Gitara is a Ruby DSL for generating Lilypond guitar tablatures
gem install gitara
You need lilypond in order to generate pdfs and midis.
Gitara is tested on Ruby 1.9.3 and Lilypond 2.14. Patches are welcome.
gitara export PATH [OPTIONS]...
This will generate a lilypond .ly file and then call lilypond to export the .ly file to pdf and midi. Please see
gitara help export for the available options.
Gitara is a Ruby DSL. A typical Gitara file will have the following structure:
Gitara.define do score do stanza "Verse 1" do line do bar do notes "c d e f g a b c" end end end end end
You can find examples at https://github.com/gsmendoza/gitara/tree/master/examples.
Bars are the smallest expressions in Gitara. That is, a gitara file must have at least one bar. The notes inside a bar follow Lilypond syntax.
Gitara.define do bar do notes "c d e f g a b c" end end
With Gitara, it's easier to write notes using absolute note names instead of relative note names. This is because we'll be reusing bars and other Gitara expressions (see Reusing expressions below).
Notes with single quotes and backslashes
In Lilypond syntax, single quotes refer to octaves while backslashes refer to string numbers. So, the c note in the second string is written as
Since a Gitara file is a Ruby program, you have to be careful with backslashes when writing notes like the one above. Ruby provides AFAIK two ways to preserve the backslash in the note above:
Gitara provides a third option: it will automatically convert slashes to backslashes. This way, you can write the note above as
Prettier and easier to search and replace.
Each line of notes in a bar is a voice:
Gitara.define do bar do notes "c d e f g a b c" notes "c' d' e' f' g' a' b' c'" end end
The tab above will play "c d e f g a b c" and "c' d' e' f' g' a' b' c'" simultaneously, not sequentially.
To indicate that a bar is a partial measure, call
bar do partial 8 notes "<g/3>8" notes "r8" end
As shown by the example, the durations of the notes within the bar must also have one-eighth durations in order for the tab to render properly.
Grouping bars together
You can group bars in a line:
line :LineOne do bar :BayangMagiliw bar :PerlasNgSilanganan bar :AlabNgPuso bar :SaDibdibMoyBuhay end
Lines are manually breaked in Gitara. You can disable a line break by setting
manual_break to false:
line :LineOne, :manual_break => false do end
Lines can be grouped in stanzas. The names of a stanza will be displayed at the top of the stanza's first bar.
Finally, stanzas can be grouped in a score. Scores are important in grouping the tab in a single unit because...
Only the last expression under Gitara.define will be generated
When writing a tab, oftentimes you want to generate only a part of the tab for testing purposes. Gitara makes this easy by processing only for the last expression under Gitara.define. For example, in the following tab, only the second bar (notes "g a b c") will be generated.
Gitara.define do bar do notes "c d e f" end bar do notes "g a b c" end end
If you want Gitara to generate both bars, you must group them inside a score.
Gitara.define do score do bar do notes "c d e f" end bar do notes "g a b c" end end end
If you want to test a particular bar inside the score, you can copy it after the score:
Gitara.define do score do bar do notes "c d e f" end bar do notes "g a b c" end end bar do notes "c d e f" end end
Or, as you'll see below, you can give the bar a name so that you can call it later.
Bars, lines, and other Gitara expressions can be reused. For example, if you want a repeat a bar, you can name the bar and call the name afterwards:
Gitara.define do score do bar :Intro do notes "c d e f g a b c" notes "c' d' e' f' g' a' b' c'" end bar :Intro end end
This will generate a tab with two Intro bars. It's important to group the two bars above inside a score, because otherwise Gitara will only generate the second bar.
You can reuse a Gitara expression as long as it is defined before the call. The definition can even be deeper than the level of the call:
Gitara.define do score do bar :testing do notes "c d e f" end bar do notes "g a b c" end end bar :testing end
In the example above, Gitara will only generate the last :testing bar.
Finally, you can call multiple expressions in a single line:
bar :BayangMagiliw, :PerlasNgSilanganan, :AlabNgPuso, :SaDibdibMoyBuhay
Repeats and alternative endings
You can also group expressions under repeats and provide alternative endings:
Gitara.define do line do repeat 4 do bar do notes "c4 d e f" end end alternative do bar do notes "d2 e" end bar do notes "f2 g" end end end end
A gitara file can have the following properties:
Gitara.define do title "Wise Up" composer "Aimee Mann" arranger "Arranged by George Mendoza" instrument "Guitar (capo on second fret)" key 'c \major' midi_instrument "acoustic guitar (nylon)" string_tunings "#guitar-tuning" tempo "4 = 75" time "4/4" transposition "d" end
- arranger - tab's arranger
- composer - song's composer
- instrument - description of the instrument used on the tab
- midi_instrument - the type of instrument played in the midi export of the tab. By default, "acoustic guitar (nylon)".
- time - default is 4/4
- title - title of the song
- transposition - adjusts the pitch of the instrument. The default transposition is "c". If you set it to "d", then you have to play the tab two frets higher on the guitar (capo on second fret).
You can add chord labels to bars:
Gitara.define do chords :FC, 'f2 c2' bar :BeganIt do notes "/skip 4 <a/3 c'/2 >8 <g/3>8 /skip 4 <g/3 c'/2 >8 <g/3>8" notes "<f/4>4 <f/4>4 <c/5>4 <e/4>4" chords :FC end end
c2 are lilypond chord names.
If the bar is a partial measure, the duration of the chords within the bar must match the bar's duration:
chords :G8, 'g8' bar do partial 8 notes "<g/3>8" notes "r8" chords :G8 end
I'm no Lilypond expert (heh). When writing a tab, I use TuxGuitar to transcribe a set of notes (usually just one bar). I then export the TuxGuitar tab to lilypond so that I can get the lilypond notes. I then place these lilypond notes inside my Gitara tab. This workflow allows me to use TuxGuitar's GUI for transcribing notes while allowing me to use Gitara's features for naming expressions and reusing them.