Converting Noteworthy songs to LilyPond in Windows

I have adapted the NWC2LY program originally written by Mike Wiering (see by porting it into C# and then adding some new features and correcting some bugs. My program can be used in 2 ways:

  1. As a Noteworthy "User Tool" to convert a single stave of Noteworthy music to LilyPond, and
  2. As a standalone program that converts an entire Noteworthy score to a complete LilyPond score.

Please let me know of bugs/enhancement requests at the Noteworthy Forum.

This brief manual concentrates on the 2nd mode, although all of the features that work on individual staves of Noteworthy will also work in the 1st mode. It's also available as a PDF, although with most of the links not included.

Licensing and download

In order to be compatible with LilyPond's Free Software model, I have now adopted the FreeBSD licence. To be compatible this means my program must contain the licence and the source code must be available. I'm therefore releasing an updated version of my program with significant extra features, and it can be downloaded complete as a zip file. In the zip file you'll find both the executables you'll need, plus the very simple crib sheet I use to document some of the new commands the current version supports. If you want to download the source code (compatible with Visual Studio 2008) it's available on GitHub.

Simple Use

At its simplest, we can use the program to convert a song for 2 people and piano to LilyPond source that will typeset the page directly. I've used a small extract from a Gilbert and Sullivan show called Iolanthe to show this. To download the Noteworthy source, click the image below. Then load this into Noteworthy - it should look like the image:

Then Export it as a Noteworthy Text file. If you've not already downloaded my program, you need to get the zip file. It doesn't require installation - just save the files somewhere where you can access them easily (both in the same directory) and run the NWCTxt2Ly file to run the program that converts a complete score..

Run NWCTXT2Ly and you should see a window similar to the one below (albeit with a lot more options that I've not fully documented as yet):

Click the Browse button and locate the NWCTXT file you've just exported. Ignore the other options for now and just click the Go button. It should tell you that you've written 4 staves with 4 voices. If you now look in the folder/directory where the NWCTXT file was stored, you'll see about 11 new files - some with a .ly extension and others with a .nwcextract extension. The .ly files are LilyPond files and are used to create the score. The .nwcextract files are just used by my program during its processing. If you're keen on housekeeping, you can delete them.

Assuming you have already installed LilyPond from its download site, double clicking the file (the same name as the NWCTXT file, but a different extension) should mean that nothing appears to happen for a while as LilyPond does its processing, then a DOS window will open briefly and you should see a new log file, a PostScript file and a PDF file in the directory. Double click the PDF file to open it, and you should have your first LilyPond score, looking like this:

You can view the PDF file directly by clicking the image above.

Some things to note from this:

  • The piano part is shown as piano staves. The program assigns piano staves to any 2 staves which have the visual style "Upper Grand Staff" and "Lower Grand Staff". The singers have Choir staves assigned to them - this is the default for any stave with the visual style "Standard". Note that the bar lines are not joined. If the staves had the visual style "Orchestral" they would be shown as an orchestral part with joined bar lines.
  • The title and copyright information is taken from the Noteworthy Info - I suggest you change the copyright notice, since the © character does not translate well into PDF.
  • All the dynamic marks and changes are correctly shown - for the piano they sit below the Right Hand part, and for the score to look best any dynamics on other piano staves should be set not to display. Ditto tempo marks.
  • Barring and slurring is carried over correctly - in fact - everything in this file is rendered accurately with no further work required.

So that's the very simplest song. Let's look at what happens when there are different voices represented.