Abc tunes

From MusiCAD

MusiCAD can read and write most multi-voice abc-tunes from other sources. Since abc-tunes are designed to be written manually you may often need to edit an abc-tune al little bit to get rid of some anomalies/errors produced in hand-writing and/or differences in software. Much more information regarding ABC notation can be found at

After opening an abc-file you can instruct MusiCAD to use a special template to create a uniform layout for all abc-read tunes.

Abc-files can be edited in source form within MusiCAD: [View|Textdisplay]

An abc-example is listed below.

T:Astleys Ride
af|: d2 d2 d2 cd|e2 e2 e2 fe|dcBA B2 c2|defg agfe|
d2 d2 d2 cd |e2 e2 e2 fe|dcBA B2 c2 |1 d4 d2 af :|2 d4 d2 z A
|:f2 f2 f2 ef|g2 g2 gabg|e2 e2 e2 de|f2 f2 fgaf|
d2 d2 d2 cd |e2 e2 e2 fe|dcBA B2 c2 |1 d4 d2 zA :|2 d4 d2 z2||

On opening a multi-tune abc-file you are presented a screen like below:


From left to right is shown:

  • sequence number within the .abc-file
  • A if the tune contains chords (or something like it) W if a tune contains a text-block or w is the tune contains note-aligned lyrics.

On abc-import the abc-key-fields are copied to corresponding MusiCAD text-fields:

A (author) Author
B (book) Info
C (composer) Composer, Arranger
D (discography) Info
G (group) Tuning
H (history) Info
O (origin) Country, Area
N (notes) Comment
R (rhythm) Style
S (source) Source
T (Title) Title, Subtitle, SubTitle2
Z (transcription notes) Arranger

When exporting a tune as abc-file, the reverse is performed, note however that there is no 1 to 1 correspondence between abc-key-fields and MusiCAD text fields.

A large part of the long awaited abc-2.0 standard is implemented with a few exceptions:

  • abc-macro's (unlikely to be going implemented ever)
  • redefineable symbols