2009/10/24 Jani Frilander <j.frilander@...>
> Heikki, what do you think about translating notes in finnish? Since we use
> german notation, our note system is
> C, D, E, F, G, A, H. In german translation B translates to H and Bb to B.
> Should we do the same?
If I look at the history on how the note names developed:
I can see that the German note naming (B flat & B natural > B & H) developed
when the chromatic notes started to appear.
Personally I like more the alphabetic note naming, because it honors the
full chromatic system and does not have
such ambiguities that will "B flat flat" be named either as "Bes" or "BB".
The alphabetic note system is easier to learn, teach, and, parse in coding.
I see no no advantages in using German note naming system instead of the
alphabetic one. Therefore, I have not cared about this.
I have implemented and used Finnish note naming in producing LilyPond notes.
Yes, it is possible to use Finnish note names in LilyPond syntax,
you just add \include "suomi.ly" in some point of the header.
The most difficult part was, however, translating the chord names, because
there are exceptions in chord names.
B major is "H", Bes major is not "Hb" or "Hes" but "Bb", Beses major is not
"Hbb" or "Heses" or "Bb", but "Bbb".
These exceptions are totally useless to learn. Why not to use "B" for B
major "B", "B flat" for Bes major and "B flat flat" for Beses major ?
IMHO, Finnish people have no specific reason, other than historic, to use
German note system. I would recommend the alphabetic notation system for all
I am also very welcome for any other note naming system which does have
similar ambiguous exceptions which the German note naming system has.
If you are going to translate note names, you need to translate also chord
names. I tried it once and found that it was not fully
straightforward to implement the chord names to LilyPond. If I remember
correctly, the most difficult part was to produce correct chord names
after transposing the full score e.g. a seminote (or some other interval) up
(or down) using the "\transpose" syntax.
I checked the situation again. LilyPond uses Ignatzek chord name chart by
and it indeed is possible to get the desired chord names by using with
In order the Finnish, or German, note naming to work properly, I would
- use internally alphabetic note naming system (also alphabetic for
- translate note names using tr( ) in Rosegarden (may be tricky for chord
- use "\semiGermanChords" for chord names in LilyPond.
The preference for the alphabetic note syntax and my ignorance of German
note syntax might be only my personal preference.
I have chosen to ignore Finnish or German note naming system, because my
personal view is that their definition is "broken".
For example, I feel that the definition of semiGermanChords is
mathematically broken (in German, hes is B, therefore heses should be B
flat, not B flat flat, as it is).
However, you are free to implement Finnish note names, if you wish. It is
tricky and, after you have implemented it,
you have to start to teach all the exceptions you have implemented
Rosegarden to the young musicians who have no
earlier experience on note naming.
I am more happy with alphabetic note naming, because if I need to fix the
LilyPond syntax, I have personally found it
easier in some cases (which I have forgotten) to make changes to the
alphabetic syntax than to the german note naming syntax.
Also, I have no burden to remember all these exceptions, and the brokennes
of the chord naming definition,
which drives me nuts and my thoughts away from composing.