Linux music notation software

As soon as I went online looking for banjo music, I ran into music stored at .tef files. I groaned, fully expecting the only way to cope with these would be some windows software (and I don't run windows, never have, nor do I intend to).

ABC notation

This is a scheme that uses your text editor to prepare a file representing music in abc notation. Software exists to convert these files to nicely typeset music or even midi sound files. See the ABC notation homepage. This has been in use since late 1991 and mac and windows people use it as well as linux folks. See also Jef's page where Tkabc is hosted. Also, the ABC plus project.


This is part of Fedora Core 9. Professor Anders previously wrote a program called NoteEdit. This project has been abandoned, with its better aspects being preserved in NtED. NtEd if basically a WYSIWYG music score editor, as is MuseScore.

TEF files

One option is to run TablEdit under Wine. It can export MusicXML files, which can then be fed into various linux packages. Apparently TuxGuitar can read .tef files. TuxGuitar seems to be written in Java, and is available via yum for fedora. When I installed it (5/11/2009), it pulled in java-1.6.0-openjdk and rhino:
 tuxguitar            x86_64   1.1-1.fc9                updates-newkey    5.1 M
Installing for dependencies:
 java-1.6.0-openjdk   x86_64   1:   updates-newkey     27 M
 libswt3-gtk2         x86_64   1:3.3.2-12.fc9           updates-newkey    4.0 M
 rhino                noarch   1.6-0.1.r5.1jpp.2.fc7    fedora            477 k
 tzdata-java          noarch   2009e-3.fc9              updates-newkey    170 k
And now this seems to work pretty nicely actually. I go to File->Import and that selects the TEF file plugin to open my .tef files and displays them quite nicely.


Have any comments? Questions? Drop me a line!

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