I was digging through some old backups this week, and I stumbled upon a bunch of music that I had written twelve and thirteen years ago. No, I will not inflict it on you. Much of it is so embarrassingly bad I can only laugh, but there are a few pieces I thought would be worth archiving (for my own personal history’s sake). So I downloaded LilyPond and began transcribing them.

LilyPond is free, but it is not a graphical music notation editor. I’m not into music composition enough these days to desire to spend any money on it, so “free” is about all I’ll budget for it. What LilyPond does is take text files containing (essentially) gibberish, and emit a PDF with beautifully laid out music. It’s easy! All you have to do is learn to convert your music into gibberish.

The interesting thing about this, though, is that it essentially lets you convert music into source code. Once it is in a text format, you can treat it just like any other text file, including hosting it on GitHub (or similar). So I wondered: are there any projects out there, where people have worked on a musical composition as a community, using something like git or subversion to collaborate?

I’m sure I can’t be the first that this has occurred to. And while my own musical chops aren’t up to participating in a songwriting project, I would love to follow along, all from the comfort of my command-line!