tied notes.
    The shortest length I have been able to manage is the length of a 16th note at Q:1/4=250. Anything faster and I've received an error in the chat box. Still, I've seen others playing ABC (hollow note animation) with faster notes than that. It might be a client-based thing. (Odd. Previously, it was 1/4=204, but tonight I was able to play 16ths at 1/4=250)

    It does not accept the following, generating an error in the chat box:
    • (tuplets
      Northwoods: Triplets are another construct which doesn't seem to be directly supported. Triplets in ABC look like (3abc. You can replace this with a2/3b2/3c2/3
    • ~Irish Roll (interpreted by a rare few ABC players as a stuttering-style playing of the note, very common in folk music)
      For "Toss the Feathers", I originally had: D2ED ADED|AB=cA GECE|D~DED ADED|AddB =cAGE|
      I had to change it to: D2ED ADED|AB=cA GE=CE|DD/D/ED ADED|AddB =cAGE|
      The performance of the Irish Roll is dependent on the tempo so you'll have to interpret it for the situation.
    • [note]// (equivalent to [note]/4)
      Northwoods: The double slash // will generate an "unexpected token" error. Easy (obvious) fix is to replace // with /4
    • [chords] (multiple notes in brackets that are supposed to play at the same time)
      AmonaugTruehammer:
      [chords] I always get an line error message or saying chords aren't supported.
    We seem to be getting variable results from the following notation (please give feedback):
    • [note]<[note] and [note]>[note] (dotted rhythm of adding %50 of the length to the greater note and reducing the lesser note by 50%)
      Northwoods: The a>b and a<b constructs are not supported. They can be replaced as follows:
      a3/2b/2 c/2d3/2
      Annael: Not sure about that. In my transcription of Ride of the Valkyries, I had used the length shift notation before I read this. However, it seems to work fine for me. Take a look and let me know.
      Giddily: I've found that files with unsupported code do play, but they are very inconsistent. The music will be much better if they are taken out completely or replaced with a workaround. Sometimes the code will crash the game, but not all the time.
    It seems to ignore the following:
    • Spaces around notes (Note grouping for notes with bars)
      This would normally have been used to show where the bars between 8th and shorter notes would have been placed.
      As LotRO does not display the notation this is moot to LotRO ABC.
      Be aware that these forums (not LotRO ABC) have a 30-character limit for a single run of unbroken text. It considers a slash (/) as a break, but not a comma. It will insert a space after the 30th consecutive character, which could separate a note length from a note if you're not careful when posting an ABC song for LotRO.
    • X: (tune index)
      It seems to ignore this before any notes, but I have not tried to have multiple tunes.
      It might generate an error if used a second time or might be ignored again.
      This can be omitted completely in LotRO ABC (unlike ABC 1.2/2.0).
      Northwoods:
      Pure text, pure description, and not entirely necessary.
    • T: (tune title)
      Same as with X:
    • C: (composer/author)
      This is an optional field in ABC 1.6/2.0 used for displaying or cataloging special information, but it is ignored completely by LotRO ABC before any notes and can be likewise omitted.
    • Z: (transcriber)
      Same as with C:
    • R: (Rhythm/Style)
      Same as with C:, and Z:
    • M: (time signature)
      Same as with C:, Z: and R:
    • S: (source) Meaning from what the piece was transcribed
      Same as with C:, Z:, R: and M:
    • O: (origin) Geographic origin of the piece
      Same as with C:, Z:, R:, M: and S:
    • I: (information)
      Same as with C:, Z:, R:, M:, S: and O:
    • N: (comments)
      It completely ignores these at least before the notes and you can have multiple lines of these.
    • V: (voice)
      This is intended for multi-part ABC files, but as LotRO ABC does not do multi-voice, it runs right through these and plays each part as consecutive sections of the same voice.
    • | || |] (measure bars)
      It completely ignores these, and they don't have to be included at all (as implied accidentals do not apply; see below).
    • |: :| :: :|: (repeats)
      It'll barrel right through these.
    • implied accidentals (accidentals that are supposed to apply for the remainder of a measure)
      You have to put an accidental on every note that is not part of the key.
      For "Toss the Feathers", I originally had: D2ED ADED|AB=cA GECE|D~DED ADED|AddB =cAGE|
      I had to change it to: D2ED ADED|AB=cA GE=CE|DD/D/ED ADED|AddB =cAGE|
    • Subsequent K: fields beyond the first one
    • Any K: fields after any notes or rests
    • Key signature modifiers other than what it allows (such as m for Cm)
      It will still play in major, regardless, unless you name it exactly like it wants.
      WornTraveler: I was trying K:Cm, then K:Cmin and finally K:Cmin. worked.
    • Subsequent Q: fields beyond the first one
    • Any Q: fields after any notes.
    • "Guitar chord changes or lyrics"
    • (slurs)
    • % (comments or program-specific commands)
      This marks the beginning of a non-displayed, uncatalogued comment line in ABC 1.6/2.0 and LotRO ABC. Anything after this on that line is ignored by LotRO. (Some programs use %% to signify some special command, configuration or notation, but it is still ignored as a regular % in LotRO.)
      Giddily:
      EDIT: Do
      % comments work in LotRO ABC?[/quote] Yes they do.
    I don't know how it handles the following, but I do know they're not supported in /playing and they might generate an error:
    • +decorations+ (such as +trill+ +dc+)
      Just interpret them as best as you can.

    • {gracenotes}
      Just shorten the notes as best as you can. (Don't forget to give some allowance before the notes by shortening the previous note or rest since most grace-notes happen immediately before the full note they precede.)
    • [endings (such as [1 [2 for alternate endings)
      Since repeats and decorations aren't supported, endings are moot.
    • .[note] (staccato notes)
      Just shorten the note and add a rest to compensate. This only affects the wind instruments that have variable sustains.

    NOTE: ABC can still generate the "Too many requests, Slow down" error from the server. It has happened to me twice. Latency turned on (meaning Low Latency turned off) will give you a performance like what others with a similar Internet connection will hear. Quantization on or off does not change ABC /playback. /Playback performance for other listeners seems to rely on your computer and yours plus their Internet connections (which suggests they're simply notes generated by your client and sent to the server automatically for you). You cannot play notes manually while /playing an ABC file. You can chat in-game while /playing ABC (for things like typing lyrics as you play in /say or /telling your fellowship what chords they should start playing, and you might be able to bind such things as in-game aliases to the hotbars if those are not currently mapped to notes, such as Alt+[#]). I don't know if you can /emote (though I'm certain there would be no animation if you could). I have no idea how to make the copy+paste ABC into the chat box work to play ABC (as was mentioned previously by a dev).

    When posting ABC notations in the forums, it might help to select the "Disable similies in text" option at the bottom of the reply or advanced edit screens to prevent the forum from converting certain notations into "smilies". Also, the forums will insert a space in front of every 31st character if a string of characters is "unbroken" (no spaces) and "unbreakable" (not containing any characters such as hyphens that will allow many browsers to move the remaining text to the next line, making the string "breakable"). The forums considers a slash (/) as a breakable character (even though many browsers do not), but a comma (,) is not considered a breakable character. This could end up with spaces between accidentals, notes, octave modifiers and length modifiers. I recommend that you use spaces freely when appropriate while posting ABC in the forums.

    Anything else to try? I figure we should try only ABC 1.6 stuff and assume ABC 2.0 is right out.
    Last edited by Northman; Jun 26 2007 at 11:07 AM. Reason: Collecting info from other members ITT

 

 
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