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This section introduces the Mup language, giving some simple examples to give you the flavor of a Mup input file. Subsequent sections will go into greater detail.
Music is described one measure at a time. Each note is specified by its pitch
value, "a" to "g." As an example, the first measure of "Three Blind
Mice" can be described like this:
1: 4e; 4d; 2c;
The first three notes of "Three Blind Mice" are E, D, and C. For Mup input, these pitches are given in lowercase to avoid having to use the shift key. No octave information was specified in this simple example, so Mup would use its default, which in this case would be the octave beginning with middle C.
The first two notes are quarter notes, and the last note is a half note. Time values of notes are given as shown in the example. A quarter note is marked by a 4, a half note by 2, a sixteenth note by a 16, etc.
A semicolon is used to separate chords. In this simple example, each chord has only a single note in it, but it is possible to have lots of notes in one chord.
At the end of each measure, we have to tell Mup what kind of
to draw. The standard bar line is just called "bar." So a complete
description of the first measure would be:
1: 4e; 4d; 2c; bar
To save typing, Mup allows a lot of shortcuts. One such shortcut is that it assumes that unless you tell it otherwise, each note in the measure is like the note before. You can leave out the second 4, because if you don't specify a time value, Mup will assume the note is the same length as the previous note.
The same sort of idea works with pitches. The third measure of "Three Blind
Mice" could be stated like this:
1: 4g;8f;;2e; bar
You may have noticed that this example doesn't have spaces between chords. There are only a few places where the Mup language requires you to put spaces. However, you can always put some in other places to make things easier to read.
Printed music contains a lot more than just notes and bar lines. Among other things, each staff normally begins with a clef, key signature, and time signature. Mup provides default values for these, which you can then override if you want something different. In the examples so far, we didn't override anything, so Mup would assume its default values, which are treble clef, a key signature with no sharps or flats, and a time signature of 4/4.
There is a long
list of "parameters" that can be set.
Things like clef
and key signature are among them. Parameters can be changed with a line of the
score time=6/8 key=2# music 1: 4d;8e;4f;8d; bar
Note that in this example, the key was specified as two sharps.
You can also specify the key by name:
key = d major
These parameters give a very different sort of information than the notes of a measure, so they go in a separate section of the input file. Each section of the file describes information for a specific "context." Information about musical notes is given in "music" context, while things that apply in general to the whole score are given in "score" context. Once you start a measure in music context, you have to complete that measure before switching to another context, but otherwise you can pretty much change from one context to another as necessary. Each new context section is headed by its name (e.g., "music" or "score"). At the beginning of input, music context is assumed.
Here is a more complicated example:
score staffs=2 key=3& time=2/4 music 1: ceg;; 2: 2c; bar
Next we find the keyword "music," which indicates the end of parameters and the beginning of the music. Data is given for both staff 1 and staff 2. Staff 1 has two chords in the measure. The first is a C minor triad (it's minor since the key is three flats). No time value is specified for this chord. Since it is the very first chord of the piece, Mup cannot use the previous chord's time value, because there is no previous chord. In this case, Mup falls back to using the denominator (bottom number) of the time signature, so the chord is a quarter note. Incidentally, if Mup has to back up to previous notes to deduce pitch and/or time values, it only goes back as far as the beginning of the current measure. That means the default time value for the first chord of every measure in this piece would be quarter note. The second chord on staff 1 is the same as the first, since only a semicolon is specified.
Staff 2 has only a single chord, consisting of a half note with pitch C. Mup checks to make sure the time values on each staff add up to the time signature--no more or less. It is an error to specify too much time. For too little time, Mup will print a warning message (unless warnings are turned off via the warn parameter). If you have something like a "pickup" measure, which doesn't add up to the time signature, you can specify "space" rather than a chord, to account for the rest of the time.
Some parameters can be set on a per-staff basis as well as for the entire
score. Mup also allows for
up to three independent voices on each staff,
and each voice can have parameters
set that apply to only that voice. To get the
value of a parameter, Mup always starts at the most specific place it could
be defined and works toward the most general. In other words, it will first
see if the parameter is set for the current voice. If not, it will see if
it is set for the current staff. If not, it will use the value set for the
entire score. Staff parameters are set in "staff" context, and voice parameters
are set in "voice" context.
As an example:
score staffs=3 key=1& staff 2 key=2& clef=bass music 1: 2f;a; 2: 2c;f; 3: 1f; bar
Mup allows you to specify a
header and/or footer
to put on the first page,
as well as a header and/or footer to use on subsequent pages. These can
include a page number that will be incremented automatically as pages are
printed. The headers and footers can be customized as you like, with
different fonts and sizes of text and items centered or left or right
justified. There is also a shortcut
that can be used to create a canned format title. For example:
title "Three Blind Mice"
You can specify
for as many verses as you like. They are specified
somewhat like notes. As an example:
1: 4e;d;2c; lyrics 1: 4;;2; "Three blind mice,"; bar
Mup provides a way to
print arbitrary text
(like "allegro") and
(like a fermata). It can also print
piano pedal marks,
etc. The placement of these items is specified in terms
of "counts" into the measure. For example:
boldital below 1: 3 "mf";
Once you have an input file, you can run Mup on it to get the printed
version of the music. Entering:
If you are using Ghostscript, but without Mupmate, two utility programs are included with Mup for displaying and printing music using Ghostscript. These are described in more detail in the next section.
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